More than a dozen years after moving to Main Street, a Keene culinary staple is getting new downtown digs.
Fritz — which serves Belgian fries, sandwiches, salads and more in a fast-casual setting — will be relocating from 45 Main St. to the site of the former Pour House Restaurant at 44 Central Square. Fritz owner Michael Rigoli said he hopes to make the move in mid-March.
The plans were announced on the restaurant’s website and Facebook page.
Rigoli, of Swanzey, attributed his desire for a change-of-place to “a number of things that I’ll just never be able to adjust or correct in the current space.”
The former Pour House Restaurant has a kitchen Rigoli described as “professionally designed,” which he said is “much larger and more capable” than the kitchen where Fritz is now.
The Central Square spot also has more ample room on the sidewalk, where Rigoli plans to put out tables and chairs when the weather allows. Including the outdoor space, Rigoli estimates he’ll have a seating capacity of about 100 at the new site, compared to 65 where he is now.
With the new location, Rigoli said he’s looking to bring on more employees — he’s in the process of hiring — and hopes to start offering breakfast if staffing makes that possible.
The restaurant will remain open seven days a week, according to Rigoli.
“Hopefully, we’ll end up having enough staff to be open later in the evening on Sunday, but at first, we’ll probably still be closing at 4 on Sunday,” he said.
He also aims to begin hosting live music again (one night a week over the summer), which he said proved too much of a squeeze to continue in the restaurant on Main Street.
Other changes on tap include likely adding some menu items, probably incorporating steak and fish while scaling down the number of panini sandwiches, Rigoli said.
The sandwiches are very time-intensive to cook, he explained, and are “one of the things that slows things down for the restaurant.”
But fear not, fry fiends: Rigoli said those aren’t going anywhere, and he also plans to continue offering burgers, salads and wraps.
The Pour House Restaurant closed at the end of 2019, less than a year after opening where Pedraza’s Mexican Restaurant had been for a decade. The Pour House bar, which predates the similarly named eatery, remains in business next door.
In 2007, Fritz’s then-owner and founder Jessica Graveline announced plans to move to Main Street from The Center at Keene, into the previous home of Bookland. Rigoli said he bought the business five years ago.
The restaurant will close for “hopefully not more than a week” when it moves in March, he said.