By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Hudson – In an era where restaurants seem to come and go, Checkerboards Restaurant & Bar is definitely one bucking that trend. This month, the Hudson restaurant, which is owned by Chris Tsiros, his father-in-law Joe Martocci and sister-in-law Jill Smith, will be its celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The restaurant has always been located at 10 Technology Drive in Hudson.
“We started literally with four walls and a ceiling, about 1,500-1,800 feet,” Tsiros recalled. “I have always been in the business and wanted to own my own place. When my sister-in-law graduated from college, we all decided it would be a good time to try going on our own.”
Since that time, Checkerboards has gone through several expansions, first adding a bar 20 years ago and then a dining room 10 years ago.
Although the restaurant seats 200, ensuring that you never have to wait for a table for more than a few minutes, it is at the same time cozy and welcoming.
The large dining room features spacious booths, warm gold walls, and painted artwork and murals. The bar has a pub-type atmosphere, with bar seating and high top tables. Flat screen televisions are in all of the dining areas so you can watch your favorite sporting events. Keno is also available in each dining area.
One thing that has not changed is the owners’ commitment to serving fresh, delicious food, always made from scratch.
“There are three things that are critical for us – great food at a fair price, excellent customer service and cleanliness,” Tsiros said.
Many of the recipes the restaurant uses are based on North Italian recipes passed down in Martocci’s family, he noted.
“We take pride in cooking all of our own Italian sauces, including marinara, pesto, and our number one selling pasta entrée, Penne Ala Vodka,” he said.
Owning a restaurant is one thing; operating one that is consistently successful, especially for a milestone such as 25 years is quite another. It has not always been easy, Tsiros admits.
“We’ve had to face 9/11, recessions in 1991 and 2008, which affected not just us, of course, but other businesses,” he said. “It’s a trickle-down effect. Even things such as gas prices going up, which leaves people with less expendable income, affects restaurants.”
In spite of all this, the restaurant continues to thrive, offering myriad choices, all while continuing to ensure delicious, food cooked on the premises from scratch.
“We offer a variety of Italian dishes such as Veal Milano, lobster, seafood specialty over linguine, homemade eggplant, manicotti, and freshly baked chicken parm dinners,” he said. “Other dinner options include our famous marinated steak tips, prime rib served every Saturday, vegetarian stir fry and our 14 ounces gorgonzola sirloin.
“Our seafood is always fresh and the portions are more than generous. Seafood selections include baked haddock Florentine, pineapple sesame salmon, grilled swordfish steaks, tuna Barcelona, homemade salmon burgers, and all the fried seafood plates, including clams, haddock, scallops and oysters.”
They also offer vegan, low-carb and gluten-free options.
The restaurant is also offering once again their new summer “skinny martini” menu, which was very popular last year.
“Our staff, many of whom have been with us for a long time, are the best,” Tsiros said. “We couldn’t be as success without them or our many loyal customers. We are very grateful for their support over the years.”
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.
The restaurant 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. They also offer catering services for corporate parties, funeral collations or family parties, either at the restaurant or off site.
For more information, call 978-562-4400 or visit the website, www.checkerboardsrestaurant.com. Be sure to also visit their Facebook page, where they feature lots of fun facts about food and photos of the friendly staff as well as their featured entrees.