BY JENNIFER AMY MYERS, Valley Dispatch Staff
DRACUT — A huge pot of homemade baked beans simmers on the old gas stove in the kitchen of the Mammoth Road Club. The beans are a form of compromise, an olive branch of sorts extended to the club’s regulars by the new chef, Culinary Institute of America-trained Dracut native Steve Beaudoin.
“I know everyone in the place, so they trust me enough to try things they’ve never tried before because they know it will be fresh,” Beaudoin said. “I can get them to eat a pan seared duck breast with a raspberry demi-glace, but I better have franks and beans for them on Saturdays.”
“I hate making franks and beans, but that’s what the guys want, and I’m good at it,” he laughed.
Beaudoin is a one-man show in the kitchen of the Mammoth Road Club, a popular neighborhood watering hole since the 1950s. The lone chef can be found in the kitchen Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. preparing nearly 20 menu items, as well as eight to 10 daily specials.
He was hired in late October to take over the spatula of Arthur Letendre, a cook loved by the regulars, who is suffering from a brain tumor. The club is holding a benefit for Letendre on Nov. 20.
“I’ve been cooking for this type of crowd for a while, so its a natural fit,” said Beaudoin, who recently ended a three-year stint at J.Rags in Tewksbury.
With very little storage space, Beaudoin shops three to four times each week, ensuring freshness of ingredients.
He stands in the middle of the room, arms folded, looking at the canned ingredients sitting on the shelf on far wall of the kitchen.
“I don’t know what to do with that stuff,” he laughed. “Canned beef broth? I make my own. The same with tomato soup, clam chowder. Everything is made from scratch.”
The club offers a popular fish fry on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays.
“I make the best steak in the area,” Beaudoin boasted, adding that the secret lies in basting the steak with butter as it grills.
He is not kidding. His tender, flavorful steak and creamy homestyle mashed potatoes are not the kind of grub you’d expect to find in a biker-friendly roadhouse, but somehow it works.
“The food is amazing,” said Kathy Masterson, who has managed the club for 16 years. “Nothing is frozen, nothing canned, and the baby back ribs are out of this world, they just melt in your mouth.”
Where else can you get a pot roast dinner with potatoes and carrots for $8.50?
“It’s a lot of work, but I’m having fun,” Beaudoin said. “When you walk in the bartender instantly knows what you’re drinking and all of the guys here are good guys. You really can’t be miserable here.”
Due to a previous commitment, the kitchen will be closed on Nov. 26 from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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