By John Toole
---- — MaryAnn’s Diner, the Derry landmark where presidential candidates chase votes, is branching out to Windham.
Business founder and patriarch Bill Andreoli confirmed yesterday his son, Bill Andreoli Jr., and his daughter-in-law Duyen, plan to lease the former Chatterbox Cafe location in the Cobbetts Pond Plaza and open as soon as August.
The Chatterbox gained national attention when the Food Network’s popular “Restaurant: Impossible” show and chef Robert Irvine tried to save the struggling business. The Chatterbox episode aired last year, but the restaurant has since closed.
Andreoli, from Salem, is retired, but keeps his hand in at MaryAnn’s, a business he founded 22 years ago and named for his wife. His daughter, Christina, a Salem resident, now leads MaryAnn’s in downtown Derry.
Son Bill has been involved in every phase of the business and was responsible for shaping the MaryAnn’s brand and its 1950s-1960s theme, his father said.
“It’s going to be the same thing we have now,” Andreoli said.
That means the same look, a breakfast and lunch menu, the familiar MaryAnn’s name, but a smaller venue, he said.
The elder Andreoli said the emphasis will be the same, too: “Quality food, good service, people can enjoy eating there and feel comfortable.”
MaryAnn’s is known for keeping a regular crew together that knows the customers.
“We have a corps of employees who have been together a minimum of 15 years,” Andreoli said.
Bill Andreoli Jr. and his wife live in Windham. They were approached by local residents who encouraged the restaurant to expand and said they would support it, his father said.
“He knows a lot of people and they approached him about opening up,” Andreoli said.
MaryAnn’s has attracted a regional clientele.
“We get a lot of people out of Manchester and from areas around Boston,” he said.
People stop in while visiting relatives, he said.
“They always come back,” Andreoli said.
Celebrities including Rex Trailer and Chubby Checker have called at MaryAnn’s. A wall has portraits of many presidential candidates stopping at the diner.
MaryAnn’s had a second location years ago on the Methuen-Lawrence line, but gave it up because of staffing challenges, Andreoli said.
Still, the family had always given thought to expansion.
“My idea was to franchise or open other locations,” Andreoli said. “I always said if the right location comes along or things are conducive to it, we’d definitely consider expanding.”
The younger Andreoli also brings executive experience to the second MaryAnn’s. His father said he has been president of a nutrition company for 10 years.
The Glynn family business that operates Cobbetts Pond Plaza confirmed the lease deal and referred questions to MaryAnn’s about the opening of the second restaurant.