By Rod Lee
Robert “Gus” Giordano might not have known what to expect when he took the first steps towards opening Maxwell Luciano’s Banquet and Conference Center at Union Station in 2010, but people familiar with the Worcester restaurant scene were probably certain he would make it work.
With now fifty years in the entertainment and hospitality business behind him, going back to his days at Sir Morgan’s Cove and Steeple Bumstead and continuing on with Maxwell Silverman’s Toolhouse at Lincoln Square, Mr. Giordano has always been able to stand out as an innovator with a vision; and to do so with class.
In taking a break the afternoon of December 30th from setting up for a New Year’s Eve bash Maxwell Luciano’s would be hosting in the Grand Hall of Union Station, he said the city’s venerable transportation facility is a good fit for him.
“When we opened in ʼ76 the building (Maxwell Silverman’s, in a former factory) was in better condition but then our lease ran out and it was in need of heavy maintenance. We decided to move here and coordinate and combine Maxwell Silverman’s and Club Maxine into Maxwell Luciano’s,” he said.
One thing he will not miss on Union St., he said, are the elevators to the upper floors, which were a problematic aspect of the operation.
Although Union Station was “engulfed in staging” as it underwent renovations at the time, it has proven to be exactly what Mr. Giordano was looking for as a way to continue his emphasis on providing residents of the city and the region with dining and dancing.
In large part because of his uncanny knack for anticipating what people want, the changeover has been relatively seamless. With Luciano’s Cotton Club, where patrons can dine in a setting that speaks romance and nostalgia, the Grand Hall where functions including weddings can be held in “the timeless elegance of Union Station,” and John Dillinger’s Barbecue Grille, which will offer seasonal patio dining, Mr. Giordano has the perfect ingredients to add to his reputation as one of the city’s leading restaurateurs.
“We feel very comfortable here,” he said, while chatting next to the bar of Luciano’s Cotton Club—as impressive a space for a quiet evening out—or Sunday brunch, which is a carryover from Maxwell Silverman’s—as can be found anywhere in Central Massachusetts.
“Development around us is good. For New Year’s Eve, dining and dancing, we are close to being sold out.
“We will be opening soon for lunch, because of cannabis,” he said, in reference to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, which is in the process of establishing its headquarters at Union Station. “Cannabis,” as he puts it, will bring “one hundred fifty employees” to the facility.
The addition of a police substation on-site, creating a “safe haven” for those who come and go including patrons of commuter rail, is another plus, he said. Worcester Police Department Chief Steve Sargent “is doing a phenomenal job.”
Maxwell Luciano’s Banquet and Conference Center at Union Station has enabled Mr. Giordano to cover a typical week with a variety of enticements: Sunday brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (on the patio during the summer), dinner from 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday, soon an express lunch buffet, Broadway shows and other attractions. A “Moonlight Serenade” on Saturday, February 15th, will feature “Mike Dutra and his nine-piece swing band as Sinatra” and “Jay Gates as Rod Stewart.” Tickets are $62.50 each for cocktails and a sit-down dinner.
“Validated garage parking” is offered, he noted.
Weddings and proms have become a staple, Mr. Giordano said. “All of May was sold out and 80% of the proms we hosted in May and June came from outside the city.”
Maxwell Silverman’s at Lincoln Square “stood the test of time,” he said. The new Maxwell Luciano’s is an extension of that with “a Gatsby-like theme.”
“We’re happy doing what we do now,” he said.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.