PEPPERELL -- One of Pepperell's most central eateries is getting a makeover.
Dolce Wood-Fired Italian Grille, at 105 Main St., will soon be known as Mariano's, after being purchased by the owners of Townsend restaurant Bailey's Bar & Grille and Bailey's on the Green at the Townsend Ridge Country Club.
Al and Pamela Mariano have been the acting managers at Dolce's since April 9, and are awaiting some paperwork to be finalized before officially purchasing the property from the Catalano Companies, based in Harvard. The name change will be coming in the next two months, Pamela Mariano said.
And although the menu has already changed, and a new menu is in the works, Pamela Mariano said the restaurant will always remain Italian, in part as a testament to her husband's Italian heritage.
"We just love what we do. We have such a passion for hospitality, and when it came available, we thought it would be a nice addition to add Italian cuisine to what we have to offer," she said.
Other changes are also underway, along with the new menu and name. According to Pamela, a weekly family night with all-you-can-eat pasta and salad is coming, as well as an expansion of the restaurant's nightly dinner specials. The drink menu will change seasonally, and the food menu will most likely change twice a year.
Eventually, she said, they plan to open for breakfast on weekends.
"With the type of restaurant we have it's a really nice fit. There's not a lot of parking and breakfast is quick, and being right on Main Street, it's a nice attraction for people," Mariano said.
Mariano hopes the restaurant attracts folks who might otherwise have traveled elsewhere to eat out if the property had become vacant.
"We thought it would be a nice location to offer something for the Pepperell community so they didn't have to go to Nashua," she said.
She said that she hopes many residents from Pepperell will choose to eat locally.
"It's nice to give people more choices to stay local because every time someone dines locally, a percentage of that goes back to the town. It's just another way to support their own community," Mariano said.
When selectmen voted to transfer the property's liquor license to the Marianos on May 13, Chairman Michael Green said he was excited to welcome the new owners to the community.
"You run a very good business in Townsend, and I've already been to the restaurant. I appreciate the Catalano Companies, they did a nice job in Pepperell for some time, but I'm very excited that they decided to sell to you guys," Green said.
Derek Ten Broeck, president of the Pepperell Business Association, also spoke out at that meeting in support of the Marianos.
"The Catalanos did a wonderful job establishing the restaurant, but I think the enthusiasm for the Marianos' local ownership is just very exciting," Ten Broeck said.
Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.