By Carol Casey, Shelburne correspondent
Much to the delight of the Shelburne community, Archie’s Grill has reopened in a new location under different management. Former patrons will see familiar faces and menu items when they visit, as well as a different décor and new food and beverage choices.
Tim Williams of Shelburne and Doug Nedde are the new owners of Archie’s. After refurbishing the space most recently occupied by Marco’s Pizza in a style best described as upscale industrial chic, Archie’s held its soft opening in early January and officially opened Jan. 19 under the management of Michael Henzel, an experienced chef and restaurant manager.
Williams and his family were regular patrons of the original Archie’s Grill. When it closed in mid-July, Williams knew that the Marco’s location was available and made the decision to re-open the restaurant on that site, engaging Nedde as a partner and Henzel as manager. Williams’ wife Lisa played an integral role in getting the new Archie’s up and running. They have enjoyed the full support of previous owner Dick Hess who comes in occasionally for a few hours at a time to offer advice and assistance.
What’s new about Archie’s Grill? The space is larger with a seating capacity of 49, including a community table where single patrons can join others for a casual chat while dining. The look of the place is different as well, with re-purposed oak tables, black, white and gray walls with wood features and red accents on the table bases and stools, and corrugated tin and steel pipes framing the counter.
The menu has been tweaked in favor of adding more local products such as Harrington’s bacon, and more items made in-house like Henzel’s outstanding corn chips, salsa and guacamole as well as his chili featuring Vermont-raised beef. The soft-serve ice cream, available all year round, comes from Kingdom Creamery in Hardwick. The croutons in salads are from Olivia’s of New Haven and the beer and wine selections have been broadened to include more Vermont brands.
A newly instituted kid’s menu offers a wide variety of selections, including Applegate Farms natural uncured beef hot dogs. More vegan options are on the menu, and gluten-free buns are available upon request. Another change not visible to the patron’s eye is a large kitchen behind the main grill to the delight of Henzel and his staff, who appreciate having much more space to cook, prep and do dish washing.
The spirit of the original Archie’s is carried over in the new space. A poster featuring a photograph of Dick Hess behind the counter of the original Archie’s graces the entrance wall. Four employees of the old Archie’s are now working in the new location. Chris Thomas is in his familiar position behind the cash register, currently working six days a week. Chris Croteau is still at the grill, joined behind the counter by Mike Prendergast and Katie Hayes.
Old Archie’s favorites like the homemade potato chips are still served and available for separate purchase, and the Vermont Bacon Cheese Burger continues to be the customers’ number one choice.
Both Lisa Williams and Henzel said having Dick Hess’s input and feedback and having four of his employees on their staff have been the most important factors in the successful re-opening of the restaurant. The number of customers they have already served has exceeded expectations.
Henzel said his greatest challenge has been filling out the employee roster. He is still searching for a grill person and another staffer for shifts at the cash register. He and Williams are full of ideas on how the restaurant can grow and want to build on the successful foundation that is already in place.
Archie’s Grill is now open seven days a week from 11:30am to 8pm and may expand their hours in the summer.