By Ian Nadeau , Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Thursday, August 30, 2001
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by Ian Nadeau]
HAMPTON -- There's a new chef at 20 Depot Square and he's ready to make his mark on the town of Hampton. The restaurant formerly known as Lil's Grille has been re-opened as the Kitchen in Depot Square under the ownership of Andy Piesik, who runs the diner, and his sister Debbie Anderson.
Piesik worked part-time for Lil's Grille owners Lil and David Hammarstrom before becoming an owner himself. After the purchase, he wasted no time in reopening the popular location.
"The place became ours at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1, our food arrived that afternoon at 4, and we opened for business the next morning at 6," he explains.
Piesik says business has been terrific since that inaugural breakfast. "We did really good the first three days and then we were overwhelmed by how busy we were by Sunday," he states.
Fans of Lil's Grille will be pleased to find that the new owners haven't made any drastic changes to the restaurant. The decor, menu and price range all remain roughly the same.
All the classic diner selections can be found at the Kitchen. Eggs are served any style in the morning, along with the usual assortment of pancakes, French toast, waffles, bagels and muffins. Soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers are served in the afternoon.
"I'm going to keep it relatively simple," he says. "The price range and menu will stay the same but we're also going to add some fancier stuff."
The Kitchen has already added a cheese omelette (additional toppings are also available) and Pepperidge Farm cinnamon French toast.
The new restaurant proudly prepares all of its dishes and soup specials fresh each day.
"We don't use any processed meat like the turkey some places serve," says Piesik. "Our roast turkey is always carved fresh."
The diner provides daily specials for those looking for something a little different. The tuna plate, chicken salad plate and meatball sub have been some of the most successful.
Some of the menu additions under consideration are a Yankee Pot Roast, Italian Veal Shanks, Chicken Fettuccine, Stuck Eggplant, and Lasagna.
Long-range plans include the addition of a Deli, a catering service and Take-out Meal Center.
The ambitious Piesik looks forward to taking on an increased workload. "My motto is 'Whatever It Takes.' You do whatever it takes to get the job done," he states, something he learned as a Sous Chef at some of the best hotels in California. He has worked at the Westin, Mr. Stox, and the Bouzy Rouge among others before transferring to the Sheraton Ferncroft in Danvers.
Piesik and his wife Susan, who also works at the kitchen, moved here from California because they had heard it was a great place to raise children. They have since fallen in love with the area.
"There's not much difference between cooking here and cooking over there," he says, who has cooked for everyone from celebrities to world-renowned chefs in his 16 years in the restaurant business. "It's just a matter of cooking it right and having it taste good."
Currently, Piesik says he is fine-tuning the menu to the distinctive tastes of the local clientele. "I'm still learning the likes and dislikes of the people in the area," he states. The one item he has found that is always well received is the chowder.
The Kitchen in Depot Square is a true family effort. Andy's sister Debbie serves as co-owner and takes care of the business and marketing aspects of the organization, his wife of eleven years can be found waiting tables and Andy Sr. has even temporarily moved up from the West Coast to lend a hand in these initial stages of operation.
"My sister and I have wanted to go into business for ourselves for a long time," Piesik says. "When I heard that this place was for sale we couldn't help but jump at the opportunity."
"This is a wild time for me," continues an excited Piesik. "It's great to know that I've got my family's support."
Piesik is confident in the Kitchen at Depot Square's successful future because of their commitment to quality.
"Reasonable prices and home cooked meals are the key," he says. They are now accepting applications for short order cooks.
As of October 1 the Kitchen at Depot Square will be changing its hours. From then on, breakfast and lunch will be served Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and breakfast will then be served on the weekends from 7 a.m. to 1. p.m. Contact them at 926-4229.