A summary of last night's Move Lowell Forward kickoff can already be found here, but I want to use this entry to say how impressed I was with the restaurant itself (Garcia-Brogan's).
The prospective missus and I left after having two cocktails so we could grab dinner over at New Great Taste. Unfortunately, however, there's some type of plumbing problem there, so our go-to eat-in/take-out/delivery locale is temporarily down for the count. Unsure of where to grab chow, we just circled back around and headed back to Garcia-Brogan's to eat.
The place had already started filling up, but by the time we headed back, it was packed (and this was even after most of the MLF folks had taken off). The Irish bar side was nearly full of patrons, the Mexican restaurant side was about 2/3 full, and the high energy level made it hard to believe that it was only the first Friday in the restaurant's history. To anyone visiting for the first time (such as us) there was no sign or other indicator that there was any kind of forced buzz related to the place's newness. On the contrary, it just seemed like a lot of natural laughing, drinking, and general carrying-on that you'd think would come from people used to a place -- one sign of which was a twenty-something female patron in one of the booths with her feet up on the booth bench.
This made me think of the unwritten rule among friends about refrigerators. There are many variants to it, and probably a few sitcom episodes dedicated to it, but the general idea is that a sign that someone is a truly close friend is when he or she can walk into your house and immediately open the fridge to scour for food or drink...without having to ask your permission in the first place.
There's got to be some pub or restaurant variant to it, and what I'm reaching for here is the idea that only when you reach a certain comfort level with a place are you going to just make yourself so at home as to throw the hush puppies up on the furniture just like the place is yours.
Besides being strategically located in a part of Lowell's downtown that can really use an economic/entertainment anchor such as this, Garcia-Brogan's impressed me by being able to pull together a crowd like it did on just the fourth day in its existence.