Terra Brasilis Restaurant – #11 on the Return Tour

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Hermit crabs do not grow their own shells. They find a shell that will fit them and their growth and use their abdomen to stretch out and form a tight bond with the shell. They need to do this because their abdomen is the most vulnerable part of their anatomy, so they need a shell, any shell to protect it. As they get bigger, they must give up their shell and find another, one that isn’t snug and looks good at school. They usually use abandoned sea snail shells, but they will use wood or rock if they must in a pinch. Even cans or cups have been used.

Terra Brasilis is a new restaurant in Worcester. It is a Brazilian restaurant. It is housed  in what for years was Picadilly Pub. It offers authentic Brazillian food and smelled good and on Sunday night there were a good amount of people trying the cuisine.

I was at that Picadilly Pub several times, it was my go to place for food when I couldn’t decide where to go. I even spent time at the bar. So I am familiar with what it was like.

Terra Brasilis changed nothing. They just found the shell and stretched their belly to fit.The pale wood, the odd seating system, everything seamed the same. The bar is the same as well, a large wooden slab. I had a strange moment of vertigo, wondering where I was. Was I in a new Brazilian joint in 2016 or was I getting a boneless buffalo wings and an over salted bowl of old popcorn at the Picadilly in 2003?

This is not the first time I have been at a hermit crab bar. Where the shell is the same though they sing and dance and say how different it all is. It makes sense. Starting a bar or restaurant is a tough thing to do, and if there is a decor already there, then what the hell, let’s keep it and it will all work out. I mean they know we are new and hip and so so so different.

The only thing different at the bar that I could see was that the tvs were showing Soccer rather than football or basketball highlights.

I had a gin and tonic, the gin was Tanqueray and it was a nice drink. I can’t remember what price it was, but it wasn’t a lot. The place was nice, the staff was nice, the people eating seemed happy going up and getting the incredible meats and sides.

I just wished it looked like itself, and not like the place it used to be. It’s like dressing up your current girlfriend to look like your ex.

I wish it well. I hope the people find it and like it. I hope it sheds its old tight shell. ANd find something that fits them well.

Terra Brasilis has other restaurants in Framingham. This is their first in Worcester. It can be found at 480 Shrewsbury Street.

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Antonio’s Pizza – #10 on the Return Tour

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Jeff saw me and asked why I ain’t writing this blog, and so for you, Jeff, here it is.

Last Sunday I hit a few places for Gin and Tonics (a drink so important I capitalized it, like it is a state capital of cocktails) and this was the first one.

Antonio’s is a pizza by the slice place in Amherst, Ma that was great when I was a student there back in the Paleolithic Period. It didn’t have a lot of seats and you waited in an endless line to get your crazed slice. A while later they opened a full restaurant version in Belchertown, and now we have it in Worcester.

I was excited for it. The pizza looks as good as it was when I was drunk and 22 and looking for something greasy to soak up the bad beer I interned in my stomach.

But  I was not here for the pizza, but for the drink. The place is large and confusing. The front is the pizza by the slice and people were bottlenecking there. The rest was the restaurant and there was room to breathe.

Now let me preface this by saying the next day I took my son there for pizza and we had a great time and he really loved it, so did I. I recommend the place, I do.

Just don’t go to the bar for drinking only.

The bar experience, as a place where you go not to eat and drink, but to drink only, like reasonable men do, was lacking. The stools were an abomination. They are weak metal, to give that honky tonk feel, and not comfortable to sit on. But I bring up the stools because they are tight together and to pull them out causes loud, attention causing, screeches to get it so you can sit and order a drink.

Now the gin and tonic was around six fifty and I got a lime with it and that, that is all the good I can say.

Friends, if you order a drink that has a carbonated element, like tonic water, then you hope for them to actually be carbonated. IF they are flat, it is a disaster of drinking.

Yeah, the drink was flat and it was work to finish.

The bartender was nice and the experience was fine and like I said, the pizza is good and that should be enough for every good citizen.

I will say that it’s good. But it ain’t a bar. A bar is a brilliant beautiful thing, and a good pizza joint doesn’t have to elevate themselves to bar status to be worthwhile.

So there Jeff. I wrote one. Lay off.

Antonio’s Pizza and Bar is located at 286 Chandler Street.

The Sloshed Mailbag

I haven’t done this before, included reader comments in the main part of the blog, but this comment given to me will be in a post from 2 years ago and I think it should be read.

