ATKINSON — Sometimes when no one's in the room at Eggies Family Restaurant, silverware disappears and doors mysteriously open and shut.
Residents and staff say the diner might be haunted by the ghosts of past owners. Waitress Lisa Liguori said she's had many strange experiences since Eggies moved to its new location at 6 Main St. a year and a half ago.
"The first time, I was emptying the trash and something brushed by my ear and there was nobody in the room but me," Liguori said. "The silverware in the back room gets moved around and I know I just set it all out. Another time, I heard the back door open and shut, and no one was there."
The restaurant used to be a two-unit home before owner Kevin Barden converted it to a restaurant in 2010. The house was built in 1960 and owned by Wilbur and Rosline Dinsmore. They lived there until 1992, when it was inherited by their son, Donald Dinsmore. It passed through three other owners before Barden bought it.
Barden is a skeptic and said he doesn't believe his restaurant is haunted. But he said he did have one odd experience when the restaurant was under construction.
"I never thought of it as a ghost or spirit, but I was tearing out the stairs of the existing deck and something happened," he said. "I was here all alone and you know how you have that feeling that someone is looking at you? I thought someone was standing in the sliding glass door, trying to get my attention, but nobody was there. That was the only time. I just passed it off as nothing."
When the Dinsmores' daughter came in for breakfast once, the staff told her there might be a ghost in the house.
"She said her father loved to cook and he probably loves that there is a restaurant in his house," Barden said. "She said toward the end of their time, they spent a lot of time in the living room, which is our dining room. These are the original floors."
Some customers have had strange experiences in the building. That includes Joe Roy, 52, of Sandown, who said he's a regular at Eggies.
"I was here one time and I felt someone brush by me, but no one was there," he said. "Another time, I heard the bathroom door open and shut, and no one was there. There's a lot of strange stuff that goes on. But no one's out to hurt anyone, so it doesn't bother me. I come here every day for breakfast."
But one customer was scared away.
"One guy was spooked," Liguori said. "He came out of the back room with bug eyes and said they were never coming back here. I guess his daughter was tapping her knife on the table and it just disappeared. That was right at the beginning, when we had more action with the ghost."
Jill Barden, 18, is a waitress at her father's restaurant. She said she heard something strange at the restaurant last year.
"I was walking in the main dining hall and I heard someone call my name, or I thought I did," she said. "I turned around and it was random customers, they didn't know my name. They said they didn't hear anyone yell, 'Jillian' and there was no one else in the restaurant."
She said other little things have happened in the restaurant, but she just ignores it.
"I wasn't hearing things and it was kind of scary," she said. "But, whatever, the ghosts are nice. They don't bother me."
And Liguori agreed.
"It's a playful spirit, not a mean one," she said. "You get a little nervous, but it doesn't matter really."
Customer David Censullo, 38, of Atkinson said he didn't think there was anything to be afraid of.
"I have heard it's haunted, but I don't really believe it," he said. "I've never seen anything strange."
Don Lydick of Atkinson said even if the restaurant is haunted, it won't stop him from eating there.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I'll still come here to eat. But I believe it."
Barden said now, the ghost has become a bit of a joke in the restaurant.
"If anything is wrong, they just say the ghost did it," he said.