Le Grenier, the classic French restaurant that has been a Main street fixture in Vineyard Haven for 37 years, will come under new ownership this fall.
Susan and Stephen Bowen, who own Waterside Market on Main street and Blue Canoe Grill on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, confirmed ths week that they have signed a deal to buy the business and building from longtime owner Jean Dupon.
The purchase price has not been disclosed; a closing is planned for Nov. 28, said Mr. Dupon.
La Cave du Grenier, the cafe that operates on the lower level of the two-story building, will close at the end of this week. Le Grenier, the French restaurant upstairs, will serve its final meal on Sunday, Oct. 12.
“After that Le Grenier will never exist again,” said Mr. Dupon, who first put the restaurant on the market two years ago. “I’m ready. It’s time. I’ve been cooking for 56 years, but you know what? I think it’s going to be fun to be on the other side.”
“We’re really excited,” Mr. Bowen told the Gazette. The Bowens plan to open two restaurants serving Italian food, one upstairs called La Soffitta, which will serve dinner, and an another, still unnamed restaurant downstairs which will serve lunch and dinner. “Le Grenier is the French word for attic. La soffitta is the Italian word for attic,” Mr. Bowen explained.
The Bowens also own a restaurant in Falmouth called Parkside Market. They said this marks the first time they will buy both a business and the building. “We have a lot of success with the Canoe and Waterside, and we wanted to add a permanent home,” Mr. Bowen said “The whole idea behind purchasing the building was that we really wanted to establish something long term.”
Mr. Dupon, whose name was practically synonymous with the steak au poivre and Coquilles Saint Jacques he cooked and served for close to four decades, put Le Grenier on the market in August 2012 with an asking price of $1.6 million for the two businesses, plus the real estate. The price was reduced twice, and was last listed at $1 million. The Vineyard multiple listing service LINK showed a purchase and sale agreement was executed on April 2.
Mr. Bowen said he and his wife plan to hire a total of 40-50 new employees for next spring. At least part of the restaurant will be open year-round and the new owners will apply to transfer the liquor license to serve beer and wine at both establishments. Only beer and wine sales are allowed in Vineyard Haven restaurants.
“We want to bring family-style Italian,” Mr. Bowen said. “It’ll be very affordable and be enjoyable for couples yet will have a strong emphasis for families in general. We will have tables for 10 and 12 set up inside. We’ll have a semi-private room for parties.”
“We have a daughter who is 10 and a 10 month old. We understand the need to accommodate families and we’re excited to get the opportunity to do that soon with good food, too.”