Parker’s Maple Barn is celebrating 50 years

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Parker's Maple Barn in Mason is celebrating 50 years in 2019 and the restaurant tucked away in the woods is a destination and tradition for many customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/15/2019 9:25:07 PM

When Ron Roberts Sr. and his wife Sandy drove to Mason one day for a restaurant they saw was for sale, it wasn’t the one they’ve owned for the last 33 years.

The longtime owners of Parker’s Maple Barn were in town to inquire about Pickity Place, but found out it was no longer on the market. Although during that stop at the Mason eatery, they heard that another restaurant, tucked deep in the town’s woods, was possibly available. So they took the short drive to 1316 Brookline Road, albeit after getting a little lost, and the Roberts immediately knew it was the perfect establishment for them.

“We walked in the door and fell in love with the place,” Ron said. “You could smell the maple.”

The Roberts loved the rustic old barn and all it entailed, but the thing was that Parker’s wasn’t officially on the market. He spoke with co-owner Joann Parker, got the information for a friend who was helping with the sale and the rest is history

The purchase only took a month or so to complete and the Roberts family has been running the destination restaurant ever since. Ron is still the president and Sandy does some behind the scenes work, but it is Ronnie Roberts, Ron’s son, and his wife Tanya who handle the day-to-day operations. Ronnie serves as the director of operations, while Tanya is the manager of the Corn Crib Gift Shop. The husband-wife team are in the process of buying the restaurant from Ron and Sandy to carry on the family legacy.

It is where they met as teenagers, when Ronnie was doing whatever his parents needed and Tanya was a server. They held the baby shower for their daughter Autumn at the restaurant, and now is the place they decided would be the best fit to fulfill a longtime dream of owning something together.

“Its just comes full circle,” Tanya said. “It’s really a cool thing that we’re here. This place is our love story.”

The barn didn’t always reside in Mason. It was actually constructed in Milford in the late 1700s and was once used as part of a dairy operation. When Ray Parker purchased the barn with his brother, the siblings dismantled it and moved it to Mason. They used the good pieces of the barn to reconstruct it at its current location and established the restaurant in 1969.

This year marks 50 years since Parker’s opened for operation and a lot has changed in those five decades. It has always been a seasonal business, but originally it was opened Thursday nights for dinner and then all day Friday through Sunday and closed for the season around Thanksgiving.

Now, the Roberts take about six weeks off, from just before Christmas till early February. Then Parker’s is open seven days a week (only closed Thanksgiving day) for breakfast and lunch.

One of the first things Ron and Sandy did was expand the menu, introducing things like the Parker’s Special, stuffed French toast, the pancake of the month and maple glazed ribs. They changed the hours and continued to expand the production of maple syrup.

The Parkers started the maple syrup operation with two trees on the property and by asking neighbors if they could tap trees in exchange for syrup. Now during syrup making season, the onsite sugar house is consistently churning out large quantities of the sweet stuff that is both used for the food at the restaurant and sold in the gift shop with tours available during boiling.

Since the Roberts took over, its always been a family affair. Ron and Sandy’s children worked at the restaurant and both Ronnie and Tanya’s children have helped out. Their son Jude, 17, currently is a server after starting a year ago and Autumn, 20 work as a host.

Ronnie worked for many years at the restaurant before going to school for business and working for companies like Hershey’s and Dunkin’ Brands. He wasn’t sure he wanted that kind of lifestyle with a family.

“My mom and dad were here every day, every weekend, every major holiday,” Ronnie said. “It’s consuming and it can be stressful.”

But two years ago, he decided to come back. And with the plan to take over as owners, the tradition looks like it will continue for many years to come.

“When I was younger, I thought I’d stay here forever and take over the business,” Ronnie said.

The unique thing about Parker’s is that its location is such that very few people stop just passing by. It happens, but it’s really a destination and one that has become a tradition for many families over the years.

“People lost find us,” Ron said. 

“And people get lost finding us,” Ronnie added.

They have regulars that come just about everyday and others that walk in the door and say it’s their first time. On a busy Sunday, it’s not of the ordinary to serve upwards of 900 people, sometimes even 1,000 on Mother’s Day. And with that kind of busy operation, they employ more than 50 people.

“This is a special place,” Ronnie said.

“Because you can go anywhere for breakfast,” Ron said.

Ronnie and Tanya have a lot of ideas of how to utilize the space, including small weddings, dinner concerts and other events. But that all would be an added bonus because the restaurant is doing just fine with the way it is – and how it has been for many years.

And when you stop in for breakfast, don’t forget to ask about The Titanic.

For more, visit parkersmaplebarn.com.


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