After years in the industry, Hale Cole-Tucker and his wife, Erica, thought they wanted to get out of the restaurant business.
So in 2013, they sold their breakfast-and-lunch place, Maddie’s in Salem. With a young family, the couple turned that venture over to a beloved employee and moved on.
“We were out of the business for like six months and knew we wanted to get back in it,” Hale Cole-Tucker said.
Most of all, after years of working in restaurants, the couple missed the camaraderie. So in 2014, they opened the first Tucker’s in Hooksett.
They followed quickly in 2015 with a second location in New London, and now Tucker’s will open in the former Corner View Restaurant in Concord. Art Thomas, who ran Corner View at the intersection of South and Clinton streets, closed it last weekend when he decided to retire after 20 years.
“Our goal is to be able to bring Tucker’s to Concord and to continue on with what Corner View started,” Hale Cole-Tucker said.
The owners hope to open the first week in May, just in time for Mothers Day. Tucker’s serves breakfast and lunch, but not dinner.
“There’s a million other restaurants that people can go eat at,” he said. “We wanted to set ourselves apart because of the level of service that we provide.”
The brand, he said, is as much about the experience as it is the food. He and his wife wanted their business to be positive, both for customers and employees. His existing locations have a steady following of regulars, he said.
“They come every single day, they know their server,” he said.
Hale Cole-Tucker said he and Erica opened their own restaurant with their sights set on multiple locations. Concord was one of the first they eyed, but they had trouble finding a stand-alone building with the parking they wanted – until now.
“Right from the beginning, we knew Concord was an area we wanted to target,” he said. “It’s a capital city. There’s a huge population. There’s a great mix of industry and government.”
The menu includes traditional favorites – omelets and pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches and soups for lunch. But Hale Cole-Tucker pointed out the kitchen’s take on a spicy huevos rancheros, the organic steel cut oats and the egg scramblers full of toppings – “something a little bit more eclectic,” he said.
He couldn’t pick a favorite dish.
“I wrote the menu,” he said, jokingly. “So I really love everything.”
He said he’s open to hiring some of the old Corner View staff, who found themselves without jobs when Thomas decided to close. He planned to meet with anyone interested in Tucker’s this week.
“It’s a really stressful business,” he said. “But if you can come to work every day and love the people you work with, it takes so much of the stress out of it.”
Hale Cole-Tucker said he knows the Corner View was a staple for local residents, and he credited Thomas with building his business over the years.
“The thing that Art did so well at that restaurant, they really were that classic neighborhood eatery,” he said. “They were just that place that generations of families went to. So I want to make sure that people know that Tucker’s can be that place for them as well.”
(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)