You can’t drive Main Street and not consider stopping for lunch a Liberty Bell. Owner Peter Elkhoauli took a few minutes to talk to Stoneham Patch about roast beef, serving a great community and running into customers all over the map.
How long has Liberty Bell been here?
So the place has been around in ’76, but it moved around a bit. It was in Stoneham, then it moved to Wakefield, back to Stoneham. My uncle bought it 12 years ago, and then I bought it from my uncle 10 years ago. I worked for him for 2 and a half years and my friend Robert, who I’ve been friends with since we were little, bought it from him and we’ve been running it ever since.
So you’ve established yourself as a pillar in the community?
Yes, we’re probably one of the busiest restaurants in town. We know about 85 percent of our customers, they all know us by name. It’s awesome to serve people who came in as kids or as teenagers and see them come back in their 20’s. It’s a great experience. Feels good to walk down the street and have people recognize you. It feels good. I know them by name and order.
I’ve run into customers in Aruba, Cancun, Canada. It’s amazing how many people come from Stoneham, Malden, Medford, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. They don’t really have roast beef in Rhode Island. They do, but they don’t know what real roast beef is. I grew up in Rhode Island, so I know. I didn’t know what roast beef was until I moved up here.
Do all of these people know you guys by word-of-mouth?
Yeah, mostly. But we’ve been in the community for so long that people pretty much all know us. Say someone has family from out of town, they bring them here I should keep a map of where people come from.
What’s your biggest seller?
Well, we’re known for our roast beef and our seafood, but we sell a lot of chicken kabobs and salads. People love our menu It’s got a bit of a Mediterranean twist to it with the lemon, the garlic and the oil. People really seem to enjoy it.
When I came in, someone told me that I had to try the scallops.
All the seafood is delivered fresh daily. Has been since day one. We make all the soups, chowders, onion rings, roast beef, everything is made in-house from scratch. I think that’s what makes this place special.
Has it always been that way?
The menu was smaller then. We expanded, added more subs, soups, wraps, daily specials because some people don’t want to eat large meals. We try to keep it good for the customers.