EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 30, 2014

Common Man reopens after fire last month

Locals loyal to New Hampshire restaurant family


There were some enthusiastic responses from customers, including Nancy Kanellas.

“So happy you are open again!” she said on Facebook. “I missed you!”

Like many of his customers, Ray said he was worried when he learned of the fire, which broke out about 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon — hours before the dinner crowd would arrive. He was relieved no one was hurt.

“I was pretty concerned when I heard it was a fire,” he said. “You just can’t make an old barn.”

Ray said preserving the old barn and converting into a successful restaurant was a source of pride for him. The building received a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008.

“I felt really good about saving an old barn,” he said.

But Ray and his customers weren’t the only ones concerned about the fire, so were fire officials.

After three fires and at least three alarm activations in the last year, officials from the state fire marshal’s office came to investigate, according to Windham Deputy fire Chief William Martineau.

The latest fire was linked to a problem with a ceiling fan in a second-story restroom, Martineau said. The fire June 18 was attributed to a malfunctioning electrical strip and the one July 26 was caused by a ballast in a fluorescent light.

But after repairs were made, state fire officials determined the building and its electrical system did not pose a serious hazard, Martineau said.

Ray attributes the success of his restaurant chain, founded in 1971, to a dedicated staff of more than 1,000 full- and part-time employees, including approximately 50 in Windham.

“I’m very proud of our team,” he said.

“The Common Man family,” as it’s called, also includes two inns, a spa and salon, a store, and The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center. There are also Common Man restaurants in Lincoln, Ashland, Concord, Claremont, Merrimack and Portsmouth.

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