By John Deming, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, April 29, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by John Deming]
HAMPTON -- Jim Trainor is slowly becoming the face of Hampton Beach.
The long-time owner of Boardwalk Fries has taken on a new venture — hotel ownership.
Boardwalk Inn & Café, formerly the Colonial Inn, held its grand opening last Thursday night.
"It's kind of my scheme," he laughed, noting that he'll be unique on the beach, because his restaurant will have a fenced off area where people can sit outside for food and drink.
The hotel will run year-round, and sits on a prime chunk of real estate — right next door to the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, so concert-goers can book the place for an easy walk back after a show.
And fill the place they shall.
Boardwalk Inn, with its two level restaurant and bar, was booked solid in its inaugural weekend.
By having the two levels — each level with its own bar — Trainor was really just going "back to the past," he said, because that's how the hotel was originally, when it was built in 1920.
On Thursday night, he had two musical acts of his own while Government Mule played the venue next door.
But for Trainor, who's been in town a long time, the business venture comes down to one thing — he loves Hampton Beach.
"It's just a great location … and I love the beach. I love Hampton Beach," he said. "In my mind we've got one of the most beautiful beaches in the world."
Launching the hotel was something of a community effort, he said, noting that he has gotten a lot of help from the town.
Trainor said that renovating the hotel — which took him all winter, and wasn't fully-finished by Thursday night's opening — is part of a three-phase plan. He plans to expand the 85-year-old building over a number of years, he said.
"We killed ourselves this winter," he added.
All of his improvements will be completely in-line with the town's infrastructure improvement projects, he explained. And the new first-floor bar is already one of the "nicest rooms on Hampton Beach."
"Everyone seems happy so far," he said. "This is exactly what Hampton needs."
Trainor said that regardless of the friendliness of his staff — some of whom worked at his French fry stand — and the hotel's ambiance, serving quality food is one of the most important things he can do.
"Seafood, steaks, pasta, nightly specials — that's what's great," he said. "You have got to sell the good food. People will come back for the food."
Trainor bought the hotel from Leo Poisson, who was "just at a time in his life when he had to devote too much time to the hotel," Trainor said.
"It was a very friendly transaction," he said. "He wanted to get out, and I wanted to try this."
Trainor said he did absolutely no advertising for his sold out opening weekend.
"I didn't want to be too busy," he said.