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Plenty of favorites at Eighty Ates.

Byline: Barbara M. Houle

COLUMN: TABLE HOPPIN'

You can bet your blue light martini that scallops over lobster mashed potatoes or bourbon steak tips with couscous won't get axed at Eighty Ates Bar & Grille, 8 Airport Road, Dudley, anytime soon.

The dishes have their own fan club, according to Trevor Dieffenwierth of Charlton, general manager, and Kevin Krommer of Dudley, food and beverage director, who opened the restaurant in February. "We have customers who come in just for the lobster mashed potatoes," Krommer said. The scallops special is served every other week, so you may want to call to see if it's on the menu before you head out to the restaurant. Telephone: (508) 949-8888.

Everything on the Eighty Ates menu ends in 88. How clever is that?

The menu, which changes seasonally, offers plenty of choices for vegetarians as well as carnivores. Go to www.eightyates.com for a peek at the lunch, dinner and kids' menus. Or, wait until you get there. We don't want to spill the beans about everything.

Football fans can indulge in their own specials on Mondays from 9 to 11 p.m., when appetizers are 88 cents. Sundays, buckets of Bud (eight) go for $8.88.

Here's the skinny on the place:

Krommer has been in the restaurant business for 37 years; he owns Colonial Caterer in Webster. Dieffenwierth has previous restaurant experience, and also worked at Commerce Insurance Co. in Webster. The men plan to open another Eighty Ates in a Worcester suburb.

"Down the road, we see Eighty Ates as a franchised business," Dieffenwierth said.

Tim Haywood of Leicester, formerly with the Publick House in Sturbridge, is in the back of the house at Eighty Ates.

The restaurant seats 92; the bar, 12. A portable partition separates the dining room and bar. "We want families in the dining room to feel comfortable," Krommer said.

Small, private parties can be accommodated. Parking is no problem.

Hours: Dinner, 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; dinner, 4:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; dinner, 11:30 a.m. to closing, Sundays. Another new dining experience on the horizon.

Domenic D. Mercurio Jr., president of Worcester-based Mercury Media & Entertainment, appears in eight background scenes in "The Pink Panther Deux," which began shooting in Boston last month. Filming is expected to last until early next month. Steve Martin, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia and Jean Reno are among the stars.

Pink Panther has been a lot of fun, according to Mercurio, who said Boston has doubled for several European locations, including Paris and Rome.

Mercurio has been "a pedestrian reacting to Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin's character) getting his hand caught in the window of a moving car while trying to issue a traffic citation." Mercurio pulled another passer-by into the scene with him.

He also was a Swiss Guard stationed at the door of the Pope's bedroom at the Vatican, a scene shot outside the Boston Public Library. He sort of threw himself into the part when he improvised. His robotic head turn to a hat toss wasn't part of the scene, he said, but Martin liked it.

Next, Mercurio hopes to make the cut as an Italian police officer. He said he wishes it were a speaking part, as Italian is his second language.

The film has a 2009 release. Until then, you can catch Mercurio and his production company in the spotlight at Worcester's Best Chef, which will be Jan. 27 at Worcester Technical High School; Pioneer Valley's Best Chef; and the Wedding Cake Challenge, a winter event in Tuckerman Hall in Worcester.

The final round of the Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest is at noon Oct. 13 in the Federated Church, Route 2, Charlemont. The event is sponsored by the Sons & Daughters of Hawley. The public is invited.

Lunch will be served, followed by the Pudding Parade, entertainment and the crowning of this year's Pudding Head. Kathleen Wall of Plimoth Plantation will talk about 17th century foods.

The contest dates back to 1780 when two "fierce" female cooks vied for the title of Pudding Head, according to Tinky Weisblat, author of "The Pudding Hollow Cookbook." It was revived in 2004 as a fundraiser for the Hawley community-center building fund, Weisblat said. For the record, Pudding Hollow is a real place, a dip between hills in the hamlet of Hawley.

Go to www.merrylion.com and click on events for more info.

The Webster House Restaurant will have a wine dinner at 6 p.m. Oct. 17.

Cost is $70 per person, inclusive. Food will reflect different cultures that have left their mark in Africa. Meat wraps, peanut soup, Egyptian red snapper baked in a red bell pepper-mint sauce, Moroccan chicken tagine with honey and apricots and broiled Afrikander lamb chop will be featured. Dessert will be fried plantains and ginger.

Call (508) 757-7208 for reservations.

Australian wines will be poured at an in-store tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Bottle `N Cork, 197 Worcester St., North Grafton. Free to the public.

Wines include McWilliams Riesling 2005, Green Point Chardonnay 2004, Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004 and Green Point Shiraz 2003. A 20 percent discount will be offered on any bottle of these wines.

Tomasso Trattoria & Enoteca, 154 Turnpike Road, Southboro, is taking holiday lunch and dinner reservations for parties of 10 to 35 people. A semi-private room that seats 18 overlooks the open kitchen.

Michelle Itzkowitz, private dining and party coordinator, is the person to talk to about menus and wine pairings. Call (508) 481-8484.

Check out Panzano Provviste e Vino, Tomasso's Tuscan market and wine shop located next door to the restaurant. Lots of neat stuff.

Billy Costa, host of TV Diner, and co-host of Kiss 108's Matty in the Morning Show, will MC "The Taste of North Central" Nov. 14 in the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, Fitchburg.

The event, sponsored by the Montachusett Opportunity Council, will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets, $30 per person, will go on sale later this month. Call (978) 345-7040 for more information.

The Northbridge Education Foundation will have "A Grape Event" from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 14 in Pleasant Valley Country Club, Sutton. The foundation is a community-based, nonprofit organization that awards funds, via grants, to the Northbridge Public School System for sports and extracurricular activities.

Tickets are $50 per person in advance; $60 at the door. The event is sponsored by WB Smith Companies of Grafton and the Gaudette Insurance Agency in Whitinsville. Friendly Discount Liquors in Whitinsville will provide wines and microbrews. Tickets for the event are available at the store.

Participants include: Alicante restaurant in Mendon, Bagels and Kabobs in Sutton, Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Upton, Pleasant Valley, Falzone's in Douglas, Daily Bread, Platinum Catering and Fopema's Farm, all in Whitinsville, Squire Whites Pub and Restaurant and Woodfire BBQ, both in Worcester, The Little Coffee Bean and Tastefully Simple, both in Whitinsville, the Grafton Inn and Janet's Place, both in Grafton, and Starbucks Coffee.

Bagels & Friends, 119 June St., Worcester, offers three specials from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays. You can order fish and chips, chicken and chips or fish chowder.

The business now is open for late-night specials, limited to breakfast items, from midnight to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

If you have a tidbit for this column, call (508) 793-9145. Send e-mail to bhoule@telegram.com.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Kevin Krommer, left, and Trevor Dieffenwierth of the Eighty Ates Bar & Grille show off house specialties: bourbon sirloin steak tips, stuffed portobello mushroom cap and chocol-"Ates" cake.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA
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Title Annotation:TIME OUT
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 4, 2007
Words:1290
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