Formerly Corner Kitchen, 101 on Main Eatery and Pub is a local staple. If you locate the huge LOVE sign downtown, you are perfectly positioned to enjoy a fine meal at one of Blackstone’s favorite establishments. Owners Gordon and Patti Lee sit down with Justin Sarafin to talk about what sets their restaurant apart.
Gordon and Patti Lee purchased Corner Kitchen from Sam and Laurie Allen in November 2019, not too long before “COVID” became a common part of our vocabulary. Having weathered shutdowns with the first round of COVID and then the Delta variant, they’re ready to gear up for fall and holiday dining. After a fire and a major rebranding, 101 on Main Eatery and Pub is ready for the fall season.
101 on Main has a clean and simple, yet welcoming décor. Table and bar seating are both available inside. The outdoor dining area gives diners another fun option.
JS: “Generally speaking, tell me what you do here.”
GL: “Fresh cooked meals, nothing frozen, nothing pre-prepared. Just fresh food.”
JS: “What sets you apart?”
PL: “We are more of an upscale restaurant in town. We try to do specials every day. We have live music that comes in (for evening entertainment). But the biggest thing about us is it’s prepped fresh every day, the day of. I think that’s the biggest thing that sets us apart.”
Patti adds: “Our meals, like I mentioned, are a little more upscale than some of the restaurants. We do have burgers and fries and sandwiches at lunchtime, but we also have house made pasta, and we have house made sauces with our yard bird [sandwich] and our salmon. And house-made Alfredo when we do our Alfredo special, that stuff is not packaged and sent in. That’s made here.”
JS: “What is your favorite part of what you do?”
PL: “Mine is meeting and talking to people. I also work a full-time job and I only come in on our busiest nights. Meeting new people, finding out what they think of the food, that’s the best part of it for me. I’m more like the greeter, I guess you could say greeter-owner. That’s what I like to do. That’s my thing because I’m in customer service anyway.”
JS: “What support team do you have working alongside you?”
PL: “Well, the chef is our youngest son, Will. He was trained by Sam Allen, the original owner of Corner Kitchen. He took Will under his tutelage and taught him everything. Will was a sous chef and when Sam and Lori decided they wanted to sell the business, that’s when we stepped in and Will became our chef. Sam comes in, jumps in the kitchen still, which is great. We’re great friends with Sam and Laurie.
“We have Evan Shaffer, who is our sous chef. Our dishwasher is actually a high school student, Ashley. We have Kaitlyn, Herbert, Fred and Leigh, our servers. And then of course, Gordon who is front of the house manager.
“It’s in a lot of ways a family, very much a family operation.”
JS: “We touched on this a little but tell me a bit about the history of the business. How long have you all been here?”
PL: “Gordon worked for Krispy Kreme for 26 years. So he knows all about safe food service, food prep, all that kind of stuff. He decided he wanted to give that up. He was driving 62 miles each way a day to go to work. So it was an opportunity for him to kind of have his dream. We wanted a restaurant and we had a built in shop and built in staff. Everybody stayed with us [when we purchased the restaurant], but COVID hit. And then we had to shut down in March of 2020.
“We tried everything, but our business is not really set up a hundred percent for take out because it is fresh. Sometimes, you know, you get a burger and fries to go and it’s in the plastic container…the fries come out mushy and it’s like, they were crispy when they came out. We tried to do curbside and delivery then, and then basically everything was shut down. It was a hard time. It was very hard time to be in the restaurant business as a new owner. “
JS: “What would you like people to remember about their experience at 101 on Main Eatery and Pub?”
“I’d like them to remember to come back,” Gordon quips with a chuckle.
PL: “The food, the atmosphere and the service really are the biggest three things that we focus on.”
GL: “Everything is fresh, everything made to order. It may take us a little longer, but you get what you pay for.”
Stop in at 101 on Main Eatery and Pub, where you will be greeted by the friendliest servers, the most appetizing aromas, and delightful fresh meals. It’s a must-stop on your excursion to Downtown Blackstone. Don’t forget that the Kitchen is available for private events such as rehearsal dinners, birthday gatherings, group meetings and more.