Sitting at a bronze tabletop last week in the restaurant he plans to open Tuesday – while crews hammered away at its finishing touches – chef Corey Fletcher discussed a pair of motivations that led him to take the “calculated risk” of becoming Concord’s newest restaurateur with Revival Kitchen and Bar.
First, there’s the personal aspect: After his experiences as the head chef at the Granite Restaurant and Bar, the Colby Hill Inn and 55 Degrees, he’s built enough of a reputation locally that he feels confident realizing a longtime goal of opening his own restaurant downtown, he said.
“A lot of restaurant owners are sometimes something other than restaurant people before opening up a restaurant. Sometimes they’re really successful and sometimes they’re not,” he said. “I think having close to 12 years of history in Concord, or the Concord area, as a chef is definitely extremely helpful, knowing that I have a following and a good reputation for what I do.”
Then, there’s an aspect that’s outside his control: the momentum he sees in the city. He plans to capitalize on the revitalized downtown and the increasing demand for good, local food that restaurants are enjoying.
“My wife has actually helped push me to do this a little bit – she’s been great support – and she’s always saying if it wasn’t me doing something like this, someone else would be,” Fletcher said. “I wanted it to be me to get that next new restaurant and be on the uphill swing of downtown.”
After 20 years in the restaurant industry – rising from dishwasher to executive chef – Fletcher, 36, said this was the time and place to launch Revival Kitchen and Bar, where he’ll be the chef and owner.
The 11 Depot St. restaurant will take the place of the shuttered Sunny’s Table. Fletcher said he hopes to offer something new to the Concord restaurant scene by featuring local ingredients in a “casual-upscale” atmosphere.
He said he’ll combine elements of the former 55 Degrees, which he helped launch, and the Centennial Hotel’s upscale Granite Restaurant and Bar, where he was recently the top chef.
“It’s not casual like the Barley House or Cheers. It’s not fine dining like Granite was. It’s kind of in between, to make it a little more approachable,” he said.
Fletcher, who has lived in Concord for the past 12 years, is a Milford native and graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in the city with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
He said he plans to source as many of his ingredients as possible from New Hampshire, branching into the rest of New England as necessary. All the proteins on the opening menu come from New Hampshire and Vermont, he said.
“I don’t know of any other restaurant that is sourcing the amount of local food in Concord that I plan to be,” he said, except maybe the Granite Restaurant and Bar.
The word “revival” in the restaurant’s name refers to his plans to take New England and Old World classics, he said, “and kind of revive those classic dishes using local meats, produce, dairy, et cetera.”
He explained: “One of the dishes is a play on a classic shepherd’s pie that everyone knows, but it’s using lamb from Meadowview Farm (in Gilmanton) and root vegetables from Brookford Farm (in Canterbury), and kind of presented in a way where it’s still shepherd’s pie like everyone knows it to be, but instead of browned beef it’s braised lamb,” he said.
Entrees range between $18 and $28, he said.
Fletcher said he held three days of an invite-only soft opening last week to prepare for the Tuesday launch. The restaurant will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, he said, noting that he might expand the hours in the future if there’s enough of a demand.
“If this becomes the next new hip late-night hangout, then that’s what I’ll provide Concord,” he said. “I definitely want it to be a place that people come to relax and enjoy and forget about the daily stresses. Everyone needs to eat, but choosing to eat good food is even better.”