DERRY — Marc-Damian Hartley remembers hearing his grandfather greet the grandchildren with a favorite phrase.
"How's your onion?" the man would call out to the children, who would respond with "good enough to make you cry."
Now Hartley, a longtime restaurant proprietor, is bringing his traditions and a new business to town, celebrating his grandfather's favorite words and replacing a family-run convenience store that stood for decades along a busy Derry street.
The former J&P Superette on West Broadway, owned by Hartley's parents, Douglas and Rosalind Hartley, closed in March after 26 years. But it will reopen soon as "How's Your Onion?" a restaurant featuring a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites, including eggs, specialty sandwiches, pasta and seafood.
Construction crews are converting the 1,000-square-foot former market space into the intimate eatery, spearheaded by the next generation of Hartleys.
Marc-Damian Hartley said hiring is complete for the restaurant's kitchen staff, with some positions still available for wait staff. He hopes to open the restaurant within the next three weeks.
"How's Your Onion?" will employ approximately 20 staffers, most of them local.
"Our goal was to help open up the economy in the area," Hartley said.
As "How's Your Onion?" continues to take shape, Hartley said his parents are still very involved in the business.
"They still own the building," he said. "They have a vested interest in the business."
It's still a family affair at his new restaurant and he thanked everyone involved, from town officials to inspectors to family members.
"Everyone has a little piece of this to pull it together," he said.
To learn more about "How's Your Onion?" visit howsyouronion.com.
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