Trips Abroad - The Cooked Goose
"The restaurant business is the hospitality business," says Jennifer Gibson. Jenn and her husband, Andrew Nathan, own The Cooked Goose, a popular restaurant in Westerly.
Jennifer sat down after moving among the customers, chatting with them, while occasionally checking something with the wait staff. Her expression of hospitality is more than "Hi, how are you, how's breakfast?" Jennifer is an outgoing, vivacious person who creates an atmosphere that is friendly and relaxed.
Andrew is also friendly, but he’s the head chef and in his kitchen you’re more likely to see the serious side of him. Nick Robinson, a waiter at The Cooked Goose since it started, says that Andrew “is a workhorse. He’s always in a work mode and he’s really good at running the back of the house.”
Asked what he likes most about his job, Robinson smiles and thinks for a moment: “Well, of course, I like the customers, but the best part of working at The Cooked Goose is the people I work with. Jenn and Andrew create a smooth operating, cooperative atmosphere. They always care about what they do. I’ve worked in some franchise hotels and it’s a pleasure to work here where it’s small enough that you feel you can have a direct impact on things.”
Next month, Andrew and Jennifer will celebrate their 10th anniversary as owners of The Cooked Goose. “Andrew and I were planning our wedding at the same time we were trying to meet our opening date,” recounts Jennifer. She laughs. “Now that was stressful!”
A decade later, The Cooked Goose has become the place to go for breakfast, lunch, and prepared food for take-out. The dining area leaves the impression of being spacious: It’s comfortably roomy and, even a on a cloudy winter day, it’s bright. There’s a snug lounge area where, in winter, you can enjoy your coffee near the fireplace. In the summer, there is outdoor seating within sight of the Pawcatuck River.
Jennifer made a point of extolling the restaurant's coffee. “We get it from New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Providence. The coffee is excellent and we like the fact that they’re a Fair Trade company.” She noted that breakfast customers like the practice of offering a carafe of coffee, an extra the waitstaff appreciates.
On a recent wintry day, Kevin Muckle and George Cucitrone linger over their coffee and lavish praise on The Cooked Goose. “We’ve been coming here from the beginning,” says George. “The food here is just excellent and the specials they come up with are, well, very special.” Kevin says, “We like the atmosphere, call it the ambience. Jenn and Andrew have worked really hard to make this the best restaurant around.” George adds, “They seem to have a knack for hiring good people. The waiters and waitresses are always courteous and responsive.”
Jennifer and Andrew have long-standing ties with Block Island. Jennifer worked summers on Block Island while she was a marketing major at Bentley. After graduation, she stayed on the island working at places like the Mannisses and Sharky's. “I loved the island,” she says, “And I made lifelong friends there like Millie McGinnes and Kyra Ernst, but I left in ’99 to take a job on the mainland. We still enjoy going over on Thanksgiving whenever we can squeeze out some time.”
The Cooked Goose has an excellent website (www.cookedgoose.com) that is updated daily with the day’s specials. The directions leading you to 92 Watch Hill Road require one caution: The Cooked Goose exterior is unimposing and doesn’t signal the friendly ambience and delicious food that await inside. A selection of newspapers and free wireless internet is available.
The Cooked Goose is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer with table service until 3 p.m. In the winter, the hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Telephone (401) 348-9888.