AMESBURY — The smell of fried eggs, sizzling bacon and hot coffee will soon be filling the downtown area as a new breakfast restaurant is expected to open on Friend Street in the near future.
The Morning Buzz Cafe is expected to open its doors in early December, according to co-owner Leslie McAdams, at the former Firehouse BBQ at 37 Friend St., after the Municipal Council earlier this week approved a common victualler's license for what will be an 82-seat, seven-day-a-week eatery.
Morning Buzz Cafe will join long-established breakfast places the Whistle Kettle on Route 110 and the Hollow Cafe, off Main Street near CVS, but could reap the benefits of being very close to numerous apartment buildings, municipal offices and the Friend Street parking lot.
McAdams, an Amesbury native, said the restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Firehouse BBQ co-owner Jeffrey Nahas, who also co-owns the Barking Dog and Grill and the Ale House, shuttered the restaurant in mid-October after about a year in business. He recently closed a rental agreement with McAdams and her longtime friend, Andrea Ethier of East Kingston, N.H.
Yesterday, McAdams and Ethier were busy painting walls and installing a flat-screen television inside their soon-to-be restaurant. McAdams and Ethier said they were hoping to have a soft opening on Saturday, Dec. 3, followed by a grand opening the following Saturday.
The restaurant marks the first time the friends, with more than 35 years experience between them in the food service industry, have ventured into owning a food-related business.
"We're so excited and the people have been awesome," Ethier said.
They are also in the process of accepting applications for waitstaff, cooks and other employees. Ethier said they expect to hire roughly nine or 10 people.
Both women said they hope to entice customers to try their restaurant and then keep them coming back by offering the best coffee, bacon and home fries possible, three food items customers are particularly picky about.
The duo have been scouring the Internet for recipes, visiting other restaurants and checking out wholesale suppliers.
"This might be a chance for us to, you know, kick some butt," Ethier said.
Another feature of the restaurant that the ladies say they are particularly excited about is the opportunity to hold private functions in the evening. As part of the rental agreement with Nahas, Ethier and McAdams have secured a full liquor license formerly used by the Firehouse BBQ that will allow them to serve beer, wine and cocktails.
Nahas said he had been looking to do something with the Firehouse BBQ site for about six months after realizing he and his business partner wanted to focus attention on the Ale House and Barking Dog and Grill. Before it became the Firehouse BBQ, the Ale House resided in that building until a spot opened up at what used to be the Powow River Grille.
While the Firehouse BBQ was able to secure decent business, Nahas said it wasn't drawing the kind of business to justify their involvement in a third restaurant.
"We realized that it was like throwing in an extra canoe in the water for no reason," Nahas said.
"We were stuck with a building that we knew how to run, but we didn't have a concept. People were saying, 'Do breakfast, do breakfast.' It really made sense for us to get someone in there who makes breakfast."
Nahas said if he and his business partners do expand, it would more likely be setting up versions of the Ale House and the Barking Dog and Grill in other communities.