21 Aug 2014
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The Short Life of Red's Roadside Attraction

The restaurant was forced to close it doors when the landlord abruptly terminated tenancy on Nov. 30.

The Short Life of Red's Roadside Attraction

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to present a more focused story representing the plight of a local small business owner.)

Red's Roadside Attraction generated a lot of buzz during the three months it existed along Route 7 in northern Wilton. 

But the restaurant's seemingly bright future came to an abrupt end when the landlord decided to abruptly terminate the owner's tenancy there on Nov. 30, Amabel Chan told Patch last week. 

Chan, who had operated the neighboring antique store, Marvin Gardens, in the same location for nine-and-one-half years, said her landlord, Gary Sachetti, refused to let her sign a lease for Red's but assumed that since she'd known him for nearly a decade and thought she was a good tenant, she could trust him. 

Despite getting good press and good feedback from the community and customers, Chan's go at Red's ended Nov. 30. She decided to move Marvin Gardens 300 feet north to 759 Danbury Road. 

"As a result of my landlord's actions at Red's, I decided to no longer support him in any way, hence the moving of Marvin Gardens as well," she said. "On my principle, and his brutal betrayal and bad mojo."

Chan said she incurred a financial hit— from the way Red's was closed, and isn't sure what to do with her 60 pounds of frozen french fries, 90 frozen Angus burgers, gallons of ketchup and a "nice collection of commercial equipment."

One thing's for sure: quite a few appetites that grew fond of Red's offerings will have to look elsewhere to be satiated. 

Dan Sullivan had one of those appetites.

"Now where am I going to Hanger Steak sandwich, it was a great short run that shows you what you are capable of beyond the ordinary extraordinary," he wrote on Red's Facebook page.

Others said the restaurant's ambiance was one-of-a-kind. 

"It truly is a wonderful place with fresh and delicious food: not your typical hot dog stand by any means," Bonnee Pecquex wrote in response to an article about Red's on Patch last year. "Refreshing and exciting to have such a nice, reasonably priced place in Wilton. The ambiance is a carryover of Marvin Gardens' unusual and creative style. It is clear that Amabel has worked her magic yet again."

Chan posted the following farewell message on Red's Facebook page Jan. 10:

As many of my supporters know, Red's Roadside Attraction was a wonderful, challenging endeavor that brought a little taste of my Southern roots to the tiny food stand next to my garden shop, Marvin Gardens. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances imposed by the landlord of Marvin Gardens and Red's Roadside Attraction, Red's Roadside Attraction will no longer be in operation.

I have so many people to thank for their support in my endeavor, many whose names I do not know, many who have come to the walk up window with a wonderful smile and "delicious!" comment after enjoying a Marinated Hangar Steak Sandwich or Fish Taco, many who have put in sweat equity and have given sound advice from beginning to end. There are so many others to thank, too many to mention. 

As part of the departure from Red's Roadside Attraction, Marvin Gardens will also be relocating to a new home. We will be transitioning NORTH on Route 7 (just 300 feet!) over the next 12 weeks, with the Philadelphia Flower Show right in the midst of the move. I am excited about the move, a most promising (and challenging) transition. It will bring about significant changes and improvements to Marvin Gardens, an evolution that I always embrace.

So, once again, thank you to all of my faithful and loyal patrons, friends and family who believed in my concept of Red's....one that was short lived but undoubtedly given a huge amount of heart.

The responses her post received revealed the community's support.

"Amabel! Sad to hear this and excited to hear this. Evolution is a strengthening challenge. We're wishing you lots of luck!" Victoria Vandamm wrote. 

Chan remains optimistic about the future. 

"It truly will be a new beginning in a much, much improved space, and my new landlord is great," she said. "We'll have a new location grand opening in April and look forward to adding new designs, concepts and garden elements at the newly resurrected Marvin Gardens."

Sachetti could not be reached for comment. 

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