Barbara Lynch seems at home for her first new restaurant in more than a decade

“Then lie down and take a trip,” he continues. “If you go too far, he will always follow you. Takes you to a date you don’t know. My grandfather, my father, I didn’t know them. My mother raised us, I didn’t know what her favorite color was. I was in Winchester, married, had children – then gay and [heck]!” Laughs. He is very funny and very outspoken. He regularly risks going too far. He’s on the road a lot.

One of Boston’s best-known chefs, Lynch is on the verge of opening a new restaurant for the first time in twelve years. The last was Menton, who was the crown jewel among his concepts: B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Drink, No. 9 Park, Sportello, Stir. Menton’s approach to high cuisine has garnered local and national acclaim (to some investor concern); a Relais & Chateaux and a Forbes Travel Guide Five Star restaurant.

This place will be different.

Chef Barbara Lynch opens her first restaurant in over a decade.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

* * *

His name is Rudder.

Located just above the water, among the galleries of the historic artists’ community, Rocky Neck, eating a Gloucester turning point. Since opening in 1957, The Rudder has always been run by women—first by founder Evie Parsons (“she’s iconic,” says Lynch), then by her daughters Paula and Susan after she died. Then came Attaya brothers Jeannie and Ginger, who bought and renovated the old cannery. now he It’s Lynch.

“We see a big change in our lives every 28 years,” says the chef. 58 years old. He moved to his village. Annisquam was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in Gloucester in 2016, a year before publishing “Out of Line: A Life of Playing With Fire,” a memoir about his path from a South Boston housing project to celebrity chef. . in the world.

A golden mermaid statue.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

Lynch lights a cigarette and drinks from a rose glass over ice. She wears a black caftan, her hair gathered in a glamorous slot. Somewhere between the Aegean and the public swimming pool, we are sitting in the dining room where a deep water paints the canopy. He’s an artist, and his paintings adorn the restaurant above as well as the apartment he commands. Leaning against a wall is a golden mermaid statue, her breasts facing the sky, her head freely thrown back. Beyond the white porch is a stunning view of the harbor adorned with boats.

It’s still summer back then. Michael Dudas, Lynch’s director of operations, says Rudder will open in two weeks.

The restaurant is almost ready. They have passed all licenses. The health inspector needs to pass. They are waiting for some kitchen utensils. “I’d rather be open in September, October, November,” Lynch said thoughtlessly. “I like bird watchers.” Dudas continues to breathe.

Scenes from The Rudder, soon to be released in Gloucester.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

A couple enters hesitantly through the door. They want to know if The Rudder is open yet. They introduce themselves and Lynch writes down their names to remember later.

“People come to ask what happened every day, all day, even when the doors are locked,” Dudas says.

“Sorry for pissing people off. I’m not ready to open up,” Lynch says. “If they didn’t come back, it wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s like giving birth. You can’t step. We’re almost there anyway.”

The restaurant is almost ready. People always stop to ask when it will open.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

Lynch in 1998, No. It opened 9 Park and expanded to the South End five years later and Fort Point five years later. This isn’t his first rodeo. His plan for this new restaurant is a collage of ideas that is grand and down-to-earth, both comprehensive and detailed. This is the type of incomplete vision that makes perfect sense to the visionary. Everyone else nods, reassures, and goes for a ride.

“Not only is her food authentic, but she is a very special person who loves what she does and the people around her so intensely as a person, and she draws everyone in,” says her manager, Erica Silverman. “I feel that what he wants to do in this area is really important.”

More of a Gloucester detail than Barbara Lynch’s house.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

* * *

The helm will not be a fish house. It’s harder than that: it’s seasonal, it’s personal, it’s defined by the seascape and the life that happens on and around it. Artists. Scallops, lobsters, fishermen’s wives. this boats. Rudder’s has a dock for dinners that come by the water (former L’Espalier chef Frank McClelland, now running FRANK in Beverly, pulled over to see what’s going on one day), and for every conversation Lynch has about the restaurant, it seems . there are two about the boats and who can park them, with the constant stream of visitors coming and going – Silverman and her filmmaker husband Ethan are from New York; Chip Coen of MS Walker, the wine and spirits distributor with whom Lynch has worked for decades; Persons with nicknames that may belong to “Sopranos” characters; People who look like yacht club members. Gloucester contains many worlds, and Lynch is their nexus by nature and design. “What I’m trying to do is build a community,” he says.

