Tim Williams: The new face of Archie’s Grill

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Tim Williams has owned a number of businesses but nothing has given him as much satisfaction as his most recent endeavor; purchasing the concept of Archie’s Grill from retiring owner Dick Hess. Williams had no restaurant background but that didn’t stop him from taking the plunge. “I just thought it was a great opportunity,” he said. “It was a Shelburne institution: a very strong business with a great crew. I didn’t want to see it die.”

The original Archie’s closed last summer but Williams was able to hire a number of the former employees. The new space, just across Shelburne Road from the old location in the space formerly occupied by Marco’s Pizza, is slightly larger than the previous spot and patrons have had no problem finding the iconic Shelburne institution. “I’ve been blown away by how loyal people are to Dick and the Archie’s brand,” said Williams. “I’ve never had a business that people were so excited to come to”. They’re on line at the door when we open and they just keep coming in. We’re not even in the busy season yet.”

Williams’ main business interests are in the furniture field. He owns Exterus Business Furniture which is a contract office furniture dealer, working mostly to set up new offices for educational and corporate clients. Another business, Intellaspace, is an importer and wholesaler of office furniture with an emphasis on ergonomics. Exterus’s clients are mostly in Vermont while Intellaspace works with dealers around the country.

Williams has no plans for major changes to Archie’s but he’s hoping for a few additions and improvements. “We’re starting to make our own ice cream,” he said “and we’ll have a scoop shop next door. We’re also working on an outdoor dining area.” Although some of the local sports photos which used to adorn the walls of the restaurant will be retained, Williams is changing some of the décor. He is using more local suppliers including beef from LaPlatte River Angus Farm, turkey from Misty Knoll Farm, bacon from Harrington’s of Vermont, and cheese from Cabot Creamery and Shelburne Farms. He has increased the beer and wine selections and is offering more homemade food including salad dressing, soup and chili.

Despite his lack of experience in the restaurant business, Williams decided that purchasing the Archie’s concept was worth a shot. “I have a number of businesses,” he joked. “What’s one more?” Williams partnered with Doug Nedde to purchase the business name, equipment, recipes, goodwill and Dick Hess’ institutional knowledge. Although he doesn’t spend a lot of time at Archie’s, the changes taking place at the restaurant are based on Williams’ ideas and require his collaboration. “I’m not there cooking burgers,” he said “nor would anyone want me to.”

A lifetime Shelburne resident and long-time Archie’s customer, Williams has been gratified by the response to the reopening of Archie’s. “People have been coming in droves to thank us,” he said. “People were not happy when Archie’s closed. I don’t think it’s anything I’ve done. I was just in the right place at the right time.”