Though the purchase is not final yet, Scott Romaine, the owner and operator of The Divide restaurant in Norwood, is moving forward with acquiring the building that Happy Belly Deli has occupied.
Romaine has been running The Divide restaurant in the Back Narrows since last fall. Now, he is in the planning stages of the move to the space down the street.
Many in town have already noticed that the Deli has been closed for the last week and a half.
Romaine said he should acquire the deli building by the first of the year. And, Romaine will have some work to do: tweaking his menu and also completing some remodel work for the new building.
The goal, he said, is for The Divide to serve three meals a day. Romaine said he would like to serve morning coffee and continue the “breakfast vibe” the Happy Belly Deli maintained. Still, he has some necessary upgrades for the evening menu.
“It’s not ready for us to use for our dinner service … There is no char-broiler option right now,” he said.
Romaine said he feels that The Divide outgrew the hotel space. He said the restaurant has done quite well in the last year, and really needs the room to expand. According to him, when he discovered the deli building was available, he figured it would be a good fit.
Additionally, since the purchase includes the back building behind the deli (where the Holiday Pop-Up Shop existed for the last month), Romaine may do something with that space, too.
“We may be taking advantage of the back building as well, getting that active as well,” he said. “I’m not sure yet what we will do.”
Romaine said he hopes the new restaurant will be open by February. All of his staff will travel with him to The Divide’s new location. He said the crew operates as a family — in fact, many of them are family. He said he may be hiring new employees in the future, but he will take his time to ensure the new hires are a good fit.
“We will take all of the staff; we are all moving. We are a pretty solid bock,” he said. “My mom works with me, my wife works with me, and the next space allows for kids to be here too. It’s straight family. This is our jam.”
At this point, Romaine is not sure what will happen with the hotel’s restaurant space. He said the owner (Jerry Nolan) will likely rent it out to another restaurateur; still, he wasn’t sure who might open a food business there.
At the same time, Romaine cannot say what will happen to the Lone Cone Bar and Restaurant. Romaine spent more than 20 years at “the Cone” cooking and helping to run the place. The Cone has been sitting empty since Chef Heinz Guggisberg passed away roughly two years ago. The void left by the Cone’s disappearance has saddened many Norwood locals.
“I think it’s officially on the market,” he said. “I walked through it recently. … I do wish the best for it.”
Romaine said the Lone Cone building was out of his price range.
Gen Roach, owner and operator of the Happy Belly Deli, has not given The Norwood Post a statement yet about her new plan.