The Brown Jug has been one of Chelsea’s most popular dining and social gathering establishments for 31 years. It’s been a place to enjoy delicious pizza, salads, appetizers, and specialty wraps, sit and watch a sports event on television, or just socialize with friends.
Due the coronavirus-forced shutdowns of local businesses, this year has been a challenging one for Mike Matrinko, owner of The Brown Jug and a proud 1971 graduate of Chelsea High School. His wife, Cheryl Visconti Matrinko, has been his loyal and supporting partner in the business that relocated 10 years ago to 1014 Revere Beach Parkway in the former Parkway Plaza Shopping Center.
After being limited to curbside pick-up and delivery due to the state guidelines related to the pandemic, The Brown Jug opened up Monday for indoor dining, with many customers paying a visit. Outdoor seating in the patio area began two weeks ago.
Before Mike would talk about the return of indoor dining at The Jug, he humbly requested to offer a message of gratitude to first responders and his loyal customers.
“First of all I want to thank all the first responders – the police, the firefighters, the doctors, the nurses – who did a marvelous job to keep us going through this awful pandemic,” said Matrinko. “Second, ‘thank you’ to all my patrons that kept me going through these very difficult times and I welcome them all back now – please come on down.”
Mike said his restaurant is operating at 50 percent seating capacity.
“All tables have to be at least six feet part,” explained Mike. “We have gone back to all paper and disposable products: the menu, paper plates, utensils. The only glass that we carry here is for the martini – I can’t embarrass the martini in a paper cup.”
Mike noted there is one new rule that he has implemented at his restaurant. “Because of the limited seating, we cap things off at one hour and 15 minutes to two hours for one table so others can enjoy the Brown Jug,” he said.
Patrons, many of the regulars, came out to support Mike and Cheryl Matrinko on The Jug’s first day of indoor dining.
“We got a great response today (Monday),” related Mike. “People were anxious to come back and enjoy our pizza, which is always phenomenal.”
Mike said The Jug has introduced a new selection of summer drinks including the “Heatstroke” that consists of Ghost Tequila, muddled with cucumber, lime juice and jalapeno.
“One of our favorites is the ‘Tito’s Vodka Midsummer Mule’ and another is ‘The Mojito,’ that is made with fresh mint from the garden outside in our patio,” said Mike.
But where was The Brown Jug’s personable goodwill ambassador, Cheryl Visconti Matrinko – an amazing supporter since the beginning of great Chelsea events such as the Chamber of Commerce Halloween-themed Pot -O-Gold Dinner (She and Mike are in the running for the Best Costume Award every year) and the Joseph Vinard-led Taste of Chelsea fundraiser to benefit HarborCOV – for the interview session?
“Cheryl was making the calzones and she just left,” reported Mike.
The Brown Jug’s hours remain 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the restaurant, with a 1 a.m. closing for the lounge.