The Unchained Gang

The Unchained Gang

Excerpts from the Watertown Daily Times, Sunday, June 17, 2012

Watertown-area chefs relish the creativity of working for an independent eatery

Times Staff Writer

The unchained chefs want to liberate your appetite.

For Watertown-area diners, the pull of chain restaurants is getting harder to avoid as franchises continue to pop up, especially along Arsenal Street. They are different, but they are the same: From the low-cost pizza place to beer and burgers served up by girls in low-cut tops, they dish out what they are corporately told, assembly-line style.

The Times interviewed a half dozen chefs who thrive on such creativity and work extremely hard to cater to diners with a taste for something outside the chain experience.

Changing a menu on the fly is something at least one local chef says provides an advantage over national competitors.

“I update my menu due to seasons and what’s fresh,” said Brenda T. Cavallario of Cavallario’s Cucina, 133 N. Massey St.

She also has a small garden and works with local gardeners to add the freshest ingredients to her dishes.

Her fish, Mrs. Cavallario said, from Pacific waters, is flown in daily from Hawaii, and she is in constant contact with her supplier.

“You find out what the fish is about, then I just start to think, what would taste good with that?” she said.

Repeat diners, said Mrs. Cavallario, don’t like unpleasant surprises.

“Meals with us are consistent because we are hands-on owners/operators,” she said of herself and husband Peter, who manages the front end of the restaurant.

And once people are seated, they must feel relaxed, Mrs. Cavallario said, without a “get them in and get them out” attitude.

“Competition arises,” Mr. Cavallario said. “But you can’t deviate from plan.”


This article first appeared in the Watertown Daily Times on Sunday, June 17, 2012. Copyright 2012, Watertown Daily Times. Used with permission.