Neighborhood restaurant features something for everyone
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Hudson – At first glance, Checkerboards Restaurant looks like a great place to get a pizza. And it is. But this Hudson mainstay, welcoming customers for over 20 years, is also a great place to have dinner, with a wide variety of entrees, all made fresh.
Checkerboards has recently been renovated, with new booths and warm wood trim in the front dining room. There's a popular bar seating area where customers can enjoy sports on several large-screen televisions. And for quieter dining, a separate room has an Italian feel with warm gold walls accented with new artwork, painted murals and new lighting.
My husband and I stopped in for dinner one recent Saturday night and opted for the dining room, sitting in one of the comfortable booths.
Checkerboards” menu is extensive, and then there's a full page of daily specials to choose from. It's really hard to decide.
If you are in the mood for a sandwich or a burger, there are hot and cold varieties, most under $9. There are homemade soups and salads that can be turned into a meal with the addition of chicken, shrimp or steak tips.
Checkerboards” pizza dough is made fresh daily and pizzas are available in a mini version and 10-inch and 16-inch sizes. Start with the restaurant's fresh tomato sauce and dress it up with your choice of about 25 different toppings. Or design your own calzone.
Want a different pizza? Try the restaurant's seven 12-inch flatbread choices, $12.95 each, with such interesting combinations as steak, gorgonzola, mushrooms and caramelized onions, or grilled chicken, bacon and caramelized onions with Alfredo sauce.
Dinner entrees include a variety of pasta options under $16, such as penne a la vodka, lasagna, and tortellini with meat sauce. Prime rib is available on Saturday nights, or choose from sirloin steak, steak tips, barbecued baby back ribs or any of the day's specials, which include seasonal dishes.
We focused on Checkerboards” seafood options for dinner. Chris Tsiros, who owns the restaurant with his sister-in-law, Jill Smith, and her father, Joe Martocci, pointed out proudly that his seafood is always fresh, never frozen, and comparable to that served in high-end seafood restaurants.
I was having a hard time choosing between baked haddock, $17.95, or the lobster seafood special, $19.95, so I asked our server for her advice. Both, she said, are great, but “we are the only place that serves the lobster seafood special and it's phenomenal.” I was convinced. My husband went with the baked scallops.
Entrees come with a large salad that includes pepperoncini, black olives and red cabbage and onions. Your choice of dressing is served on the side. Enjoy the salad with the basket of warm fresh bread. Wines by the glass are reasonably priced.
The lobster seafood special is phenomenal. Tender scallops, shrimp and chunks of lobster meat are served over linguine tossed in a very light cream sauce flecked with additional bits of lobster.
Smith told me it's one of their most popular entrees. The cream sauce is delicately flavored with parmesan and there's a slight hint of spiciness. “When my father is making the sauce, he briefly sautés some jalapeno as he starts,” she said.
The baked scallops were a simple treatment that let the delicate flavor come through, about 15 scallops baked with butter and a dusting of crumbs, served piping hot in a casserole dish. The scallops, moist and not overcooked, were served with a choice of potato, rice or pasta on the side.
The restaurant welcomes families, and offers a children's menu with eight choices for $4.95 to $7.95. Takeout is available, as is catering.
Checkerboards is located at 10 Technology Drive in Hudson, in the shopping center at the intersection of Route 85 and the connector to I-290. It 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.