“That's unfortunate,” Rev. Ted Machnik said. “It's a shame. Another good place in Portsmouth that wasn't a chain closed. I'm disappointed. I didn't even know they were planning on closing. I'm surprised because it was always packed.”
Restaurant owner Bill Harmon could not be reached for comment. But one of his employees told the Portsmouth Daily Times that Fork and Finger closed for good on Friday at 3 p.m.
“That's a bummer,” Machnik said. “That's really bad news.”
Machnik and several St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church congregation members used to go to the restaurant after daily noon Mass.
“That was a good time to go,” he said, “because the lunch crowd had died down by then.”
Machnik said he will miss the restaurant's soup.
“It was the best,” he said. “It tasted like homemade soup.”
Mayor Jim Kalb shared in Machnik's disappointment over the closing.
“I'm going to miss it,” he said. “It was a good place to eat.”
Kalb said he didn't know in advance Harmon was closing the business.
“I just found out yesterday (Friday),” he said.
He lamented the fact that there will be another empty building on Chillicothe Street.
“We don't need another empty building,” he said. “Maybe someone else will buy it. It seems like it generated a lot traffic.”
Kalb said he will miss the baked steak and macaroni and cheese he used to eat on Fridays.
Harmon also owns Williams Restaurant on Chillicothe Street. Kalb said he hoped Harmon doesn't close it, too.
“They are two of the best places to eat downtown,” Kalb said of Fork and Finger and Williams.
The latter is closed until Tuesday for Memorial Day.