Downtown: Wellington’s set to reopen

  • Bill Brennan (right), new co-owner of Wellington’s Marketplace, stands behind the counter and his son Tucker. The wine and cheese shop is set to reopen Tuesday. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • Bill Brennan and his son Tucker stand outside Wellington’s Marketplace. The wine and cheese shop is set to reopen Tuesday. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Sunday, September 24, 2017

If you have been missing Wellington’s Marketplace’s Korean Pork Burritos, fear not: The downtown wine and cheese shop is set to reopen Tuesday.

Anyone who walked by the storefront Saturday morning could be forgiven for thinking the store was already up and running. New co-owner Bill Brennan of Milford had the door wide open, and he could be seen setting up displays and working with former owners Randy and Debra Barnes to get everything just right for opening day. People frequently strolled in off the street, a look of hopeful expectation on their faces.

“You open?” one man asked Brennan, sitting at a table.

“Not yet,” Brennan replied, reaching out to shake hands. “Tuesday.”

Brennan doesn’t mind the intrusions – after all, what drew him and his son, co-owner Trey Brennan, to Wellington’s was the niche the Barneses had carved out in their Concord community since the store opened three years ago.

“Everyone has been really helpful so far,” Brennan said. “The previous owners really helped make this happen.”

The Barneses announced in June that they would be selling their business as part of a cross-country move to New Mexico for Randy’s new job. Earlier in September, they announced the store had found new owners. The Barneses were quick to dispel any fears that the store would change; signature recipes would still be on the table, as would the various specialty wines and cheeses Wellington’s is famous for.

Brennan said keeping famous Wellington’s items was a no-brainer, although he acknowledged that he and his son will eventually add their own flair to the store.

“When you see a place that is already successful, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel,” he said.

Trey Brennan said he feels the same way. He grew up in Concord and has fond memories of going to school at Bishop Brady. Even though his studies of theology have taken him far from the capital city – from Gordon College in Massachusetts, to Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently to Nebraska – he said Concord has always felt like home to him.

For now, Trey Brennan will co-own the business with his father from afar, but he said he hopes to use Wellington’s as an excuse to visit more often.

“It’s been pretty awesome to see people’s reactions (to the store reopening), even from afar. ... We’re looking forward to being a part of the Concord community and thankful to the customers who have stayed loyal while Wellington’s was closed,” he said.

Though this is Bill Brennan’s first venture into owning a restaurant, he’ll be bringing 40 years of food service with him. He’s certainly earned his stripes, doing everything from waiting tables at Patrick’s Pub & Eatery in Gilford to running food service for universities to selling food to restaurants.

Brennan said he and his son looked at a lot of restaurants before settling on Wellington’s – places that, for one reason or another, didn’t feel right.

“There was one place in Manchester we were considering, but there was just ... too much ‘no’ to it,” he said. “Here, the location is pretty good, the concept and hours of operation are manageable.”

He went on to say: “It’s better food, too. I mean, you could get a sandwich anywhere, but this is a little more upscale.”

Giving bikers a hand

Concord will soon be implementing a marker system to help bicyclists get around town.

Concord General Services will be using a stencil to mark where cyclists should position themselves in order to prompt a green light. The measure will ensure cyclists do not have to rely on vehicles to call a green light at intersections that do not easily respond to motorcycles and bicycles.

The city tested the idea out over the summer by using pink markings at the intersections; those markings will soon be made permanent in and around downtown as part of the city’s regular painting schedule.

The effort was brought about by a partnership between the Central NH Bicycling Coalition, the Pedestrian Subcommittee of the Transportation Policy Advisory Committee and Concord General Services.

Road work ahead

Loudon Road will continue to see daytime and nighttime work throughout the week as sidewalk and curb ramp reconstruction and adjustments to utility structures are completed. Expect traffic delays.

The Interstate 93 Exit 16 roundabout will also see prep work for the sidewalks and ADA-compliant ramps. Granite cobbles will also be set in the truck overrun ramp at the center roundabout island. Traffic delays should be expected there, too.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)