By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough—Thomas Oliveri is bringing locally grown and raised vegetables, grains and meats to a contemporary American restaurant in the heart of Westborough.
Civic Kitchen & Drink opened in April, and Oliveri explained he chose the name hoping that the restaurant will be a type of civic center and gathering spot for the community. “We felt Westborough is a dynamic community that could support a concept like ours.”
Civic Kitchen took over operation of the restaurant space at the Westborough Country Club, but Oliveri noted that, while the previous operation catered to the golfers, “We are not a golf club restaurant, but rather a restaurant that happens to be located next to a golf course.”
He emphasized that Civic Kitchen is open to the general public and will be open year round, even when the golf course is covered with snow.
Oliveri is no newcomer to the restaurant industry. “I’ve been around the business since my dad opened Bushel N Peck in 1980 in Worcester, which he has since sold.” Oliveri owns two other restaurants, Peppercorn’s Grille & Tavern in Worcester and Prezo Grille & Bar in Milford, as well as the Wormtown Brewery in Worcester.
With Civic Kitchen, he has decided to source as much of the food and drink as possible locally. “I’d say about 80 per cent of our ingredients come from within 60 miles of the restaurant,” including from Harvey’s Farm in Westborough and Lettuce Be Local in Sterling, with meats from Lilac Hedge Farm in Holden.
“All our beer comes from New England breweries as well,” he said.
The menu features a limited selection of carefully prepared entrees. “We have a very small kitchen, and we work with top-quality ingredients that are seasonally available,” he noted.
Typical entrees include seared scallops, pork chops from a farm in Maine, chicken, short ribs and the popular fish and chips with a beer batter made from Wormtown’s IPA. A best seller is the Civic Burger, made with Lilac Hedge grass-fed beef.
“Compared to many of the farm-to-table restaurants in the area, we are less expensive. Our dinner entrees run about $18 to $22.”
Chef Rick Araujo is just about as local as the restaurant’s ingredients. The Southborough native studied at the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University, and has worked at Arturo’s in Westborough, Tomasso Trattoria in Southborough, and VIA Italian Table in Worcester. The appetizer menu features his signature homemade pork meatballs.
Oliveri renovated the space for a relaxed, contemporary look, with lots of windows and a quiet taupe and cream color scheme. There’s a large deck for outdoor dining during warm weather, with views of the golf course. Dress is casual, and children are welcome.
Civic also has private space available for functions and interesting appetizer and entrée menus, available on the website, www.civickitchenanddrink.com. “We can handle up to about 100 people for functions such as showers, corporate events, rehearsal dinners and private parties,” he said.
Civic Kitchen & Drink is located at 121 West Main St. in Westborough and is open seven days a week. For additional information or reservations, see the website, www.civickitchenanddrink.com or call 508-329-5179.