Made from scratch: Laura’s owner opens second location

Made from scratch: Laura’s owner opens second location

Laura and Jay Dunlea, owners of Laura’s Bar and Grill, opened the restaurant at 945 Douglas Pike at the end of January. They said they are happy to see familiar faces when the loyal customers of Laura’s Pleasant View Diner come in. (BREEZE PHOTOS BY JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD)

SMITHFIELD – Laura and Jay Dunlea say they worked from the ground up to build Laura’s Pleasant View Diner’s sister restaurant, Laura’s Bar and Grill, at 945 Douglas Pike.

The Dunleas said business at Laura’s first restaurant, Laura’s Pleasant View Diner, 132 Pleasant View Ave, was getting too big for the 96-seat dining area, so the couple planned to move the diner into the new building. But once the designing process began, the homey diner concept was replaced by the idea of a sports bar.

“We decided to make it something like where we liked to frequent, a relaxed sports bar where you can sit down with friends, enjoy a bite to eat with a beer, and watch the game,” Jay said.

Laura and Jay began eyeing possible locations for expansion in 2016, beginning land negotiations for the 6,000-square-foot restaurant in June 2016.

Construction began in October 2016, and continued into the end of 2017, with each detail hand-selected by the couple, who said the pride and joy of the restaurant is the 32-foot line kitchen.

Laura and Jay both described the restaurant as another one of Laura’s “babies.” Interestingly enough, Laura happens to be pregnant with her third child.

Laura continues to work in both restaurants, often found on the line at the bar and grill during peak hours.

“I love the space, I love the atmosphere. I hope everyone else will love it too,” she said.

The restaurant features a 24-tap beer draft list, with standard bar food consisting of burgers, nachos and wings. The new bar features menu items from the diner as well, including its most popular wraps and fish and chips.

Patrons are welcomed to the 184-seat dining room, with a 38-seat bar area with 10 65-inch televisions tuned into sports entertainment.

Laura’s Bar and Grill’s design has a clean feel, with white walls and blue-leather booths matching the high-top stools wrapping around the concrete-top horseshoe bar. The lighting is modern, with tubular Edison bulbs hanging above the booths.

Since the soft opening on Jan. 24, business has been steady with regulars from the Pleasant View Diner, joined by locals who heard of the opening from word of mouth, and customers from the Hampton Inn and Suites located behind the Douglas Avenue location.

“Hopefully, our loyal customers will call this home, too,” Jay said.

Laura said she wanted to slowly progress into steady business, so she did not advertise the new restaurant’s opening.

The plan didn’t work out, and she said on opening night, customers were lined up at the door through the parking lot waiting to get in.

“My number one was efficiency, being able to handle the volume we were getting and being able to do what we needed to do,” Jay said.

Laura said regulars at the diner expressed concern that she would close that location, but she said after working there for the past16 years, she could never close the doors. Last week, she celebrated the seven-year anniversary of owning the Pleasant View Diner.

“It’s my home, and they’re my family,” she said of her employees and customers.

Jay, a former Tiverton police detective, is taking an expanded role in the new restaurant, though he worked in the diner as well.

He said the diner staff, some of whom manage at the Bar and Grill, are “literally the best,” and some employees, including the head chef, are working at both locations.

Laura’s Bar and Grill is open Monday through Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Staff member Gabrielle Orlando showcases some of the bar food served at the new restaurant. She said the Dunleas are incredible, and the new location is great. Below, the new wrap-around bar at Laura’s Bar and Grill has a 38-seat bar with large flat-screen TVs for catching the game.