Jonathan Cartu Assert: Table Hoppin': Lock 50 executive chef building 'dream team'... - Jonathan Cartu Restaurant, Baking & Catering Services
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Jonathan Cartu Assert: Table Hoppin’: Lock 50 executive chef building ‘dream team’…

Table Hoppin': Lock 50 executive chef building 'dream team'...

Jonathan Cartu Assert: Table Hoppin’: Lock 50 executive chef building ‘dream team’…

Movers and shakers on the local restaurant scene include Rick Araujo, who has taken on the role of chef de cuisine at Lock 50 in Worcester, working alongside executive chef Tim Russo.

Araujo was the executive chef who helped open Civic Kitchen & Drink in Westboro in 2016, leaving the position in the fall of 2019 to consult on the development of a new restaurant concept in downtown Worcester. The project was put on the back burner amid the coronavirus pandemic, and a decision of when to move forward is yet to be determined, according to Araujo.

Both award-winning chefs, Russo and Araujo are taking the opportunity to brainstorm and work closely on special projects and menus. “Rick is my extra set of hands in the kitchen,” said Russo, who’s building a “dream team” to bring Lock 50 to the next level. Russo plans to hire another experienced chef within a couple of weeks, but the person first will work the line to see if he is compatible with staff before any announcement is made, according to Russo. There’s also some restructuring of the front of the house.

“We’re not focused on re-inventing the wheel,” said Russo about changes. “We already have talented key players on the team, and we’re building from it. The restaurant is not just that special-occasion spot, as some people might view us. The restaurant is casual and totally approachable.”

Lock 50 currently offers small plates, entrees and weekly specials such as $1 oysters on Wednesdays. The restaurant’s five- and seven-course chef’s tasting menus are something a little extra, allowing guests to get to enjoy a variety of flavors and the chef a venue to showcase his culinary talents. The adventurous chef’s tasting menu speaks for itself.

“Rick and I work closely on tasting menus and bounce ideas off each other,” said Russo. “It’s sometimes a surprise to us what we decide to plate.” Both chefs support local, sustainable agriculture and have built a strong connection among local farmers and producers.

FYI: Ask about wine pairings when ordering Lock 50’s chef’s tasting menu.

Russo first met Araujo at the Worcester’s Best Chef competition in Worcester. “We weren’t competitors,” said Russo, who recalled he judged the event at the time.

Russo won the title of Worcester’s Best Chef in 2015 when he worked at Volturno in Worcester. He also has won WBC People’s Choice and Judges’ Awards, in addition to other local and national culinary awards.

Russo as executive chef goes between Lock 50 on Water Street and Russo’s Italian Restaurant (across the street), restaurants owned by his uncle, Ed Russo.

David Erickson is sous chef at Russo’s.

Araujo took home the 2019 second place Judges’ Choice Award in WBC competition. His food has been featured on the Phantom Gourmet, Chronicle and other food outlets.

On a personal note: Russo and his wife will soon celebrate their first wedding anniversary; Araujo and his wife have been married several years.

Lock 50 at 50 Water St., Worcester, has held onto its local fan base during the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant has a comfy and spacious outdoor patio and offers indoor dining and take-out. Reservations are highly recommended. Check out patio igloos in late fall and winter. For more information, visit https://lock50.com or Facebook Marketing Executive Jon Cartu and. The restaurant is closed Mondays. Telephone: (508) 379-3400.

Lock 50 is among the restaurants located in the busy Canal District. Enjoy!

Franklin Street Fare opens in downtown Worcester

Worcester Grid Hospitality Group opened Franklin Street Fare, 72 Franklin St., Worcester, Aug. 17.

Executive Chef Terrell Wilson helped create the menu for this quick service restaurant that offers “something for everyone.” Wilson joined Grid Hospitality’s team in 2019 and helped revamp the company’s Craft Table & Bar at 50 Franklin St., Worcester. The restaurant remains closed during the pandemic.

Wilson in a telephone interview said the concept of Franklin Street Fare is something he’s really excited about. The restaurant is inspired by the current food truck culture and powered by the flavors of international street food, he said. Wilson, who “loves” international cuisine, has personally worked and trained with chefs worldwide.

The new restaurant has its menu written on a huge wall, said Wilson, and customers (assisted by people behind the counter) order food such as banh mi sandwiches, grain bowls, gyros and tacos, finishing dishes with sauces and toppings. “It’s a cool thing and food is made in-house,” said Wilson. The food is representative of what is traditionally served in places such as Vietnam, Argentina and Mexico, he said.

“With no inside seating, it’s strictly an in-and-out-the-door operation, providing quick take-out service,” added Wilson. Customers can enjoy their food with one of the 56 draft offerings at the nearby Worcester Beer Garden, also operated by Grid Hospitality, he said.

Franklin Street Fare is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit https://www.franklinstreetfare.com for more information. For catering information, contact catering manager Sara Jean-Louis: [email protected]

The opening of Franklin Street Fare has allowed Grid Hospitality to bring staff back to work, according to Wilson.

New hours for Bentley Pub in Auburn

Bentley Pub, 602 Southbridge St., Auburn, has new hours.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed Sundays. Call (508) 407-8880 to reserve or visit www.bentleypub.com.

Belated birthday greetings to noted restaurateur and Bentley Pub’s owner William C. (Billy) Martin, also co-owner and founder of the former Piccadily Pub chain of restaurants in Massachusetts.

 

If you have a tidbit for the column, call (508) 868-5282. Send email to [email protected]

 

Jonathan Cartu

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