By Michelle Perry
Are you ready to rock the GazBar? Leominster’s new sports bar and grill, The Gazbar, located on 1045 Central St., has recently opened and is attracting hundreds of locals on the weekends. The restaurant had its grand opening in November 2012, and is only getting busier by the day. The bar offers a full dining and beverage menu and is open seven days a week. “I am lucky to have a great staff and very supportive and loyal customers and family,” says Erica Grinkis, the 27-year-old owner.
Grinkis and her husband, both Leominster locals, had been looking for the perfect location to open their own restaurant. They purchased the former restaurant Lidio’s, which closed in August. With the help of her parents, Michael and Debra Gasbarro, Erica (Gasbarro) Grinkis was able to turn her visions and dreams into a reality.
“I couldn’t have done this without my parents, they helped with anything and everything I needed,” says Grinkis, “The Gazbar has always been a dream of mine.”
So why did she decide to call it The GazBar? “The name came from many generations of the men in my family,” Grinkis said, “ The nickname was short for Gasbarro, my maiden name. The name started out temporary, but as everything was coming together, The GazBar Sports Grill stuck.”
Grinkis purchased the establishment with the financial help of her parents in July of last year and quickly transformed the restaurant into an upscale sports bar and grill. “I had a lot of help from friends and family while the renovations were taking place,” Grinkis said. “My goal was to open in time for football season, which was just a few months away.”
The GazBar has nine plasma televisions, an array of sports memorabilia, and all new pub tables and bar stools.
Grinkis worked at a local pizza restaurant and bar, Paisanos, for six years while attending college, where she received her bachelor’s degree in business. After working in the restaurant business for several years in Massachusetts and Florida, Grinkis decided that it was time for her to start something of her own.
“Working behind a desk just wasn’t for me,” Grinkis added.
During the initial opening in November, Grinkis even waited on tables and was making drinks behind the bar. Grinkis believes that in order to run a restaurant, one must know how to perform every job.
“I have recently been back in the kitchen with my chef and his staff, learning how to make each meal,” Grinkis said. “The more I know, the more I can teach my GazBar team, to lead us all to success.”
The GazBar has a staff of eight cooks; a head chef, Brandon Gauthier; and 12 bartenders and waitresses. Many of the employees are locals as well as family friends of Grinkis. She has been working seven days a week at the pub making sure her business is running smoothly.
“People say to me, ‘You’re too young to be opening your own business’ but I think what better time? I am young and I have energy. No better time than right now. We have one life, and who knows what will happen,” Grinkis said.
Lindsay DelleChiaie, a close friend of Grinkis, says that she has earned her success.
“Erica has put in so much work, time and dedication into making this into her dream restaurant. She is there every day; her hard work will pay off,” said DelleChiaie.
The GazBar is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 1 a.m. The restaurant has a wide variety of food, appetizers and drinks available. The GazBar also has weekly specials and promotions for discounted appetizers during professional Boston hockey, football, basketball and baseball games.
“I’m striving for the GazBar to be the best place to watch your favorite sporting events, catch up with friends, and most importantly somewhere you can feel at home,” Grinkis said. The GazBar also has keno available as well as a scratch ticket machine. “Not many people get to live their dream,” Grinkis stated.
And right now, she is one young entrepreneur who is rocking the GazBar. More information can be found on The GazBar Sports Grill facebook page or website http://www.thegazbar.com.