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Former William Tell to Become an Irish Pub

August 30, 2018

12/3/18 UPDATE:  JL Sullivan’s Irish Pub is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!  The phone number is 603-960-9132.  Click on the link below for a copy of the menu (sorry for the funky sideways scan).

>> J. L. Sullivans Irish Pub & Restaurant, Thornton, NH MENU

If you’ve driven into Waterville Valley this summer, then you can’t help but notice the work going on at the former William Tell Restaurant on Rt. 49. The FOR SALE sign was replaced with a SOLD sign. A new roof was installed. The exterior stucco has been painted a mustardy yellow and the trim a bright red. 

The building color is – how should I say it – distinctive and certainly causes you to do a double-take.

jl sullivans irish pub and restaurant opening soon in thornton, nh

After being vacant for five years, the building renovations ignited the rumor mill. Is it going to be a Mexican restaurant?  A Chinese restaurant? Will it serve Franz Dubach’s signature Swiss dishes (including my favorite potato soup, rosti potatoes and Toblerone cake)?

The answer is, it’s going to be an Irish pub, which apparently accounts for the bright yellow exterior paint color. Apparently, you’ll find many northern Irish pubs sporting the same color scheme. 

The former “Tell” was purchased by Dermot Stapleton, owner of J.L. Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Lancaster, NH (coincidentally, my hometown…and I have eaten at J.L. Sullivan’s many times).  The Thornton location will also be known as J.L. Sullivan’s and have the same menu as the Lancaster establishment.

According to information I found on the internet, Stapleton is an honest-to-goodness Irishman from Limerick who moved to the U.S. (Massachusetts to be exact) as a lad. His love of the outdoors led him to the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. 

It seems Dermot Stapleton is a boxing aficionado.  His restaurant is named after John L. Sullivan, aka the “Boston Strong Boy,” an Irish-American boxer (October 15, 1858 – February 2, 1918) and the first heavyweight champ of gloved boxing and the last bare-knuckle boxing champion.  

Renovations are progressing and there is now a HELP WANTED sign posted out front.  It looks like the Waterville Valley region’s newest restaurant will be opening soon.

jl sullivans irish pub and restaurant opening soon in thornton, nh

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

8 thoughts on “Former William Tell to Become an Irish Pub

  • MaryBeth says:

    Any news about it opening?

    • Jan Stearns says:

      Good morning! I have’t heard any news about an opening date for JL Sullivans. I just reached out to the owner and will share what I learn. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  • bakersdozen says:

    The cars are already stopping to try out J.L. Sullivans tonight! The sign says there will be live music from 7-11 tomorrow, Saturday Dec. 1st and unless I’m mistaken I’ve heard the musician playing Irish tunes for St. Patrick’s day before and he’s great. The menu has something for everyone and like any good Irish Pub a clever, interesting assortment of drinks. I think we’re all going to have good food, good tunes and good times on our way back and forth to the slopes this winter. J.L. Sullivans is a unique addition to “the Valley”…finally!

  • Penny says:

    Hi Jan,
    So happy to find your update about JL Sullivans. My brother lives in Waterville Valley…soon celebrating 60 so I thought to send him there for his birthday. Unfortunately, I cannot find a number to call to arrange. Would you happen to know their phone number?
    Thank you,

    • Jan Stearns says:

      Hi Penny:

      We’re excited to see the William Tell building open and operating once again as a restaurant. I can only imagine that the new owner has been out straight getting up and running and hasn’t had time to get the restaurant online and in social media. I stopped by there last night to get their telephone number. It is 603-960-9132. I’ll be posting a menu on my blog shortly.

  • Jodine Taylor says:

    We have stopped by numerous times with no one there and no hours listed. Tried calling but no one answers. What’s going on

    • Jan Stearns says:

      I agree, they are hard to get hold of. I have tried calling them a number of times, but phone never picked up and no answering machine or voice mail. They are open, though, and I’ve been there five times for dinner or drinks in the bar.
      They have a Facebook page: but that doesn’t have hours listed.
      UPDATE: I just called them and they answered! Their hours this week thru New Year’s: Today and Friday, 12/28 open at 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 12/29 & 12/30, open at 11:30 a.m., Monday, 12/31, open at 2 p.m. – will have music and a champagne toast at midnight. Going forward, CLOSED on Tuesdays.

  • Wonderfull dinner and cocktails were enjoyed this evening. The four of us had a great time. Friendly staff and owner Dermot as well. Live music, very entertaining.
    Would go back in a minute. Great atmosphere.
    Wishing them continued success.

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