WORCESTER – With about a month remaining before they open their doors on Green St., Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar has announced who will be their executive chef.
John Gremo, former executive chef of Vintage Bar & Grill on Shrewsbury St. in Worcester, will be handling Buck’s kitchen operations in that same role.
Gremo, who grew up in Worcester and Shrewsbury, told ThisWeekinWorcester.com that the Buck’s menu will stay fresh and simple with “loads of great burgers.”
“We’re relying on freshness and the utilization of local products and local farms. Simplicity is very big, but we want to bring great service and a great menu to our customers,” Gremo said. “We’re going back to basics and Buck’s is going to bring a lot of great flavors.”
Gremo and Buck’s owner Nick Panarelli are promising a large selection of great burgers — all on fresh brioche rolls – including “The Hot Mess” burger [topped with mac and cheese, bacon, and crispy onion strings], and “The Working Man” [two full ounce angus burgers, american cheese, lettuce, pickles and onions and a special Buck sauce].
“We’re creating our own Buck spices and sauces in order to really brand the Buck’s name,” Gremo said.
Additionally, Buck’s will also offer “The Stuffed Buck” filled with bacon, blue cheese, and whiskey caramelized onions.
“We’re going to have whiskeys from all over the world and we’re going to find the right whiskey to pair with the right burger,” Gremo said. “We’ll improvise and put whiskey into a lot of our menu items.”
READ MORE ABOUT BUCK’S: ‘Bar Heaven:’ Country-Themed Burger and Whiskey Bar Opening Up in Canal District in February
Gremo attended Newbury College for Culinary Arts before earning his bachelor’s degree at UNLV in 1989, where he worked as chef-instructor for four years.
Following his graduation from UNLV, Gremo went to the Steak and Ale Corporation in Dallas, TX where he earned management and operations training, including starting new restaurant concepts and restaurant concepts.
Gremo returned to UNLV and became executive chef at the Stan Fulton Building, an international gaming institution with a catering and conference center, and returned to his role as a chef-instructor, running two restaurants with the student body. During the summers, Gremo would travel overseas throughout Europe and Asia to teach culinary arts.
Gremo remained at UNLV for the next 25 years before returning to the Worcester area.
“I’ve gotten to go out to Vegas and visit John and see firsthand his level of expertise and his experience. It’s really set him apart from everyone else. Knowing that you only have one shot at a first impression, and having this concept restaurant come together, I felt that bringing John in was absolutely vital to the success of this restaurant,” Panerelli said.
Gremo added, “I jumped in on this project with [Panarelli] because I believe in this project, I’ve known Nick since he was kid, I know his family. It’s going to be a real great partnership and we’re going to have a great operation here.”
The Buck’s menu will be completed soon and the first draft is already finished. Buck’s plans to hire three to four cooks and a couple dishwashers to man the kitchen.
Beginning next week, Buck’s will be hosting a contest for Facebook followers to submit their own burgers, with the winning burger being placed on the Buck’s menu.
There will be certain criteria, guidelines, toppings and ingredients for the burger submissions.
“We’re going to choose from the best burgers that are submitted and that’s going to be a menu item when we first open,” Panarelli said. “This is a way for people to have some voice and say and I think it’s going to be a cool way to really bring everyone together. We want people to feel that they’re part of what Buck’s is going to be.”