When Glenville Stops owner Mike Chapman buzzes about how menu and ambience can help his upcoming restaurant stand out from the many bro bars of Allston, he fails to mention the venture’s singular distinction: He built the restaurant himself. Well, him, his son, the chef and a general contractor.
To create Glenville Stops, Chapman, who owns the building, knocked down the four retail stores that took up space on the first floor. The labor of love for this slim, bespectacled entrepreneur cost him three broken bones, including a shoulder. But he’s already envisioning the hard work paying off soon.
In August, he hired Juan Pedrosa, former sous chef at Trade, to lead the kitchen. After laying the tile on the kitchen walls, Pedrosa started laying the groundwork for an ambitious menu that will include small plates and large plates. He’s honed in on the small plates as a way to test unique dishes: longanisa sausage, lamb meatballs and a Puerto Rican-inspired ceviche. Among large plates, the free-range chicken will come with white-bean stew and rice cakes (a spin on the usual rice-and-beans side). Slated to open in February for dinner, the restaurant will add a weekend brunch in the near future.
“We have to have comfort food. But if we can do it, I’d like to move away from it a bit,” Chapman says. “I hope the clientele we attract here will reward or appreciate something a little bolder.”
A lot of the clientele that Chapman is looking to attract are women, whom he says don’t have many dining options in the neighborhood. With no TVs, stained-glass lights, warm colors on the walls and a “pretty trick” sound system that will keep ambient sound low, Chapman believes his neighborhood tavern will have the right stuff. If he succeeds, he figures the beer-and-wine establishment will be serving an equal amount of each. Along with five keg wines and a vast wine-by-the-glass program, Glenville Stops will feature 20 beers on tap, including German and English selections.
The handmade bar is in the center of the space, which includes a dining area to the left and a large nook to the right for laid-back dining. Sketching out the restaurant’s design was just one more task for the British-born Chapman, who earned his doctorate at Boston College, was an associate professor at Peking University in China and has written several books on U.S. foreign relations. Before even opening the restaurant, the multitasking owner earned the respect of his chef.
“Mike can tell you how many screws are in this place,” Pedrosa quips. “Building a space out yourself is like a dying art. People don’t do it anymore.”
Glenville Stops | 87 Glenville Ave., Boston | 617-903-3638 | glenvillestops.com