USA, MA: Encore Boston Harbor and Night Shift Brewing preparing to open a brew pub restaurant at Everett casino
Encore Boston Harbor and Night Shift Brewing are preparing to open a brew pub restaurant in the massive casino, a collaboration that involves two of the major players in the reinvention of Everetts industrial waterfront, The Boston Globe reported on April 5.
The casino said it will welcome patrons at the Night Shift Brewing Kitchen and Tap starting April 15 in the space once occupied by Encores Waterfront restaurant, which closed during the pandemic.
The announcement comes as the casino is preparing for what it hopes will be a fuller reopening in coming months, provided that increasing vaccinations are able to reverse a recent trend of rising COVID-19 transmission. The casino closed in March 2020, then reopened in July with strict protocols in place. It has not come close to reaching its state-imposed limit of 40 percent of normal capacity since then.
But in a recent interview, Encore Boston Harbor president Brian Gullbrants said the facility is starting to see signs of an increase in visitors, especially among people who have been fully vaccinated.
Everybodys talking about the pent-up demand and the roaring 20s. I think were starting to see the beginning of that, Gullbrants said. As vaccinations are making people more comfortable, people are starting to come back out.
The Night Shift collaboration is one of several changes being made at the Everett casino.
Encore is in the process of replacing its signature floral carousel in the main lobby. Though Gullbrants would not say what will replace the installation, he said it would be another botanical installation. The casino has also opened Cheese Meet Wine, a charcuterie bar that has taken the place of Encores Oyster Bar. There will be new food trucks on the casino floor, including Lucky Pizza, a sliceria and sub shop that opens next week. Encore also said Michelin-star chef Richard Chen has joined its Red 8 Asian Restaurant.
In a sign of how the pandemic has irrevocably altered the hospitality industry, the casino has also closed its high-end buffet to make room for a sports bar, which it hopes will eventually be a sports betting lounge if Massachusetts lawmakers decide to legalize wagering on athletic events
Gullbrants said the casino is confident that the sports bar will do well in any case, but he acknowledged that the pandemic simplified the decision to do away with the sumptuous buffet.
The idea of implementing measures such as sanitizing tongs after each guest went through the buffet line made such an offering hard to pull off, he said. But the change also highlights an ongoing effort to give the casino a wider price range for dining.
When the $2.6 billion property opened in 2019, some guests complained that there were not enough affordable options amid Encores Vegas-style luxury dining offerings a calling card of parent company Wynn Resorts. While Encore has since swapped in several lower-priced food choices, it has left in place many high-end offerings such as Rare Steakhouse, where a 4-oz. Kobe rib eye steak goes for $230.
Gullbrants said the he hopes the Night Shift addition also creates a more direct tie-in with Encores host community.
The effort isnt Encores first local beer tie-in; it previously commissioned a special IPA from Woburns Lord Hobo brewery. The project is something of a homecoming for Night Shift, which in its early days operated out of an industrial space on what is now part of the Encore property.
Night Shift has since moved up the road, to a much larger space on Santilli Highway, as it has widened its distribution and expanded its line of products into seltzers and coffees in recent years. The company also has another facility in Chelsea and an experimental brewery and restaurant at Lovejoy Wharf in Boston.
Night Shift cofounder Rob Burns said the increasing number of attractions in Everett validates the confidence that the brewery had when it chose the city as its home, and then decided to expand there.
It gives me chills, Burns said. We believed in the city so much.
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