Hartford House owners have passion for caring for customers

By: 
Yaneek Smith

           Eric Foltz and Pepper Richardson boast more than three decades of experience in the restaurant industry and have a passion for caring for their customers. They currently own and operate four restaurants, the most notable one in the area being the Hartford House, which is located in Oak Harbor.
        The restaurant, which opened in March, offers Ottawa County fine dining in a cozy setting.
        For diners seeking something simple like a burger, the Hartford House has it. If you want crab, steak or scallops, those are on the menu, too, along with appetizers (wings, chicken tenders, onion rings and more), an extensive breakfast menu (steak and eggs, pancakes and omelets, to name a few), desserts (cake, apple pie) and sandwiches (turkey club, BLT, perch), among other offerings.
        The Hartford House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
        Foltz had to do some convincing for Richardson to sign on and commit to opening another restaurant. The couple was in town for the Apple Festival in October and checked out the establishment.
        “I said, ‘No, we’re not doing this,’” said Richardson. “After he brought it up the third time, I checked it out. Eric loved the potential of the kitchen. After seeing all of the character of the building, I knew there was so much potential.
        “I fell in love with the bones; the old wood everywhere and the history of the building,” she said.
        The establishment has three separate rooms – the bar, a buffet room and a Victorian room. The architecture of the building, especially the bar, provides a certain panache for the restaurant.
        The other restaurants the couple own are the Cold Creek Café in Castalia; Cravin’s in New London and Invention Restaurant in Milan, where they reside.
        The couple started renovating the building in November, a tremendous endeavor that ended in March.
        “The kitchen was in a sad state. There was damage from water; walls that were caving in,” said Richardson. “It was tired. There was a lot of cosmetic stuff we had to do. The wood was dried out and cracked.
        “But everything fell into place, and the reception has been good, really good. It was a lot better than expected. It’s a new place and people wanted to get in there,” she said.
         Richardson says that people in the community have talked about how much the building, which is located at 200 W. Water Street, has meant to them.
        “I’ve heard so many stories, memories that were tied to this place,” she said. “That made me love it more. People talked about having baby showers, wedding receptions and class reunions there.”
        Richardson estimates that the restaurant employs approximately 35 people, a group for whom she has great respect.
        “We have some really talented employees,” Richardson said. “The kids are passionate employees. They want to do well for the community.”
        For more information about Hartford House, visit www.facebook.com/HartfordHouseRestaurant/ or call 419-607-6116.
 
 
 
 

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