Local Hero Profile: BridgeSide Grille
For Rose O’Hagan, who has owned BridgeSide Grille in Sunderland for the past decade, the restaurant world was a natural fit. When asked how she got into the restaurant industry, Rose explained: “Some people just have a gene that calls to them and they aren’t happy until they do it. It’s just a drive.” Rose’s commitment to the restaurant is matched by her commitment to the local community. In the entryway to BridgeSide Grille you will notice a large chalkboard listing all of the local farms the restaurant supports. Rose visits these farms herself to pick up ingredients. “I go to all the farms,” she says. “They know me and I know them: Thomas Farm for goat cheese … tomatoes from Fairview Farms …” Rose likes knowing the farmers who grow her food and being on a first name basis with many of those who eat at the restaurant. She believes in keeping it local—to build relationships, support the local economy, and give back to the community.
What are your favorite dishes on the menu?
- Pizza: We have different pizzas every week, with toppings chosen to highlight whatever local ingredients are in season.
- Tacos: The coleslaw we use for our tacos is made from fresh local cabbage and carrots from Joe Czajkowski Farm.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
“Cooking, creating the menu, and having people enjoy the dishes. Being my own boss.”
How do you want people to feel at BridgeSide Grille?
“We want them to think that their experience and their meal was excellent, that the service was friendly, and they can’t wait to come back.”
Did you know?
Rose visits farms every day to pick up fresh local produce for the menu.
BridgeSide Grille supports Joe Czajkowski Farm
Farmer: Joe Czajkowski
Story: Joe’s family has been farming in the United States for 101 years. His grandfather started the farm in Hadley in 1960, growing tobacco. When the tobacco industry began to decline, the farm started to evolve and diversify. Today, Joe Czajkowski Farm grows around 30 different vegetable and fruit crops, mostly selling to large buyers like UMass Amherst and Trader Joe’s. But Joe appreciates his smaller buyers too; Rose O’Hagan from Bridgeside Grille has frequented his farm stand for about five years. “They’re always very friendly, very cordial,” Joe says, squinting in the sun. “And they pay their bills on time—it doesn’t get any better than that!”