Dear Ale House Regulars, Esteemed Moon Hill Beer Drinkers and the all-new, elite, and not-to-be-trifled-with, Ale House Takeout Eaters.

You should know, but don’t need to be told, that we miss you, appreciate your takeout business and are hanging on till we get to the other side of ‘this’. We are a social business. We exist for our neighborhood, our town, our people. So to be doing takeout only is an odd fit at best. Not to touch or backslap anybody, even a little, is just weird. Let me be clear, I am not criticizing anyone, I just can’t wait for this to end.

Face Mask

Rick looking better than ever

Our bar is spooky – nobody there. But the music is jamming and my management-team-turned-takeout-pit-crew are getting an easy 10,000 steps, like actually, 10,000 is a joke for these peeps. They don’t even check. They are like “Where’s the stairs?” “I got that parking lot pickup.” “I’ll answer those three simultaneously ringing phone lines.” “I’ll do that order for 20 and grab the next 5 ChowNows.” Round trip from the pit (as it is sometimes called) to the parking lot has to be a fair fraction of a mile. Takeout can be a frenetic experience. Sometimes the phone doesn’t ring at all and we end up cleaning the world and other times you wonder if there is anybody on the planet who is not on the phone ordering from the Gardner Ale House or ordering online from their computers.

We are now getting ready for the governor’s announcement on what is next for restaurants. We don’t expect it to be a big change. I think the watch phrase for the re-opening of Massachusetts is “slow and steady”. In other words welcome to a world class slow summer and the ultimate stay-cation. I’ve been telling people “I can’t wait for Christmas!” Not even kidding. I really can’t. That’s when things, I predict, will possibly be back to normal. Am I right? When am I ever? I don’t know, but somehow giving in to this and letting summer be what it will be, rather than what I want it to be, helps me cope.

And for the pandemic side of things, you should know that I have employed a COVID czarina. She is all things clean and sanitized at the Ale House, from signs, posters and arrows to chemicals, sprayers and dispensers – batteries included. It will be different here for a while. We will still be happy, friendly and serving good food. And under our masks will be smiles. You will tell by the twinkle in our eyes.

We expect the deck will be used first and it is beautiful out there. I sit there regularly, at the end of the day, contemplating, having my ‘snack’. 🙂

In the meantime we shall endeavor to put out the best, contactless takeout food we can manage. We have just reformulated our french fries to be able to bear up better under to go packaging. So if you have been disappointed by them like I have, give them another try. They are still hand cut and awesome, but a little crispier with just the right amount of salt.

I will finish by recommending some takeout options: Lobster roll is back, both the lobster salad kind and the warmed-in-butter, fresh-off-the-boat, kind – on brioche, just like last year. Pair that with the new fries and Anthony’s Lithuanian Lager and you might just run away with yourself. Anything with barbecue in the name, get it! Our latest is barbecue chicken green salad and a barbecue pulled pork sandwich. They are simply beyond the pale. All homemade and lovely. My Sweet Escape Treats cupcakes are almost always available. They hit that certain something you need after a good meal. They hit it hard. You will feel so good that guilt will freely arise in your soul. And you won’t care.

But what’s my go to? My all-time favorite? Fish ‘n’ Chips. Can’t stop eating it. It’s summer after all and since we have to spend more time at home than usual, it’s good to have some summer food you don’t have to cook. Look for Rick’s Rusty Scupper type seafood plates, fried clams, all that jazz. See today’s specials.

So here’s to you out there. You keep us ticking. And we got your back with the goods.

Be well and stay healthy, and thanks for being there.

Rick Walton

Always Here- currently in the basement, mostly alone, but smiling (at the moment).

Gardner Ale House
Moon Hill Brewing Co

74 Parker Street
Gardner, MA 01440

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