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).
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.
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.