Checkerboards Restaurant & Bar
Hudson – 2011 will mark the 20th anniversary of this popular full-service restaurant. To celebrate the exciting milestone, owner Christ Tsiros is planning to renovate the original dining space. The familiar red/black checkerboard motif will soon give way to granite countertops and updated décor.
Tsiros, his father-in-law, Joseph Martocci, and sister-in-law Jill Smith opened Checkerboards with a firm conviction that customers would welcome a homey, comfortable place to enjoy delicious homemade food – and they do! The steady expansion of the original restaurant space to its current 200-seat capacity in three distinct dining areas is evidence of Tsiros’s belief that “if you serve great food, provide good customer service, and keep the place really clean” customers will appreciate it and return for more. Families, business and community groups, friends and neighbors gather regularly at Checkerboards, where there is a full bar with wine, cocktails, beers on tap and Keno.
Checkerboards takes pride in providing diners with the finest and freshest ingredients in traditional Mediterranean specialties. All the food, including sauces, soups, salads and dressings, is prepared from scratch, much of it based on Executive Chef Joseph Martocci’s family recipes. His northern Italian heritage is evident in specialties like Penne A La Vodka, with grilled chicken in a light vodka cream sauce ($15.95); Chicken Al Pesto with homemade pesto (featuring basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil) served over linguine ($15.95); and 14-ounce Gorgonzola Sirloin ($17.95). Tsiros’s influence is seen in traditional Greek dinners served with grilled pita and homemade tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt sauce) accompanied by flavorful rice pilaf.
“For those customers here on their lunch hour, we can prepare food fast that tastes good and is healthy and fresh,” Tsiros said. He suggested the Thai salad with grilled chicken, served with a cilantro and peanut dressing, a Cape Cod chicken-cranberry wrap with choice of soup or salad or Tuna Sashimi with rice ($10.95 each).
Early Bird Specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. With daily lunch and dinner specials – and other dishes available in the separate catering menu – customers always have plenty of meal choices. The versatile menu keeps regular customers busy and not bored trying tasty new combinations, not only in their flavorful pizzas and calzones, but also in the time-honored pasta dishes, burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, soups and salads.
My husband and I enjoyed some of the remarkably fresh seafood during a lunchtime visit. He chose the Baked Haddock with moist crumb topping, accompanied by the tasty rice pilaf ($11.50). The meal was generous without the addition of side dishes. The rich buttery texture of my Pineapple Sesame Salmon was enhanced by a caramelized onion and roasted pineapple topping ($12.95). The quality of the seafood and the chef ’s careful preparation make these excellent values.
We tried hard to resist the temptation of several luscious homemade desserts off ered that day, including some great-looking cannoli, but opted to order a pizza to go for our evening meal. This version earned “favorite” status immediately – crispy flatbread spread with homemade pesto, covered with fresh baby spinach leaves, layered with creamy goat cheese, thinly sliced tomato rounds, and topped with mozzarella – it was delicious and crisped right up at home after a few minutes in a 375-degree oven. Cut into small squares, these pizzas make perfect party appetizers.
Parking is not a problem at this location in the Center Plaza at the junction of Route 85 and the I-290 connector. The restaurant is open Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Find menus and more information online at www.checkerboardsrestaurant.com or call 978-562-4400.
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