We bravely turn to our toughest critics for the truth about our new menu.

With our new menu now available at all our pubs, we thought it was time to discover exactly what people think of it. Rather than hire a random outside marketing firm to run a statistical analysis, we did things the BBC way. We talked to our employees. Not only was this the perfect excuse for hitting the road on a gorgeous spring day, we knew the BBC crew wouldn’t pull any punches when offering their opinions.

Mandy at our Franklin pub.

Feeling much like the jittery cast of a Broadway show awaiting a review in the early edition of the New York Times after opening night – that might be a slight exaggeration – we climbed into the pub-mobile and struck out for our Franklin restaurant. Once there, we headed for the bar, where we were greeted by the effervescent Mandy, one of our bartenders. We explained our “mission du jour” and asked for her thoughts on the new menu.

Mandy’s favorite new item? The Tuscan Chicken, because “It’s moist and really flavorful.”

So far, so good. But Mandy wasn’t quite done opining. “But my fave has always been the Buffalo Chicken Dip,” she said of her longtime go-to menu item.

Good thing that’s still on the menu, right?

She also told us that a couple of regulars were missing our mac-and-cheese, but the ever-resourceful Mandy had quickly offered a solution to her customers. “I told them to just order a double portion of the mac-and-cheese on the kids’ menu. It’s the same recipe,” she said.

Our new yellowfin tuna club with seaweed salad and wasabi mayo; the tuna is like buttah!

Problem solved!

Mandy also mentioned that a customer lamented the lack of Buffalo chicken pizza on the new menu and, once again, she knew just what to do. She asked the kitchen to whip up a special order.

“If we have the stuff in the kitchen to make something a customer wants, we’ll always do it,” she said.

That’s true. Always has been, always will be.

Next, we turned to manager Kathy Gaskin, who wasted no time weighing in on her favorite new dish.

“It would have to be the Wild Mushroom Cavatelli. I like the blend of cheeses and all the different mushrooms,” she said, adding “I’m Italian, so more Italian food.”

We climbed back into the pub-mobile, pleased with the early results of our polling, and headed to Walpole where, once again, we went straight to the bar.

After complimenting bartender Lindsey Cadorette on her newest tattoo, we “popped the question,” and she explained that the overall reception for the menu has been great. We loved her response when we asked about her favorite new item.

Lindsay at our Walpole pub.

“The Chicken Focaccia,” she said. “The onions and gastrique are wicked good together!”

“Wicked good” – such a classic New England superlative.

Steve, a server, gave the Tuscan Chicken its second nod of the day. “It’s excellent; really juicy and the potatoes are awesome.”

With a second successful pub visit under our belts, we decided we had the stamina to hit one more location. Cape Cod bound!

After a few minutes enjoying the beach across the street from our Falmouth restaurant, we bellied up to the bar – we like bars, in case you hadn’t noticed – where we found Paul McMahon, a bartender who’s been with us since we opened. Ever the taciturn New Englander, Paul didn’t waste words when sharing his thoughts on the menu. “I like the Yellowfin Tuna Club,” he said.

While there wasn’t a lot of flowery praise in Paul’s response, it was still a pretty good way to end our day. Well, not end it, exactly. It’s possible we hung out enjoying the view of the beach for a while before heading home.

The beach across the street from our Falmouth pub; sometimes we get a little distracted from the task at hand.