This past October, diners at The Coach Stop Restaurant got a first glimpse of the new upstairs deck and renovated cocktail lounge.
Owner Steve McDonough, who completed the project with the help of longtime maintenance man Steve Dupere over the course of several months, said the addition put 60 seats in the upstairs area, while allowing guests the experience of dining al fresco in all kinds of weather.
The Wilton resident took sole ownership of the old tavern in 2010, though over the years the McDonough family had operated Homestead and Fratello's restaurants in five different locations, with Steve McDonough serving as executive chef.
McDonough said he jumped at the opportunity to focus on a single restaurant, and over the past several years the Londonderry structure, among the oldest buildings in town, has undergone a gradual transformation.
Built in 1810, the building now known as The Coach Stop had served as a tavern and stagecoach stop before the days of the combustible engine.
Then called Plummer's Tavern, the popular watering hole welcomed hungry travelers making their way from Boston to Concord, or from Nashua to Exeter.
Today's patrons can enjoy sporting events on one of several large-screen television in the newly expanded upstairs area, as well as live entertainment.
An expanded bar area - with the bar extension that incorporates wood from removed walls - features new draft beer selections.
Removable vinyl panels can enclose the deck during inclement weather, while a heating system makes for comfortable temperatures outdoors even on brisk days.
"We've had people sitting out here when it was 10 degrees outside," McDonough said.
Removing partition walls from the upstairs area allows for a warmer, more open atmosphere where folks can relax on leather sofas and enjoy cocktails, order light meals off the new tavern menu, catch up with friends or listen to live music.
"Londonderry is a really friendly town and when people come in here, they want to be able to see people they might know," McDonough said.
All of his hard work has paid off.
"We're seeing a younger crowd come in, a lot of new faces," he said. "The regulars really like it as well."
The restaurant has about 35 employees, and McDonough said all are benefiting from the new business.
"We knew we were tapping into an aspect that hadn't been explored by other places in the area," he said. "And it's been lucrative not only for the restaurant, but for our workers as well."
The Coach Stop Restaurant and Tavern, 176 Mammoth Road, is open daily for lunch and dinner. For more information, call 437-2022 or visit www.thecoachstopnh.com.