We sat down with Kevin and Matt, a couple of regulars at our Danvers pub, for a long lunch.
Tooling around the region and popping into our pubs for a pint and a convo is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Luckily, we’re that someone. On a recent trip to our Danvers location, we bellied up and chatted with Bridget, the always-smiling bartender. Within a few minutes, a couple of guys settled into the stools next to us and it wasn’t long before we’d settled into a lengthy conversation with Kevin Place and his cohort, Matt.
Both Kevin and Matt are from families with deep roots on the North Shore; Kevin’s in Gloucester and Matt’s in Essex. Matt’s family owns The Village Restaurant, which has been a local fave since 1956. He was a bartender there until he met Kevin, a customer at the bar. As Matt was explaining this, Kevin weighed in with a succinct, “Good drinks,” comment and left it at that. How very New England.
Just a few weeks before we were hanging with them at our Danvers restaurant, Matt had left the family biz and started working with Kevin. Since 1977, Kevin has owned a construction company – the aptly-named The Building Place – which builds the occasional house, but is more focused on specialty projects like boat building and lighthouse restoration. How very New England.
It was hard to believe that Kevin and Matt hadn’t been buddies for decades. Their nonstop repartee – and we do mean nonstop – seemed like the banter of lifelong friends. And the way in which they approached their mid-week lunch was just the way we like to do it; long and leisurely with multiple courses and a bit of beer added to the mix.
While Matt had no problem chatting – and we do mean no problem – Kevin was a little more hesitant to engage. Maybe it was the beer that finally got Kevin to speak more than two words, but we think it may have been Bridget. When we asked what two guys from ‘up north’ were doing in Danvers, Kevin said, “Bridget is one of the reasons I come here. She has such a great personality.” Whoa; that was like a whole sentence. Once he got going, Kevin was happy to talk.
We mentioned that our next stop was Portsmouth and Kevin kindly shared suggestions on what to do and where to go. “Make sure you go to Strawberry Banke Park and try to get to Cava. It’s a great bar. If you have time, go up Kittery and check out The Wallingford Dram.” Clearly, the man is a fan of ‘great bars.’ As far as Manchester, MA, renaming itself as Manchester-by-the-Sea? So not a fan. We got an earful about an age-old North Shore town “rebranding” itself. But that’s a story for another time.