DERRY — A new restaurant and bar quietly opened this month at the new Cowbell Corner development at 418 Island Pond Road.
The development, built by David Framm between fall 2017 and earlier this year, is on the corner of Island Pond Road and Route 111 in a southeast section of Derry that closely borders Hampstead and Salem. The restaurant is on the corner of the development, hence the name.
On The Corner Grill owner Tara Kennedy said the business is technically a continuation of a restaurant called Buono Panini at 428 S. Broadway in Salem. Buono Panini closed at the end of August.
The rebrand is in part because she wanted to convey that the menu has much more than paninis. The restaurant has a full bar, espresso cafe, and complete lunch and dinner menus.
“Probably 90 percent of it is Italian,” Kennedy said.
They still offer their popular paninis, she said.
Kennedy said it took about $250,000 of her and her co-owner and fiancé George Chiachio’s money to renovate the roughly 2,200-square-foot space.
Chiachio owns G.C. & Sons, which sells and installs industrial bay door and loading dock equipment.
The restaurant is fully staffed with 23 full- and part-time employees.
A grand opening ceremony will be planned for later this month, Kennedy said.
Kennedy has been in the restaurant industry her entire adult life, she said. She worked for 20 years as a bartender at the Charlie Horse in West Bridgewater, Mass., and was a manager at Buono Panini for four years before she bought the company from the original owners in 2013.
The old Charlie Horse restaurant space is now Barrett’s Alehouse.
When the opportunity to buy the restaurant first came up and Chiachio told Kennedy she should consider it, she was resistant at first.
“What are you, crazy?” she asked Chiachio at the time.
In recent years, the area of South Broadway in Salem was losing businesses and foot traffic, Kennedy said, and there was too much competition from other restaurants and bars. Plus, the building was “very ugly” and set back from the road and hard for motorists to notice.
The old restaurant had 76 seats and the new restaurant in Derry has 86 seats, Kennedy said, mostly because of a larger bar.
“Derry has been great,” Kennedy said. “No issues, no problems.”
The Cowbell Corner development was approved by the Planning Board in March of 2015, according to Assistant Town Planner Elizabeth Robidoux.
About half of the 31,500-square-foot retail building has been filled. Aside from On The Corner Grill, there is a nail salon and kids gym space. A space to be used for a barber shop and salon is still being renovated.
CREDIT: Union Leader (11/15/18)