The Palumbos hope to evoke an atmosphere of a bygone era for Peabody patrons at the Stonewood Tavern, just without the familiar smells of the tanneries that went with it.
Developer Sal Palumbo and his two sons Matthew and David, all Lynnfield residents, are planning on opening the doors at their new South Peabody restaurant, Stonewood Tavern, the week of Mother's Day (May 13). Their aim is to serve a top-notch product at an affordable price, where customers don't have to stress about how high the bill will be. Most dishes, excluding specials, are $10 or less.
And there will be live music on the weekends.
Stonewood Tavern will serve contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner -- think burgers, steak dinner, gourmet salads, pasta and seafood -- and everything from blue cheese dressing to steak sauces and bread pudding will be made fresh on-site. The restaurant also has a full liquor license and plans to keep prices reasonable there as well.
David Palumbo noted that Peabody is known for its tanneries -- the old Remis factory was even torn down to make way for the Lynnfield Street plaza -- and they hope the tavern brings up old feelings of old Peabody.
"A small portion was still being used," he said, but added, "It was an eyesore beforehand."
"The tannery smelled so bad that I sprayed perfume bottles everywhere," Sal Palumbo told Peabody Patch. "It was an incredible disaster, and we demolished it."
The brick facade used throughout the plaza, however, hearkens back to that era, while the interior of the restaurant uses red/orange Earth tones as well as glass, stone and wood fixtures, all to resemble a tavern.
David Palumbo, who just earned his certificate in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology, worked with a construction team to demolish the old tannery more than two years ago to make way for the new plaza. He added that he's learned a lot from his father over the years, lugging sheetrock since he was seven.
Sal Palumbo received for a special permit to serve alcohol at the new eatery. After Bugaboo Creek closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy, the Palumbos it would have otherwise been.
Matthew and David, 23-year-old fraternal twins, will run the day-to-day management and business operations. Both also have degrees in business management from Boston University and Providence College, respectively.
"I will ensure our customers are happy and the atmosphere of the restaurant remains fun and family-oriented," Matthew Palumbo said. "We want them to have a good meal, good drinks and come back again."
The tavern will feature a live jazz bar, along with a wood trim fireplace. After about 20 different names and several of months of debate, the Palumbos settled on the name for the stone columns complementing wood flooring, a brick side exterior and a mahogany bar -- resembling a tavern, which is a warm, inviting and comfortable atmosphere, Sal Palumbo said.
"Once you see the decor, you'll see how the name's appropriate," he said.
The Palumbos stress they're not looking to create a nightclub bar with loud rock music out of respect for the surrounding neighbors. It's more of a family-style or date night dining with large portions, live jazz and other genres of light music, including top 40, guitar and brass, that will be performed by paid and volunteer musicians in a one- or two-person set on the weekends.
The eatery will have a maximum capacity of 200 guests with 125 seats in the main dining room and a 34-person bar with standing room for 50 people. Matthew Palumbo added a fairly large wait staff of 30 employees will accommodate customers, as customer satisfaction is his number one priority. There are 152 parking spots available.
While the Palumbos are self-identified picky eaters at home, this is their first venture into the food industry from the family business -- Interstate Properties, a property development and management firm on Route 1 in Saugus.
They feel prepared for the change, however, and say they've hired a top-notch staff to ensure everything runs smoothly and customers are satisfied.
"This is something my family always wanted to do," Matthew Palumbo said. "The opportunity presented itself, so we felt like the timing was right. We went before the City Council, and that process went smoothly. They made us feel like a welcome addition to the neighborhood."
David Palumbo said their father, who drove this idea, wanted to add something special to the community. "Peabody is pro-business," he said. "From the mayor down to City Council, everyone has been supportive and listened to our ideas/suggestions."
The owners say even the geographic location for the restaurant is ideal, at the crossroads of Routes 1 and 128, just down the street from the Torigian Family YMCA, near other popular eateries, between Summit Street and Centennial Industrial Park and not far from the downtown.
"The major thing was we thought this was a great location for the restaurant and the community," David Palumbo said.
You can now find Stonewood Tavern online. The posted hours are as follows:
- For lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday – Saturday.
- For dinner: 5-10 p.m., Monday – Thurday, 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday – Saturday, and 5-9 p.m., Sunday.
A grand opening is expected May 15 or 16.
For information, contact General Manager, Frank Imbergamo at 978-531-5311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.