By Michelle Tsaltsas
Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Scene.]
This week Sally Gray
Sally Gray, mother of two, bookkeeper and full time manager at Hampton Beach Bar and Grille, is one outstanding woman. A local from Hampton Beach, Sally is a huge community supporter. "I love fundraisers," says Sally, "It's giving back to the community. I just think they've supported you in your business so you should give back to them." Sally, along with Managers Theresa, Mary and owner Dan of the North Beach Bar and Grille are big supporters of the community. "All of the bands that play here are local," says Sally. North Beach Bar and Grille also supported a mustache growing fundraiser for the local Miss Molly Fund.
As Manager, Sally makes sure all jobs are done and everyone's happy. "I help out bartending and waitressing too. I go wherever I'm needed. Even if it's something like dishwashing, I don't care. I do it." Sally has always loved working with people. "When my kids were in school I worked on the PTA, organizing events and fundraising for the students." Sally's job now is close to doing what she did working on the PTA.
Sally used to bookkeep full time, but now only does it part time alongside working as manager at the North Beach Bar and Grille. The North Beach Bar and Grille, Sally's main job, caters to locals and beach goers. "The people here are like an extended family," says Sally, "I work here because I love the people." Not only are they known around the seacoast for their delicious food, homemade deserts and exceptional wait staff, they are also known in Canada, Mass and Maine as those things as well. Sally says, "we get people from Mass and even from Canada that come down to eat here." With a wait staff and entertainment that makes a newcomer feel like home, this restaurant is easily one of the best around.
"But the restaurant isn't just about me," says Sally. "Restaurants are about teamwork. We wouldn't be the great place that it is without the rest of the staff." The staff of the North Beach Bar and Grille are some of the most genuine and personable in town, which is really what keeps customers and locals coming back. "I want everyone I work with to get as much recognition as me. They're all wonderful people too." Which is true, the North Beach Bar and Grille wouldn't be as good as it is if the waitstaff weren't so genuine and fun.
The restaurant is home to three of the most impressive bartenders who are Carey Cox, winner of the bartender of the month award, Erin Sullivan and Johnny Grasso. Johnny's parents make up the band Mel and John, an acoustic, friendly cover band that plays every Wednesday night. The restaurant also has local bands who come in to play on weekend nights.
Carey is an outstanding, humorous bartender. She always has a funny story or quick joke to brighen up anyone's day. Casey and Johnny work together usually and make a great comedic team. If regulars at the bar aren't clapping or singing along to the music then they're definitely chatting and laughing with the bartenders. Like everything else on the menu, the drinks are made with fresh ingredients. One popular drink, the Stoli Doli is a pineapple martini drink, made fresh. "This is delicious!," says new customer, Krista Macomber, "the pineapple really is fresh." North Beach Bar and Grille is a perfect convenience for locals like Krista who are looking for entertainment and affordable, good food. "The drinks and the steak tips are fantastic," she says, "I'll definitely be coming back again."
The restaurant is a gem stone on the seacoast because of it's great waitstaff. "I like working here because we're all friends here," says one waitress. "We're all close here," says Sally.
Tom and Theresa make all of the desserts, which are homemade. Theresa's famous bread pudding is to die for. Everyone at the bar and all the regulars will agree. The secret ingredient is custard that's imported straight from Ireland. "Everytime she makes it we sell out of it," says owner Dan. "We actually don't have any right now, it's all sold out. Literally the day I make it, we sell out of it," says Theresa. All deserts are made from home, so all ingredients are guaranteed fresh. Each week offers a new desert so customers are urged to ask what the special is each week.
One regular who lives down the street on the beach, Susan Michaud, says, "The food is excellent. The seafood is very fresh, which is something you never find at restaurants around here." Susan comes down to eat every Wednesday with her husband to see the Mel and John band play. "We know them are we're friends with the band because we're both local," she says.
Sally does all of the booking of music for the restaurant. Choosing local bands like The Mel and John band, consist of two local Hampton beach residents who have been playing music together for years. Both are talented singers with lighthearted, harmonic singing voices. They play cover songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, to music being played on the radio today. "The people here become friends with us and each other," Mel says, as many of their fans clap to the beat of John's guitar. "People come up and sing along with us," she says, "they even dance with us." The energy of the place transforms when this duo comes in. Wednesday night has its own regulars just to hear Mel and John play.
"It's a very community based thing," says Mel. "Roy out back sometimes comes out and sings Reggae on the mic. Rusty out back will play harmonica, so sometimes we'll play a blues song just for him to play with us." Families, regulars and people off the beach crowd the restaurant, the bar and the outside patio. All tips collected by Mel and John go towards the Miss Molly Fund, a local Hampton based charity supporting children with cancer in memory of Molly Rowlee.
"We needed a local bar," says one customer. The restaurant is more than just a place to eat and drink. It's an island get a way for people. "People leave their problems at the door," says Sally. Most regulars, like married couple James and Irez Broderick, have been coming to the restaurant since it opened. "We love it here," says Irez.
Sally and her coworkers make the North Beach Bar and Grille amazing. The people are all family and friends. Sally and her daughter work there, Theresa and her daughter work there, and Johnny the bartender's parents play music every Wednesday. The place is just a local real community restaurant. People like Sally are what bring restaurants on the seacoast success. This woman is not only a mother of two, she is also a community member, a fundraiser, a friend, a neighbor, and an all around great woman. If you're looking for a genuine waitstaff and a good time, try North Beach Bar and Grille. And if she's there, meet Sally, she truly is an amazing person.