It seems the Maykel family has bootlegged their own property. One of Worcester’s first gluten-free and vegan-friendly restaurants (EVO) is survived by a completely redefined destination- Bootleggers Prohibition Pub. With far more than just a menu makeover, the entire space has been redesigned into a throwback saloon that would make the 1920’s jealous. Reclaimed wood beams and tables (literally reclaimed from his father’s decking according to Chef Albert Maykel) adorn the space accompanied by a big center bar and a chalkboard proudly displaying a wide variety of specialty moonshine.

My night begins and ends with a French 77- a concoction of cucumber gin, champagne, lemon juice and St. Germain. I was pleased to see some lemon pulp in the drink- ensuring me that the bartenders are using all fresh ingredients. I was peer-pressured into ordering an appetizer (much to my delight) and landed on the Southern Fried Lollypop Wings. It was the perfect size- 3 fried chicken pops served on a bed of coleslaw and bourbon infused maple syrup. I hate when appetizers are so big that they ruin your meal. The menu is what I expected – burgers, pressed sandwiches and flatbread pizza all appropriately named for the decade. However, a couple of sections stood out as different- Street Tacos and Prohibition (Hot) Dogs. I was tempted by the dogs but as many of you know, I spend much of my summer watching the Worcester Bravehearts at Hanover Insurance Park… eating hot dogs and drinking beer, so I decided to order the Blackberry Moonshiner Burger. This half-pound burger came covered in blackberry moonshine barbecue sauce topped with blue cheese, apple cider fromage, bacon, lettuce and onion. The combination of the cheese and BBQ sauce did make this a messy burger, albeit delicious. I just wouldn’t recommend ordering it on a first date. One of my dinner companions ordered the same thing so I felt completely justified in my general attack on this Angus beef patty. The litany of sides you can choose from is impressive- french fries, sweet potato fries, green beans and on and on. I must admit, I was jealous when my burger buddy’s meal came with a side of golden plantains that looked incredible. My fries weren’t great but you know that feeling… food guilt from what you wish you had ordered.

Service here was great, from friendly smiles at the entrance to attentive barmaids. The prices are very reasonable and the bar looks like a great place to belly-up at for Sunday football.

I think Bootleggers will make it’s mark on the Chandler St./Park Ave neighborhood. I asked Chef Maykel if there are any plans to add a password protected room or some kind of menu item that only appears by request… he smiled and said “maybe someday”. I guess I’ll have to just keep checking in to see how things shape up.