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From Winooski to Williston — Jr’s opens second spot

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

A longtime Colchester and Winooski eatery has opened a second location in Williston’s Cottonwood Crossing neighborhood.

A four-phase development with plans for about 200 residences and extensive commercial and retail space, Cottonwood is under construction off Williston Road. Jr’s Italian restaurant opened its doors there on Oct. 11, serving dinner in a 50-seat dining room and fulfilling takeout orders. 

The original Jr’s opened in 1993 near the Colchester-Winooski town line. Bogdan Andreescu, a Winooski native, began working there under founder Frank Salese as a teenage dishwasher. When Salese was ready to step away in 2018, Andreescu, who had advanced to a chef position at the restaurant, acquired the Jr’s brand and opened a restaurant under the same name about a quarter mile away to the south, in Winooski. 

During the middle of 2020, seeking a spot for a second location, Andreescu called local land developer Al Senecal, who recommended his Cottonwood development. At the time, the only other occupant at Cottonwood was the headquarters of Community Bank.

“Williston is a very nice, popular town. It’s growing exponentially,” Andreescu said. “It’s a very business friendly town. They want small businesses there. They don’t want to see all chain restaurants.”

Jr’s opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Having a small dining room and foregoing lunch service keeps the business manageable for Andreescu, who continues to work as a chef. Jr’s in Winooski is also now only open for dinner. Both restaurants are closed on Sundays, a form of staff appreciation.

“I feel bad for larger restaurants with 100-150 seating capacity because I know it’s very difficult to staff that,” Andreescu said. “I decided to keep it very small where it’s easy to staff and manage. I have good people. I treat them well. I take care of them and I know they are going to take care of me.”

The Jr’s menu is pizza-centric and includes salads, wings, calzones, sandwiches and pasta dishes. Visit the restaurant at 32 Cottonwood Drive or online at www.jrswilliston.com.

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