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Lab’n Lager restaurant coming to Jaffrey

  • Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Lab'n Lager of Keene plans to open a new restaurant and bar in Jaffrey in January.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

JAFFREY — Recognizing the potential for good business growth in a neighboring community, Doni Ash of Keene told the Ledger-Transcript that he purchased the commercial space at 4 Stratton Road in September to house a second location for his Keene-based restaurant and entertainment lounge, Lab’n Lager.

“I knew I wanted to open another location and I’m not a big city kind of person,” Ash said. “Jaffrey is a small community, but I think there are great possibilities.”

Ash opened Lab’n Lager, a 21-and-over restaurant which sells pub-style food and 15 draft lines of beer, on Main Street in Keene in 2007. The Keene restaurant is open at 4 p.m. daily, but Ash said his vision for the new Lab’n Lager, which is expected to open in mid-January in downtown Jaffrey, is a bit different.

“We’ll be open for lunch a few days a week, which is something we don’t do in Keene,” Ash said, adding that at lunchtime Lab’n Lager will welcome people of all ages. “Then, after 4 p.m., it’ll be 21-plus.”

Ash said he would also like to offer more entertainment opportunities, including live music, at the Jaffrey restaurant for the Monadnock region’s residents.

For the past couple of years, Ash said he has considered a second location for his restaurant, but had not found the right spot until a couple of months ago. “The building wasn’t for sale, but I met a realtor in town who knew the owner who was possibly interested in selling. …I thought the price was right so I went for it.”

The two store fronts at 4 Stratton Road had formerly housed Merry Berry Frozen Yogurt Café and Hope Fellowship’s “Be Blessed” goodwill clothing shop prior to Ash’s purchase of the property. “Be Blessed” is now located next door to the Jaffrey Police Department, while Merry Berry moved into Coll’s Farm Stand at 16 Colls Farm Road and reopened Dec. 15, according to TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Marie Cassady.

Ash said he has customers from the Jaffrey, Rindge and Dublin area that eat at Lab’n Lager on a regular basis and asked him whether or not he had considered expanding his business. “They told me that if there was something closer to them that they’d be there more often,” Ash said.

Over the next few weeks, Ash said he will be working with contractors to give the interior of the building a face lift. New paint, laminate wood flooring, a 12-seat bar, walk-in cooler and a flattop grill will be among the improvements that will be made before the restaurant is open for business, Ash said. The exterior of the building has a fresh coat of red paint, but a new sign and awning will also be added.

Ash said he is planning to have a soft opening around Jan. 15 or 16, when local business owners and town officials will be invited to dine at the restaurant. Then, the weekend of Jan. 19 and 20, Ash said Lab’n Lager will have its grand opening celebration.

Lab’n Lager will be open Monday and Tuesday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday noon until 1 a.m., and Sunday noon until 11 p.m. But depending on customer demand, Ash said, Lab’n Lager’s hours of operation could change.

Just as Keene State College is down the street from Lab’n Lager on Main Street in Keene, Ash said the new restaurant will be a few minutes away from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. Ash said a number of FPU students eat out at his Keene restaurant, but soon won’t have to travel as far. The restaurant’s location at the five-way intersection in downtown Jaffrey, where Route 202 cuts through town, as well as its proximity to summer homes and the popular Kimball Farm also made the commercial property attractive, he said.

“Jaffrey has a quaint New England feel and it seems like they have a great future, one I want to be a part of,” Ash said.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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