Everett native Richard Sasso said he had a lifelong dream to open his own restaurant. He had previously owned a replacement window business, hair salon, and billiards parlor before taking the plunge into the restaurant industry.
“I always wanted to go into the restaurant business and do it in my hometown,” said the 60-year-old Sasso.
That’s why he speaks so proudly about being the “president and treasurer of 8/10 Bar and Grille Incorporated.” He has owned and operated the popular Everett restaurant located at 8 Norwood Street for 14 years.
Customers have made 8/10 Bar and Grille one of the city’s most popular restaurants, where diners enjoy such favorites as chicken parmigiana (“A big seller,” said Sasso), chicken marsala, steak tips, and pizza.
A lifelong Everett resident, Sasso knows many of the customers personally from having grown up in the city. The 8/10 staff is also local and known for its congeniality and outstanding service.
Business was Booming
Business was quite brisk at the 8/10 Bar and Grille early in 2020. There had been no nor’easters or blizzards and the regulars from Everett, coupled with an influx of Charlestown families, were taking advantage of the mild winter and filling the seats nightly at the 8/10.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and it hit Everett particularly hard.
“Business was really good until we hit the wall,” said Sasso. “We closed down on March 17 to make sure everybody was safe because we didn’t want to take any chances. We didn’t even do takeout at that point.”
The restaurant re-opened in early June for takeout orders. When Gov. Charlie Baker announced the new social distancing and seating capacity guidelines for restaurants, Sasso enthusiastically welcomed the return of in-person diners.
“We open at 4 p.m. every day and we serve until there is nobody left to feed,” related Sasso. “If there’s people here, we stay open for them. If not, we close and come back the next day at 4.”
In addition to takeouts, the 8/10 partners with businesses Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub on deliveries.
“A lot of our regular customers have come back, but a lot of them are doing takeout and delivery because they’re still a little nervous about things that are going on with the COVID.”
He is appreciative of the customers’ support during what has been a very challenging period for the restaurant industry.
“I want to thank the customers for being very loyal
and very supportive and I just hope we can hang in there and get through the crisis,” said Sasso.
An Everett Kid and Former Hockey Star
Richard Sasso, 60, is the son of Joseph J. Sasso Jr. and Anna M. Sasso. “They’re my parents and nobody has been more supportive of myself and my brothers (James Sasso and Thomas Sasso) throughout our lives. My father is 88 and a retiring attorney who has been practicing law right up until this point. My mother is 85 and they have been very supportive throughout this whole thing. My brother James has an insurance company. My brother Thomas has a furniture business.”
Like many kids growing up in Greater Boston in the early 1970s, Richard Sasso was inspired by the two-time Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins and their electrifying defenseman, Bobby Orr.
Sasso was among the very first players to skate in what would become the Everett Youth Hockey program. He remembers such community leaders as Henry Schlagel, Pat Carli, Ralph Werner, and Lester McLaughlin, and his father, Joseph Sasso, helping to lay the foundation to the Everett program.
Sasso took his prolific offensive skills and talent to Malden Catholic where he played four years of varsity hockey under coaches Charlie Driscoll and Bob Conceison, graduating in 1978. He went on to play two years of Division 1 hockey at Boston College. He skated alongside teammate Joey Mullen, one of the first American-born players to star in the National Hockey League.
‘It seems like a lifetime ago,” said Sasso, whose brothers also excelled in high school (Malden Catholic) and collegiate hockey.
“My brother Tommy was a tremendous hockey player at Babson College and won the nation’s top player award two years in a row,” said Richard. “He was drafted and signed by the Quebec Nordiques. My brother James played hockey at the University of Connecticut.”
Looking Toward A Bright Future
Things are returning to normal at the 8/10 Restaurant that Sasso worked so hard to build and develop a loyal following.
“We’re moving forward and excited about the future,” said Sasso. “We lost 21 seats [due to the current guidelines], but the City of Everett has gone above and beyond and given us the outdoor seating. They did a tremendous job with that boardwalk. We have another 15 seats outside, but that’s going to be ending because of the cold weather.
“I thank Mayor [Carlo] DeMaria and his entire staff for doing as much as they possibly could to help us businesses survive this crisis,” he lauded. “We’re going to keep going until we can’t go anymore.”
And that’s good news for food connoisseurs everywhere.