Culinary Wanderlust

New owners put a southern spin on a Scituate burger bar.


As soon Michael Tondorf caught sight of the barbecue smoker out back, he knew he had found the location for his next restaurant endeavor. Tondorf and his sister Kara, who are also the owners of the well-regarded restaurant Riva, decided to stick with the eatery’s casual, come-as-you-are vibe. The pair of restaurateurs opened The Rivershed in September, where they serve up a range of American favorites.

The Rivershed has a very different feel from your classic New England restaurant. Vintage signs and plastic palm trees decorate the walls and Mason jars sit atop the bar. While much of the restaurant’s eclectic décor is a holdover from its predecessor, JW’s Burger Bar, the new menu has a more southwestern slant.

On my recent visit to The Rivershed, I made my way up to the large wooden bar that serves as a centerpiece to the restaurant. The smell of barbecue made my mouth water. As the food came parading out of the kitchen, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Thanks to the smoker, Chef Michael dishes out authentic barbecue with all house-made sauces. I enjoyed the pulled pork tacos, which are a new addition to the menu. The soft flour tortillas arrived at the table overflowing with hickory-smoked pulled pork, homemade creamed corn, pickled apple and chipotle mayo.

Another signature dish is the skillet mac and cheese, which consists of macaroni coated in smoked gouda, which just so happens to be my favorite cheese. Crispy bacon and sliced scallions came folded into tender cavatappi pasta, which was served in a cast iron skillet. The menu also includes barbecue plates, salads, interesting appetizers like pickle fries and delicious burgers.

If you are looking for a beverage to complement anything you may order, The Rivershed has you covered in that area too. Their extensive beer list is more than impressive, carrying rare craft beers and local favorites. The bar carries over 18 bottled beers and they switch up the eight or so they keep on draft. Not a beer drinker? There’s also a creative cocktail menu and a wine list that is “Kara and Riva approved.”

While still new on the dining scene, the Tondorfs have big aspirations for The Rivershed and are working daily to keep moving forward with their new offerings. Every other Sunday the restaurant hosts an open mic night, which brings in talent from all over the South Shore to add a Nashville-like vibe. When the weather warms up, the live entertainment will be moving outside to their beautiful outdoor patio filled with cornhole boards, a fire pit and a new rum bar that overlooks the creek.

More than a place to grab a quick bite, The Rivershed is an experience. Guests can grab a beer with friends, sip on a “Lost Sailor” cocktail, or sit down to enjoy one of the many entrées offered at this funky downhome restaurant. No matter why you find yourself at The Rivershed, you are assured a friendly smile and great food to leave you itching for another visit.

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