MONTAGUE CENTER — After changing hands, the fine dining restaurant adjacent to The Montague Bookmill begins a new chapter Thursday with its official public opening under the name Watershed.
Watershed’s opening is the first time a new restaurant has debuted in the space since 2014, when The Alvah Stone began its eight-year tenure. The eatery switched hands upon a proposal from Watershed restaurateurs Melissa Stetson and James Fitzgerald that Howard Wein, owner of The Alvah Stone, said came at the “right time.” Having completed the transition, the co-owners look forward to establishing a reputation as a lively, high-quality hub for food, drinks and entertainment.
After what Fitzgerald called an “arduous” preparation process, the restaurant held a “soft opening” intended for select friends and family on Friday, Feb. 4. The co-owners ended up giving into their excitement later in the evening, however, opening their doors to the public with a social media announcement.
“It was originally slated to have our friends and family … but we decided to just jump right in,” Fitzgerald said.
While Friday’s influx of patrons was relatively slow due to poor weather, he said, Saturday was a full house.
“We had people waiting for tables,” Stetson said. “It was really wonderful.”
The co-owners look forward to more of the same as they begin adhering to their regular hours. Watershed will be open Thursdays and Fridays for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Saturdays will offer brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., while dinner will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays will have brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with dinner from 4 to 8 p.m.
Fitzgerald and Stetson also look forward to warmer months when they can more consistently bring in live entertainment.
“We’ve got a lot of fun things planned,” Stetson said, specifying plans to have Celtic music for St. Patrick’s Day, a harpist for Sunday brunch and regular performances from other local musicians.
Stetson expressed confidence in Watershed’s “fantastic team” of employees who have helped bring the partners’ vision to life.
“It’s been built very organically,” she said. “I feel like it was almost like the universe brought everyone to us.”
Fitzgerald added that this has allowed the restaurant to “live by the golden rule” and treat the community with the respect and appreciation they hope to garner themselves.
“I feel that whatever happens from this point forward, we’ve accomplished our goal as people who wanted to open a restaurant,” he said. “Now, we just have to take care of everyone … and expand our vision.”
Watershed, which opens for business Thursday at 4:30 p.m., can be found on Facebook at “Watershed Restaurant” and Instagram @Watershed440. It is not taking reservations.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.