HAMPTON — The 401 Tavern reopened Thursday under new ownership with former owner Dan "Desi" Lanio in a managerial role, the tavern's sale finalized Wednesday.
New owners Noah Goldstein, Ryan Cox and Bradley Atkinson plan on making no changes at all to the 401's recipes or brand, according to Goldstein. He said he and his partners - his cousins who are brothers - are also open to new suggestions from customers to improve the brand. The tavern has become a community hub since 10 years ago when Lanio and Mark LaRoche opened it at 401 Lafayette Road.
"We've been looking forward to this for a while now, and we're excited to finally be a part of the community and to run this operation," said Goldstein. "We're going to run it the way it is, and then we'll continue to look for suggestions on how we can improve the brand."
Lanio and LaRoche say they sold the restaurant, not because of financial hardship but because they always intended to leave the 401 after about a 10-year run. The bar has become known for gatherings and fundraising efforts ranging from benefits for families in need, free food for those who attended the funeral of Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney and a push last year to fill an 18-wheel truck with goods to go towards hurricane victims in Houston.
Lanio, who has become the face of the bar, is staying on with the new owners as a manager to help with the transition.
LaRoche said he partnered with Lanio because of his involvement with the community before the 401 when he managed La Bec Rouge. Lanio, who has since been treated as a sort of ambassador for Hampton through his fundraising efforts, was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Hampton Rotary Club in 2012.
Goldstein had hoped the restaurant could complete the sale without closing for any days, but the restaurant closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Sunday and Monday, the 401 held a customer appreciation celebration for regulars who wanted to see Lanio and LaRoche before they were no longer running the tavern. LaRoche has said he is unsure about his next chapter but plans to close his engineering firm in Seabrook as well.
Goldstein and his cousins also own The Farm Bar and Grille, which has locations in Dover, Manchester and Essex, Massachusetts. They opened their first restaurant at the location in Essex about 10 years ago and have also since opened a Farm in Kittery, Maine, recently rebranded as the Local Kitchen and Tap.
"We just loved the restaurant industry," said Goldstein. "Seeing people enjoy what we can create, and seeing the smiles on people's faces and the atmosphere."