Since opening almost a year ago, jm Curley sibling Merrill & Co. has had a bit of an identity crisis and seen a lot of staff come and go, including the opening general manager and executive chef, as well as sous chefs, floor managers, and more. "When we opened Merrill & Co., we wanted to bring something different to the South End," writes beverage director Kevin Mabry. "Something with more value, a laid-back vibe, a great drink menu, and a place where families and strangers alike could all feel comfortable when they walked in the door." But with people on all different pages, the Merrill & Co. team wasn't satisfied with what initially came to pass: "a confusing service style, over-priced menu items, and an inconsistent vision."
Still, plenty of good came out of the year, including a fairly solid two-and-a-half star (out of four) review from Devra First in the Globe in June. She concluded that the restaurant's "best offerings override its flaws." Overall, she saw a positive trend of improvement over several visits.
But the new year is a perfect time to change things up. To kick off 2015, the restaurant has been closed for a few days for retraining as well as new hires. Suzie Dagenais, opening general manager of jm Curley, and Chris Bauers, Curley's executive chef, have both recently come onboard at the sister restaurant, as well as Beehive alum Ashley Gaboriault. The trio and Mabry have revamped the menu to better achieve their renewed vision. The menu "makes sense, is priced affordably, has something for everyone, and fits the vibe when you walk in the door," according to Mabry. Here's a look at the new offerings, which tend towards the seafood side:
The team has also decided to get rid of early week reservations, and they'll be leaving OpenTable behind in the near future as well.
Merrill & Co. reopens tonight at 5 p.m. to embark on its new future as a more fun, casual spot. Soon, the restaurant will introduce bar bingo, regular trivia nights, and once-a-month industry parties with DJ Ryan Brown. "We want it to be a competition to have the most fun every time you walk in the door," writes Mabry.