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May 16. 2013 10:43PM

Saffron Bistro ending Nashua run after six years


Joe Drift, executive chef and owner of Saffron Bistro in Nashua, announced Thursday that his restaurant is closing. Drift will continue as the executive chef at 11Eleven Bistro in Manchester. (Courtesy)

NASHUA — One of the city’s most beloved downtown restaurants will serve its last dinner this weekend.

Saffron Bistro announced Thursday it will be closing its doors on Saturday, concluding six years of business in Nashua.

“The biggest thing with Nashua is that we have gained a lot of friends from the restaurant. It was like a ‘Cheers’ atmosphere,” said owner and executive chef Joe Drift. “It has been like family, and it is sad, you know.”

The restaurant could not come to terms with a new lease agreement, which prompted the closing, Drift said. He told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Thursday that he didn’t want to focus on the lease dispute, but instead wanted to thank the Nashua region for making his restaurant a success.

“The restaurant did very well, but there are certain things that I can’t control,” he said. “I don’t want to be disrespectful about the situation, as the community has been so good to me. I want to go out with a high head — I owe them for that.”

Drift has told some of his regular customers about the closing, and he said the restaurant has been busy this week as a result.

“We have been slammed every night,” he said, adding he also expects a large crowd for Saturday’s final dinner service.

Although the Nashua restaurant will be saying farewell, Drift said that he continues to be the executive chef at 11Eleven Bistro in Manchester. He teamed up with Jeff Dudley last fall to launch the new restaurant in the Queen City, located at 36 Lowell St.

His new focus, according to Drift, will now be on the Manchester dining facility.

“I hope something positive will come from that,” he added.

Saffron Bistro posted an announcement on its Facebook page Thursday morning, receiving many comments from loyal customers who are disappointed the establishment is closing.

“I’m heartbroken that one of the most loved and respected small businesses in Nashua will be gone. It truly was a place local merchants and friends congregated to share memories and create wonderful new ones,” wrote Maximillian Seo. “Nowhere else is there quite the feeling of quality, commitment and warmth in a restaurant.”

Others wished Drift the best of luck in his new endeavors while praising the work that was done to make the Nashua restaurant a top-notch dining experience.

“A special place with special people. We will miss it all,” posted Amalia Scontsas.

In a statement, Drift thanked the customers who have supported Saffron Bistro, in addition to his staff, wife, mother and fellow Nashua business owners.

Saffron Bistro was well-known for its fresh and frequently changing menu, which most recently included specialities such as New Zealand lamb, steak frites and angry lobster and linguine.

“Thank you to all of downtown Nashua who have shown us the true meaning of the word community,” Drift said in the release. “Having the opportunity to open a restaurant at 27-years-old was a blessing, and I have learned so much throughout the years and have no regrets.”

Saturday’s last dinner service at Saffron Bistro, 80 Main St., will be from 4 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

No reservations will be accepted on Saturday because of the large crowd expected, according to Drift.

khoughton@newstote.com



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