LONDONDERRY — A long-time manager of the now defunct C.R. Sparks restaurant is keeping tradition alive at a new Londonderry location.
Three months ago, Litchfield resident Bill Weigle and his wife, Peg, opened the new C.R. Sparks Kitchen at 27 Buttrick Road, which is next door to Mr. Steer's butcher shop.
"The name was available, so here we are," Weigle said with a grin. "And you could say I'm pretty familiar with the quality level people had come to associate with that name."
"Familiar" seems like an understatement.
Weigle, a close friend of Bedford restaurateur Chuck Rolacek, spent 21 years as the operations manager at the original C.R. Sparks, which closed its doors for good in summer 2010.
The Londonderry incarnation is much different than the original 200-seat eatery and function hall — customers order at a counter and enjoy lunch and dinner in a casual location or carry out orders to bring home — but there are plenty of familiar aspects.
Those who remember the Bedford restaurant will likely notice the antique airplane propeller, oars and oversized cocktail posters hanging in the Londonderry café, all of which adorned the original eatery.
An arrangement of photographs shows the Bedford spot in its heyday.
"People come in, and they remember," Weigle said.
Guests can also enjoy order some of the favorites they'd once enjoyed at the former C.R. Sparks.
"You can come here and enjoy some of the old favorites, like our special meatloaf and rotisserie chicken," Weigle said.
The menu also features sandwiches, soups, a fresh salad bar and homemade desserts, along with comfort foods like macaroni and cheese.
Refrigerated entrees are available for takeout, and the business also features catering. Lunch deliveries are offered to Londonderry town hall and those in the school district free of charge.
The Weigles rent the site from Mr. Steer owner Chris George, who also sells some of the café's frozen meals inside his adjacent store.
Three part-time employees assist the couple in daily operations, including former C.R. Sparks chef Phil Williams.
"Our mantra here is everything is made fresh and from scratch," Weigle said. "We're so happy to be back in Londonderry. We raised our kids here and for us, this is like coming home again."
C.R. Sparks Kitchen is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
For more information visit www.crsparkskitchen.com or call 216-5800.