66 years, and he keeps coming back for more
On Saturday morning, Jeannine Metivier, manager at what is now called Belmont Hall & Restaurant, surprised Fournier with a party to celebrate his 66 years of patronage. There were commemorative gifts and about two dozen relatives and friends on hand.
Fournier was working at Sealtest Ice Cream in Manchester back in 1947 when he started getting breakfast at Ray's. "I used to have two eggs, ham and toast. Burnt toast.
But that didn't stop him from grousing about the food, said Metivier, whose niece, Cathy Kuliga, owns the restaurant with her husband, Steve.
"I used to get a kick out of it," Fournier said, eyes twinkling.
Fournier was amazed that four of his five children and even some of his 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren were at the restaurant Saturday. Some drove from Laconia and Keene.
"It's called email today, Dad," McKay told him with a smile.
Metivier said she came up with the idea for the party when Fournier recently mentioned how long he's been coming to the restaurant, which has been in her family for three generations.
McKay said she was "thrilled" when she heard what the restaurant had planned. "It's not usual in this day and age to pay attention to something like that," she said.
After he retired, Fournier used to have breakfast with his wife, Cecile. But since her death in early 2011, he comes by himself and usually finds a friend to eat with.
Metivier gave Fournier some gifts from Belmont Hall, including a diner mug, a red T-shirt commemorating his "66 Years of Loyalty" and a gift certificate for $66 - one dollar for every year of patronage.
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