MANCHESTER, NH — The latest Common Man Roadside Market and Deli opened Monday at the corner of South Willow Street and Goffs Falls Road.
John McGrath of Manchester was the first customer after the store opened at 6 a.m. Going forward, operating hours will be 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The venture is the brainchild of Granite State Hospitality (GSH), a partnership among three restaurateurs: Brad Pernaw, the managing partner who runs Common Man Roadside at the Hooksett Welcome Centers on I-93; Rusty McLear, former owner of the Inn at Mill Falls in Meredith; and Alex Ray, owner and founder of The Common Man, that includes 16 restaurants and two hotels.
GSH partnered with Irving Oil to build the roadside gas station and convenience stores for them.
In the past several weeks, people would stop at the site since the gas pumps were installed, expecting it was already open, said Bill Boynton, director of public relations and community outreach.
The first Common Man Roadside debuted last October in Plymouth and GSH has plans for several more over the coming months and years, according to Boynton.
The South Willow store is smaller than the one in Plymouth on NH Route 25, which cost $4 million to construct and includes indoor dining and a fireplace.
There is no dining-in option at the Manchester facility which has an open kitchen. “Real food, real fast” is the store’s hallmark in offering customers breakfast, lunch or dinner and a wide variety of foods from which to select including breakfast sandwiches, burgers, chicken and steak sandwiches, soups and salads, pastries and ice cream.
Boynton said pizzas are ready in about 2 ½ minutes because of the store’s fast fire pizza oven. “Pizzas are very popular,” he said.
A barista coffee bar is also featured.
Similar in style to the two Common Man Roadside facilities at the Hooksett Welcome Centers on Interstate 93, which cost $30 million and opened in 2015, the convenience store/deli has reclaimed lumber from a New Hampshire barn lining its walls. The Hooksett restaurants were fitted with reclaimed gymnasium flooring from the JFK Coliseum in Manchester.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not slow the construction which began in January, Boynton said. With the ongoing pandemic, Boynton said employees were trained in how to safely prepare and sanitize the facility. All at the store are wearing masks.
He said the site is a good location with about 30,000 vehicles driving by daily.
“We think it will do very well,” Boynton said.
Since March, GHS has been providing meals to first responders on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. They delivered meals to 28 businesses and agencies including Catholic Medical Center, Manchester and Londonderry police and fire departments among others.
Boynton said initially they were making deliveries three days a week but are now down to one.