RUMFORD – In a few weeks, Brian and Jessica Nichols hope to realize a dream they’ve had for 10 years – opening Brian’s Bistro, an eclectic restaurant offering Italian food, steaks, seafoods, and other meals.

Brian Nichols is a culinary-trained chef who completed a course of study at Vermont’s New England Culinary Institute and was chef at the Boiler Room at the Harris before it closed in early March. He has also cooked at the Good Food Store, Sunday River Brewing Co. and the Bethel Inn. Jessica Nichols has managed the Sunday River Brewing Co. and the Sudbury Inn.

For the past few weeks, the couple, tradesmen and Brian Nichols’ parents, Bob and Carol, have been busy transforming the décor of the previous restaurant, and renovating the kitchen and pub areas.

Nichols’ culinary expertise and business sense runs in the family. His dad worked for the General Mills Restaurant Group and the York Steak House, and his mom was front house manager for La Garlic, a Massachusetts restaurant.

Brian’s parents were both working this week painting the walls earthy shades of burnished gold, eggplant and brick red.

The small bar area is being expanded into a brighter, more pub-like space. The stainless steel-applianced open kitchen is getting a makeover. Jessica, who has a degree in design, has been shopping for just the right décor for a restaurant that will offer classic Italian dishes, but not be an Italian restaurant, as well as serve more standard fare.

Sauces will be made the slow way, or sauteed, using fresh, locally grown vegetables whenever possible, and nothing will come from a mix or a box.

Jessica and Brian want to work with local farmers’ markets to buy flowers and vegetables. They also plan to hire about a dozen employees.

They plan to join the chamber of commerce, provide private party function space, as well as prepare large take-out meals for showers, parties or bereavement receptions.

“We want to support the community,” Jessica said.

“If the Mountain Valley Boosters, for example, need something, we’ll look into what we can do.”

“We feel we’ve found the right space in the right community to (open a restaurant). It’s been 10 years in the making,” said Brian, who lives with his wife in Rumford.

Eventually, once they get the new enterprise up and running, they hope to introduce an evening or two of acoustic jazz or other quiet music.

The restaurant will open quietly before Memorial Day, then a ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow.

Hours are expected to be Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 4 to 9 p.m.


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