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February 11. 2014 7:15PM

Not reopening

Woodman's not reopening in Litchfield


Woodman's, the seasonal seafood restaurant inside of Mel's Funway Park, will not be opening its doors this spring. (UNION LEADER FILE)

LITCHFIELD — Woodman's, the popular seafood restaurant tucked inside of Mel's Funway Park, will not be opening its doors this spring, according to its owners.

"Our lease was up, and we were thinking about staying open, but honestly, we want to concentrate on our efforts in Massachusetts with our 100-year anniversary," said Steve Woodman, one of the owners.

Woodman's only New Hampshire location will not reopen, but the restaurant will continue operating from its Essex, Mass., site.

"We have different emotions about it. We had a great experience up there, and we are not closing our mind to New Hampshire again," said Woodman, who admits it was challenging operating a seasonal restaurant.

Woodman's opened its restaurant in Litchfield about five years ago. The decision to not renew its lease was a difficult one, but Woodman says they really need a location that can operate year-round, not just during the warmer months.

Typically, Woodman's would open around mid-April, he said.

"I think people will be disappointed, especially our customers we had on a regular basis. We appreciate all of their loyalty," he said. "Right now we are focusing on Massachusetts."

He says it is unlikely that Woodman's would seek another New Hampshire location this year, but could possibly explore a different site to the north next year.

In a posting on the company's website, Woodman said the Litchfield restaurant was a tremendous success and had a great run.

"In our time at Litchfield, we were voted the Best Fried Clam in New Hampshire, and one of the Top 10 Amusement Restaurants in the United States," says the posting. "We learned so much and met so many great folks in New Hampshire that it is hard to say goodbye."

Woodman's is known for its large portions of fresh lobster and seafood. It has been in operation in Essex, Mass., for 100 years.

The restaurant was first established by Chubby and Bessie Woodman as a roadside grocery stand in 1914, and sold its first fried clams two years later.

The 100th anniversary is a great honor for the restaurant, according to Woodman, who said he is proud of all the success.

"Now please don't assume that we're done with New Hampshire forever. We hope to be back in the Granite State someday, and if all the stars align, we will be," he said.

khoughton@newstote.com


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