Mediterranean restaurant to open in Manchester


MANCHESTER — A new restaurant specializing in Mediterranean food will be coming to Manchester this summer and offering something a little bit different.

Social House, a 125-seat restaurant at 1716 Depot St., is planning to hold its grand opening on the first week of July following a soft launch in mid-June.

Debbie and Luis Pazos, who have partnered with Manchester entrepreneur Bill Drunsic on the business venture, describe it as a "Mediterranean small plate restaurant and bar."

The couple, who have worked in the hospitality industry for a combined 25 years, will be running Social House's day-to-day operations. They want to create a niche in the local food scene by offering an alternative to the usual American fare of burgers and pizza - and big servings.

"We don't want our guests to leave stuffed and overwhelmed," Luis, 40, said in an interview with his wife on Tuesday.

Their menu will include house-made pastas, a "raw bar" with oysters, ceviche and sashimi, as well as smaller dishes akin to tapas.

This will allow customers to sample more items, "where you can enjoy more than just one or two plates," Debbie, 32, said. Entrees would cost between $17 and $24.

They also want to create an inviting, laidback and comfortable atmosphere, hence the name "Social House."

"We want this place to be the guest's home away from home," Luis said.

The Pazos, who hail from New York City, talked about meeting while working at La Bernardin, a three Michelin-star seafood restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. They moved to Vermont in 2013 and now live in Manchester Center.

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Luis worked at a Stratton restaurant for six years before shifting his focus to Social House. The couple are now busy fixing up the restaurant.

Last week, the Manchester Select Board granted Social House's application for a liquor license.

The restaurant will be prioritizing brunch and dinner to start with. It will be open for weekend brunch and dinners from Wednesday to Saturday.

Eventually, the Pazos hope to be open later so they can serve food till midnight or 1 a.m. They also want to introduce a live band, DJ or karaoke.

The restaurant site had been embroiled in a court battle in recent years.

Social House will open on the site of the former Brasserie L'Oustau restaurant. Drunsic bid on the property for $500,000 at a foreclosure auction in November 2016. It was involved in a civil suit after Drunsic decided in February 2017 he didn't want to purchase the property and moved to back out of the deal.

The Bennington County Superior Court ruled in June 2017 that the mortgage holder, People's United Bank, could enforce the sale. Nearly a year later, the Vermont Supreme Court reversed that decision and remanded the case to the lower court.

Earlier this year, Drunsic decided to move ahead with the purchase rather than continue with the legal battle. His business interests in Manchester include the Union Underground restaurant on Main Street and Charlie's Coffee House on Bonnet Street.

He referred questions about Social House to the Pazos, whom he described as the operators of the business.

Tiffany Tan can be reached at, @tiffgtan at Twitter and 802-447-7567 ext. 122.


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