What happened to your neighborhood video rental store? Well, if you live in Dorchester’s Adams Village, the answer starting in mid-August is that it grew up into a handsome neighborhood tavern.
With its facade with four garage doors opening to a 60-seat patio out front, Lucy’s American Tavern aims for a welcoming vibe in the space that sat empty for about a half-decade after it housed a Blockbuster and then Hollywood Video. A 33-seat wooden bar, walls of whitewashed brick and cast-iron fixtures dominate the interior, which seats 147.
“The goal is to maximize the space and give it a nice, airy feeling,” says co-owner Shawn Ahern, who tapped Chris Bussell (Butterfish, BoMa, Legal Crossing) to helm the scratch kitchen.
The menu includes lots of comfort food staples, from burgers and nachos to chicken and waffles. A section of snacks features steamed pork buns with kimchee as well as house-smoked wings with three different sauces. Seasonal salads include a watermelon and arugula dish featuring local feta and an orange vinaigrette. Larger-format plates range from pan-roasted salmon with smoked-tomato risotto to a chef’s barbecue board that features two meats (smoked beef brisket and pork rib on the opening menu), Texas beans and corn on the cob.
“We want people to come in and say, ‘OK, I know this,’ ” Ahern says. “Then hopefully they taste it, and the flavor profile is different than what they’ve had. But they still recognize what they’re having.”
Lucy’s will offer 27 beers on tap, including suds from local brewers such as Mystic, Bent Water and Idle Hands. There will also be four on-tap wine picks and two housemade sangrias on tap. Local distillers such as Bully Boy, GrandTen and Privateer will have their spirits on display in a cocktail list of approachable drinks. Ahern highlights the root beer Old Fashioned (Bulleit bourbon, housemade root beer syrup and cherry bitters) and a pisco punch (pisco, housemade pineapple syrup, fresh lemon and malbec) as two early favorites.
And for those who don’t recognize the root of the tavern’s name, Ahern is ready with a history lesson on Lucy Stone, a suffragist and abolitionist who was born in 1818, lived most of her life in Dorchester and became the first woman in the state to earn a college degree.
“She’s the real deal. She’s kind of a trailblazer for women’s rights. As soon as we started reading about her, we just said, ‘Yes,’ ” Ahern says. “We wanted to connect with the generations that have been in this neighborhood before.”
Lucy’s American Tavern 13 Granite Ave., Boston (617-326-6677) lucysamericantavern.com