Falmouth’s newest restaurant offers an eclectic, all-scratch menu with great service to boot!By COLBY RADOMSKI
At Bear in Boots Gastropub, family relics and photos are on display; the staff treats you like a longtime customer or friend, (even on your first visit), and culinary passion wafts through the air amidst flavors coming from the kitchen.
When chef/owner Gates Rickard and wife, Kate, planned to open a restaurant in Falmouth, the dynamic culinary duo knew they wanted their venture to reflect their love of all things food, family and global travel, while also fill a void in the downtown dining scene. With its cozy pub feel and standout menu, Bear In Boots Gastropub, which opened in the spring of 2014, truly lives up to its name (which also plays homage to Rickards’ children, who are nicknamed “Bear,” “Boots,” and “Squirrel”), serving an eclectic array of pub-style food with an upscale, international twist.
The restaurant (previously the RooBar) was gutted from top to bottom. The new space is airy and bright, complete with gleaming wood floors and a gorgeous 12-seat sinker wood bar sourced straight from Boston Harbor. An open kitchen offers diners a behind-the-scenes look at cooking operations and a special high-top table beside the kitchen window allows diners an interactive dining experience and some scrumptious “treats” from the chef. But perhaps the most unique feature of the Main Street eatery is not what you can see in front of you, but rather, above you: a custom-built elevated music loft for nightly entertainment.
On a recent trip to the gastropub, my companion and I sampled a hefty spread from Chef Gates’ diverse menu, which blends a variety of cultural influences from Asian-style cuisine (Japanese and Vietnamese) to European-style food.
“The gastropub allows us to do pretty much whatever we want,” Gates says. “We’re not locked into one style of cooking.”
As the plates were set before me, I learned that Gates and Kate are truly committed to operating an all-scratch kitchen. They make their own pasta, ice cream, and even their own condiments. Quality control is also a huge priority for the pair—they do all of their own butchering in-house with locally sourced meats.
I started with the table pretzel, a hearty and salty homemade sourdough pretzel that is served with sides of homemade mustard and beer cheese. It was truly a plate to share. Next up were “Katie’s Favorite Chicken Wings,” which I learned have a comical backstory.
“I don’t like wings,” Kate says amused, who explains that while Gates was testing recipes, he had asked her to try the Asian-inspired bar favorite. Despite her hesitation, Kate reluctantly took a bite only to finish an entire plate.
The bone-in wings and drumsticks were truly unlike anything my companion or myself had ever tried. Bone-in drumsticks and wings were breaded in a thick and crunchy rice flour breading and were smothered in a tangy spicy and sweet marinade. Despite being a little messy, it was by far the standout dish of the day. Other menu items include unique salads (think quinoa mixed with seasonal veggies, basil and tomato jam), fresh ground burgers and local seafood (think grilled salmon with butter poached lobster, corn and fava bean succotash and roasted fingerling potatoes). In addition to their solid options, Bear in Boots has a sturdy selection of hard-to-find craft beers and spirits. They even host regular beer dinners, which include food pairings.
But despite the palate-pleasing menu, the atmosphere truly reflects the Rickards’ love for family and desire to be a place where people can unwind with a good meal. That was exactly how I felt when I visited, and I can’t wait to go back.