NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 16, 2013

A family affair

Haverhill brothers prepare to reopen Stripers

(Continued)

Once opened, Haginicolas said, he’s planning to offer easy-listening live music, as well, similar to what’s worked well at his other establishment.

“At Roma’s we have one, two or three-piece bands on the weekend, nothing loud,” he said. “And we have a pianist at Roma’s about three times a week that our customers enjoy.”

Haginicolas also answered a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds, according to Selectman Fred Knowles — what will happen to previously purchased gift certificates.

The new owners will honor 100 percent of the gift certificates sold by Kuchar, just not all at once, Haginicolas said. Immediately redeeming thousands of dollars in certificates sold by a previous owner can be financially draining, he said.

“We’ll honor a percentage at a time,” Haginicolas said. “Say, for example, you have a $100 gift certificate, we might honor 30 percent of it at one visit, and the rest over subsequent visits.”

Haginicolas has already hired back about 15 former Stripers employees, including its former manager. In addition, he’s hired two cooks. More staff is needed, including cooks, servers and kitchen staff, he said, and once everyone’s on board, an extensive training period is planned before the doors open.

Stripers and Roma have similarities; both have exterior decks and both are situated overlooking the Merrimack River. Haginicolas said they’ve always wanted a restaurant in this area; the family closed on Stripers on April 30 for $2.5 million. Now, everyone’s very busy, but excited, about the new opportunity, he said.

“We’re looking forward to doing a good business for the town,” he said. “We’re hoping to serve a similar menu to Stripers, although a bit upscale, at about the same price.”

Steve and George Haginicolas immigrated to the United States from Greece as boys and have been in the restaurant business most of their adult lives. Prior to buying Roma, they formerly owned a smaller, 75-seat restaurant in North Andover, Pasta Palazzi, that served pasta and pizza, he said.

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