It's been rumored for months, and the time has come for restaurant owner Frank Santo to make it official: The Local is coming to Wayland Town Center.
Santo said that he hopes to open The Local Wayland on or around June 1. He admits it's an aggressive target, but he's been in the restaurant business for more than two decades and with The Local, he's found a formula that works.
“We wanted to capitalize on the success of the West Newton location," Santo said. "It’s a segment of the restaurant industry that’s hot right now: Prices between $10 and $25, local produce, local craft beer. This is what we wanted to do to be more approachable from a family’s point of view.
"We’re going to stay in that zone for as long as the customers keep coming."
The Local is well known for its burgers and steak tips, its two best-selling menu items, but Santo said the added space in the Wayland location will allow him to expand his locally sourced menu that includes regular fare enhanced by some nightly specials and seasonal options.
The Wayland location is a 6,000-square-foot building immediately off Route 20 in the Wayland Town Center development. The Local Newton is half that size.
"It will be very similar in Wayland, but better in the sense that with the increased space, we’ll be able to expand the menu quite a bit," Santo explained, adding that his wife's wish for a menu that includes fried chicken will be granted. "This place [in West Newton] gets crowded and it’s tight. We’ll have the space to do some of the things we want to do menu-wise.”
Santo's chef at The Local Newton, Brian Counihan, will be heading to Wayland to get that location up and running. Santo anticipates beginning to hire additional staff on or around May 1 and said details about that will be added to The Local Newton Facebook page, regular website or the soon-to-launch The Local Wayland site.
Whatever shape the menu ultimately takes, Santo said the 30-seat bar serving craft cocktails and beer will be a focus.
“The original plan was to have a bar with really good food, and it’s turned into a restaurant with a really good bar, which has been great," Santo said, explaining his vision when he opened The Local Newton in 2008.
“[In Wayland] we’ll build it from the bar out," he said. "Nobody minds eating at the bar anymore. It’s the changing way that people want to dine."
Santo said The Local Wayland will seat 150 people, with 30 seats at the bar and another 30 in a private dining room where the owner pictures holding events such as Little League celebrations, wedding rehearsal dinners and the like.
Additionally, The Local Wayland will feature outdoor patio seating, a luxury the West Newton location doesn't have.
Another difference Santo anticipates in Wayland is that The Local will be open for lunch daily, rather than only on weekends as it is in West Newton. Santo said he doesn't anticipate having a special lunch menu, but rather creating a menu that can bridge between lunch and dinner.
"Nothing is more satisfying to me than to walk in to my restaurants and see the place humming and running efficiently and see people happy and smiling,” Santo said. "I love it."