Editor’s Note: Amy Ash Nixon wrote this Watch for Barbara Hatch who is off this week.
Kevin Fontecha, who purchased and renovated the Mooselook Restaurant in Concord before the pandemic, used some of the time when restaurants were forced to shutter to re-do the former Bailiwicks Restuarant building, stripping it down to the studs and making needed improvements.
He bought the building from the town at a tax sale after it sat vacant for years. Damage to the building was extensive.
“It’s basically a flat roof in there and the roof drains had frozen and cracked so every time it rained over the two years, there was water pouring inside that building,” Fontecha said. “…the kitchen was just demolished over time… We ripped out the whole kitchen, all the equipment.”
Working with the Passumpsic Bank, Fontecha has been able to renovate even though the costs of building materials have skyrocketed during the pandemic and contractors are out straight.
“To outfit a commercial kitchen is a little over $100,000, I do know that just from the Mooselook,” said Fontecha. But he says the space and location are perfect for the Italian restaurant and sports bar hybrid he imagines.
“I want to open it up and expose the ceiling and the historic parts of the building that people really love,” said Fontecha. “The old mill equipment that’s on the ceiling, the old belts, pulleys and gears system that ran all the old equipment that was powered by the dam can be put in motion… I thought that would be a really neat visual thing, they wouldn’t serve any functionality.” The building was constructed in 1853.
“I originally wanted to be open for the busy season starting in June, which I don’t think will be a possibility,” Fontecha said. He hasn’t chosen a name yet but is working on it.
Before investing in the Mooselook and Mill Street properties, Fontecha worked at the Rabbit Hill Inn, served in the Air Force, as an EMT and firefighter. He worked in other restaurants in the area and is involved in local real estate. He’s a Waterford native.
“I grew up here, I always even when I moved away felt drawn back to the area,” said Fontecha.
A familiar dental practice in Lyndonville has a new name and dentist.
On April 1 Kingdom Dentistry was born when Dr. J. Alexander Kussad, DDS, purchased Dr. John Armstrong’s practice.
A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Kussad has lived overseas, in both England and Jordan, when he was growing up.
He graduated from the University of Houston in 1998 with a BS in Biology, and a Spanish language minor. He was also a member of the Honors College while at UH for his undergraduate program. He went on to graduate from the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2002, with a Doctorate in Dental Surgery (DDS).
Since that time, Dr. Kussad has been practicing general dentistry with a focus on pediatrics.
Though he lived in practices in a number of places, Dr. Kussad was drawn to Vermont while working in Potstdamn, N.Y.
“I spent many weekends in Vermont, and I decided back then that one day I would live here,” Dr. Kussad said. “I have been corresponding with Dr. John Armstrong and his wife, Judith, since last summer, to discuss the possibility of me taking over his dental practice.”
The official change occurred on April 1. Dr. Kussad has four children, including a son who was just accepted to the University of Vermont to attend this coming fall, and another son and two daughters, who will attend local schools.
“I am excited to become a part of the community and provide a quality and efficient service to my patients,” Dr. Kussad said. “The office building is currently undergoing renovations by local contractors (who are also patients of the practice), and I am bringing in modern, high-tech equipment to replace what was there.”
He expects to open in May and is taking appointments now.
Kingdom Dentistry is located at: 282 Pinehurst St.
Kirby Mulch Company LLC, located at 576 US Route 2 in Kirby, Vermont, is now open with a wide array of locally produced mulch, compost, and firewood products.
Heath Bunnell, a local business owner with more than 20 years of logging and excavation experience, started Kirby Mulch Company LLC to create a market for wood and wood-by-products in the Northeast Kingdom, according to a news release issued this week.
Through Kirby Mulch, Heath aims to promote a healthy local forestry economy, create quality job opportunities, and provide a valuable link for collaboration in the wood and wood by-product supply chain.
Mulch is produced on-site using 100% natural forest materials, with no fillers such as wood pallets, and is blended and run through tub grinders, Bunnell says. He offers a multitude of colors and varieties.
Mulch is available by the yard; both on-site pick-up and scheduled delivery of large and small-sized orders are available.
Longtime community member, Denis Girouard, is the new yard manager, and Denis is available to greet customers and take orders daily. Customers can find additional information at www.kirbymulchcompany.com.
An April 24 grand opening is planned from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to welcome customers and celebrate a new local source for landscaping and gardening needs.
Bunnell was named the New Hampshire Timber Owners Association Logger of the Year in 2018.