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New ownership takes over Gram’s Diner in Adams

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ADAMS — The owners of Gram’s Diner may be new, but regular customers will recognize their faces.

The diner, 13 Main St., now is owned by longtime employees Chad L. Burdick and Kyle R. Hayes, along with Adams native Andrew J. Beckstead.

The three village residents on Monday finalized the purchase of the restaurant from Derek J. Butler, Mr. Burdick’s stepfather, who has owned it since 1998. The diner, which occupies the site of the former Fran’s Restaurant, serves homemade American fare, such as burgers and fries, along with a full selection of breakfast, dinner and dessert items.

Mr. Burdick, 38, has worked at the diner for 14 years, and said taking ownership of the restaurant was something he had wanted to do for years.

“It’s nice to see it come to reality,” Mr. Burdick said. “It’s a lot easier going into business with people I’ve known for a while and trust.”

Mr. Hayes, 25, worked at the diner while in high school and on breaks from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, returning to part-time work at Gram’s after graduating from college.

Mr. Hayes is an associate magazine editor at the Watertown Daily Times.

Mr. Beckstead, 36, who for years worked at home doing pharmacy operations for supermarket chain Hannaford, said owning the restaurant was a way to be around other people.

“I like the camaraderie,” Mr. Beckstead said. “I’ve had a dog and no co-workers.”

After 20 years with Hannaford, starting when he bagged groceries in high school, Mr. Beckstead left the company in November.

“I like the idea of being involved in the community, giving back and putting my stamp on something,” he said.

Both Mr. Beckstead and Mr. Burdick serve on the Adams Revitalization Committee.

The three men settled on the idea of acquiring the diner in 2011 after originally considering opening a cheese store or another restaurant.

“We saw the business we had here, and we decided to go with it,” Mr. Hayes said. He and his business partners worked with M&T Bank and the North Country Alliance to make the purchase.

Though the three committed to buying the business in November 2011, the final deal was delayed for more than a year while bank paperwork was finalized.

On Monday evening, Mr. Beckstead admitted he was exhausted after his first day as co-owner, which included hours of filling out bank documents and meeting with the restaurant’s accountant.

However, he said, he was excited when he arrived at the diner that morning with his two business partners.

“We kind of looked and said, ‘Now what?’” Mr. Beckstead said.

After using the next few months to settle in as owners, the three plan to expand the diner’s menu, do some remodeling and begin Sunday hours for breakfast and brunch.

“It’s only going to get better,” Mr. Hayes said. “The food is going to get better, the menu is going to get better, our atmosphere is going to get better. We want people to see the whole process.”

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