Owner Rejects Fast Food

Café-style Restaurant Moves In

By Jason Schreiber

Hampton Union, Friday, August 17, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- When he bought the former Newick's Seafood Restaurant property a few years ago, Jack Lessard knew that the empty building had to be torn down and the property given new life.

But the longtime Hampton resident didn't want just anyone moving to the Route 1 site under a redevelopment plan. He wanted something that he felt was right for Hampton, the town he's always called home.

"I could have sold it to a fast-food chain, but I think we have enough of that," Lessard said.

Lessard eventually hooked up with Ted Kougianos, owner of New Brothers Restaurant and Deli in Danvers, Mass. Kougianos had been looking north for expansion opportunities for his popular cafeteria-style restaurant that features everything from Greek to American cuisine.

Kougianos found what he was looking for in Hampton. And Lessard was impressed with the restaurant's food and concept.

"It's a top-notch restaurant," he said. "I wanted to see this come into town."

Lessard then sold the property, allowing his dreams of seeing it redeveloped move forward.

Work is under way on a 24,664-square-foot plaza at 845 Lafayette Road that will include eight retail spaces and a 200-seat restaurant. The restaurant, which will serve as the anchor, will be called Brothers North, as will the name of the plaza.

Building began in April and Kougianos said he plans to have the restaurant up and running by the end of November.

Peter Lukas, a Hampton resident who partnered with Kougianos and is handling the retail side of the project, is still in talks with potential tenants to fill the retail space.

He said 60 percent of the center is already leased, but he declined to identify the tenants just yet, saying only that he's looking to attract "high-end" stores. The retailers are expected to be moved in by Jan. 1, Lukas said.

"I think the community is going to like what we're doing," Lukas said. Meanwhile, Kougianos said he's excited about the idea of bringing his restaurant concept to Hampton. Cafeteria-style restaurants, where customers grab a tray, check out the food and pick what they want, is a concept that has largely disappeared. These restaurants, while still seen in some cities, once dominated the South, but many closed up as fast-food chains and casual dining took over.

"The concept has worked for us. People can see the food right there. We've had a lot of people from New Hampshire who have come down and liked it," said Kougianos, whose restaurant has been around for more than 20 years.

The new Hampton restaurant, which will employ between 25 and 30 people, will also feature a separate bar area.