Worcester’s downtown renaissance has garnered a lot of well-deserved media attention lately. A few years back the Galleria Shopping Mall was torn down and Front Street was reconnected to the downtown area making room for the City Square revitalization project. New upscale hotels like the AC Marriott have opened, 145 Front Street built 230 brand new luxury apartments, new retail outlets have opened and yes…a new restaurant has moved in!
Right smack in the middle of downtown – right beside the aforementioned AC Marriott – sits the 110 Grill. This brand new, 7,000 square-foot restaurant opened in May 2018 and the Foodies recently made it the location of their latest gathering.
The Foodies have stayed away from chain restaurants, but the 110 Grill is a bit different. It is a smaller, localized chain, having opened their first restaurant in Chelmsford, MA in 2015. Since then they have added 13 other locations with Worcester being the latest addition. Everyone was excited to try their take on Modern American Cuisine.
The restaurant has a large, bright lounge area with a nice 30 seat U-shaped bar, a great selection of craft beers and an impressive wine list. The open kitchen overlooks the dining area and there is a small function room that can be utilized for larger parties, meetings and special events. Outside there is a very cool outdoor patio and fire pit that was bustling on the beautiful summer evening we visited.
The overall feel of the restaurant is one of casual elegance. Warm rich wood, contemporary details, open and clean visual lines. When you walk in, you immediately feel comfortable and welcome. As Lindsay put it, “Big windows along the front of the restaurant allow you to overlook some of downtown Worcester’s new sights. I can’t wait to spend and evening on the patio trying some options from the cocktail menu”. Stephanie added, “I was born and raised in Worcester and I really enjoy seeing my City grow and thrive.
Evan described the menu at the 110 Grill as “fresh takes on some American Classics.” Both the lunch and dinner menus are extensive, with lots of choices to satisfy any mood, from light and casual salads, burgers, comfort classics such as Meatloaf or Mac & Cheese, to pasta and fish dishes or all out with a NY Sirloin or Rib Eye Steak.
We all arrived and were seated immediately as our server began the process of taking drink and app orders. The restaurant’s GM Patrick McClelland was kind enough to send over some chef’s tastings before our meals. The large plates, made up of a medley of roasted red pepper hummus, tzatziki sauce, fig jam, candied walnuts, grapes, artichokes, olives and grilled naan, set the bar very high. Looking down the long high-top table it seemed everyone enjoyed these starters as a variety of drinks including bourbons, draught beers, wines and more were brought to the table.
The table also ordered a number of other appetizers. Robyn thought “the apps were excellent. The Deep-fried Pickles were cooked perfectly and came with two unique dipping sauces. The Calamari was crispy outside and tender and hot inside. But her favorite app was the Hot Crab Dip, something she said, “I will order again when I return.”
On to the main courses…
The Pesto Pasta, either with chicken or without, was a popular choice. Evan said, “The Chicken Pesto Pasta was seasoned beautifully, with the pesto fresh and large shavings of cheese abundant on top.” Julie thought it was “delicious and huge, plenty big enough to serve two people.”
Amanda had the Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad along with The Grilled Salmon. She thought “the salmon was cooked perfectly, very tender and flaky. The salad was colorful and crisp, and the variety of ingredients really complemented each other well.” She also tried a taste of the BBQ Pork Mac & Cheese and added “it was amazing.”
Steve reiterated Amanda’s thoughts on the BBQ Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese saying, “it was very tasty and something I would absolutely order again.”
“The Cuban Swordfish was fantastic,” said Dana. The blackened swordfish was well seasoned and grilled perfectly with a nice char. The black bean, corn and rice salad came with sour cream and refreshing citrus flavors that countered the blackened fish nicely,” he added.
Anna had Salmon dish as well saying, “the food was tasty – my 110 Salmon was substantial in size, cooked perfectly and served over a bed of chilled noodles making it the perfect dish for a hot summer night.”
Personally, I had one of 110 Grill’s “signature dishes” – the 110 Meatloaf. The beef, pork and veal combination was tender, moist and flavorful. Crispy onion strings were added on top to add texture and the Sriracha sauce gave the dish a spicy kick that completed the dish.
Stephanie had the meatloaf also, we exchanged notes and both felt the dish was outstanding. She added, “the meatloaf was tender and the Sriracha sauce added a nice sweet & spicy heat. The accompanying potatoes were creamy and well-seasoned as well.”
The 110 Grill staff was outstanding. As noted previously, the restaurant’s GM was highly attentive and personable, and not just at our table. I watched him great guests, deliver food and in general, lend a hand wherever needed. The support staff and servers were always close by, food service was outstanding and food quality was very high.
Drew re-capped what most everyone was saying when we finished our meals by adding, “I liked everything about the 110 Grill. The ambience, service and food were all very good. A step up from the usual chain restaurant and a solid anchor for the revitalized downtown area.”
Overall our experience at the 110 Grill was excellent with many of us making plans to revisit, especially during the warmer months to enjoy the patio!