Former Employees Take Over Colonial Tavern

The New Owners Will Retain All Current Staff Members

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Everyone dreams of being the boss.

For local chefs Mike Papapetrou and Jared Gunter, that dream has become a reality.

The pair recently acquired Colonial Tavern Home of the Irish Brigade, taking over for owner and operator Terri Hubbell after more than 19 years running the business. Hubbell was ready to retire and wanted to see the restaurant continue its family-owned and operated tradition.

For employee Papapetrou (left), it’s an accomplishment decades in the making, with ten years spent leading kitchens at resorts, country clubs and luxury yachts around the country and an equal number working at the Tavern. The chef says it feels “glorious” to now own the Tavern he’s worked at for so long and helped build.

“Proper choices will get you where you need to go.”

Gunter (right) joined the restaurant as a Sous Chef in 2020 shortly before the pandemic turned the industry on its head. He was soon working 70 – 80 hour weeks as the restaurant did its best to deal with the challenges of staffing and demand. It was worth it, he says, “seeing people’s reactions over what we all enjoy; good food.”

It wouldn’t be the same restaurant without the same faces. Regulars will be pleased to hear that all of the staff will be retained under the new ownership, including longtime marketing manager Deidre Payne (middle).

“If you’re working here, you’re part of the family. Just the whole family atmosphere of togetherness…that’s why everyone’s still working here,” Papapetrou says.

The new owners will be embracing much of the restaurant’s roots, from the Irish menu to giving back in the community. Diners can expect their from-scratch favorites, in addition to new daily specials, lunch combos, weekly discounts, a Beer of the Month and more. They also plan to continue building on the Tavern’s “All For Love” initiative that saw the restaurant prepare and give away more than 3,000 meals to first responders during the pandemic.

Next up for the Tavern is the Halfway To St. Pats party on September 16th.

Find them at 406 Lafayette Boulevard in Downtown Fredericksburg or online at bit.ly/3LOJkbD.

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