As East Side residents look for signs of optimism in a new year, one bit of good news is Boston Commons will return to serving up the fish and chips on Thursday, Feb. 18. Severely damaged by the March 3 tornado (as were its two sister restaurants — Beyond the Edge and Drifters Barbeque), Boston Commons’ return has been eagerly awaited.
“I have a ton of people who over the past 11 months have told me, ‘I’m going to be there on the first night,’” says Boston Commons owner Matt Charette “I hope they can be, but we are going to do it safely and do it right. We’re limited to 50% capacity, so we’ll be taking reservations.”
For hungry seafood fans, take-out orders for the three varieties of Boston Commons’ signature fish and chips will be available, but the restaurant will be operating with a reduced menu at first. One major change is that Boston Commons will no longer be offering a sushi menu, a decision prompted by a desire to focus on the restaurant’s strengths.
“We did a customer survey and had over 600 people respond,” Charette says. “Ninety-two percent of them told us their first choice is one of our fried seafood options. Sushi was only 15% of sales but it required 30% of our resources. Going forward, our focus is going to be on what we do best. I like to buy the highest quality ingredients and execute well, and I think we do our fried seafood very very well.”
In addition to a more focused menu, Boston Commons has been given a makeover both inside and out, giving the inside space more of a pub feel while enlarging and improving the outdoor space — an important feature as the ongoing pandemic will necessitate more outdoor seating as warm weather returns. One area that will not be changing is the restaurant’s friendly and familiar staff.
“I think we have all of the front-of-house staff returning and most of the back-of-house staff,” Charette says. “A few former staff members have moved away, but folks from Drifters and Beyond the Edge are going to fill in the gap.”
With Boston Commons’ imminent return, Charette is also looking forward to reopening his other two landmark Five Points business, Beyond the Edge and Drifters Barbeque, both of which suffered severe damage from the tornado. But he acknowledges that the long months it has taken to rebuild have also been an opportunity.
“I got a call from a friend of mine who lives in Pittsburgh now but previously owned a restaurant in Nashville,“ Charette says relfecting. “He told me in 2010 when the flood happened, all he could think about was getting back open as fast as possible, he said, ‘I wish somebody had pulled me aside and gave me the advice I’ll give you. Don’t just think about getting back open. Think about what you want your businesses to be over the next 10 or 15 years.’ And that’s what I’ve tried to do because we want to be a part of this community for the next 20 years or longer.“
For updates on Boston Commons reopening, visit them online at bostoncommonsnashville.com or follow them on Facebook @BostonCommonsNashvilleTN.