Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, May 9, 2014

Local Best From Tires To Clams

Lately, I have been praising a couple of products that I use, and felt that you would appreciate them as well.    A neighbors recommendation.

Although, I am beginning to feel a bit like Angie's List, I want to share about a few local businesses today.

There are lots of small businesses here in town, and many of them I have used at one time or another, and I would recommend to a friend.  Others, I have experienced, and they did not impress me.  Most of them did not survive, and some, unfortunately,  are still here.

Below are a few of the local businesses I recommend.

C&R Tire in Fiskdale
I have used C&R Tire on Route 20 in Fiskdale since I came to town fourteen years ago.  Everyone needs a local mechanic when they outgrow the dealership, or are as an alternative to the dealer.  A mechanic that is honest with their pricing, and, diagnosing of your cars issues is paramount.  I have brought several different cars I have owned to Mike and Dave at C&R, and not once have I felt like I was being "taken to the mechanic", and getting worked over. The diagnoses has been real, and the pricing good; much better than a dealer would offer.  They also offer great personal service as well. They'll drop me off at home when I leave a vehicle off, and pick me up when the job is complete.  And, they are local.

I've used the Finer Cut on Main Street just before Shaw's Plaza,  in Sturbridge for years.  They take walk-ins, and Ellie, the owner, and Marie, are nice people.  They run a good shop, and know how to cut hair.  I have no clue about the other things they do to hair, such as coloring, and such, but they've been tending to the hair needs of local folks for a long time.  A good haircut is something one always needs, and they deliver.

Micknuck's Fresh Marketplace in Fiskdale is a local market that we frequent a couple of times each
week.  Their produce is fresh, and their meat department is the very best.  They will take special orders, and are always baking, or making something in their kitchen.  They offer everything from wraps, and sandwiches, to custom cut meats, prepared fish, and pork.  Several different macaroni salads, potato salads, and many different cold cuts.

We also frequent The Duck at the Whistling Swan, and Avellino's.   Recently, I raved about Avellino's.  The Duck is upstairs in the loft.  It is a great casual gathering place with live music on weekends nights.  The bar is very comfortable.  Sunken a few feet, and surrounded by very comfortable chairs.  The bar staff are great.  They believe in service, and are very good at what they do.  The menu at The Duck makes it well worth a visit.

Last night we visited Sturbridge Seafood on Main Street beside Sal's Pizza.  Today, I am adding it to my list of neighborly recommendations.   The menu is awesome.  Mary had the honey crusted horseradish salmon, and I went went with my old standby that I use to judge seafood restaurants, whole belly fried clams.

Both were fantastic.  Really.

Fried clams is such a New England staple, and they are made as many different ways as their are clam shacks.  The trick to making them worthwhile is to use only fresh clams, and the batter cannot be an afterthought.   A  good taste, without being overly textured, and crunchy is best.  It cannot take away from the taste of the clam.  The batter on my clams last night was perfection.  The clams were so fresh I had to send them to their rooms for the night.  Mary's salmon was also very, very good.  The horseradish gave her salmon a little bit of a kick without overwhelming the salmons fresh taste.  Jenny had the fish taco, and she loved it.  She told us it was great, and that is a great review.

Great food, and a great menu aren't the only things that a restaurant needs to succeed.  They need a great chef, and they have one.  Ken Yukimura is chef, and owner, and he has big plans for expansion that are now underway.  The next requirement needed for any restaurant to succeed is to have the right customer service attitude in place from the very beginning so that it becomes a culture.

They have that part  down pat as well.  Last night our server was Faith,  a young woman, that was truly personable, and real.  She was efficient, personable with a great sense of humor.  She never appeared harried, and when she was standing beside our table it was very evident we had her attention.  If you are treated rudely, or the service at your table is lacking, you will not want to repeat that experience despite the food being great.  We will be repeating our visit to Sturbridge Seafood again.  They're on the list now.

So, there you have it.  Some of the local businesses in town that impress us, and that we frequent.  There are many more as well, but I'll save those for another time.  I really am starting to feel like Angie.

1 comment:

  1. I am big fan of County Line. While they do not have everything they have a lot of what i need without having to go to Home Depot when something runs afoul at the house.

    Another place i really like is Village Styles. What a nice place to get a hair cut, they make you feel so at home, the hot towel treatment is awesome, something that i never thought i would have done to me. A frosted mug of beer is a nice touch as well.


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