Brace yourselves, Watertowners: Country Mile is coming, courtesy of husband-and-wife duo Matt and Nancy Sargent, who previously moved to Massachusetts from Vermont to help open Brewer’s Tap & Table in Waltham.
The Sargents left Brewer’s Tap & Table in early 2017 and have now “ironed out” the details of a lease for their own space at 136 Belmont St. in Watertown. They’re currently going through the various licensure and inspection processes required to open a restaurant, and Matt Sargent told Eater via email that he’d “be disappointed if [the restaurant opening] was any later than late summer/early fall.”
Country Mile is going to focus on healthy food — but Matt Sargent doesn’t want anyone to mistake his cuisine with “health food.” Vegetables and grains will feature prominently on the menu, along with seafood, much of which will be caught off the shores of New England.
“I’ll have shrimp and other specialty items occasionally, but not much, and definitely no Pacific salmon or anything from thousands of miles away,” he said.
Matt Sargent told Eater that presentation will be key — but don’t expect to see any flowers on his plates.
“Not fussy, but no goddamn flowers on my plates,” he said. “I hate the current overuse of flowers. I put a lot of attention into how plates look, though. I embrace a kind of minimalist, random, almost anarchistic style of presentation.”
The buildout will be done by Matt Sargent himself. Before entering the food world, he worked for 25 years as a carpenter in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, building timber frame homes. The front of the house will be run by Nancy Sargent.
“She has been a horticulturist for decades but is also hospitality incarnate,” said Matt Sargent. “People love her in the front of the house. We’ve received a lot of praise since we dove into this realm, and she has garnered her full share of it.”
Matt Sargent’s sous chef will be Makayla Moore, a soon-to-be Johnson & Wales graduate who worked on the line at Brewer’s Tap & Table, whom Matt Sargent calls “cool” and “diligent” and “eager to learn.”
Country Mile’s drink selection will revolve around local beers — nothing outside of a 250-mile radius, and no cheap domestic bottles — and classic cocktails. The bar will have 12 taps, which will rotate regularly, and there will be a “unique” selection of bourbon, gin, and mezcal, said Matt Sargent.
Before moving to the Massachusetts food scene, the Sargents operated an underground dinner club series called Phantom Dinners. That series led to a food truck (the Phantom Truck), and that food truck led to a restaurant (Phantom). Matt Sargent hopes all that experience will translate into success in Watertown’s budding dining scene.
Currently, Watertown is allowing Country Mile to accommodate 22 diners. Matt Sargent told Eater that he has a meeting with the city’s planning board next week and that he means to ask for the ability to accommodate 35 to 40 diners instead of 22. The Sargents have purchased a liquor license, which is pending the approval of a public hearing on April 17.
Stay tuned for updates as Country Mile gets closer to an opening date.