Sparks and Bonta Fans Celebrate!

Preview Party Ice Sculpture & Raw Bar

Preview Party Ice Sculpture & Raw Bar

Since Chuck Rolecek closed his celebrated C.R. Sparks restaurant in Bedford, NH in 2010, the ensuing gap has never been filled.  In Hampton, Bonta regulars feared the very same fate when Bonta was sold.  Little did they know that the Montrones had deliberately patterned Bonta after Sparks’ California bistro style.  We had enjoyed Bonta, but upon learning Rolecek had bought it, I instantly thought, “Perfect!  Very little fit-up is needed; it’s already ‘Sparks East.’”

I forgot that I was talking about THE C.R. in C.R. Sparks and in the new CR’s The Restaurant that has now replaced Bonta.  Chuck Rolecek pulled out the existing bar and replaced it with a sexy, curved edition.  Wood trims are gorgeous, including the addition of a second door into the back dining room.  New light fixtures add an updated glow.

Menu items are reminiscent of C.R. Sparks, such as the lamb shank, salmon, and bone-in rib-eye.  Why not!  The original Sparks Executive Chef Chris Veatch is back as a partner and Executive Chef at CR The Restaurant.  Sparks fans will also recognize a favorite bartender, too.  (Welcome Kathleen!)  Many Bonta staff stayed on to join the new restaurant, as well.

CR The Restaurant has been open for a couple of weeks now for dinner 7 nights a week and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  As Chuck Rolecek is known to say, “We only get one chance to make a first impression.”  CR The Restaurant wants to make it a good one AND make those with fond Bonta memories feel welcomed back “home.”

For Sparks fans traveling from the Bedford area, the new Hampton restaurant is immediately off the exit just east of I-95.  Easy off, though not so simple to head back west again.  CR’s The Restaurant touts that their location is just 30 minutes from Manchester.  That would be the Manchester-Auburn town line.  It’s easily 45 minutes from Bedford, but it IS worth the drive.  Go for it!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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