by Nicky Czarnecki, from Sheila Connolly's Orchard Mysteries
Hi! I'm Nicky Czarnecki, and my husband Brian and I own and run Gran's, a restaurant in Granford, Massachusetts. I haven't had time to introduce myself until now because we've been so busy setting up the restaurant, and since it opened, we've been crazy busy with—well, business. So far it's been really successful, and we owe about 97% of that to Meg Corey.
You see, this is Brian's and my first restaurant. Well, first anything, I guess. We went to culinary school together and then we got married, and Daddy gave us a terrific wedding gift—a check that we thought would be enough to get us started with a restaurant of our own. But of course everything cost more than we expected. It's easy to laugh about now, but last year I was really worried. I mean, we'd found this great place right in town, overlooking the green, and we could live upstairs to save money, and we fitted out the kitchen and got the inspections and all, but then we found we didn't have enough money left to buy food and drinks. I mean, talk about irony!
I'll admit it: a lot of that was my fault. I'm the cook—that's what I love to do—and Brian runs the front of the house, which is just about everything except cooking. Yeah, we both took courses at school on how to budget, how to price meals, and all that good stuff, but reality isn't quite the same as the book. So I guess poor Brian kind of got in over his head, and I had all these big ideas, and things sort of got away from us. Plus we didn't know anybody in town, and didn't have anybody to ask for help. And then our best friend Sam, who was going to be my sous chef, died—I mean, he was killed. That almost made us decide to give up the restaurant, right then, except we'd sunk everything we had into it.
It was Meg who pulled us through. She was a newcomer to Granford herself not too long ago, so she knew how hard it was to find your place in a new town, especially when you're working all the time and don't have a chance to get out and meet people. So Meg introduced us to people (including Seth Chapin, who did a lot of the installation of the kitchen at a really good price). She helped the police find out who killed Sam. She even figured out a way for us to get the food we needed without spending too much. I don't know what we would have done without her.
Now we feel we really are part of the town. So if you're ever passing through Granford and want a really good meal made with good stuff from all the farms around here, stop by the big white house at the top of the green and let me show you what I can do. We'll make you feel welcome, I promise.