Two years ago this week I went o McDonald’s Tavern that’s in the Worcester Fitness Club and I wrote up kind of a snarky take on the place. Filled with older patrons and smelling of chlorine. It was a long piece about how it made me feel hollow and ready leave.

Crissy wrote in with this and it illustrates the purpose for a bar. It is a place that you feel right in. It doesn’t matter if I feel right in it, just that the people who need it discover and utilize the space. There are good bars that are just not my place, and conversely there are a few stinkers I secretly love.

Anyway, here’s Crissy.

I had to giggle when I read this post….

My dad is one of the older gents you may have seen at the bar. And I had to take the chance to share another perspective about this bar.

My dad is 68 years old and visits the fitness center 6 out of 7 days a week (he golfs on the 7th day 😉 Each day he looks forward to his 1.5hr workout and then his hour of socializing by having a beer with his buddies at this bar.

The other hours of his day are filled with being the primary caretaker of my mom who has advanced Alzhiemers. A woman who really should most likely be in a care facility at this point but my dad just won’t allow it….he says it will break his heart to have to leave her there.

His time is extremely limited because of the amount of care mom needs and it’s difficult for him to fit in anytime for himself…..so this situation really works for him!

My main objective in mentioning all this is just to say how thankful I am for this tavern…..it’s the only part of my dads day sometimes where he can find community and connection.

So just another side to consider when people experience the clientele who frequent McDonald’s Tavern


The Oak Barrel Saloon – #9 on the Return Tour

13310563_516407518549753_4322701019953256916_n.0.0.jpg (1310×737)I went to the Oak Barrel Tavern for a gin and tonic. It’s what I do.

This used to be Tweed’s, which I thought was old looking and dull when I visited a few years back. This new version is very whiskey bar and modern restaurant. It had a nice neo bistro feel. The bar was made from strong wood slats, it was nice. The selection of whiskeys was impressive.

It was a Sunday night around eight thirty or so. They had three bartenders working, which felt like overkill, but it’s a new place and things will settle I suppose. I didn’t further my investigation but it looked like one of the bartenders was the same guy who served me back when it was Tweed’s. I don’t know for certain, but it looked like that. The more things change….

The gin and tonic was given and I paid 7.49 (I think, it was two weeks ago and I can’t recall completely) and it was an alright glass, nothing fantastic, but serviceable.

But that’s not what I came to talk to you about.

What I want I talk about is control. More precisely, who is control of a bar? The bartender or the patrons? Who makes the bar what it is?

When I entered, there were three women at the end of the bar drinking and eating and cussing. Cussing a lot. They spoke loudly and the word fuck was in every sentence, because hey sunshine, this is Worcester and this is how we talk.

Wait, sorry. Got that wrong.

This is fucking Worcester and this is how we fucking talk.

There, that’s Worcester.

One of the woman in the swearing bacchanale had her nine year old child with her, who was wandering around the tables, looking bored.

One of the women said, “Yeah, I can fuck that shit up. I can fuck that shit up.” It’s a good thing she only said that mantra twice, because at three times, the Candy Man comes out of the mirror and really fucks shit up.

The swearing and the shouting at this restaurant/bar continued until the women decided it was fucking time to fucking go. And with their departure, the peaceful silence of redemption settled upon the room.

This is not a dive bar. This is not a sports bar where the Patriots are being routed by the Broncos and we have to swear at the tv.. It’s a pseudo whiskey bar with a fine food. Actually, when I was at the scariest bar in the city last year, there was no swearing at all, everyone was too broken to form the words.

I was talking to Bartender Brian the week after I went to the Oak Barrel and told him about the swearing and the kid running around and he said, “That’s the problem with a lot of bartenders. They have no control. You have to have control. You can’t have them shouting and swearing, you can’t have them screaming into their cell phone. If you don’t have control, then you give it to the patrons and the place goes to hell. You don’t have to be an asshole to have control, but you got to be the one running the place. You are the bar tender, you tend, you run the bar. I’m sure they will say I’m surpressing their first amendment rights. Nothing in the First Amendment says you can be a rude asshole.”

So is the issue with the bartenders or the patrons. It’s a new place, do they feel they can possibly alienate the clientelle by asking them not say fuck at the top their lungs? If we don’t let them swear then they won’t come back. I am just a pourer of beer, how can I ask the kind people of Worcester to not scream fuck?

I wish them luck. The place looks great, filled with strong wooden bones. Let’s hope the staff grows bones and spines as strong as the bar they stand behind.

The Oak Barrel Saloon is located at 229 Grove Street.