Sports bar offers unique family atmosphere
WESTFIELD – America’s game has a new home in Westfield. Well, at least its food does.
The Shortstop Bar and Grill opened in December of last year, attached to Extra Innings, a baseball and softball training facility. The Shortstop offers a family friendly atmosphere and bar food favorites, alongside menu items that are typically reserved for steakhouses rather than sports bars.
The restaurant’s executive chef, Monica Hannoush, graduated at the top of her class from the Culinary Institute of America, and despite getting offers to join five-star restaurants in New York and Boston, she presented her family with an idea. Rather than join the staff of another restaurant, she suggested the family start their own.
Her father, Nabil Hanoush, owner of Extra Innings and now the Shortstop, jumped on board with the idea.
“She’s refining the menu. You can come in and get chicken wings and a pizza or you can get filet mignon and top it off with crème brulee, which is outstanding,” Nabil said.
Nabil said between his daughter and his wife, the Shortstop opened with a unique vibe, one that transcends stereotypes of what a sports bar should be. In the far corner of the main room is a fireplace with crystals at the base. It is settled beneath one of the many plasma screen TVs, flashing highlights from a Bruins game.
Though the main dining room has a “feminine touch” courtesy of Nabil’s wife, the back room of the Shortstop is not quite a traditional sports bar, either. In lieu of additional high tables, the door on the side leads to ballpark seating – picnic benches with a front row view of batting cages and a 10 by 15 foot projection screen.
The familial atmosphere and the take-me-out-to-the-ballgame feeling will play host to three or four large events each month, Nabil said, such as the Super Bowl and eventually fundraising events, like pasta suppers for local teams.
But that is not all the building will offer.
With a date of March 1 as a target, Expert Fitness will also open on the premise as an indoor/outdoor facility. Group fitness classes will be offered, making use of both inside the building, as well as allowing members to enjoy the warmer weather while exercising.
Because the Shortstop offers a variety of healthy options on its menu, the triple-threat of business will allow customers to bask in a healthy lifestyle in good company, Nabil said.
“We want people to have a sense of community and family. We want them to enjoy themselves,” Nabil said. “By being able to give them that entertainment factor, by being able to show them good value, good entertainment and if they decide to be members of our health club, to be able to bring in that wellness factor, so not just good entertainment and good value but also a wellness factor.”
The jack-of-all-trades business venture for the Hannoush family has been successful thus far. Nabil said that the Shortstop is exceeding the family’s expectations by three-fold when it comes down to numbers. However, the overall success of it is not measured in dollars or visitors.
“It’s about community, wellness and happiness,” Nabil said.