By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — After 42 years, The Green Barn restaurant will close its doors March 24 and move to another part of town.
That means the large, former dairy barn at 5 Hampstead Road will be razed to make way for a 22,000-square-foot shopping plaza, owner Carl Bohne said. An adjacent home will be torn down as well, he said
“We plan on reopening in the fall,” Bohne said yesterday. “We have two possible sites in Salem, but we are not sure which one.”
The shopping plaza received unanimous approval from the Planning Board last week, town planning director Ross Moldoff said. The Zoning Board of Adjustment has granted several variances for the project,
“We have our permits,” Bohne said. “Everything was approved.”
The project will include a 13,000-square-foot CVS pharmacy, a bank, restaurant and two other businesses proposed by developer Thur Ken. Bohne said he and Thur Ken will lease the property.
The project would create at least 50 full-time and 50 part-time jobs, according to Bohne, and include major safety improvements at the intersection of Hampstead Road and Main Street.
Construction is expected to begin in April, Bohne said. He said it was premature to identify the two potential sites for the restaurant.
Bohne, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Margaret, said they have received numerous calls from customers ever since plans for the shopping plaza were announced last summer. He has insisted the restaurant — one of the oldest in town — would remain open and said he hoped it would stay in Salem.
“We are continuing to tell them we will be back as soon as possible,” he said.
Bohne’s parents, Bill and Francis Bohne, bought the former Shermer Farm property in 1969 and started a delicatessen, specializing in sausage and smoked meats. The restaurant, known for its German cuisine, opened in July 1970 and the Steinkeller Lounge nine months later.
No public celebration is planned after the final meal in the 19th-century building is served in three weeks, Bohne said.
The restaurant’s employees — eight part time, two full time — received layoff notices last week, he said. Bohne said he would like to keep the staff, but it’s not feasible since the restaurant will be closed for several months.
“Hopefully, we can get most of them back,” he said. “It is a difficult situation, but we’ll be helping them in any way we can.”
Bohne said the restaurant has had many local customers over the years. He urges them to return for a final meal at the current location.
The former barn was built in 1880 and rebuilt after being struck by lightning and burning in the 1940s, Bohne said previously.