Lunenburg Native Takes Over Whalom Kitchen
LUNENBURG -- Whalom Kitchen’s new owner, Chris Lyons, always wanted to open his own breakfast and lunch eatery. When the opportunity came to work in his hometown and about a mile away from where he grew up, Lyons took it.
“If this place were anywhere else, I might not have done it,” he said on a Tuesday morning, surrounded by customers eating breakfast.
Lyons, who became owner at the beginning of the summer, has enjoyed seeing locals and meeting new people who come to eat at the restaurant.
Bikers also like to stop by, which Lyons likes; he is a biker, too.
“The community has been very supportive,” he said.
Lyons took over ownership from Kim Chen, who owns Asian Imperial down the road on Electric Avenue. The restaurant was previously the Ugly Omelet.
He worked with Chen as her food distributor and helped her design the menu and come up with the restaurant’s name. The restaurant opened in February.
Lyons wanted to keep the restaurant name because he likes how it represents the area.
“People who live in Whalom are proud of the district and where they live,” he said.
As owner of Whalom Kitchen, Lyons balances his time between managing the restaurant and cooking.
He works closely with sous chef Denise Gokey, who has been at Whalom Kitchen since it opened.
On Tuesday morning, they both worked over flat top grills to prepare omelets, hash browns, pancakes, and crepes.
He also works with one of his daughters, Jaime, who is an assistant manager, and his wife, Melissa.
Lyons would like to brand Whalom Kitchen as more of a restaurant than a diner.
“I try to bring upscale service and quality ingredients to a lunch place at an affordable price,” he said.
Part of that rebranding includes the restaurant’s interior. Lyons’s wife has gathered memorabilia from Whalom Park and the town to decorate inside, he said, which will give the restaurant an Americana feel.
Lyons worked as a chef for 27 years before joining food distributor US Foods, which he did for six years.
One of his first jobs was at the former Whalom Park theme park flipping hamburgers.
He eventually went on to work in hotels and country clubs, including serving as the head chef at the Red Tail Golf Club in Devens.
As owner of Whalom Kitchen, he added sweet and savory crepes to the menu. It’s a dish that not a lot of restaurants offer, Lyons said, and one that he is familiar with as a trained French chef.
For the lunch menu, he has included flavors from cuisine from around the world. There’s a Vietnam-inspired banh mi sandwich and Hawaiian-inspired poke tacos.
There are also dishes like short rib poutine and a French toast breakfast sandwich. Vegetarians can find options like Falafel sandwich on the menu.
“Lunch has been taking off,” Lyons said. “It’s been a bit of a learning process. People seem to be gravitating toward it.”
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