Yoken’s sold for $3.8 million

In September, Yoken’s “Thar She Blows” restaurant and conference center closed its doors for good, after nearly 60 years in business on Portsmouth’s busy Route 1.

The Yoken’s property — a 4,800-square-foot building and five-plus acres of land — was since sold for $3.8 million to Barron P. Lambert, a trustee of Michaels Realty Trust. Lambert was identified in a Portsmouth Herald report as a corporate counsel for Shaw’s Supermarkets, fueling speculation that Shaw’s may have plans for a supermarket at the Yoken’s site. Portsmouth attorney Robert Shaines, who represented Yoken’s owner Kevin MacLeod in the transaction, would confirm only the buyer and the price.

“I do, but I’m under a contractual obligation not to disclose anything,” Shaines said when asked if he knew of a connection between Lambert and the supermarket chain. Neither MacLeod, who also owns the Comfort Inn next to Yoken’s, nor Shaw’s spokesman Terry Donilon returned phone calls from New Hampshire Business Review.

The closing of the popular restaurant and conference site makes a proposed expansion of hotel and conference facilities at Portsmouth’s Sheraton Harborside hotel even more urgent, said Dick Ingram, president of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. The planned public-private venture would include a 700-car garage for public and hotel parking. The project would be a “demand generator in the local economy,” the chamber president said.

“We are obviously a premier visitor destination and having this facility would allow Portsmouth to compete for conferences and business gatherings that we can’t compete for now,” said Ingram.

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