Waxy O’Connor's has served its 16-day liquor license suspension and is ready to reintroduce itself to the Foxborough community as a pub that is food-first and a valued asset to the community.
“It should be pretty good on Friday when Waxy’s reopens,” said Waxy’s manager Joseph Lathrop Jr. “We brought in another chef. We have 15 new menu items. … I’m trying to be aware of what’s going on and get Waxy’s to be a value to the community.”
Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen approved Waxy’s change of manager application Tuesday, officially recognizing Lathrop Jr. as the new manager of the Main Street pub. Lathrop Jr. replaces Gordon Hyde, the manager who was allegedly responsible for many of the pub’s liquor-related problems with the town.
“Mr. Hyde was the problem but it got to a point where the ownership had to be responsible,” Lathrop Jr. said. “I think what happened was when we opened the numbers were great, the owners would come up and take a look at it. Gordon was on his best behavior and that would be it. … We recognize this is it for us.”
Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair Jim DeVellis said while he wishes Waxy’s and Lathrop Jr. luck, he remained firm that there’s no more room for error.
“I got involved in this [situation with Waxy’s] in 2010,” DeVellis said. “I voted against giving Waxy’s the license back. My tolerance level is below a zero on a scale of 1-10. I wish them luck and success but I’m not sympathetic to these issues. If Waxy’s comes back again [for a liquor license violation hearing] I’m going to fight as hard as I can to shut it down.”
Lathrop Jr. has worked for Waxy’s since 2009, serving as a bartender and assistant manager before replacing Hyde. The Stoughton native said he is confident his experience in the restaurant industry will change the culture at Waxy’s.
“I’ve worked for some good people and learned a lot about each facet of the restaurant industry,” Lathrop Jr. said. “I grew up in Stoughton so Town Spa was the big thing for us. If you go in there now the people who work there are people from the town. It’s been a pretty successful model. I like that the community gets sponsored by the business. That’s how I grew up.”
Lathrop Jr. said he has worked in the restaurant industry since “right after school” and has experience at the Cheese Cake Factory and Sunset Grill and Tap in Boston. He has experience as a bar back, waiter, bartender and manager.
Lathrop Jr. told selectmen the pub has spent the past six months studying what sells and what doesn’t at the pub to better serve patrons.
“We weren’t just picking new ideas [for the menu] we were actually eliminating things that weren’t selling,” Lathrop Jr. said. “We started looking at all the different restaurants in the area and looking at what we can offer that they don’t.”
Lathrop Jr. said while Waxy’s did not want to shut down for 16 days he found a way to utilize that time to improve the pub.
“It’s really been about the food, the training and the customer service,” Lathrop Jr. said. “We brought a new chef in and he is in charge of the kitchen. We have a new bar manager, we have a shift leader for the wait staff. Before, everyone was kind of fending for themselves so now we have a pretty good management structure in place.”
Selectmen also recently granted the pub an Automatic Amusement Device License for one video game machine.
Not lost in its changes, however, is the understanding that the pub needs to comply with the town’s liquor license to stay in business.
“We have a pretty good idea of everything that we’ve done,” Lathrop Jr. said. “The stuff that we did with [the Board of Selectmen] for the hearing was to ensure we were following everything we had to do to make sure we didn’t have any alcohol-related problems.”
Now, the focus is on the food and how Waxy’s can be a value to the community.
“[We want to] make Waxy’s an asset,” Lathrop Jr. said.
That opportunity begins Friday.