Not far from the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass. begins a quiet revolution in neighborhood fare.
With its rough-hewn accents of wood, and a bright red, wood-fire stove at its center, four veteran restauranteurs from Boston opened Monument Restaurant to bring comfort stables & family friendly hours to a neighborhood hungry for the basics, but with flair.
“Every decision we made, from the menu to the look and feel of the place, was made for the neighborhood and community we’re in,” says Adam Hawk, one of the four-man team who opened the popular eatery this past January.
In this week’s Q&A with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand, Hawk discusses the decision to combine talents of four investors to back the burgeoning business.
Q: How did Monument come to fruition?
I owned Paolo Trattoria for ten years when the lease started running out. Our footprint was too small to expand, so I decided to partner with three other longtime friends, mentors and restauranteurs to buy the laundromat next door and create something new. Once we were able to secure the extra space next door, we were able to renovate and build something designed to serve the community it’s in.
Q: What do you mean by serving the community?
I lived in Charlestown for a long time, literally right behind the restaurant. As a family man, I wanted a place to have brunch, and one that offers dishes people can eat on a consistent basis, like comfort staples, approachable food with a twist.
We have a very popular menu, and all the credit goes to our head chef Conor Seip.
Q: Tell me about the menu.
Our idea was to offer what people want, not what we think they should have. So for example, we have a French onion soup with meatballs. The cheesy French onions with meatballs are perfect on a cold day. And our brunch is very popular. We open at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and had a tremendous response.
Q: Before you opened, you and your partners did a significant renovation.
We doubled the size of the space by moving into the neighboring laundromat. We ripped out the ceiling and exposed skylights, and we sourced some comfortable wood to keep the tone nice looking and to give it a real neighborhood feel.
There are four partners who’ve been working together for 20 years in the restaurant world, former bosses, and mentors. (Hawk is partnered with Eric Aulenback, John Sweeney and managing partner Damien Donovan).
Q: What’s your niche?
Our attitude going in was we really wanted to serve the food of the neighborhood. We had a deep understanding of where we were, and the neighborhood we’re in. We didn’t see it as our role to impress upon them what we think they should eat, and we understood we’re not a destination restaurant, but a place to take your family, or enjoy a great dinner out with your husband or wife.
Q: What’s your advice to someone who wants to open their own restaurant?
Don’t. You’ve got to have a big passion for it because it’s a grind. It’s also very rewarding. Monument Charlestown uses Boxerbrand menu covers in its table presentation. Thank you!