Adam Hicks, owner of the Depot St Tavern in Milford, MA felt Worcester’s busy new food scene would be the perfect place to open what he described as “a classic neighborhood pub” to the Canal District.
With that in mind, Hicks persuaded award-winning chef Chris O’Hara (2018 Worcester’s Best Chef, Worcester’s Chili & Chowder Fest winner) to leave the Flying Rhino and join him on his adventure. O’Hara, who has been part of the Worcester dining scene for over 20 years, is leaning on that experience to build a creative but approachable menu ranging from Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and Stick E. Bacon starters, to ½ pound burgers, to Shrimp and Grits and Bloody Mary Steak Frites.
Located at 64 Water Street (old Perfect Game space) in the ever-changing Canal District, Maddi’s interior uses exposed brick, reclaimed wood and hand-built furniture to create a semi-industrial neighborhood pub atmosphere that is welcoming and relaxing. As Lynn described it “I loved the décor and vibe”. Take the creative menu, the décor and add 20 beers on tap, a nice selection of whiskeys and an outdoor patio that seats 100 and Maddi’s has something for everyone.
Once we all arrived we sat at a large table in the back dining room of the restaurant. This room, complete with a bar, huge TVs and lots of Worcester-related décor is a nice, comfortable space to enjoy dinner. Popular appetizers were the Buffalo Chicken Meatballs (chicken meatballs, fennel apple slaw, poblano ranch dressing, topped with home-made buffalo sauce) and the Stick E. Bacon (thick cut Applewood-smoked bacon,srirachaa, brown sugar).
Our initial service was prompt, with our table being assigned a few different servers. Drink and app orders were taken as our group reviewed the extensive menu. With only a few items on the menu approaching $20, the choices were plenty for an affordable dinner.
Steve started his night with the aforementioned Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, as well as sharing the BBQ Chicken Poutine which he described as “amazing”.
Robyn enjoyed the “Wings your Way” to start, offering, “the dry rubbed wings were a great combination of spicy and sweet (and had quite a zing to them).”
A variety of drinks were served during as we enjoyed the appetizers. Lynn found the Fall Drink Special – a caramel apple sangria – to be “spot on and very tasty.”
Meals were served and interestingly enough, the Fried Chicken and Waffle was the choice for many of the Foodies.
Evan told us, “It was a perfect balance of spicy and sweet in each bite. Plenty spicy but not over the top. The cheddar bacon waffle is homemade and was flavorful and moist. The best part was the jalepeno infused maple syrup that added the sweetness and subtle lingering heat after each bite. To top it all off, literally, was a sunny side up egg. The yolk added a creamy texture of richness of the meal”. Robyn echoed most sentiments saying her Chicken and Waffles were “crisp and spicy, with a nice jalepeno syrup.”
Dana thought the Chicken and Waffles were “excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it”. The syrup added heat and cut the sweet of the syrup perfectly and balanced the overall flavor very well”.
Stephanie had a mixed take on her meal. “For my meal,” she explained, “I ordered the Scallops and Grits. The meal itself was average and a bit pricey. The scallops are charred to the point of being overdone and the polenta was more of a cement like texture than I would like.” But she added, “The buffalo wing appetizer was large and the wings were drenched in a nice spicy sauce. The flavor was delicious…I also had bites of the Stick E. Bacon and Poutine, which were fabulous.”
“We started with the Red Pepper Hummus which had lots of flavor and was delicious. For my meal, I had a huge beet salad with plump enormous shrimp, very tasty, plenty of food. The herbed goat cheese was smooth and creamy and added very unique texture to the salad,” said Julie.
For the author’s meal, I had the Teriyaki Turkey Tips and found them to be outstanding. They were plentiful and served over a coconut black rice that was moist and delicious. The broccolini and mango salsa added some additional flavors and textures that made the meal complete.
As with so many places our group visits, there were lots of good and a few that just missed the mark. Overall the Foodies thought Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse delivered an above average meal, with great service.
Julie summed it up well, “Maddi’s is a comfortable, neighborhood pub in the Canal District that serves good food with a twist at reasonable prices.”