Former Doherty’s general manager opens Craft Burgers & Beer in Pawtucket

Former Doherty’s general manager opens Craft Burgers & Beer in Pawtucket

Matt McCreavy, former general manager of Doherty’s East Avenue Café, introduces his new restaurant, Craft Burgers & Beer. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET – The site of an old restaurant landmark in the city is getting a fresh take, as Matt McCreavy, former general manager of Doherty’s East Avenue Café, has opened Craft Burgers & Beer at 342 East Ave.

McCreavy told The Breeze “Craft B & B” will be “totally different” from Doherty’s, from the scaled back menu to the brighter interior. The “dark and dingy” walls have been repainted and many of the items hanging on them removed and replaced with a cleaner look, including pictures taken in Rhode Island. Some new high-top tables have also been added, he said.

While Doherty’s offered 86 beers, Craft B & B features a 57-beer menu, including “as many local craft beers as we can,” said McCreavy.

“Eighty-six beers just wasn’t sustainable,” he said.

The idea behind the new restaurant was to take two favorites, burgers and beer, and do them well, he said. Just as with any restaurant venture, overcomplicating the menu or the dining experience can be a turnoff.

McCreavy declined to get into all the reasons why he thought Doherty’s went into Chapter 7 bankruptcy last August. Patrons had long noticed a dwindling of the offerings on the menu. McCreavy said one trend that hurt was having so many beers to choose from and often not having many of those beers available.

The menu now is “70 percent burgers,” and they’re better quality than the ones at Doherty’s, said McCreavy, made with an 80 percent meat to 20 percent fat blend of filet, short rib and chuck steak. Chicken, veggie and salmon burgers are also available.

The former owners of Doherty’s had known for a while that McCreavy was looking to leave and start his own restaurant, said the Pawtucket resident, and the timing of this venture just happened to work out just right.

The dated restaurant needed to be cleaned up, he said, and the excessive menu needed a fresh look. The new menu has “a little bit for everybody,” he said.

McCreavy said he hasn’t decided yet whether the back deck on the restaurant will be put to use, but said it will likely be opened just in the summer.

About 12 of the 20 staff members at the restaurant live in Pawtucket, said McCreavy, including eight former Doherty’s staffers. Three cooks from the former restaurant have returned, he said.

Many returning customers have offered positive comments, he said, saying they’re happy for the good news in a city that’s absorbed its share of hits lately.

Many of the prices are similar to those on the old menu, said McCreavy, though there are some new lower cost items incorporated. The $5.99 chips and onion dip appetizer has proven popular early on, he said. The sandwich and burger menu is very similar to the old menu, he said, though the quality of ingredients has improved.

Craft Burgers & Beer is open Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday is $2 taco night, with trivia played from 8 to 10 p.m., Wednesday is $8 specialty burger night, and “Thirsty Thursday” brings a rotating $4 draft beer as long as the keg lasts.

Call the restaurant at 401-723-5600 for more information.