When he took over the space that used to house Avenue Bistro on North Avenue, co-owner Gary Roy decided he needed to make some changes before opening the spot as Norm’s Grill, named after his late father.
“We wanted to make it so you could walk into the dining room without going through the bar,” he explains. With a physical separation between the two spaces, Roy hopes, parents can feel comfortable coming in with little ones, and sports fans can watch their favorite match ups uninterrupted. The bar now features eight TVs and “vintage sports memorabilia, to throw it back to when sports were true and not tainted by steroids,” says Roy.
Norm’s opened last Saturday and, the way Roy tells it, patrons can count on above-average fare regardless of where they choose to sit. “The food is not what you’d normally expect,” he claims. “We’ve got a really nice prime rib that we make with fresh herbs and garlic; we’ve got swordfish with a fresh fruit salsa … and a Vermont stuffed chicken loaded with Macintosh apples, McKenzie ham and Cabot cheddar with a cider-reduction cream sauce.” There are five kinds of chicken wings, too.
So far, Roy says, visitors are digging the food. To keep locals coming back, he’s making sure the prices are reasonable: “Entrées are under $20; lunches are under $7.” There’s an early-bird promotion for seniors, and customers who get takeout or visit during “happy hour” can look forward to deals, too. “We plan on doing other things for the community,” Roy says. “We’re trying to really embrace the community and morph the business to its needs.”