Swampscott native, chef Matt O’Neil, owner and operator of The Blue Ox in Lynn with his wife, Joanna, will open Ledger this coming summer in the former space of Eastern Bank (which merged with Salem Savings in 1982). A stylish restaurant specializing in hearty, New England cuisine, it will have a wood-fire grill to impart smoky, succulent umami to the menu.
“My love for wood-fired cookery along with the absolutely stunning building where Ledger will be located, inspired the concept for the restaurant,” says O’Neil, a graduate of the Culinary Institute at Hyde Park in New York. “The space had been a bank for almost 200 years and the architecture and history of the building really match perfectly with a wood-fired, contemporary-themed concept.”
In addition to having a raw bar and charcuterie bar, a large portion of Ledger’s menu will be geared toward sharing. The wood-fire grill will sizzle up whole fish, large cuts of meats (to be carved), and shared appetizers and vegetable platters. Ingredients will be sourced locally, including the cheeses.
In terms of décor, much of the brick building’s early 19th century architecture has been preserved, including the original decorative plaster molding on the ceiling (called strapwork) and the original bank ledgers, which inspired the restaurant’s name. The huge windows will remain and the bank’s vault will house the kitchen’s refrigerator, visible via a glass door. The dining room will have a central U-shaped bar, along with banquette seating, a large chef’s table, and plenty of smaller tables and chairs.
“I hope diners walk away from Ledger with an understanding of and appreciation for a unique restaurant experience,” says O’Neil. “I say that because we were not actively seeking to open our second concept, but when this building came to my attention it really spoke to me. This building is very special and it deserves a restaurant that respects its history and bones. I think my vision for the space will highlight the beauty of the building and let it speak for itself. “
At first, Ledger will serve dinner seven nights a week, later expanding to lunch and brunch.
125 Washington St., Salem
Instagram Handle: @LedgerSalem