OWNER OF SANFORD’S OLDEST RESTAURANT
By Michael Hernandez
Sometimes the most important people in a community are those you do not hear about. These are the people who show up every day to connect with their community and make a quiet yet powerful difference in the world around them. Michelle Simoneaux is one of these people.
Michelle is the owner of the Colonial Room Restaurant which originally opened in 1977. The Colonial Room Restaurant serves up home style comfort food in an environment that makes you feel welcome whether you are having a lunch meeting or lounging with family on the weekend. When you come into the restaurant you are likely to find Michelle pouring coffee, greeting customers, and entertaining everyone as if they were in her own home. Michelle’s love for serving her community started as a waitress in 1989 at the Colonial Room Restaurant years before Michelle purchased the restaurant.
In 2012, Michelle and her husband Jasonbecame aware that the owners of the restaurant were going to close its doors. They decided to purchase the restaurant and keep it open.Two years after the purchase of the restaurant they hit another roadblock. The building the restaurant was in was being sold and Michelle had to find a new home for the restaurant or face shutting it down. Michelle looked at nine different locations in Downtown Sanford,yetall of those efforts led nowhere.
The sale of the building was imminent. Michelle continued to look for a space at which point the community came together to support Michelle in keeping the restaurant open. With help from the community Michelle was able to find a new home for the Colonial Room Restaurant at 105 E. 1st Street, Sanford.
Today the Colonial Room Restaurant stands as Sanford’s oldest restaurantand is a staple of the Sanford community. The Colonial Room Restaurant is not only a true piece of Sanford’s history, but it is also a testament to Michelle’s love for her community.As Sanford continues to grow, Michelle looks forward to providing the service locals have come to expect and showing our valued visitors a little of what Sanford is all about.
If you have a chance to talk with Michelle you will understand why the Colonial Room Restaurant is special as she talks about the recipes which have been maintained for decades, the decorations which tell the story of Sanford, and Michelle’s own stories about her love for the restaurant or her customers who she calls family.