“There’s certain things in Worcester that most people know about. We’ve got a lot of colleges. We’ve got the Worcester Red Sox, and we have the Sole Proprietor and only one of them has been around since 1979, serving fish.”
And when in the Woo, seafood lovers are sure to be woo’d by the Sole Proprietor.
Located on Highland Street in Worcester, The Sole Proprietor is a family run institution that’s been reeling in customers over 41 years. Now in its second generation, the Sole has kept up both quality and consistency, according to Chief Operating Officer Keith Carolan.
“My in laws started the Sole Proprietor in 1979. I came onto the scene about 15 years ago…as my in laws are now kind of exiting the business. My wife and I are continuing the family traditions.”
“There’s a reason that the Sole Proprietor has been that long. We’ve adapted with not only the times, but cuisine. We can do anything. We’re traditional. We have newer styles of food. But if you’re looking to scratch that itch for a good clam chowder. If you’re looking for a traditional New England style seafood dinner, this is the place to come.”
The place is decked out with dark woods, dim lighting, seafood on display, and a loud and lively bar.
“We have families in here. We have business people. You can basically run the gamut from very casual to very upscale, buttoned up business meetings or just a casual night out with your friends.”
And for a true spectacle, the time to come is July, when you’ll be greeted at the door by Buster.
“Buster is the world’s largest inflatable crustacean and it is normally July is a very slow time for a restaurant in the city of Worcester unless you’re the Sole Proprietor and you have a the world’s largest inflatable crustacean on your roof. “
The test of any true seafood house is its chowder. And at Sole Proprietor, it does not disappoint.
“Clam chowder is traditional New England style. Just enough potato just enough bacon and way too many clams. We’re about 45 minutes outside of Boston even a little bit further than the cape, but one spoonful and it will transport you to wherever of those locations that you actually want to be.”
There are oversized shrimp with some of the best cocktail sauce around and a selection of oysters delivered daily so they’re ultra fresh.
“We literally get fish deliveries on a daily basis. The age old adage that the customer’s always right, absolutely rings true. Unless they say that we don’t have fresh seafood then they’re completely wrong.”
There are some not so traditional New England ways to kick off your meal…
Like this Wild Spanish Octopus served over Yukon potatoes with crumbled sausage and pickled chili peppers, spicy sweet Bang Bang Shrimp and a selection of sushi that’s great to share.
“If you’re a seafood house, you would be foolish not to have any sushi in house.
Really really popular. Really delicious fresh fish. It’s unbelievable. Far and away one of our most popular dishes that we have here is sushi.”
If you’re looking for a sandwich, the obvious choice is a lobster roll. But how you order it is the real question. Hot or cold?
“The correct answer is whatever you want. We do eight ounces or just a half pound lobster meat. We serve it either New England style with mayo or Rhode Island style with butter. …on a large brioche roll a lots of pouring off the sides comes with french fries and coleslaw. It is a can’t miss.”
Other options for lobster lovers include the Sole’s New England Lobster Bake.
“So when you get our New England Lobster Bake, you’re basically getting a whole Maine lobster, steamed clams, steamed mussels, corn on the cob, and baby potatoes. It’s literally like summer on your table.”
Another dish that will give you all of the New England feels is the Fried Works Dinner.
“Fried works dinner is basically as traditional New England seafood as you can possibly get. No fuss, no muss. It is a large heaping platter of fried seafood. You have scallops, you’ve got shrimp, fried clams strips. If you can’t make up your mind when you go into a fried seafood. We take care of it by putting it all in one plate for you.”
Lighter entree options at Sole Proprietor include a beautiful Blacked Tuna Steak with a buckwheat noodle salad or the Honey Mustard Ora King Salmon served over shaved Brussel Sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pickled apples and dried cranberries and if you’re not looking for seafood at all, the Sole still has you covered.
“When you have a seafood restaurant, you need to have a couple other options because not everybody that comes in loves, seafood. So you can get a surf and turf here. So it’s a good meeting in the middle. But you get really high end beef mix with our obviously fresh seafood. It’s a win win.”
And you’ll feel sweet victory at the end of your meal if you order the Black Bottom Pie.
“So it is the crust of Oreo cookie crumb topped with fresh homemade ice cream. And topped with whipped cream and a little bit of chocolate drizzle. It is huge and unbelievable. The perfect way to end your meal.”
And just as rich as the dessert- is the rich history the Sole Proprietor brings to the city of Worcester.
“There are many I’m landmarks in Worcester. Only one of them serves fish and that would be the Sole Proprietor. We’ve been here since 1979. The facade May has may have changed but the vibe and the overall feeling of hospitality and pride of not only the restaurant but the city has stood the test of time.”