Owner of Richard's Bistro in Manchester passes away at 91December 01. 2017 10:36PM
MANCHESTER — Richard Vareschi could be grouchy if things didn’t go right, according to the former executive chef at Richard’s Bistro.
But “he loved talking with guests, greeting people,” recalled Matt Provencher, now executive chef at The Foundry in the Millyard.
Vareschi, the restaurant’s owner, passed away this week at age 91.
“If you walked in the front door, the bar was right there and he always sat in that first seat, so people could walk in and he was always there to greet them,” Provencher recalled Friday.
During the 1990s, he established the upscale bistro on Lowell Street at a time when the city’s fortunes were down.
“He started fine dining and he started the restaurant scene in this city,” Provencher said.
Dan Scanlon, a senior associate at Colliers International praised Vareschi’s dining contributions.
“He could be rough around the edges at time, but created a wonderful dining experience in his small space, and paved the way for the many good restaurants today not only in Manchester but in other locales around the state,” Scanlon wrote in his weekly real estate newsletter. “Bon appetit, Richard!”
Provencher recalled Vareschi talking about his former restaurants, called The 88, that he operated in Manchester, Salem and Nashua.
“He told me the story of secret doors and secret handshakes to get pass the line” at The 88, which included a location in what now houses the Strange Brew Tavern at 88 Market St. in Manchester.
Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, who owns 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria in Manchester and Epping, said Richard’s Bistro “was one of those definite go-to restaurants” before it closed in 2011.
“When that restaurant went away, that was a real sad day because it was just a real quality restaurant,” she said. “It was a real bistro. He had these unbelievable breads. People would just go for the bread and the meal was a bonus.”
His short obituary said he was “a well-known and much-loved figure in the New Hampshire hospitality industry. Richard’s Bistro is often credited with reinvigorating the food scene in Manchester.”
He received a lifetime hospitality achievement award from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association.
The native of Worcester, Mass., shared his perfect meal in 2000.
“Roasted filet mignon with fresh asparagus, hollandaise, mushroom risotto, salad with romaine and grilled pears in a raspberry walnut vinaigrette,” he said.