By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Checkerboards Restaurant & Bar has remodeled its original dining area to create a warmer atmosphere and enhance its customers” dining experience.
“We renovated the original part of the restaurant after being here 20 years,” said Jill Smith, co-owner of Checkerboards with her father, Joe Martocci, and her brother-in-law, Chris Tsiros. But they kept the original black-and-white checked floor that gave the restaurant its name.
The remodeled front dining room has new booths lining the walls and warm wood trim. The ceiling has the look of pressed tin, and the kitchen has been expanded to better offer the rapid, efficient service Checkerboards prides itself on.
They also decided to book private functions such as showers, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties or business gatherings in the rear dining room after doing off-site catering for 10 years.
What has not changed at Checkerboards is the restaurant's commitment to good food made from scratch at reasonable prices. The restaurant's owners emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients in the variety of specials they offer.? It's a dedication that has kept regular customers coming back for years and that turns new customers into regulars, Smith said.
“We have something for everyone, from pub-style food to fancy seafood dishes,” Smith said. The kitchen will cook meals to order, accommodate special requests, and there's a gluten-free menu as well.
The menu changes with the seasons, and summer brings such specialties as strawberry salad, shrimp salad, lobster rolls on a croissant and lobster ravioli. A full page of daily specials is tucked into the menu.
While it does a strong pizza business, both dine-in and takeout, Checkerboards specializes in fresh??”never frozen??”seafood, Italian dishes, steaks and homemade soups. Salad dressings are freshly made. The chicken for the popular Cape Cod chicken salad wraps is cooked right in the restaurant.
Checkerboards offers beer, wine and full bar service, and features a “skinny martini” menu of low-calorie cocktails during the summer.
For functions, the dining room to the far right in the restaurant can be closed off to create a private room that can hold up to 75 people. The room has an Italian flair, with warm gold walls accented with new artwork, painted murals and new lighting.
Other customers can dine in the remodeled front section of the restaurant or in the bar area, which is equipped with both bar seating and high-top tables, when the second dining room is closed for private functions. The bar area includes flat-screen televisions so customers can watch their favorite sports and play Keno.
At dinnertime, most entrees run between $11.95 and $17.95, including such favorites as penne a la vodka with grilled chicken, baked haddock, pineapple sesame salmon, and grilled steak and portabella mushroom salad. There's prime rib every Saturday night. A children's menu offers dinner options from $4.95 up to $7.95 for barbecued ribs.
For lunch, the selection of hot or cold sandwiches is extensive, with the choice of small or large versions or wraps. Other options include burgers, homemade soups or entrée-size salads.? Customers can also select lunch portions of such popular entrees as seafood, steak tips, fried clams, lasagna, and other pasta dishes.
The pizza menu offers 25 different toppings to customize your pizza, and calzones can also include the fillings to order.
Checkerboards has a popular selection of flatbread pizzas for $12.95, a 12-inch thin crust pizza made from scratch in seven combinations, such as grilled eggplant, spinach, red peppers, goat cheese, marinara and mozzarella or grilled chicken, alfredo sauce, bacon, caramelized onions and mozzarella.
Checkerboards, at 10 Technology Drive in the shopping center at the intersection of Route 85 and the connector to I-290, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 978-562-4400 or visit the website, www.checkerboardsrestaurant.com. The catering menu and information on functions is available on the website.