Golden Corral ready for Grand Opening after weekend ‘friends and family’ dry run

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VIDEO: Golden Corral ready to feed New Hampshire.

MANCHESTER, NH – Over the weekend more than 600 “friends and family” were served at the Golden Corral on South Willow Street, which opens to the public Aug. 17 at 11 a.m.

Owners Lenny and Nancy Abreu, along with business partner Steve Leary, were on hand over the weekend for a test drive of the popular chain eatery featuring more than 160 different selections. Although Golden Corral has built its reputation as a buffet-style restaurant, due to COVID-19 Abreu and Leary were able to take social distancing and operational changes into consideration while constructing the brand new space, located at the Shoppes at South Willow.

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Staff gets some training tips from team members who have come up from other restaurants to help smooth the opening of New Hampshire’s first Golden Corral. Photo/Carol Robidoux

When you check-in and pay for your meal, you select what kind of beverage you’d like and a server will bring it to your table. You are then seated at a clean table and given instructions on how to mover through the food stations. Food on Saturday was served cafeteria-style with guests letting servers know which foods they wanted and then taking filled plates to their seats.

Overall, things went smoothly, Lenny Abreu said. He figures it’s going to take a few months to smooth out the kinks, get open jobs filled and staff fully trained and comfortable, but overall, he’s just happy to finally be opening the doors.

“We thought we’d be opening in March or April, but once COVID hit, all that was out the window,” Abreu said. “We were able to make some adjustments here so that we have a lot of the social distancing built right in,” Abreu said.

Capacity for the restaurant is about 172 – that’s 50 percent of what the 11,000-square-foot space can normally accommodate. On Saturday guests were seated at intermittent tables that were cleaned and sanitized between guests, then labeled as such before being used again.

Masks are required while entering, exiting and moving through the restaurant. Abreu says they will eventually expand to having a breakfast menu on weekends, but for now hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for lunch and dinner.

Located at the Shoppes at South Willow (655 S. Willow) in Manchester, NH.
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Friends and family of staff and team members showed up for a trial run on Saturday Aug. 15. Photo/Carol Robidoux
Kitchen staff setting up food on Friday for servers to try the various menu items. Carol Robidoux

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!