It looks like Sal Palumbo has a success on his hands.
Palumbo, restaurant staff and city officials officially snipped the ribbon at on Friday, celebrating the new establishment in South Peabody. , but Palumbo said Friday was an opportune time to invite friends and city officials back down to eat and celebrate.
He said a number of the guests had already been there several times since the restaurant opened nine weeks ago at 139 Lynnfield St. and residents in the neighborhood have quickly become regulars.
"It's working out well. I'm very happy with business," Palumbo said, adding that Thursday through Sunday evenings often see patrons waiting 30 minutes or more for a seat.
He believes the restaurant has had a "very positive impact" in the neighborhood and rounds out the dining options for those who live and work in the area, offering good food, prices, service and entertainment.
President Deanne Healey agrees.
"I think it's been a great addition," she said, noting that many of the eateries nearby offer take-out more so than sit-down dining with live entertainment.
Healey said the location works well both for residents and for those working in Centennial Industrial Park and serves as a local gathering place, rather than just a bar, as some residents feared when Palumbo first sought permits from the City Council for the tavern.
In addition to Mayor Ted Bettencourt and Healey on Friday, a small crowd of city officials and friends of Palumbo's showed up for the event.
Tom Muxie was also on hand. Muxie is a member of the city's Disability Commission and a volunteer for the state to help ensure newly constructed buildings in particular not just meet accessibilty requirements for disabled patrons, but that they make sense and serve the intended purpose.
Muxie said he's been canvassing newly constructed buildings with Building Commissioner Kevin Goggin and praised Palumbo for being very responsive to even minor issues Muxie brought up.
The restaurant has a full liquor license and brings in live jazz bands Thursday through Saturday. Two weeks ago, 28 seats were added out front for seating on an outdoor patio, and Palumbo says he's now in the permitting stage to put a 2,500-square-foot function room next to the main restaurant.
Both the restaurant and the entire plaza at Newhall Crossing have undoubtedly brought some new life to the neighborhood. Palumbo knocked down the old dilapidated Remis factory and built a new commercial plaza in its stead, and he says he's in the process of filling the remaining two vacant units.
"The tannery smelled so bad that I sprayed perfume bottles everywhere," Palumbo told Peabody Patch in an interview this spring. "It was an incredible disaster, and we demolished it."
The appearance of Newhall Crossing still hearkens back to Peabody's tanneries of old, and more specifically the Remis plant, with its brick facade.
"We've turned something that was an eyesore into something very beautiful," said Palumbo on Friday.
He said a credit union for the United States Postal Service and a senior healthcare company are slated to move into the plaza, which already contains , the tavern, two salons, an insurance office, a mortgage company and a computer firm.