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Red Arrow Diner – a 24-hour, sit-down dining option – proposed for Loudon Road in Concord

  • A Red Arrow Diner in Concord would offer late-night favorites similar to those on the menu in Manchester. AP file

  • These images were included among plans submitted to the Concord planning board. They were developed by the Bedford-based firm Keach Nordstrom Associates for Aranosian Oil. KEACH NORDSTROM ASSOCIATES INC—For Aranosian Oil

  • These images were included among plans submitted to the Concord planning board. They were developed by the Bedford-based firm Keach Nordstrom Associates for Aranosian Oil. KEACH NORDSTROM ASSOCIATES INC—For Aranosian Oil



Monitor staff
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Concord’s slim late-night dining scene could get a boost if the city becomes the fourth community in the state to host a 24-hour Red Arrow Diner.

An application submitted to Concord’s planning board proposes razing one of two adjacent gas stations on Loudon Road and replacing it with an all-night diner.

If the plan comes to fruition, it could mark a first for a city where late-night revelers have no alternative to fast-food drive-thrus. The Sunoco gas station that would disappear, on the other hand, is one of five in a three-mile stretch.

The planning board accepted the application as complete Wednesday in a procedural step before a public hearing next month.

The applicant, Aranosian Oil Co., seeks to merge its properties at 110 and 116 Loudon Road, where Mobil and Sunoco gas stations sit side-by-side between a Wendy’s restaurant and a nail salon. It would preserve the existing Mobil canopy and gas pumps and remove the Mobil Mart, car wash and Sunoco gas station, including its convenience store, canopy and underground fuel tanks, according to the July 13 application.

Replacing those structures would be a 6,100-square-foot building, serving partly as a new Mobil Mart and partly as the 3,300-square-foot Red Arrow Diner – a 24-hour New Hampshire chain with locations in Manchester, Londonderry and Milford.

Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, said the restaurant could be the first to offer a late-night, sit-down experience in the city.

“This is an indication that Concord is no longer the sleepy town it was 10 to 15 years ago,” he said. “There’s a market for a later night crowd here in town and an emerging night life.”

He said he’s hoping more restaurants will start to keep later hours, especially in coordination with prominent events at the Capitol Center for the Arts, for instance.

The Red Arrow Diner in Manchester has been in operation since 1922, according to the company’s website. At least one reviewer on TripAdvisor.com noted that it’s “the perfect late night stop after the bars!”

It was also one of the most frequented stops for politicians in the run-up to the first-in-the-nation primary. Sink, a Manchester native, called it “an institution in Manchester.”

The planning board members didn’t have anything to say about the proposal at their meeting, except for a unanimous agreement that it was complete.

A message left with Red Arrow on Wednesday wasn’t immediately returned. A representative of Aranosian Oil said the person responsible for the project wasn’t available.

The city’s planning staff noted in its assessment that the proposal would “dramatically reduce the impact of the existing use . . . and greatly improve the appearance, access, and function of the site.” It also said that the plan reduces the number of curb cuts from five to three, which addresses one of the common complaints drivers have about Loudon Road.

The next step for the plan is a public hearing before the planning board, which is set for Sept. 21.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)