With Covid numbers dropping, and vaccinations on the rise, Governor Baker has eased restaurant restrictions, welcome news to the myriad food proprietors across the State, including, undoubtedly, Beverly’s own Frank which opened in November of 2019 to much fanfare soon before it was forced to shutter all in-person dining in March of 2020 due to Governor Baker’s “Stay At Home Advisory”.
Frank, part sit-down restaurant/part prepared food and wine market, is the brainchild of Frank McClelland, probably Boston’s most famed chef of the past quarter century, known for pioneering the now ubiquitous “farm to table” approach to cooking. McClelland owned and operated L’Espalier in downtown Boston, a multiple AAA Five Diamond Award recipient from 1988 to 2018. He shocked local foodies when he closed L’Espalier suddenly and permanently in 2018. Meanwhile, McClelland was quietly planning his next move – a restaurant in the burbs’ – closer to his home, closer to his heart.
Frank takes a more casual approach to dining but brings the same rigorous food quality that made the owner’s high end French restaurant world famous. As a Beverly resident, and before the Massachusetts Stay at Home Orders were enacted in March of 2020 and subsequently updated but with similar restrictions as life in lockdown progressed, I was looking forward to a night out at Frank. Now, with the hope of being vaccinated by April 19th , I hope to revisit this plan by the end of the summer.
So why all this talk of a restaurant on what is essentially a blog devoted to trucking – or at least my personal experience in the trucking industry? Well, here is where these two seemingly disparate themes merge. In February, a gentleman who will heretofore be known as MR contacted me to ask if First Call Trucking could send a box truck with lift-gate down to Hammenton, NJ to pick up 270 blueberry plants at Dimeo Blueberry Farm and deliver them to his home in Essex, MA. These types of niche, same-day “P&D’s” (pickups and deliveries) are what First Call Trucking excels at; these unique, sometimes labor-intensive jobs are the type of work that the larger, more top-heavy trucking companies don’t want to touch. But it’s what I love. And my vendors are always up for a long-haul, “hot shot”, exactly as MR had ordered! Drive to Philadelphia from north of Boston and back to Essex, MA in a day?! No problem!
When MR and I got to talking a bit more about the logistics of the job at hand, I came to learn that the blueberry bushes we would be delivering to him in Essex would be planted at his home for eventual sale to his very good friend Frank McClelland for use at his eponymous restaurant in Beverly! I delighted to think that I was becoming another cog in McClelland’s famed hyper-local approach to food preparation.
While I would like to say the delivery went off without a hitch, unfortunately that was not the case. While blueberries may be sweet, the blueberry farmer I had the chance to encounter was not. He made my driver wait about two hours to be loaded while engaging in a monologue to me about the vastness of his wealth – “my blueberries have made me a very rich man.” After hanging up the phone I was reminded of the old saying about how “money talks but wealth whispers.” Dimeo shouts. Ever the professionals, however, my driver took the curveball in stride. When it was our time to load up, he did so graciously and efficiently.
Due to the delay, MR had to receive his truck full of blueberry plants the following day instead of same-day as intended. Still, he didn’t seem to mind. And, neither did we. Because after all, when life hands you blueberries, you make Blueberry Lemonade.