Mad Hatter Bar & Grill opens in Brookline
Friday, October 4, 2013
BROOKLINE – The Mad Hatter Bar & Grill opened at the beginning of September and is already making a splash in the community.
Located at 99 Route 13, Brookline, the Mad Hatter is a family friendly restaurant earlier in the day, and active with entertainment at night. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable, with lots of sports memorabilia, TV sets and a pool table. There is a full bar with a selection of beers on tap. The menu features a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and pizza, all made fresh on the premises, at reasonable prices. It is owned by Lenny Simone and Jeff Doucette, of Brookline, who are both new to the restaurant business.
Simone said owning a restaurant is something he always wanted to do. After the popular Griffing’s Riverside closed, he approached Paul Andreas, the property owner, more than once about opening a restaurant on the site. Simone said Andreas wanted something different than before at the location, and they eventually settled on the idea of a sports bar.
“I’ve worked in the mechanical industry, but I enjoy seeing people having a good time,” Simone said. “I’m a risk taker, but I had a good proposal, we went off by the seat of our pants, came up with a good demographic and here we are nine months later, working nights and weekends.”
Why the Mad Hatter? Simone said he had another name in mind, but that was taken, and the name just fit for the simple, offbeat, country atmosphere he wanted to create.
“During the weekdays, we are a typical restaurant,” said front manager Carly Abell, “but on weekends, we are packed to the gills. On Friday nights, there is an hour wait. It’s a good balance between a bar and a restaurant.”
Abell said that many of their customers are older folks who were patrons of Griffing’s Riverside. They stop by to check out the new restaurant and stay for lunch. The location also attracts a lot of business from people who travel that stretch of road.
According to Abell, the most popular appetizers are baked stuffed jalapenos, which she warns are very hot, and the Mad Meatball, which is roughly the size of a baseball, made from fresh meat, seasoned, stuffed with mozzarella and topped with a chunky homemade tomato sauce and more cheese. Chicken tenders, boneless Buffalo wings, bruschetta and baked stuffed portabello mushrooms round out the appetizer menu.
French onion soup is always available, with a rotating soup of the day. There are a variety of salads, sandwiches and burgers, and about a dozen entrees to choose from, such as chicken broccoli alfredo, bourbon steak tips and smoked apple pork ribs.
There are no desserts listed on the menu, but Parker always has something sweet available – such as baked stuffed caramel apples – based on what is in season.
“We want you to feel full but be able to taste the food,” Abell said . “Just like Mom cooked. It’s so good but (after you eat) you can’t move!”
Head chef Dan Parker is proud to point out that everything they serve is homemade, fresh to order.
“The hamburger is fresh ground, and I cut my own French fries and onion rings,” he said. “The pizza dough is all natural with no preservatives, and it’s made locally in Manchester. I make my own sauce, too. You can’t go any place around here and get this quality of food for the price.”
Menu selections can be prepared to go, including pizza, but there is no delivery service planned. Abell also wants patrons to know that as long as the bar is open, food is also available at the Mad Hatter.
Friday night is karaoke night from 9 p.m. to midnight. The pub also offers Sunday brunch with mimosas from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and has a variety of seasonal menu items and drink specials.
The October drink special is Mad Cider: a martini made with local apple cider and vanilla vodka, with maple sugar and cinnamon coating the rim.
Simone plans on hosting a pumpkin carving day for area children, and an adult Halloween party with live music has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26.
Besides developing a regular following, the Mad Hatter is determined to be a good neighbor. The Brookline Fire Department is hosting a duck race fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 5, and the restaurant will donate $1 from every appetizer and meal sold between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to the fire equipment fund.
For additional information on events and to see the full menu, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mad-Hatter-Bar-and-Grill/397784066994150.