In 2017, the Brewer family debuted Galliford’s Restaurant and Tavern alongside the celebrated Southwick’s Zoo, which the family also owns. To commemorate its fifth anniversary this year, Galliford’s hosted a Mardi Gras-themed celebration March 4-6, complete with special menu items, live music and prizes.
“The restaurant is such a huge component to rounding out the zoo,” says Cindy Brewer Lavoie, CFO of Southwick’s Zoo. “We realized before that this was something that we really needed for our guests to have an enjoyable day here at the zoo,” she says, “but we really didn’t know how important it was until after we built it — not just for the daily patronage, but also for the community.”
Galliford’s specializes in New England comfort food and offers indoor and outdoor dining as well as pick-up and delivery options. The menu changes several times a year and some patron favorites include the fresh fish dishes, bourbon steak tips and oven-fired pizzas, Lavoie says. With three levels each boasting more than 5,000 square feet, guests also appreciate the casual and cozy atmosphere, she adds.
Named after her father, Robert Galliford Brewer, Lavoie says the restaurant is a great way to showcase the family’s many years of experience in the food business. “Most zoos will outsource to a food service company,” she says, “but we’ve always done it on our own.” They also pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and sourcing from places like the Daniels Farmstead.
In addition to its regular offerings, Galliford’s has been “exploding with events,” Lavoie says. Additional spaces beyond the main restaurant area, including private rooms and a patio that overlooks the zoo grounds, have made Galliford’s a popular venue for weddings, showers, corporate events and other gatherings. “It’s just a beautiful place to hold something like that,” Lavoie says, “because it’s a nice atmosphere, and it’s really spiritual and relaxing out in the country.”
Aligned with the zoo’s commitment to conservation, Galliford’s is the only restaurant in Massachusetts to be powered by geothermal energy, a system that is better for the environment and increases the efficiency of the building, Lavoie says.
During the height of COVID-19, Lavoie shares that the Galliford’s team pulled together. “We’ve never worked so hard in our lives,” she recalls. “Our employees did a wonderful job. It was very taxing, and still is in some capacity, but we made it through it.” At one point during the pandemic, Galliford’s delivered meals to essential workers. Through its Galliford’s Gives Back program, the restaurant continues to support local nonprofits and schools.
This spring, Galliford’s will be hosting a “spectacular” Sunday brunch for both Easter and Mother’s Day, Lavoie says. “We’re excited this year because we’re going to be able to be basically back to normal.”
Galliford’s, located at 5 Southwick St. in Mendon, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To learn more, visit gallifords.com or call 508-928-0928.
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