The wait is over—the North Shore finally has its own Trina’s Starlite Lounge—the second location of the wildly popular Somerville temple to beer, hot dogs, and southern comfort food.
Opened by the trio that brought us The Paddle Inn last year in Newburyport—Suzi Maitland, who also serves as executive chef, Josh Childs, and Beau Sturm, they also own Parlor Sports in Somerville and Audubon in Boston.
The décor is a bit upscale bowling alley—in fact the two large group tables in the back were crafted from old lanes. It’s apropos, as the restaurant is housed in the long narrow space formerly No. 8 Kitchen, opening into a welcoming back room with half a dozen video games, from Ms. Pac-Man to a Guardians of the Galaxy pinball machine. The cozy fireplace that was a focal point of No. 8 has gotten a sleek makeover, with bench seating and a coat of paint, but retains the peek-a-boo view of the Powwow River.
The space is dotted with fun personal touches that have made the group’s other restaurants so charming, from Maitland’s dreamy southern comfort food to Strum’s Royal Enfield motorcycle mounted over the bar. For Child’s part, his eye for vintage 1950s and ‘60s kitsch warms the space with vintage beer trays and booths made from repurposed wood.
North Shore denizens will find some familiar faces, both in the kitchen and behind the bar. Bar manager Drew Hart, formerly of Brine Oyster Bar in Newburyport, brought his flair for unique, refreshing cocktails to bear with a new addition to the classic Trina’s menu—the Cartel Cafe?, made with espresso-infused tequila, mezcal, Campari, and grapefruit; it’s deeply flavored, intensely bitter, and completely addictive.
Photo by Pat Piasecki
It’s also more food-friendly than the combination seems, which is a good thing, because you’ll want one of everything from the gently priced menu, which ranges from pillow-y corn fritters (we’d recommend them for dessert, served as they are with a side of lavender honey), to the “Dog of the Day”—a pair of split griddled hot dogs served in an ever-changing and ever-creative array of ways. Chef de cuisine Joey Guarino, formerly of the now-closed Red Rock Bistro in Swampscott, added a duck confit with sweet potato dish to the menu of house-made comfort foods. Of course Trina’s extends its love of the playfully kitschy to include a rotating Blue Plate Special, and of course there is cheap beer and a pie of the day for dessert… oh and a vintage fridge that will soon have its own Instagram feed.
Trina’s Starlite Lounge is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight. Kitchen closes at 11.
37 Main St., Amesbury, 978-792-5746, trinastarlitelounge.com