This starts with keeping local seafood local and using resources more efficiently. Lynch claims Gloucester is America’s oldest fishing port, but while the country continues to import most of the seafood we eat, it exports most of its catch. They dream of a year-round operation to canning, curing and smoking fish, buying tons of oysters and storing them in crates in the water instead of delivering them every day. Perhaps, above all, he wants to educate the next generation, to share what he has learned over 30 years. It envisions after-school programs and holistic education: “agriculture, net, fishing, foraging, commercial entrepreneurship, how to build a barge, how to build a business on a barge.” To help make all this happen, she hopes to reactivate the Barbara Lynch Foundation in Gloucester, a nonprofit she started in 2012 to help create healthy futures for Boston youth.

Barbara Lynch loves its dock that connects to the restaurant. John Tlumacki/Globe Team

He wants to do podcasts. Host lounge nights. Offer online retail and cooking classes with your friend and groundbreaking chef Lydia Shire.

But first things first: food. He’s nervous about the opening, but not when it comes to that. “I can [freaking] Chef,” he says. He’s looking forward to doing that at The Rudder. To start, a classic menu for Boston restaurants – beef tartare from the Butcher’s Shop, fried oysters from B&G Oysters, gnocchi from No. 9 Park, buttered from Menton He plans to pay a tribute of soup, which will be an occasional special, some vegetables from his own garden, rustic French and Italian delicacies.

“Just a fun place. “Luxury will not disappear, but in my imagination, I want it to be community-driven, accessible and delicious.” “I want you to be brought up.”

Lynch says her heart isn’t what it used to be in Boston. John Tlumacki/Globe Team

* * *

The helm marks a big shift for Lynch, a chef who has spent his career opening upscale-focused city restaurants and has won every major award (with some public turbulence along the way: tackling alcohol addiction, management turnover). No less ambitious. Differently ambitious. “I have been in the city for 25 years. “I think I have a lot more to offer if I am here,” he says.

Not only this. Boston restaurants are not going anywhere; in the middle of renegotiating leases and envisioning at least another 10 years for them. But He The heart is not in the city like it used to be. “I can’t do it Only run these restaurants. I do not want to do. I love them but I don’t like them. I have a lot more to do.”

According to Lynch, The Rudder thinks it should be by getting him back to where he started. He loves water. (“I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I knew I would never get there.”) His first serious cooking job was on a boat as executive chef (a concert as he knew it) on a dinner cruise ship called the Aegean Princess. without real experience). Plus, his nickname is growing up on Southie Knuckles was Lynch and he was once a pianist He was called Knuckles O’Toole in The Rudder. It looked like a sign. So was the little blue bird figurine she found sitting at the bar when the realtor first showed her the place.

Lynch found this framed photo at the old restaurant and hung it up. John Tlumacki/Globe Team

“Now, I am back to reality in my life,” she says. “I like [freaking] I am changing more than anything and I cannot change without going through some processes in life. Even though people think I’m crazy, my changes are healthy. I’m just going to live a crazy life. I love my company, my family, Boston and my community. I love the history we’re going to make. ”

Rudder’s opening is imminent. Last Saturday, Lynch had a soft opening for friends and family. His lifelong best friends from Southie were the MCs. In the kitchen, No. It was only him and longtime employee Monica Marulanda who made the pasta at 9 Park. “What could go wrong, went wrong,” she says. But it felt like home.

The rudder may be Lynch’s last project. Some people retire; others open restaurants. He has a frenetic energy to stay still—enough to take on the politics and drama of setting up shop in a new community, making connections wherever he goes. For a moment he introduces himself to a curious stranger shaking hands and speaking astrology in front of the restaurant; next, she’s wearing old-fashioned floral skates that somehow popped up. He has a five-seater bike. He drives a white 1970 Fiat named Fifi. He’s on a lot of journeys. Ready for the next leg.

“We’re going to make a change. I love the snow globe. When you shake it, [stuff] happens,” he says.

Then it pauses.

“Snowflakes don’t always land where they need to be. I think this is my last snow globe. But we’ll see.”

Lynch confiscated the flat above the Gloucester restaurant.John Tlumacki/Globe Team

Devra First can be reached at [email protected] follow him on twitter @devrafirst.

Leave a Reply