Andover restaurant power player Paul LaRosa is adding a fourth dining spot to his tally this fall, when he opens an as-yet unnamed sports tavern. The restaurant will be moving into the space formerly occupied by the short-lived steakhouse Smythe & Dove – a soaring replica 1800-era barn, complete with a loft and a cathedral ceiling.
Because the steakhouse was newly built just a few years ago, replacing the old Andover Bookstore location, there’s not a lot to be done, construction-wise, LaRosa says. “Fortunately, we are in a beautiful space,” he says. “We have been focusing on creating a better flow for the guest experience on the first floor, with minimal yet high impact changes. The main feature will be a large bar upstairs, perfect for the sport enthusiast.”
The chef/owner built his reputation with his first restaurant, LaRosa’s, which has grown from a quick-serve café offering fresh-made gourmet sandwiches, salads, and pastas into a flexible spot to grab a quick bite or a drink with friends, alongside an elevated dinner menu with table service. LaRosa’s combination has been a winner in town – the restaurant survived the gas leak, which shut down many Andover businesses for months in 2018, and the pandemic, coming out even stronger. They opened La Fina, a high-end (and BONS-winning) steakhouse, in 2019, and soon after came Privé, a luxe lounge with an international vibe, a DJ spinning tunes into the night, and a menu of small plates.
The menu at the new sports bar is still evolving, but they’re narrowing it down, LaRosa says – while teasing that diners might be seeing mash-ups like “Fina Rosa Wings.”
“We’ve discussed a lot of different dishes, but always fall back to an elevated, fresh approach to tavern/sports bar cuisine,” LaRosa says, adding, “We love a twist, so expect some classics done LaRosa style with a hint of La Fina.”
LaRosa says they are shooting for a September opening for the tavern, and they’re still mulling the name. “As the space begins to take shape, we’re certain we’ll have our name,” he says.
One thing he’s certain of, the new restaurant will stick around. “This space will be the quintessential gathering spot. Here, it’s all about family, friends and creating memories,” LaRosa says. “We foresee this space creating everlasting experiences and traditions.”