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New restaurant hits it right On The Mark

Date: 8/12/2009

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

AGAWAM -- Mark Watkins took a lifetime of working for others and invested the knowledge he learned in himself.

On Aug. 6 Watkins hosted a grand opening celebration for his new restaurant, On The Mark. Located in the heart of Agawam off of Springfield Street, the Walnut Street eatery serves up fresh homestyle breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.

Watkins, who grew up in the restaurant industry, said he checked out several locations but found that Agawam was the perfect fit for his venture.

"It's a nice community. Very laid back," he said. "I've done this all on my own. It took me a little more than I thought to get this place open."

The youngest of six, Watkins was raised just outside of Boston and his parents bought into a restaurant when he was young, "and ever since then," he said, "whether I wanted to or not, I have worked in a restaurant."

He left his career at Outback Steakhouse to finally follow his dream of restaurant ownership. Watkins said he has taken what he's learned and applied the tried and true method of quality over quantity to On The Mark.

"Everything's fresh," Watkins said, as he pointed out the authentic maple syrup purchased from Charlemont, Mass., fresh ham and the roast beef they roast themselves. "Everything is made in-house."

The reasonably priced menu boasts "side-splitting" two-pound burgers, homemade soups, breakfast specials, traditional sandwiches and specialty sandwiches such as the Pilgrim (roasted turkey, stuffing and orange/cranberry relish on multigrain bread), the Warrior (jalapeno bacon, avocado, sliced tomato, roasted red peppers, and chipotle mayo on cracked wheatberry bread) and the Agawamer (slow roasted beef, cheddar cheese and horseradish sauce on a Miami roll).

Mayor Susan Dawson said she is delighted that Watkins chose Agawam for On The Mark.

"It is actually part of the very things I have believed in. Our town is business-friendly. We are looking for businesses to move here and we will do whatever we can to assist them," Dawson said.

On The Mark is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week. It is located at 365 Walnut St. Take-out and deliveries are available.

Orders can be placed by calling 304-2091.