From Jerry’s Place to Leo’s Table

  • The building at 55 North Main St. that hosts four businesses and housed the popular Jerry’s Place eatery at the corner of North Main and Elm streets in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 2/4/2019 7:25:36 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — When they purchased the building at 55 North Main St. last month, Jason Kicza and Justin Killeen were determined to find a replacement for Jerry’s Place eatery, a longtime community staple that closed three months earlier.

Kicza and Killeen are confident they have recruited the proper tenant in Jennifer Howard, who plans to open Leo’s Table at the corner of Main and Elm streets in the spring. Howard said she has been eyeing the spot since around the time Jerry and Pat Dagrosa announced their plans to retire.

“Location is definitely a big thing. I’m a Sunderland resident … and South Deerfield is a beautiful town,” she said, adding that she is now at the stage of reaching out to contractors and applying for permits. “South Deerfield definitely needs a solid breakfast and lunch joint, and we’re happy to bring that to them.”

Howard said the eatery will specialize in “housemade, local, from-scratch cooking” that will feature local coffee, yogurt and milk.

She explained she decided to name the restaurant after her late paternal grandfather, Leo Bourgault, who she said owned a breakfast and lunch place in the Fitchburg Railroad depot before serving in World War II. Howard recalls how her granddad would often ask her, “Are you a chef yet?”

“It stuck with me. I still remember that to this day,” said Howard, 32. “He was a really healthy, just happy person. I have a lot of him in me.”

Bourgault died on Jan. 21, 2012.

“I really wish he could be here,” Howard said.

Howard also owns Food for Strength, a healthy meal delivery service currently in Amherst. She said Leo’s Table and Food for Strength will operate out of the space at 55 North Main St. once it is ready. She said she plans to bring the basement up to food-prep standards so it can be used for the businesses.

Howard met Killeen, 28, years ago when she worked as a personal trainer at 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition, which Killeen owns in Hadley. Killeen said Leo’s Table will be a perfect fit.

Kicza, 35, said he and Killeen are very happy all the right circumstances fell into place for Howard to sign up for the open space.

“The town definitely has demand for an establishment just like Jerry’s Place was. So we’re definitely happy to satisfy that need,” he said. “We both think Jen will do that and exceed that and bring the town what Jerry’s Place was.”

Jerry’s Place had operated out of the spot for 26½ years.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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