Brandon Baltzley is looking to change the face of dining in Cape Cod. Within the next couple months, he will open a restaurant that caters both to locals and tourists and expands on the classic foods of the region with an added flare.
Baltzley, formerly of Ribelle in Brookline, will bring his concept to a restaurant space that sits seconds away from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the ferry to Martha's Vineyard in Falmouth, the southernmost part of Cape Cod. He partnered with the sole proprietor of Phusion Grille, Carol Grigas, who has been there for 14 years.
"It was one of those things where when we walked in three years ago and saw the place, we completely fell in love," Baltzley said, who moved back to the east coast from Chicago about two years ago.
Baltzley and Laura Higgins, former sous chef at Ribelle, will work with Grigas to reinvent the space and overhaul the menu. The new restaurant will be called The 41-70.
"As a native East Coaster myself, I love seafood and I love the bounty of what is available in New England," Baltzley said.
Baltzley decided he wanted to take those foods he described as "boiled to shit and tough and chewy" and make them delicious.
Baltzley said the main menu at The 41-70 will be fairly short and will last the entire season, with the occasional change, based on seasonality. A second menu will take on the avant garde concepts he said he loves to do.
He said the menu will be ideal for tourists, for locals, and for "really weird stuff that we really love doing."
"We are completely rebranding the restaurant," Baltzley said, changing the name, the philosophy, and the cuisine, to "try to make it reflect the area that it's in."
Baltzley said that while working at Ribelle, he had been trying to figure out his next move.
"I had restaurants in the past, so I was looking to open one ever since I came out here," he said. "We had been discussing the possibility of getting into the space for two years now. With my history and resume, I can't really afford any false starts in restaurants."
Baltzley and Grigas decided to team up and could open The 41-70 as early as the middle of February. Grigas was working with a handyman and plumber to try to winterize the restaurant, which sits on top of the water.
When it opens, The 41-70 will be 88 seats, with 44 inside and 44 outside (for the warmer months). As a Cape restaurant, it will likely be closed during part of the off-season, Baltzley said, though he hopes to be open at least nine months of the year and eventually year-round.
If everything goes to plan, they will do a soft opening in mid-February or early March.
"We want to take advantage of the slow season here," Baltzley said. They will open for two to three days a week in the beginning but eventually open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends.
"It's gonna be really interesting," he said. "We started a Facebook and Instagram, posting test dishes. It's always funny to test the waters as far as the locals go."
Baltzley said they're now hiring staff and trying to bring in talent from Boston and abroad, from Canada and Copenhagen. He's doing well so far, with Higgins already on board, and he said he hoped to build a kitchen staff with a strong background.
Baltzley said if they can get people in the door, he feels they'll be able to keep them coming back.
The key to that will be sourcing food from local vendors and fisherman and creating fresh, tasty dishes that tell the story of the area.
Baltzley said he was working out a permitting situation to allow the restaurant to skip the middleman when purchasing fish.
"We're going to make it a big point to buy directly from three local fishermen in Cape Cod," Baltzley said.
"I'm very confident saying there's not a restaurant with a better pedigree," Baltzley said. "We're really kind of bringing something unique and very cool to the area; we just hope people appreciate it."