Laura Wolfe the owner of The Poynt, Amanda the marketing director, Dan the executive chef, and Debra the events coordinator, filled us in on everything you need to know about The Poynt!
How would you describe atmosphere of The Poynt? (Amanda, Marketing Director)
We describe The Poynt as "Suburban Industrial". We wanted to find a look and feel that was unique, upbeat, and hip with 'downtown city' vibes, but also wanted to embrace the small beach-town suburb of Newburyport. Our owners worked closely with our interior designer, Taniya Nayak, to bring out the history of our physical space. You will find hints of history in our decor, including the brick "John Farley's" painted wall, the booths made from men's shirt fabric, and lots of exposed piping and industrial style light fixtures to speak to the space's history as a hardware store. All of this contributes to the suburban industrial vibe of The Poynt and also highlights our commitment to keeping the integrity of the building. Our central 30 seat bar, pizza bar, dining room, and back porch dining spaces allow our guests a different dining experience with each visit and help create our unique and lively atmosphere at The Poynt Newburyport.
How is The Poynt different from the other restaurants in town? (Amanda, Marketing Director)
The Poynt has a little of everything. Where else in Newburyport can you go to get a Tempura Kung Pao Sushi Roll, A Wood-Fired Pizza, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Pan Seared Halibut all on the same visit (and have all of it taste authentic and fresh!)? Our culinary team proudly offers a variety of items to please both the modest diner, and the most adventurous foodie. Our culinary team also takes great pride is sourcing locally grown and raised product whenever possible, and most of our menu items are made from scratch in-house, including our pasta! Unlike many local restaurants, we have a variety of seating arrangements for different dining experiences, including our main dining room, our 30 seat bar, our pizza bar, outside on the back porch, or private dining in the 14 seat Wolfe's Den. We have a wonderful team that is fully committed to our guest's dining experience and we feel that it is our service team that really makes The Poynt "the place to be!"
Could you talk a little about the inspiration behind the different events at The Poynt? (Debra, Events Coordinator)
When John + Laura Wolfe asked if I would like to get involved as they build The Poynt in Newburyport, I really couldn’t contain my excitement. I am a confessed foodie of sorts, eating and living in Newburyport for nearly 16 years. So, when asked to help coordinate the Private Dining + Event Program at The Poynt, it felt absolutely perfect to me! The concept of 14 SEATS was steeped from my own upbringing: the child of a mother who was not only an incredible cook, but also a woman who was filled with much wisdom. She couldn’t help but serve ‘it’ up during our requisite, nightly, family dinners. She always said, “it is not only about what’s ON the table, but even more important, WHO is at the table”. There is a deep richness added to life by creating ‘atmosphere’ around food and drink and shared with friends. Combine this basic foundation with a deep sense of community and sociability and you have the formula that began 14SEATS.
My vision was to create a private, ‘underground’ dinner club that would serve off-menu, upscale but approachable food, all while offering interesting wines, craft cocktails and beers. The atmosphere found in The Wolfe’s Den design would provide the uncommon backdrop, create the visual exposure and necessary buzz. Next, to attract people who enjoyed creating a sense of community, one with enough interest and intrigue that was essential to create a waiting list, those who could only hope for a one-shot chance to enjoy a 14 SEATS dinner. A one-year membership commitment and I a goal to never have an empty seat. Why, because each month ONLY 14 people would be placed at our table. Hence, I named this club 14 SEATS. The Solution: The Wolfe’s Den, John + Laura Wolfe, The Chef. I knew I had to spark an interest and excitement from Six-time Iron Chef Peter Hansen, willing to create, prep and serve an entirely new dinner club menu each month, all while managing the challenges of the rapidly growing success of The Poynt. 14 SEATS would require his passion, creativity and bold flavors. The food needed to be as approachable as it would be incredible, prepared with his trademark of unexpected combinations. It took just one short meeting with Chef Hansen and there was no hesitation, and no absolutely no question that he would offer something really impressive and special. Since the idea was presented in February of 2016, Chef Hansen has delivered beyond expectations! In April we had the first 14 SEATS dinner club service, an awe-inspiring, 6-9 course tasting menu for the full table of Members and Guests. And, the waiting list to grab a seat at our table continues to grow.
What is your favorite dish on the menu? (Laura Wolfe, Owner)
On the dinner menu, my favorite dish is our Pan Seared Halibut, and for Sunday brunch, I love the Chicken Fried Steak!
How does The Poynt fit into the Newburyport culture? (Laura Wolfe, Owner)
Newburyport is all about community. I think The Poynt provides a place for locals to hang out, see and meet their neighbors, all while having a delicious meal!
What is your advice to a new business owner in Newburyport? (Laura Wolfe, Owner)
Again, Newburyport is all about community. My advice to new business owners in town is to meet your customers, get to know them, listen to what they have to say and become part of the community.
How would you describe The Poynt’s menu? (Dan, Executive Chef)
I would describe the menu as contemporary New England cuisine with a worldly flair. We try to not limit our imagination with our dishes, our inspiration comes from many different worldly cuisines. We like to think of ourselves as doing "Traditional New England Fare" but, in non-traditional ways.
What are your influences when picking the dishes and creating the menu? (Dan, Executive Chef)
Influences come from everywhere, including personal past experiences with different chefs and different restaurants. We like to locally source as much as possible, so the product that is currently in season guides the backbone of our menu. We anticipate on updating our menu with the seasons, with potentially up to 6 different menu changes per year.
What do you like most about cooking? (Dan, Executive Chef)
I like that every working in the kitchen has a different perspective, attitude, and strengths in cooking. Bringing all of the different qualities and personalities into one cohesive culinary team is an amazing feeling. Also, cooking allows for complete free range of creativity when it comes to menu items and daily specials, so having the opportunity to learn more about myself as a chef everyday.
If you could only bring three tools into a cooking competition what would they be? (Dan, Executive Chef)
Salt, Pepper, and Love. Kitchen machines and tools are a luxury, but not a necessity of good food. Good food is created by taking proper care of the dish and each individual component that goes into the dish. Proper care really includes seasoning (salt + pepper) and appreciation for the product that you're working with.