By Amy Palumbo-LeClaire
The town of Sutton has been noted for numerous attractions, including (in no particular order) historical landmarks, a strong school system, competitive sports teams and lofty lake properties. Upscale restaurants, though seemingly suitable to a stylish town, have somehow eluded its offerings.
Until August 16.
Brickstone Kitchen - a family-owned restaurant whose head chef, Anthony Joseph, brings forth experience (classical Italian training), the helpful hands of family (he works alongside his wife, Jen, daughter, Sara, and son-in-law, Justin) and a wide variety of gourmet dishes - has satisfied the Sutton craving.
New beginnings have led neighbors, friends—and friends of friends who know of Joseph’s cooking—straight to a Brickstone booth, table, or bar seat. The experienced chef, despite his notoriety (Anthony Joseph also owns Restaurant 45 in Medway and previously owned the former Peppercorns of Worcester) seems to take in all that he’s accomplished with the stride of someone simply doing what he does best.
“It’s not a rocket science,” he said, wearing a thick, stained white apron and grabbing a few minutes to chat with guests at the bar area. “It’s hard work but I have a good idea for the flavor of food. I love to eat and I know what good food should taste like. We didn’t expect to be this busy but apparently there was a need for the restaurant in this area. If you prepare good food, people will come,” he added warmly. Along with the demands of the restaurant business, Mr. Joseph takes competition in stride. “Competition is good. I’m confident with what I do and welcome competition to the area to bring more people in. I wish everyone well.”
While Brickstone Kitchen’s head chef wishes everyone well, his locals have comfortably settled in to oblige—ordering from a menu reflective of items From the Sea, From the Land or even a Sutton Favorite, such as the Chicken Emma, which includes “two parmesan panko crusted boneless breast of chicken over potato gnocchi in a pesto cream sauce topped with light dressed arugula and crisp prosciutto.” The Chicken Anthony, equally as delish, is prepared with “a sautéed boneless breast of chicken with mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted pine nuts in a brandy balsamic vinegar cream sauce over linguine.” A Kafta burger is seasoned with a cucumber mint yogurt sauce. Small wedges of pesto chicken, along with marinated mushrooms, accent his antipasto while mango jalapeno jam tops off a Caribbean burger served on a toasted brioche bun. In short, it ‘s hard not to find something good to eat at Sutton’s Brickstone Kitchen.
“It’s been excellent so far,” said Chuck Magnuson of Sutton, who sampled a variety of dishes at the bar. “Anthony is the best chef. Last week we tried the Salmon Leah. It was unbelievable.” His wife, Tanya, sipping a bowl of homemade clam chowder, mentioned that her grandfather was a lobster fisherman, and owned a Cape Cod house. “I know my seafood and chowder,” she joked. “This is so good.”
Anthony Joseph’s Mediterranean (Lebanese/Italian) style of cooking is not only “good,” it has also drawn a crowd that’s willing to navigate a not-so-ideal destination which requires Suttonites to take Millbury’s Main Street exit, round a rotary, and head back in the opposite direction (south). “It’s his flair on things,” said Jen Joseph, wife of Anthony, who casually pulls a tray of cookie dough from the oven. “We’re hoping to get the brick oven going but don’t want to spread ourselves to thin at this point. Right now, we just want to concentrate on what’s working and keep up with our guests.”
Restaurant Manager Lindsay Kraska, a graduate of Nichols College and Johnson and Wales, happily keeps up with Brickstone guests; helping to seat and serve them. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is work in the restaurant business. There’s always something different. We have a great group of girls that work together. People love the food and the craft beers. It’s awesome.”
The Brickstone Kitchen bar sits below elegant lighting and stocks a variety of pale ales on tap, including local brews such as the Ocoberfest and Belgian IPA. According to bartender Jackie Kennedy, all beers are rotated for freshness and catered to customer preference. Brickstone Kitchen also prides itself in non-alcoholic mixes, such as their signature Strawberry Basil Smash.
Anthony’s daughter, Sara, a Salve Regina college graduate, soccer star, and soon-to-be bride, recalls growing up with her family’s signature dishes while she tends bar. “We ate well. If someone mentioned eating a frozen dish, I’d say, um, no.”
Incidentally, it’s been said that Anthony Joseph has treated those he’s worked with in the kitchen “like family.” Steve Poirier (Steve-O) sipped a favorite IPA while commenting on what it was like to work for Mr. Joseph “many cycles ago” at Medway’s Restaurant 45. “I’m really excited about what he’s doing here. From Anthony, I learned of new recipes, how to be a great cook, how to have fun in the kitchen and maintain a family atmosphere. With him, everyone is important in the kitchen and in the entire restaurant itself. Anthony was always big on ensuring that everyone greeted one another. One time he called out an employee for not saying hello to another co-worker. He told the person that he made someone else feel bad. In Anthony’s kitchen, everyone needs to be together.”
Visit Brickstone Kitchen on 4 Worcester-Providence Turnpike, find them on Facebook, view them at www.brickstonekitchen.com or call them for Take Out,