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TOWNSEND — “We would not be here a year later had it not been for the community embracing us,” stated Pamela Mariano.

Owners, Al and Pamela Mariano of Bailey’s Bar & Grille will soon be celebrating a year in business at the Harbor Village Mall. Both agree their first couple of months in business were challenging and chaotic. “People were criticizing and hoping for the best at the same time. We were still trying to figure out the kitchen, new systems and staffing,” said Al Mariano.

They both worked tirelessly most nights until 2 a.m., cleaning and reading comment cards and implementing changes. By mid-October, things started changing and customers were leaving the restaurant saying “thank you for being here.” Both Al and Pamela saw a glimmer of hope when on a comment card a customer wrote that Bailey’s was just “an easy place to be.”

Over the past year there have been four engagements, a renewal of marriage vows, several 80th and 85th birthday celebrations, Christmas parties, and bereavement lunches. On one occasion, the bar manager’s son proposed to his wife to be. The entire restaurant was watching from inside and even held up signs that said to say yes. Both owners agree that there is an atmosphere for all occasions at Bailey’s. The restaurant features weekly Tuesday night trivia, Wednesday night acoustic with Tim Rollo and Brian Weeks, Thursday ladies night with women business owners and raffles, and an open microphone night on Saturday. Al Mariano is looking into having a classic-car night in the future as well.

Chef Paul Lorenzen continues to have award-winning recipes. The restaurant took first place for its scaly shrimp appetizer at the “Taste of Nashoba” and Best Chowder at an MS (multiple sclerosis) fundraiser. “He’s incredible and has the strongest work ethic and commitment. Chef Lorenzen puts together the most amazing soups and in-house sauces,” commented Al Mariano. The couple, along with Chef Lorenzen, look forward to adding more upscale menu items and specials while keeping their under $10 entrees. “We are not looking to raising prices, just fine-tuning our menu,” added Al Mariano.

Deb Kalil, the bar manager, has embraced Al and Pamela’s vision from day one. Kalil has taken in all the customers’ comments and utilized everyone one of them. She recognizes and appreciates the feedback from all patrons. Kalil looks forward to fine-tuning the drink menu and adding more upscale wines. “The greatest thing is we have retained most of our staff and they are so happy working here,” said Kalil.

Christina Bosselait is a bar waitress and hostess at Bailey’s. She agreed that working at Bailey’s is the best experience she has ever had. “They make you feel like family and they care very much about you. There is no place like Bailey’s and there are so many good things going on here.”

A regular customer, Bill Wilkinson of Townsend, feels that Bailey’ s is the jewel in the crown of Townsend. “When I first went into Bailey’ s I saw a sign up that said that they were supporting an ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) charity walk. I told them about my wife Faith, who has ALS, and how pleased I was to see them supporting the effort and doing something about it. Pamela’s eyes lit up, recalled Bill, who has come to know Al and Pamela and recognizes how much they give back to the community. When he visits the restaurant he says he feels right at home, and it provides a nice break from his day.

Bailey’s Bar & Grille has supported many charities over their first year in business. Every week they provide a meal to a family in need through the Mommies Mobil Meals. Another regular customer, David Kubick of Townsend, and his family like to support local businesses as often as they can. “What makes Bailey’s special is that it has become part of the fabric of the town, and having that sense of community where you can “break bread” with family and friends,” articulated Kubick.

For their one-year anniversary and celebration in business, Bailey’s Bar & Grille will be hosting “Red Carpet Event” on July 14. The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce will take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Joanna Keefe, of Photography by Joanna, will be taking photographs during the event. There will also be a band playing outside and lots of festivities to be enjoyed by all.

Al and Pamela Mariano’s vision of a restaurant for the community has become a reality. With Al’s vision and ideas and Pamela’s strength of implementing them, this dynamic team, along with their three children and nurtured staff, are ready to keep serving their customers what they want. “We have strong faith and are thankful to have the Lord in our life. We pray and thank the Lord every day,” said Pamela.

Al and Pamela Mariano are looking forward to another year of comments from the community. Together they both feel that their real joy comes from seeing people enjoy themselves.