Offering predominantly grilled steaks and seafood, no processed food or chemicals, always fresh, never frozen food, is the plan for the new Spero's Grill, set to open at the end of October .
Business partner Mark Leger will be collaborating with longtime restaurant owner Jimmy Demakis, of the former Jimmy’s Allenhurst in Danvers.
Leger, who referred to Demakis as the restaurant's ambassador, said Damakis is a great resource with an incredible background. "He told me, if it's done right, it will be great, but it has to be done right."
And, Leger has a depth of experience himself. He spent the past twenty years in business, first running night clubs and then restaurants. For the past eight years he lived in South Carolina operating as a consultant for under producing restaurants to try to help them get back on the track to success.
When he decided to move back to his hometown of Swampscott, he wanted to do so in a big way. “In South Carolina I was working on this concept: Fresh Food, Never Frozen. I wanted to come home and get back to doing something in this market,” he said.
With Demakis by his side, Leger decided to take the plunge. Paying homage to Demakis' son Spero, who owned Spero's Pub on Andover Street before it was sold last year, the restaurant will be called Spero's Grill.
Leger and Demakis secured Dirk Aiefer as the executive chef . Aiefer has 20 years of experience running high end kitchens such as Michelinos in Worcester, Ipswich Shellfood of Ipswich, and most recently The Crowne Plaza in Boston. “I’m very excited to be working with Dirk. I believe there are too many chemicals in a lot of the foods as it is, and he’s right on board with it," Leger said.
The chosen location is in the building on Endicott Street once occupied by Chicago Uno’s, which closed last year. Leger is currently transforming the interior space completely, with a square central bar, and plenty of horseshoe shaped booths along the walls. “The atmosphere will be casual/dressy, with granite topped tables and a warm, rich dining room. The price point will match the food quality, and will be slightly above the chain restaurants, but not as expensive as some of the high end. I think the 30-plus crowd will really love us."
Leger is pushing to open by the end of October, with a Grand Opening after the holidays. “My birthday is 11/11, so I’m using that as my marker for when I’d like to see it open, and we want to be here for Christmas and Holiday shopping."
In the long run, Leger sees this first venture as a door opening to many more opportunities. “This, for me, is my big return to the area-it’s a start. I want to do three restaurants in the next three years. We can’t be completely organic, because at this time it’s just too expensive. But we’ll start with chemical free, no processed, real fresh-grilled food, and go from there. I really believe there are not enough restaurants for people who like quality, for a great price, so we’ll be that option for them."