By Sam Bonacci at Mass Live
WORCESTER — A $600,000 expansion has grown seating at Armsby Abbey by upwards of 30 people while allowing for faster service with a more varied menu out of a new kitchen.
“The demand is there and people are really excited about the expansion and the back space with the new kitchen,” said Sherri Sadowski, who co-owns the business with her husband Alec Lopez. “There’s so much on the creative side of things that we haven’t even been able to touch yet.”
If there is one thing that patrons have been asking for at Armsby Abbey since the location opened in 2008, it’s room for larger parties, said Sadowski. The Abbey has regularly had to turn down requests for renting the restaurant, she said. Now, a 30-person seating area opens up the restaurant to large groups while cutting down the wait time for seating when it’s not booked.
“With the back room there are so many possibilities,” said Sherri of the semi-private restaurant space.
The new area also offers a more intimate dining experience for couples, she said. While the format of sharing food and sitting at long tables with other couples has worked in the restaurant, the seating towards the back of the restaurant will offer more tables designed for groups of two and four.
“The smaller groups that come in here — the couples, the date nights — now we can allow them to come to Armsby Abbey and have that date night,” said Sadowski.
Along with the expansion comes a state-of-the-art kitchen providing quicker service and new culinary combinations. The seasonal nature of the menu continues with the restaurant using locally available food, said Sadowski.
Comfort foods play a prominent role on the menu especially as the winter months settle in, with additions such as the pig skin carbonara with noodles made of pig skin being added. Gone are the pizza ovens, but a flatbread fills the place of the much loved option.
The initial vision for Armsby Abbey was a bar with a wide variety of beer, solid cocktails that would be rounded out by locally-grown comfort food, said Sadowski. Within the first year, she said it became apparent that the food would play a more central role than ever planned. With the additional seating and new kitchen the demand can be fully met.
“Alec and I in our wildest dreams never expected Armsby Abbey to take off like it did,” said Sherri. “People really latched on to what we are passionate about.”