WESTBORO – You may have heard the phrase farm to table, but how about farm to fairway? Overlooking a picturesque country club in Westboro, inside a renovated home built in the 1800’s, Civic Kitchen brings made from scratch food, to golfers and the general public.
“Basically what we’re looking to do is create a neighborhood restaurant/bar where the whole community comes together,” said owner Tom Olivieri. “It’s like sitting in your dining room and having dinner.”
Tom has spent 20 years in the restaurant business, but this is the first time he has opened up an eatery where you can get lunch by the links, overlooking the 9th fairway.
“Everyone’s welcome. The public is welcome to come in, dine, hangout, enjoy the view, watch the golfers, see the last putt of the day. It’s just spectacular.”
To stay on par with the spectacular view, Tom brought in Chef Rick Araujo, a man obsessed with three things: flavor, freshness, and local farms.
“I’m really fortunate. I get to stop by the farm on the way to work and talk to some of our neighbors about what’s good today, what can I use this weekend. A lot of times I’m getting stuff that was in the ground that morning,” Rick said. “The best part is we try to change that menu every month or two just to stay with the seasons, keep it fresh, keep things interesting.”
In regards to the food, “interesting” would be an understatement. Pretty much everything on the menu is made fresh, using ingredients sourced from less than 60 miles away. There’s bacon and cheddar arancini served over a sweet and tangy onion dip; crispy flatbread pizzas; and bacon and eggs like you have never seen it before.
“What we’ve done is we’ve taken some local pork belly, slow cooked, and then smoked it,” Rick explained. “We’re going to grill that. We’re going to top it with a Spring Ridge Farm egg and some more local toast. It’s finished with some local maple sugar, so you get that kind of nice breakfast feel.”
Another popular starter is the signature Prince Edward Island Mussels.
“We toss that with a little locally made Sriracha from Kitchen Garden Farms, Ras El Hanout which is a Moroccan spice. They’re not overly spicy. They’ve got a nice zip to them,” Rick said. “They’ve got a really great aroma that really just surrounds your table while you’re eating it. It makes my mouth water every time.”
There’s even some Mexican on the menu, in the form of house made chorizo tacos, which as it turns out, are Civic Kitchen’s number one seller.
“We’ve got a great taco. We’re really proud of it,” Rick said. “We make some house made chorizo, put it in a local corn tortilla with some house made pico de gallo, cilantro lime cream, and local radishes. It’s really one of my favorite apps. Great flavor, great one to share with your dining partner.”
Just like the food, the drinks here are devoted to locally made spirts and craft beers. That should come as no surprise, since Tom Olivieri founded Worcester’s Wormtown Brewery 7 years ago. Now at the restaurant, of course, you can get Wormtown’s flagship Be Hoppy IPA on draft, or you go for the Be Hoppy Fish & Chips.
“What we do is we make a beer batter out of Be Hoppy IPA. We season that up with some hops that they use for the beer, and we do that with a local corn flour. Local haddock, fry that up. It’s classic,” Rick described.
“Nothing says New England like a good fish and chip and I think we have one of the best fish and chips around,” Tom added.
They also make a pretty mean pork chop, which is smoked, grilled, and served with cornbread and apple-infused barbecue sauce. There is a mouth-watering Reuben packed with house made pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. But their burger might be even better.
“Lilac Hedge local burger – they grind it fresh for us. Rick grills it, puts it on a buttered brioche bun. Some smoked Gouda cheese, little bit of pickled onion, some arugula, and a nice aioli.”
Finish your meal with a Baked Alaska, featuring vanilla and black raspberry ice cream, and a luscious layer of fluffy merengue and you’ll be happy that you found the perfect place to chow down, after teeing off.
You can find Civic Kitchen at 121 West Main Street in Westboro, and online at civickitchenanddrink.com.
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