WINCHESTER - A new restaurant will be opening on Main Street taking the place of Stone Hearth Pizza after the Board of Selectmen approved the transfer of the All-Alcoholic Beverage license from Assilem, LLC d/b/a Stone Hearth Pizza to First House LLC d/b/a First House Pub and the transfer of the Common Victualler license, as well, with an adjustment to the hours of operation (closing at midnight). First House Pub, managed by Stephen Conley and James O’Rourke, could open by May.
The restaurant will be family-style serving American cuisine. Attorney Joseph Noone, representing First House LLC, said that both co-managers have extensive experience. Conley also owns Conley’s Pub & Grill in Watertown.
When asked how he would make this restaurant work when Stone Hearth Pizza folded, Conley talked about making the Watertown restaurant work in a worse location. He said his establishment would be an asset to the community. He called the downtown a “vibrant area” and compared it to Belmont Center.
He was also asked about any previous issues he’s had. Conley mentioned two instances in 14 years. One, he said, involved an intoxicated man coming into his restaurant. He said he didn’t serve him, but the police still enforced a one-night alcohol license suspension.
In Winchester, patrons have to intend to eat in order to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Conley said he was comfortable with the town’s rules and regulations. Every community is different. Some, like Arlington, require patrons to order food with their drinks. Others allow people to order one or two drinks before they have to order food.
Renovations will be made to the existing building at 528 Main St., but it will encompass the same footprint. It is expected to hold 72 seats.