At the end of last summer, two beloved Fairhaven restaurants permanently closed. Elisabeth’s and Margaret’s – alongside ice cream stand Brady’s Ice Box – were then sold by the Buker family to Cullen North Walker Street, LLC just before the end of 2022.

As with any restaurant sale, that has left those who have gift cards to the restaurants wondering what to do with them, and if the new owners will honor them.

What should you do if you have a gift card to Elisabeth’s or Margaret’s? The short answer is, hold on to it for now.

“At the end of the day, the current owner isn’t reopening,” said Jay Lanagan, who is in charge of the redevelopment of the two restaurants. “The current owner didn’t buy those businesses, so those gift cards aren’t associated with it.”

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However, that doesn’t mean you should toss those gift cards and chalk them up as a loss just yet.

“I supposed a group that came in could offer to honor those gift cards,” Lanagan said. “However, none of that data was disclosed in the sale, so nobody really knows what’s out there for gift cards.”

Lanagan said typically when a business is sold, the seller will provide accounting as to how many outstanding gift cards have not yet been redeemed, and that would go into the sale price.

“In this situation, no one knows,” he said. “But they could still honor them as a way to connect with the community.”

Lanagan said this situation is different from someone buying an existing restaurant and reopening it.

“In this case, the businesses went out of business, the (new) owner bought the real estate and is looking for a restaurant group to come in and redevelop the space,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that a restaurant group or investment group or fund will come in and reopen those spaces as full service restaurants,” Lanagan said. “That’s the hope, that’s the goal, that’s the strategy – but they wouldn’t be under any obligation the previous owners made for sales (of gift cards).”

Another recently closed restaurant, the Mary Celeste Whiskey and Wine Library in Marion, will soon reopen under a new concept from the owners of Ella’s Wood Burning Oven Restaurant in Wareham. We reached out to ask if they will honor any Mary Celeste gift cards, but have not yet heard back.

Wareham’s legendary Lindsey’s restaurant caused a stir when it abruptly closed for good in November, leaving many wondering what to do with their unused gift cards. A Buzzards Bay dive bar offered to give something for them, and soon after Lindsey’s announced how patrons could get a refund.

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