By Kyle Stucker
Hampton Union, June 13, 2014
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — After 13 years of fine dining and memories, Bonta will fire its cooking implements for the last time on Saturday.
June 14 will be the final day of business for the 287 Exeter Road restaurant, as Bonta has been sold to restaurateur Chuck Rolecek, the former owner and operator of C.R. Sparks in Bedford and the Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester.
Staff say Rolecek will open an entirely new restaurant — possibly a steakhouse — in Bonta's place sometime around Labor Day after making a number of dramatic renovations to the interior of the building. Current staff, including the executive chef, may be retained, according to Bonta employees.
Additional details about Bonta's sale and Rolecek's intentions are limited. Bonta employees have declined additional comment, referring all questions to Rolecek and John Sullivan, Bonta's spokesperson. Rolecek couldn't be reached for comment despite several attempts, and Sullivan said he wasn't available to speak about the sale when contacted several times.
Bonta has posted a message on its Facebook page to alert patrons of the impending closure, stating that the restaurant announces the change "with great sadness and heavy hearts."
"Thank you to all of our guests that have made it happen over the years," reads the post. "While we are sad to see Bonta go look for the new restaurant coming this fall."
The post had been shared 28 times as of Thursday afternoon, generating numerous comments from guests and regular patrons.
"So sad to see you go!!" posted Leigh Canfield. "We my son (sic) and his wife had their wedding reception with you a few years ago. Such a great spot."
Wendy Smith posted that it's "Sad news" and that Bonta, which has changed hands and staff several times in its 13-year history, was "Always" one of her "favorites."