Simple flavors and sophisticated style intersect at The Corner Stop EateryBy COLBY RADOMSKI
For most first time restaurant owners, the idea of opening an eatery is intimidating—especially when your neighbors are some of your biggest critics. But for husband and wife team Ron and Rudy Vale, their passion for good food and years of hospitality experience superseded any reservations they had about carving their way into the vibrant South Shore dining scene and opening The Corner Stop Eatery.
The pair has lived in Hingham for more than a decade and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the culinary industry, (Ron was most recently the Director of Operations at Island Creek Oyster Bar). “We always wanted to [open our own restaurant],” Ron explains. When DiNero’s closed in early 2013, the pair, who resides just around the corner from the building, in Hingham, saw it as a sign. It was a now-or-never kind of feeling for Ron. “We really jumped in with both feet,” he says.
The new-American style eatery is a departure from its Italian-style predecessor. The menu features upscale yet approachable farm-to-table style dishes that utilize fresh ingredients (many of which are sourced or grown locally—including Holly Hill Farm and Hornstra Farm).
Prior to opening, the space was completely gutted and transformed. The new décor reflects a rustic-chic-meets-the-beach vibe. Through a cheery, orange front door, guests are invited to choose one of two dining options. To the left stands a cozy, formal dining room with an unusual but attention-grabbing feature: a wall lined with birch tree trunks. Opposite the dining room, the airy and open lounge area features a massive, 30-seat U-shaped bar that invites guests to sip craft cocktails and nibble on artisanal bites. A floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace with its own seating area allows guests a place to cozy up on chillier days.
On my last trip to The Corner Stop Eatery, I indulged in a sampling of menu favorites prepared by Chef Sam Cabral-Curtis, who has helped build the restaurant from the ground up—literally. Given the caliber of his dishes, I was surprised to learn that a career in the culinary industry was rather unplanned for the young chef. A student of architecture, it was while living in Louisiana building homes for Habitat for Humanity that he decided to try his hand behind the kitchen line.
Cabral-Curtis’ southern influences became evident as each dish set before me presented its own set of bold flavors and an unmistakable quality that comes from cooking with one’s heart and soul. First up were the crowd-pleasing “angry and sweet” wings, fried to a slight crisp and coated in a delectably thick (and a little sticky) sweet and tangy sauce. While I’m not much of a pork eater, I was incredibly impressed by the chef’s take on the West Corner pork chop. Covered in a zesty coating of seasoned breading and savory parmesan sauce, and cooked to juicy perfection. The dish hit a home run.
While the menu changes with the seasons, the Vales are making a point to hold onto their most signature items, which include a spicy fisherman’s stew (PEI mussels, local clams, cod and swordfish in saffron-chorizo broth), organic burgers and sandwiches, creative flatbreads and offshore offerings like their grilled salmon and flounder Meuniere. The bar also features a number of spirits and craft cocktails that pair seamlessly with each dish (they even have a “50 bottles under $50” wine menu). For South Shore foodies, the combination of quality food and drink and a classy, yet cozy atmosphere, has made The Corner Stop a culinary destination worth driving to.