NEW BEDFORD – After being closed for a little over two months for renovations, Freestone’s City Grill on Williams Street, finally reopened on Thursday.
“It’s great to actually be dealing with customers instead of contractors,” said John Motta, a manager at Freestone’s. “We just wanted to give this place a nice new fresh look going into the holidays.”
The former bank building-turned-restaurant underwent several renovations including an update to its bar and dining room area. The bar itself has all new equipment including new sinks and bar taps.
The raised platforms were removed from the dining room making it all one level and now every table is handicap accessible. There is also more space at the entrance area and around the hostess station.
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“They’re trying to keep it to a rustic feel, but also modernizing it,” said Tamika Braund, a waitress who has been with Freestone’s for five months.
New Bedford restaurant transformed
“We’re trying to keep it like downtown New Bedford — trying to still be a staple — but bringing different parts of New Bedford into it rather than it just being nautical by the water,” added another waitress, Rebecca Mills from New Bedford.
“The vibe is just different in here,” she said.
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The mirrors on the back wall’s exposed brick have been removed and will soon feature work from local artists. The floor has been switched to wood-like tile and all the rugs have been replaced, too, according to Motta. The church-like benches have been moved to the back dining room area as well.
Freestone’s also has new hours. The restaurant is closed Mondays. Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and open noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
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Freestone’s menu gets a face-lift
Additionally, the kitchen has been updated with a new set of equipment and the menu has been updated.
New addition to the menu includes the fried scallop roll, a scallop & chips dish (similar to fish & chips), a harvest bowl featuring a brown rice and quinoa blend, a General Tso’s cauliflower appetizer and egg rolls, to name a few.
“We’re taking different things and spinning it,” Mills added.
However, a majority of original menu items still remain including Freestone’s popular Syrian nachos, fish chowder, onion soup and turkey salad. Brunch and outdoor dining are not available at the moment.
Their lunch menu is only available Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. And Freestone’s “Appy Hour” is available at the bar from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and an hour before close on Tuesdays though Fridays.
A positive reaction from diners
During the two months that Freestone’s closed, Braund said the staff had many inquiries on their social media. “I’d say almost every week you’d have people try to come in,” she said, adding that she helped with the construction. “Even people that knew it was closed would keep trying to come in thinking it was open.”
Since reopening Thursday, business has picked right back up to what it was before, Braund said on Friday. “There was a lot of positive reaction to the change,” she added. “It’s good to see everyone is still coming in and that they are liking the changes.”
“Everyone seems really pleased with what we’ve done,” Motta added.
“So, we’re excited.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.
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