NEW BEDFORD — Since changing ownership this past summer, Cultivator Shoals is shifting in a new direction to cater to its guests by offering a fresh new menu, cocktails and igloos.
“They didn’t come in looking to reinvent the wheel so to speak, they didn’t come in looking to change a bunch of things,” said general manager Michael Gadbois, who has continued his role in the restaurant on Union Street.
After over two years under the ownership of Servedwell Hospitality, the owner behind the Black Whale and Joe’s Original, Cultivator Shoals is now under the new ownership of the restaurateurs behind Cork and Carmine’s.
“I worked with Steve for 13 years,” he said. “When the transition happened one of the first things Steve [Silverstein] said to me is he thought it might be good for me to work under somebody else and see what I can learn from them.”
Gadbois said so far the goal wasn’t to completely change up what was already existing, but to merely fine-tune what was there. Some of the small changes they plan on implementing involve making use of the patio and back outdoor area that had previously gone unnoticed, as well as introduce food specials to make the bar an overall better experience.
“We’re making it a destination you’d want to come to for dinner, not just for drinks,” Gadbois said, adding that the new menu now includes teriyaki chicken skewers, lobster sliders and other finger foods. As it gets colder, they are considering changing up their menu options again.
What has changed inside and outside the restaurant
Inside, the aesthetics still remain mostly the same with the addition of a few small tables for smaller groups to sit, so people have an option to dine without cramming in the bar side. Outside, the fully-heated igloos in front are on a first-come-first serve basis but they are starting to implement reservations through OpenTable.
The backyard igloo is reserved for private parties only.
For those who have been working in the bar since before the transition, Gadbois said it has been a smooth experience as most of the staff has continued.
With two new restaurants set for next year on Union Street — a Mexican-style eatery created by Silverstein and a Portuguese/Spanish spot planned for the former Union Flats space, the area will be hopping with diners.
Luckily, plans for Union Flats will be under the same ownership as Cultivator Shoals. Gadbois said he will be working on the new restaurant.
“I’m very excited about that one, too, I think is will lending themselves to each other. That’s the hope,” he said. “But so far the transition has been seamless at Cultivator.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter:@ChitwoodReports.Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.