Hudson – Twenty years ago, Chris Tsiros's first child was an infant, and he had just opened the Checkerboards restaurant.
Today, that baby is in college, and Checkerboards is celebrating its 20th anniversary, a significant milestone few independently owned restaurants ever reach.
“We really thank all our loyal customers and the employees who have been with us all these years. We couldn's have done it without them,” Tsiros said.
What's kept those customers coming for two decades is Checkerboards” commitment to quality food – always made from scratch – at reasonable prices.
The seafood comes in fresh daily, the spaghetti sauce and pesto are cooked up in back, and the ravioli is made by hand. “Our food is all homemade, all from scratch, nothing frozen,” he said.
Although ingredient prices keep creeping – and in some cases jumping – up, Tsiros works to hold the line on cost. Most dinner entrees are $11.95 to $18.95, and the same entrees in slightly smaller portions are available at lunch, most $9.95 to $11.95.
“Our most expensive dinner item is $19.95, and that's a lobster seafood special,” he said
Checkerboards will be celebrating its anniversary in May and June with some special entrees created for the occasion, along with discounts and promotions for loyal customers and newcomers alike, Tsiros said.
The original part of the restaurant, with its checkerboard-pattern floor and the original booths, is scheduled for a remodel this summer. The restaurant, in the shopping center at the intersection of Route 85 and the connector to I-290, has been expanded twice in these 20 years, first adding the bar area, and then the main dining room. It now seats 200 people and employs a full wait staff.
Tsiros emphasized that this is a family-run business, with able assistance from his father-in-law, Joseph Martocci, and his sisterin law, Jill Smith.
“My wife doesn's work here. That's why we'se still married,” he said with a laugh.
Checkerboards is a family-oriennted, as well as a family-run spot. Although the bar area is equippped with flat-screen televisions, Tsiros is not targeting a late-nighht sports crowd. Instead, he aims for families coming in for dinnerr and enjoying a cocktail, beer or glass of wine with their dinner. The restaurant serves dinner until 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. Friidays and Saturdays, with the bar open maybe an hour beyond thatt.
Parents can opt for Checkerbooards” sophisticated entrees, such as pineapple sesame salmon, gorgonzola sirloin steak, souvlaki, or penne a la vodka, while the kiids can pick pasta, a hamburger, chicken tenders and such from thhe kids” menu. Or the whole famh ily can make it a pizza night with a list of two dozen topping to choose from.
Checkerboards” menu items area available for takeout, and the company also has an extensive caatering menu, perfect for proms, graduations and other celebrationns.
“We'se worked very hard to make Checkerboards a success for 20 years,” Tsiros said. “It takes perseverance and commitment to get through three bad recessions, but our customers have been great.”
Checkerboards, at 10 Technology Dr. in Hudson in the Stop & Shop plaza, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 978-562-4400 or visit the website www.checkerboardsrestaurant.com.
Stop by and wish them another 20 years.