|Steve "Nookie" Postal|
Zagat: So, the name of your restaurant is Commonwealth?
We probably won’t end up calling it that. We needed a name for the project.
Zagat: Speaking of names, how and why “Nookie”?
It’s a better story without telling it. It’s my professional name, like Cher, Madonna, Prince. It’s a name that stuck.
Zagat: We understand the concept will be part market, part restaurant. Can you say more?
It’s 6,500 square feet, way big for a restaurant. A lot of people live in Kendall Square and there’s nowhere to buy anything. We’ll sell prepared foods, salads, sandwiches, chicken, meal replacements. It’ll be the kind of place you can get a roasted piece of fish, sunchokes. We’ll have specialty butchering, whole-animal butchery. I’m still working on [how much will be market space, and how much will be restaurant space]. I like City Feed in JP or Formaggio. To create a space, a market that sells today’s eggs and toilet paper is a challenge.
Zagat: You don’t want to be pigeonholed into a cuisine, yet, for simplicity sake you're going to serve American, right?
What I’ve always wanted to do is get the best ingredients I possibly can and don’t fuck them up. The simplest things are the hardest things to do right. There’s nothing to hide. My goal is for people like you and me to go out to a restaurant and feel comfortable, and people like my mother, who isn’t a foodie, to also feel comfortable.
Zagat: You mentioned the space would look like a “Vermont barn.” Say more.
Everything in Kendall Square looks sleek, modern, cold. I don’t want it to feel contrived or fake or forced, it needs to feel right, but I like that farmhouse feel. I love the design of Fore Street in Portland, Maine. I’m using Rode architects, a small boutique firm.
Zagat: You told us about a rectangular area in the back of the restaurant, where there’s a courtyard. What are your plans for that?
We’re thinking of a private dining area or a place we'd call Whim, where people vote, using social media, on what they want it to be for that year or six months. Could be barbecue, or a Shake Shack thing, or Steinbones. It could be anything, left up to the whim of what the neighborhood wants.
Zagat: So, what effect will being on TV have on you as a restaurtuer?
I had a great experience. I don’t know if the show helped me. It certainly didn’t hurt - I wish I’d won.
Zagat: The age-old question: When are you planning to open?
It’s certainly not a done deal. There’s a lot of hurdles to jump over. It’s too early to give a date.We’re doing everything we can to move it forward.