WAAF’s Greg Hill Talks about His New Restaurant in Sudbury, Twitter and More
I was excited to hear recently that a new restaurant was coming to Sudbury, the town where I live. And given that it was going to be located in Sudbury Town Square, a new complex of shops and business offices that everyone around here has been talking about, I was particularly curious.
But I honestly didn’t give this news much thought until I noticed this restaurant happened to be following me on Twitter. How cool was that?
What really got my attention, though, was when I got a tweet from this restaurant thanking me for following them and making a reference to my plans to run the Boston Marathon, which they only could have known by doing a little research on me.
Of course, I was flattered. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for who they are and what they do. But as someone who uses social media for business, I can’t how you how impressed I was with that one simple tweet. After all, that’s how you work it on Twitter.
Good for Number 29 Sudbury. Not nearly enough businesses know enough to follow potential customers on Twitter and actually take the time to engage with them as real people. It’s not only a smart marketing strategy, it’s a nice gesture. It’s the whole purpose of social media.
So I eventually reached out to this Twitter account, asking if I could interview someone on the other end via email about their use of Twitter as a way of promoting the restaurant. Turns out I heard back from one of the owners, Greg Hill. Yes, that Greg Hill, the well-known host of the wildly popular radio program, The Hillman Morning Show, on WAAF. He was more than happy to answer my questions. Here’s our Q&A…
Bob: What kind of food will the restaurant serve?
Greg: Number 29 Sudbury will serve modern Italian cuisine. Everything from the legendary bolognese, which Evan Deluty is known for at Stella, to marinated beet and goat cheese salad, to our quattro funghi pizza with shiitake, crimini, oyster and white truffle oil. Right now we are still working on new items for the menu. I think the mussels Evan is working on now are going to be sick.
Bob: Who is the chef? What is his background?
Greg: Evan Deluty is our executive chef. He is considered to be one of Boston’s most talented chefs. He was formally trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and worked in Paris at the world-famous Le Grenadin. He worked in New York at Lutece and at the three star Peacock Alley at the Waldorf. Here, he was the executive chef at Upstairs at the Pudding before opening his own restaurants. I think with his experience in New York and Paris, he will feel right at home in Sudbury.
Bob: What will make this restaurant different than other restaurants in Sudbury?
Greg: There are some great restaurants in Sudbury, but we are striving to bring a Boston-like restaurant experience to the suburbs. Evan has owned Stella in the South End for years and has created an incredible dining experience there which he intends to recreate here. We’re going to focus on service, and a unique menu prepared in our open kitchen. Plus, I am working on a playlist for the restaurant that I guarantee won’t be beat by anyone in town.
Bob: Who are the owners?
Greg: Number 29 Sudbury was created by my partner Chris Stephans and I, with Evan as our executive chef.
Bob: How did someone who’s made a living playing rock music on the radio for so many years become an owner of an Italian restaurant in the suburbs?
Greg: I got into the food and beverage business several years ago, when I opened Howl At The Moon in Boston’s financial district. I have a company called Right Coast Hospitality Group, and we are currently working on opening nine Howls. It’s like any business…if you have a laser focus on giving your customer an incredible experience, and work extremely hard at that, you should be successful. I wanted to open this restaurant because I have lived in Stow my whole life, and my wife and our friends were running out of great places to eat.
Bob: Why Sudbury?
Greg: We picked Sudbury because I think it is centrally located in an area that is craving a cool fine dining experience. When you look at surrounding towns like Wayland, Weston, Acton, Concord and Stow, there’s an opportunity to do something different, something that people might normally have to drive 45 minutes for, right in their backyard. Plus, I didn’t want to drive far to get to work!
Bob: What about the location, the new Sudbury Town Square? How excited are you to be setting up shop there?
Greg: When I found the Town Square location, it sealed the deal. The owners are local guys who really want to improve the community with the offerings there. Mike Carney and Jeff Walker have been a huge help when it comes to getting the restaurant to be what we want it to. We are going to have two floors, a big open kitchen, two cool bar areas and a private dining room. We hope to open in May.
Bob: Are there any surprises planned for customers?
Greg: I think customers will feel like they are in a small town restaurant with world class food. I think they will like the fact that they can sit at our open kitchen and let the chef prepare what he wants for them, and get a table with friends and order off the menu. Our patio is going to be a blast all spring, summer and fall, and I think they’ll like the music that we play, while they are hanging out with their friends.
Bob: How are you using social media – and specifically, Twitter – to promote the restaurant?
Greg: We don’t have a big marketing budget, so it’s all social and word of mouth right now. The fortunate thing about being on the radio for 23 years is that I have had the opportunity to meet all sorts of people, so I am calling everyone now and telling them to tell their friends about the restaurant. All my friends who have told me I have to open a restaurant in the area are now expected to act as marketing directors and tell everyone they know. Plus they have to come in every week!
Bob: Are there any specials being offered to your followers on Twitter and your fans on Facebook?
Greg: I prefer Twitter to Facebook, so we were on as soon as we got our liquor license. We are using our Twitter feed to show what it’s like “building a restaurant.” I want our followers to be with us every step of the way. When we cut the concrete for the stairway to the 2nd floor, our followers will be there. When we were talking about finding farm fresh produce and beef, we took the question to Twitter, and got some incredible responses. The recommendation for the farm in Wayland that we are going to use came from a Wayland police officer who follows us on Twitter. When we open, we will offer special discounts and offers to our Twitter follows so start following us now. We will definitely be rewarding check-ins on Foursquare. Social media marketing-wise, we will be wherever our customers are. The great thing about social is that we probably don’t know where that is right now, Twitter and Facebook could be obsolete by the time we open. I was thinking today we need to be on Snapchat.
Bob: Do you have anything else to say about Number 29 Sudbury?
Greg: We are about to go online with our completed website. Right now it’s just a teaser landing page, but the new one should be up soon. We tell the touching story of how Evan and I met, and I will be blogging there about the issues we have building a new restaurant. We’ll debut the menu soon and then ask for input about what dishes our customers like or don’t like. And we have to hire a staff, which we’re going to do online.
To follow Number 29 Sudbury on Twitter, click here.