Old Concord, N. H., police station is now popular haunted restaurant
A former jail cell is now an inviting dining room at Tio Juan’s Margaritas in Concord (Darla Sterett photo).
I love Mexican food. It tastes even better served along with a ghost story.
Last Saturday my girlfriend Darla Sterett and I were having dinner at Tio Juan’s Margaritas Mexican Restaurant & Watering Hole in downtown Concord, New Hampshire. The restaurant is an interior design masterpiece, artfully woven into the brick and mortar tapestry of what used to be the Concord Police Station.
As the historic plaque outside the building read, “The brick building, with its rock-faced granite trim was Concord’s police station from 1890 until 1975. Noted local architect Edward Dow, with Albert Boswell, designed the structure. Its arched openings show the influence of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Note the distinctive granite voussoirs that mark the original entrances from Warren Street. Local granite also appears in the sunburst and finials atop the building.”
One thing is certain: the old capital city police lockup is one stunning piece of architecture that once housed nefarious felons. The city police achieved widespread acclaim following their skillful capture of Iowa prison escapees, Edgar Cook, and George Stubblefield, on March 2, 1945.
Both cons had the well-deserved moniker “The Toothbrush Twins,” since they were uniquely skilled with the ability to fashion keys from toothbrush handles, “then picking locks to escape from jail or steal get-away cars,” according to the historical narrative.
Kicking back for a bit in our 8-by-8-foot dining room.
The real treat at Tio Juan’s Margaritas is that you get to enjoy your meal at a table placed inside a redesigned former jail cell. The inside of each cell is painted light blue, tastefully finished with Mexican-style motifs.
On the other side of these bars are some great chips and salsa.
While our meals were unbelievably delicious, there was no telling if some now-deceased criminal enjoyed his last meal in the very spot where we sat.
I had heard that the restaurant was haunted, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked our very attentive server if he has had any strange encounters with the paranormal at the restaurant.
Funny that you should ask, he said, as he recalled the time he was in the kitchen filling two glasses with water for his customers. Then, right in front of his eyes, both glasses shattered into pieces, he said.
Other employees claim they have experienced odd occurrences inside the restaurant, he said. They just chalked it up to a playful spirit named “George” trying to get their attention.
On Halloween, the restaurant hosted a psychic. Our server said the medium conveyed a message from George.
”It’s Joe — Joe — Joe!” the spirit insisted.
After a thoroughly enjoyable meal our server suggested that we snap a selfie in front of the large mirror by the main entrance. Many other customers have done the same thing hoping to capture something paranormal.
No such luck for us, sorry to say.
The next time we’re having lunch at Tio Juan’s Margaritas, though, we’ll be sure to ask for Joe.