Evenfall is the Bradford restaurant that has earned fame for its food, for its cocktails, and for the fact that it is owned by a Pappadopoulos.
Spiro Pappadopoulos and his sister, Adrienne, have been in the business since they were teenagers bussing tables at their parents’ restaurant. Today, they are barely into their thirties, but Spiro has had the experience of opening several successful restaurants in New York. And as the owners of Evenfall and of Glory in Andover, he and his sister are on the fast track to become the North Shore’s most exciting restaurateurs.
These ambitious and talented siblings are very clear about what it takes to run a thriving food establishment, and Spiro sums it up in one word: authenticity.
“You can’t have a very strict vision,” Spiro says. “A restaurant takes on the personality of the people who work there. You need to be flexible and allow that personality to come through. That is what makes the difference between an individual restaurant and a chain.”
While they may be flexible, both Adrienne and Spiro demand what they call authenticity-“to serve the best food we can make with the best food that we can buy.” At Evenfall, Executive chef Scott Pelletier drives the Pappadopoulos vision.
Scott is the second chef at Evenfall since its opening in April 2004. He represents a new breed of chefs whose training and education embrace both the food and the business sides of running a restaurant. He holds two degrees, one in culinary arts and the other in business management and he gets the Pappadopoulos rule of authenticity. Serious about bringing in the best produce, Scott shops the local farm stands. Like Mr. Papadopoulos, Sr. who grows heirloom tomatoes for his kids’ restaurants, Scott brings in the organic lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs he grows in the vegetable patch in his own backyard.
A restaurant dedicated to serving fresh produce requires seasonal menu changes, and at Evenfall, that can mean up to eight menu changes a year, given that there are items like fiddleheads and morels that are only briefly available. That’s a lot of work. “It requires a complete kitchen changeover,” Scott explains. “Not only do you offer new entrees, you need to come up with new accompaniments as well.”
While changing a menu can be arduous for the kitchen and wait staff, it can also be a risky business decision. “The willingness to try new items creates a special bond for the guest,” says Adrienne. “But you can’t change so much that people no longer recognize you.”
We visited Evenfall in late winter. On their popular prix fixed menu, which allows diners the option of three courses for $25 per person or the Dinner for Two Special, which includes two courses and a selected bottle of wine, the choices were all well-suited to warming you on a cold New England night. The silky seafood chowder was enriched with a touch of chive oil that brought out the flavor of a robust salmon dumpling. The braised short rib and vegetable pot pie was the perfect antidote to winter with sublime pieces of meat mingling with vegetables beneath a tender puff pastry crust. Moist and flavorful banana cake was served warm, with rum sauce and crÃ¨me fraiche.
“Scott is a very talented chef,” Spiro says. “He understands all aspects of business, not just the food business.” Scott says Spiro gives him the “creative freedom I need without micro-managing.” This owner-chef relationship is win-win.
It is atypical on one hand, but on the other, it is emblematic of the way the Pappadopouloses run their restaurants: striving for genuineness and authenticity. As a result, Evenfall, after only three years, has a very loyal customer base. Spiro, Adrienne, and Scott are currently working on expanding business to include lunch service and private parties.
Evenfall Restaurant Bar and Lounge
8 Knipe Road (Rte 125)