The original Colonial Room crew – including former owner Bill Painter and longtime employee Michelle Simoneaux – have returned to run Sanford’s oldest downtown restaurant.
After 22 years of employment at the establishment Simoneaux has taken ownership and Painter will stay on to help through the transition.
And in case you were wondering, yes, the Thursday Fried Chicken Night will return beginning next week.
“Tell everyone Mr. Bill’s famous fried chicken is back!” said Simoneaux.
Nearly a year and a half ago Painter sold the restaurant to Trino and Leonardo Lengua, brothers from Venezuela who were hoping to expand their family food business to the states. Before them, Painter had owned and operated the restaurant for 33 years.
But with new ownership came changes – many of which the Colonial Room’s steady customer base disagreed with. Painter said he was forced to take the restaurant back over, and will usher in Simoneaux as the new owner as she learns the business.
“We will try to build the business back up,” said Painter. “We’re going to do more catering and banquets again.”
And although guests of the Colonial Room haven’t been able to eat dinner there for quite some time, Simoneaux said dinner will return on Thursday and Friday night with the restaurant staying open until 9 p.m. The first day open for dinner will be Thursday, Oct. 11.
“We just want everyone to know quality and consistency are the key,” said Simoneaux.
Since their return Painter and Simoneaux have seen a flurry of old guests stop by to welcome them back, they said.
“We’re just excited to be back and excited to bring the Colonial Room back,” said Simoneaux. “The Colonial Room is Sanford.”
And with the original crew back in place Simoneaux hopes to have many more years at the restaurant she calls home.
She said, “This is home to me. The customers are my family.”