A place to GatherBy Maria Allen | Photography by Jack Foley
To refer to the restaurant Gather as a breakfast and lunch joint would be accurate—but it would also be oversimplifying things. Yes, the stuffed French toast is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. However, that’s not surprising considering it’s filled with strawberry-rhubarb compote and available gluten-free. What sets this new Pembroke eatery apart is its ability to take humble ingredients like eggs and potatoes and elevate them in fresh and flavorful ways.
For instance, you won’t find many South Shore restaurants serving up shredded beef breakfast tacos, shrimp and grits or braised short rib poutine at 7 a.m., but you will at Gather. Executive chef and co-owner Shelton Perkins puts his own spin on the dish by using thick-cut home fries (in place of french fries) and topping them with slow-braised short rib, homemade mornay sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese curds and a sunny-side egg. “It’s our take on the Canadian classic,” says general manager and co-owner Nick Wilson.
Wilson and Perkins, who both previously worked as executive chefs in Boston, came to Pembroke looking for a place to establish a restaurant with close ties to the community. They source eggs and other products from local farms whenever possible and serve Beanstock Coffee (from Wellfleet) and bottled drinks from Simpson Spring in Easton.
Lunches at Gather feature hearty dishes like grown-up grilled cheese, made with sharp cheddar, avocado, bacon and tomato, and healthier options like a sweet potato and arugula salad containing chunks of oven-roasted sweet potato, dried cranberries, goat cheese and sunflower kernels tossed in a honey-lemon vinaigrette.
Everything on the menu at Gather is made from scratch and chef Perkins is allergen certified (the kitchen is nut-free) and is happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions.
Since opening in February, Gather has already become known as a place where people go to share good food and good company. In fact, the restaurant has made communal dinners a priority. “We all grew up attending church on Sundays, followed by a family dinner at Grandma’s house,” says Wilson. “We believe Sundays are meant for family and friends, so we are excited to bring family dinners to the community.”
They were so serious about the idea that they built long farm tables to cater to large groups and decided not to serve brunch on Sundays so that they would have more time for their own families.
But on Sunday nights, they are back in business. Dinner guests come together under a beautiful driftwood chandelier, built by Perkins’ wife, Jamie, and are served delicious meals from vintage Pyrex serving dishes. Seating is first-come first-served, so guests are likely to dine beside people they don’t know, but that’s part of the magic. Sharing a meal, not just at the same table, but also from the same bowl, has a unifying effect. “We’re all about bringing people together to enjoy great food,” says Wilson. We’ll meet you at the table.
35 School St., Pembroke