BRIDGEWATER CORNERS - Just in time for summer, Blanche and
Bill's Pancake House will be reopening in mid-June.
Co-owner Andrew Geller said a number of things, ranging from
Tropical Storm Irene to caring for his mother near the end of her
life, has delayed reopening. Except for a two-month period at the
end of 2011, the restaurant has been closed since Tropical Storm
Irene blew through.
"Everyone's been calling us," Geller said. "We're very
Geller said he had "lost that happy glow to the point where I
couldn't cook anymore" after his mother was diagnosed with terminal
brain cancer. Geller felt he had to go to her.
"I needed to do it," he said. "When Mom got sick, I decided to
spend the rest of her life with her, so we went to California. It
was the most gratifying time of my life."
Flooding from Irene forced Geller to completely modernize his
kitchen facilities: now the restaurant has new refrigeration, steel
food preparation tables, new dining area tables and chairs made
from Vermont wood, new griddles, and a new deep fryer, among other
Geller has also decided to greatly expand the menu.
"When Bill and Blanche had the restaurant, they were rather
rigid," he said. "No fruit on the waffles, no omelets. I'll
introduce omelets, and we'll be making our own hashes. We'll be
brining our own corned beef, and make our own smoked salmon
Lunch offerings will be growing in variety as well.
"The old menu was a little limited," said Geller. "Ham
sandwiches, BLTs. We'll have Philly cheesesteaks, daily specials,
and start offering mixed green salads."
Also returning, by popular demand, will be Tuesday night
"It'll be Southern fried chicken dinners with sides," he said.
"We'll also have alternatives, like pork chops. I expect to do a
lot of slow-cooked food, like maple baked beans, and we'll be
offering Southern grits."
Some may wonder with all this new activity and ambitious menu
plans, why the restaurant is for sale. Geller said that doesn't
mean he plans to abandon the community. Far from it.
"Our neighbors have been wonderful, they're the nicest people
we've ever met," Geller said. "After Irene, everyone brought us
The real reason Geller and his wife Francia want to move is
their toddler's safety.
"Our house is attached to the restaurant," Geller said. "We have
a three-year-old. We had a horrific car accident on Route 4,
requiring helicopters, and there's a river behind the restaurant.
Between the road and the river, something might happen, and we'd
rather not take the chance. Also, we can't afford two
If the restaurant does sell, Geller said he'd like to farm for a
while: raise some animals and produce.
"I'd like to do farm-to-table," he said, "and then I'd like to
open another restaurant. I've been cooking for 28 years."
Francia is a full partner, waiting on tables and keeping the
"I'm terrible at that," Geller said. "Francia is very excited
about reopening, to see our customers again and welcome everyone
Not only that, Geller plans to start hiring soon.
"We'll be looking for some help," he said. "We'll need a weekend
cook, dishwashers, and a bus boy."
The restaurant will be open from Thursday through Monday from 7
a.m. to 2 p.m., and for the Tuesday night dinners from 5 to 8:30
Geller said he will post the new menu online sometime this week
at the restaurant's website, blancheandbills.com.