The Silver Fork Restaurant to move into Mark Skinner Library building

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MANCHESTER — The former Mark Skinner Library building is the future home of The Silver Fork restaurant.

It will be a family partnership as Clark and Lu French held the winning bid in November when they bought the historic building at auction for $306,000.

At the time, Clark French said they didn't have any plans to announce about the building's future.

But there has been ongoing work all winter and into the spring.

Recently, Clark French's brother and his wife, Mark and Melody French, the owners of The Silver Fork restaurant, announced their popular dining spot would be on the move.

The tiny, six-table restaurant at 4201 Main St. has been serving diners to acclaim for the past 10 years and now has the chance to move down the street to the intersection with West Road and basically across the street from the Equinox Resort.

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The Silver Fork's answering machine says, "We are moving our restaurant. We will reopen at a different location. It will be in the old library at the corner of West and Main streets."

In response to a request for comment, the two couples issued a joint statement Wednesday.

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"The new owners of the former Mark Skinner Library building in Manchester Village are pleased to announce that the renowned Silver Fork Restaurant will be opening in this landmark building upon completion of significant restorations," the announcement states. "Mark and Melody French are excited to offer a spectacular new dining and drinking experience in this historic location."

The release says the Mark Skinner Library building has a "long-storied history in the Village with the original building constructed in 1897. It is considered one of the most architecturally important structures in Manchester. The original building was designed by F.W. Stickney, a prominent architect during the late nineteenth century. A subsequent 1964 addition was designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, one of the country's leading Mid-Century modern architectural firms."

According to the two families, the exterior of the building will remain largely untouched with the interior architectural details being fully preserved yet updated with mechanical, comfort and safety systems.

According to the release, the work was performed in consultation with historic building reuse professionals and advisers from the Manchester Historical Society.

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The new restaurant, when completed, will have a "dramatically designed dining room located in the former Reading Room, a beautiful new bar area in the Fireplace Room and a private dining area in the Octagon Room."

The decor will honor the architectural periods of both the 1897 and 1964 structures with an emphasis on Mid-Century Modern decor.

All new kitchen, bathroom and ADA-compliant accessibility features are being added.

"This reuse of this historic building allows The Silver Fork to continue to best serve the local community while utilizing a neglected critical building in the heart of Manchester Village," the release stated. "Having been closed for nearly four years, this important building is vital to the continued vibrancy of the community. We look forward to successfully bringing this beautiful important local landmark back to life."

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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