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Father-Daughter Team Brings Culinary Magic to Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Massachusetts

Father daughter team Connie and Fatima Perez bring culinary magic to Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

Connie and Fatima Perez, father-daughter and owners of Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham.

Article and photos by Eric Hurwitz. Article created on 11/4/17.

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Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Mass., feels like it is located in the middle of nowhere, but, fortunately, is situated close enough to Boston, Mass., and Providence, R.I., to make the outstanding dining experience worth the drive.

For a few minutes, the roads leading to Connie's suggest nothing but rural open land and lakes, but seemingly out of nowhere appears three restaurants adjacent to flat land that looks more like the Midwest than New England.

Shears Avenue in Wrentham, Mass.
Rural Shears St. in Wrentham.

One of those restaurants is Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern, and its appearance immediately looks warm and inviting. The old cottage-like building, which once housed The Anvil (a dive bar) and Mr. Dooley's Tavern (Irish Pub) has given way to its most welcoming-looking version at 303 Shears St., courtesy of Connie's.

Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham.

Father Connie Perez and daughter Fatima Perez commute 45 minutes to an hour daily from Everett -- one of the most densely populated cities in the state -- to this sparsely populated Wrentham neighborhood to passionately create various types of cuisine based on their unique and specialized cooking and baking backgrounds. Connie, an El Salvador native, has worked 25 years in the restaurant industry -- mostly close to the Boston area -- with experience including Ristorante Saraceno in the North End of Boston, Carlo's Cucina Italiana in Allston, Devlin's Restaurant in Brighton, Dolce Vita in Boston and Brothers Restaurant in Brookline. Fatima found her baking passion in high school and then attended Newbury College in Boston for culinary management. At 23, she has already worked at the highly-regarded Petsi Pies in Somerville.

This real-life, every day version of take your daughter to work day has resulted in a restaurant experience where a father has finally realized his own dreams by owning a restaurant and a daughter learning the field while already bringing undeniable natural talent that just can't be taught in school.

This is the dream restaurant for Connie and Fatima, and the dream dining out experience for those having tried Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern -- first starting at the delightful entrance.

Entrance to Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Mas..
Entrance to Connie's in Wrentham.

Once stepping into the recently renovated restaurant that opened on July 5, 2017, Connie's evokes a cozy, quaint atmosphere that looks like the perfect dinner place to relax over drinks and home cooked meals. With gleaming wood floors, alernatingly high and low ceilings, wall sconces and country-style chandeliers providing ambiance, a beautiful bar and a little alcove where red sofa chairs provide a comfortable setting, it seems like every step of the way reveals that there's not a bad seat in the house. It's simply a beautiful restaurant.

Dining room at Connie's Rustic Kitchen in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cozy restaurant setting at Connie Rustic Kitchen and Tavern.

Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern bar and dining room in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Bar and dining room area at Connie's.

As we know, however, the winner of a beauty contest does not always translate well to substance and meaning, but, fortunately, Connie's food offerings are the real draw here. Whether American, Mexican, Asian or Italian, Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern has something for everyone in a family-friendly atmosphere. The menu is filled with appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and paninis, salads and soups, but often not typically-prepared dishes. Most dishes seem to be done with a flair, case in point, the lamb shank with jalapeno mac and cheese, asparagus, and root vegetables, and the stuffed chicken involtini with spinach prosciutto fontina, chardonnay mushroom sauce seered with mashed potatoes and green beans. If all that sounds too ambitious, diners can go the opposite route and order familiar dishes like New England clam chowder, fried calamari, a Caesar salad, chicken parm, Shepherd's pie, or an angus burger with lettuce, tomato and onion.
 
"People can find a bit of everything here," said Connie. "It's a great opportunity for us to bring different styles and backgrounds to our restaurant."

Connie's also offers have gluten-free, kids and catering menus, as well as offering a Sunday morning brunch with selections like pancakes, eggs Benedict, French toast and bacon. What's more, the drinks list is ambitious and includes 13 beers on tap and its signature rapsberry lemon drop martini.

Fatima says that some of the more popular items are the nachos, Philly steak baked spring rolls served with smoked chipotle ketchup dipping sauce, short ribs tacos, fish and chips, meatloaf dinner and stuffed portobello with eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and red pepper coulis (a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruit). The filet mignon with bleu cheese, mashed potatoes, spinach and a demi glace is worthy of the best of Boston with its tender flavor and well chosen food combinations.

Filet mignon with mashed potatoes, bleu cheese, spinach and a demi glze from Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Massachusetts.Filet mignon from Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern.  

As mentioned, Fatima is a naturally-talented pasty chef. On her first try, she came up with this perfectly-created, mouthwatering pumpkin creme brulee...

Pumpkin creme brulee from Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrentham, Massachusetts
Pumpkin creme brulee from Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern.

Some other recent desserts created by Fatima include an apple cider doughnut ice cream sandwich, a brownie sundae and cheesecake. Yum!

Connie has brought an amazing tour de force of culinary approaches to his restaurant while a young, gifted baker in Fatima learns the restaurant industry while immediately contributing through her own considerable talents. It's a fabulous match, made even better by being working together as family to make nearly 100 percent of its menu selections from scratch.

"It's all pretty great," said Fatima. "My dad was looking to open a restaurant and fell in love with this building. It's nice to be in the countryside away from all those buildings."

While in the area, don't forget to enjoy that beautiful countryside before or after the meal -- it's some of the prettiest scenery in the Boston suburbs with placid waters and big skies included!

Mirror Lake in Wrentham, Massachusetts
Mirror Lake near Connie's Rustic Kitchen.

Sunset in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Sunset at Emerald St. in Wrentham near Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern.

Connie's is definitely worth the drive from Boston and Providence, as well as for shoppers 10 minutes away at the Wrentham Premium Outlets in Wrentham and Patriot Place in Foxborough. Additionally, those from nearby Franklin, Norfolk, Walpole, Medfield, Millis, Medway, Bellingham and Woonsocket should definitely take note of this fantastic newcomer to the southwest of Boston dining scene. Already established with nearly 100 percent filled-to-capacity crowds on weekend nights, Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern keeps evolving as the father-daughter team grows as family and co-workers.

"Fatima learns a lot from me," said Connie. "And I learn a lot from Fatima...We are very excited about having our own restaurant. "
 
Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern is located at 303 Shears St. in Wrentham MA. Tel. 508-384-3457. Web site: https://www.conniesrkt.com/. Facebook fan page: https://www.conniesrkt.com/

Connie's restaurant in Wrentham MA

Related article:
What it's like to dine at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, Mass.

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