By Virginia Dean
One of Woodstock’s arguably most popular restaurants is soon to open its doors again, and its new owner, Bridgewater resident John Worth, is thrilled — not only to connect the eatery to the local community again but also to honor his own family.
“I’ve always wanted my own place, and now I get the chance to do so,” said Worth. “This is a place where many Woodstock residents over the years have gathered to enjoy good food and company, and I’m excited to bring that back. Eventually, I plan to turn the business over to my son, Benjamin. It was also something that my father, Fred, who passed away two years ago, always wanted for me.”
Imbued with an old New England character and a line out the door, the Wasp Snack Bar and Diner, known as The Wasp, was once named “the best greasy spoon in New England” and became a trendy hangout for many locals.
“The atmosphere used to be practically part of a TV set, the company often included a perfect Vermont accent and the butter always flowed,” noted one customer from Brooklyn, some 10 years ago.
The tiny 10-stool eatery, named after the mascot for the local high school over 30 years ago, will offer food from scratch including egg dishes, burgers, pancakes, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and corned beef hash, about 20 items in all. And portions will be sizeable.
“This is the place to go to get your money’s worth,” a New York City visitor said just before the eatery closed in March 2013. “If you’re looking for a good grab and go place, this is the spot.”
Hours are probably going to be from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday-Sunday, but that could change. Worth is also thinking about perhaps offering a light dinner on Friday or Saturday nights if breakfast and lunch turn out to be successful.
Worth purchased the diner last July from then owner Jill Johanssen of Bridgewater Corners. It will be operated by Worth as the cook and local resident Ashley Terjelian as hostess. He plans to keep the diner looking like the old one, with minimal changes. The outside will be painted green and white, and the inside will have the same setup as before.
A new Ansul system or fire suppression system will be installed, and the bathroom floor and front door will be replaced, Worth said. Projected opening is spring or early summer.
“I’m still in the beginning stages of the process, so I’ll have to do my town and state obligations and get my insurance,” said Worth. “Then hopefully the diner will be up and running again.”
Worth hopes the community will support the idea of the Wasp being open again, including his father.
“He always wanted me to buy a little diner and have me be his chef,” said Worth. “So, I know somewhere he’s smiling.”
The Wasp is located at 57 Pleasant Street in Woodstock.