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L to R: Michael Grenier, Annamarie Listner, Valerie Robitaille and Mike Grenier of Welcome Home Diner.

Sanford’s newest restaurant will debut on Wednesday, August 4, when the Welcome Home Diner opens its doors at 6 Lebanon St., in the building once occupied by Jerry’s Diner (and Cindy’s Too). Welcome Home Diner will serve breakfast and lunch from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. They plan to expand to evening service in the future as staffing allows.

Mike Grenier purchased the property a year ago as an investment. At the time, it was occupied by One Love, which served Jamaican cuisine and sold Jamaican groceries. When One Love’s owner decided earlier this year to relocate to New Hampshire, it seemed like a golden opportunity for a family that loves to cook.

Mike’s son Michael Grenier will manage the restaurant and serve as chief cook; Michael’s mom, Valerie Robitaille, will be head server. The two have worked in the restaurant business for many years, including at Sweet Memories on Main St. Michael’s fiancée, Annamarie Listner, will wait tables as well, and other family members and friends will be pitching in to help. For Mike’s part, he’ll fill in wherever he is needed, from the kitchen to the tables to the cash register. It’ll be a dream come true for the father and son, who used to sit in a booth and watch the logging trucks go by when it was Jerry’s Diner.

The idea behind Welcome Home is to bring back happy memories while also creating new ones. The menu will be a mix of old favorites and new ideas. Lobster rolls – hot and cold – will be offered, along with diner classics like a western omelet, pancakes, fried haddock, poutine, meatloaf and open faced turkey sandwich. Michael has also come up with some creative options, including a Brunch Burger topped with an egg, hash browns, bacon and cheese; and a loaded waffle appetizer that will feed the whole table. Daily specials will be an opportunity to try out new items not usually on the menu. The prices are affordable, too. On a budget? You can feed the kids with a hotdog, pickle and chips for just $2.

That old-time diner atmosphere will be complemented with today’s technology. A Lightspeed POS system will enable servers to instantly transmit orders from the table to the kitchen with fewer errors. They will have more time to spend with customers instead of running back and forth to deliver written slips of paper.

The building has undergone some renovations and updates. Michael has outfitted the kitchen with all new equipment and reorganized it for maximum efficiency. A new color scheme, flooring and furniture have freshened up the dining room. The family has plans to offer outdoor dining, but are still trying to work out with the city how that can be accomplished while keeping diners safe from the Lebanon St. traffic.

Mike feels it’s important to give back to the community. All active duty military, as well as veterans and first responders, will receive a 10% discount. In time, the family hopes to be able to offer a loyalty program and to do fundraisers for local nonprofits.

Parking has long been a concern for restaurants at this location, but Welcome Home has solved that problem by leasing the parking lot at the former 7-11 store across Main St. There are a few spaces on Lebanon St. across from the restaurant, as well as plenty of parking further down along Main St. The Grenier/Robitaille family looks forward to welcoming old friends and new!

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