Mooselook Restaurant Raises Money to Reopen

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MooselookCONCORD- A group of former employees and patrons are trying to raise money to reopen the Mooselook Restaurant in Concord. The eatery was closed by the state tax department late last month over late tax payments.

On a recent Saturday, members of the group stopped by the restaurant to clean it up in preparation for a potential reopening.

"We're going to do some painting and staining and make it look a little bit different, make it look fresher," said Charlotte Amadon, a longtime Mooselook staff member and leader of the fundraising effort.

She said the restaurant's owner, Susan Ashby, had been ready to move on after the closure, but financial realities forced her to give the business another attempt. 

"She realizes that if she doesn't get back up and running she doesn't have the money to pay [the state] back, and she's intending on paying everything back," said Amadon. "Getting her up and going, the state gets its money and we all get our jobs back."

"And I get to eat here!" interjected Mary Kay Wood, a longtime customer who stopped by to help in the clean-up effort.

Another longtime patron, Lynda Silsby, mused, as she scrubbed the freezer, about how she felt the town had changed since losing its only year-round gathering place.

"It's depressing," said Silsby. "You meet and see friends here. A lot of people need to get out, especially the elderly."

Amadon added that, even as an employee, she felt a similar sense of loss. "A lot of the customers are missed. We don't get that day to day contact," she said. "I'd even joke with the customers, they come in, they'll see Mary Kay over there and Bob over here and I'd say... are you here to eat or socialize? People met people here."

And Amadon claimed she'd heard similar sentiments from many other community members.

"The people have wanted her back in. I've been encouraging her and encouraging her," she said.

The group has benefitted from the assistance of a Boston-based attorney, Ashley Spina, who grew up in nearby Guildhall. Amadon said Spina heard about the Mooselook's closure through her father, a Mooselook regular, and offered to help negotiate with the state.

"That woman is working her butt off," praised Amadon. "She's seven months pregnant and has put so many hours in; last Sunday I was on the phone with her all day on her day off. Plus she has to do it after hours, she's doing it pro-bono. Not one dime is going to Ashley."

The fundraiser is asking for $25,000, though Amadon said that's the minimum amount the restaurant can reopen with.

"We need to approach the state with at least that amount in an effort for goodwill, but we do need more," she said. "[Susan] sold off all her stuff because she can't keep the food, so everything has gone to pay the employees."

If the fundraiser is successful, Amadon said she hopes to see the restaurant open by Mother's Day.

Donations can be made on GoFundMe, or mailed and made out to Charlotte Amadon, 326 Baptist Hill Rd, Lunenburg, VT 05906, with Mooselook Restaurant as a memo.

According to Amadon, donators will get all of their money back if the fundraiser's goal isn't met.