HAVERHILL — For decades, Radio Market was a popular deli, grocery store and sandwich shop that drew everyone from city workers to people who lived or worked near the downtown.
The longtime owners sold the business nearly 20 years ago. Others tried to bring new businesses to the neighborhood landmark, but nothing succeeded for long. Now, a new business is ready to take over the spot — furthering a trend of restaurants opening downtown near new housing complexes.
“Radio Market was the last going concern, and now it’s going to be a full restaurant,” said William Pillsbury, the city’s economic development and planning director.
The building at 63 Locke St. is receiving major renovations inside and out, and the owner’s plans are to open Butch’s Uptown restaurant in the prime spot near old shoe factories that have been converted to hundreds of apartments.
“It’s in close proximity to the Hamel Mill Lofts, The Cordovan and the Hayes, which were formerly vacant and abandoned buildings, but now we have hundreds of people living in the area,” Pillsbury said. “Our development strategy for downtown was to begin with the inclusion of new residents, and those residents then require or desire services such as restaurants and shops, and that’s the kind of thing we’re seeing and we’re happy about that.”
The roof of the old Radio Market collapsed under heavy snow in February 2011, revealing broken rafters and a gaping hole to the sky. New owner Samantha Petrou has completely rebuilt it.
“All that was left was the original foundation and the four walls,” said Petrou, who is opening the business with her father Butch Petrou and her sister and brother. They hope to open the restaurant Jan. 30.
She said Butch’s Uptown will offer casual dining in a friendly atmosphere. The menu will feature classic American fare such as steaks and burgers, as well as seafood and Italian dishes. The restaurant will also offer take-out food. The spacious bar are will also have tables, while the adjacent dining room can hold about 60 patrons.