NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Thursday afternoon at The Hub seemed typical. The lunch rush has passed. Matt Schilling checks over slider supplies and gets his line staff ready for the next rush. Kate Schilling goes over adjustments in the restaurant's computer with waitress Jennifer Tatro.
Tomorrow's a different story. After all, the popular Main Street establishment will celebrate its fifth birthday on May 3.
"We're really proud of it, and mostly I'm proud of Matt," Kate Schilling said. "He deserved this. It was always his dream to have his own place and he worked his way up to it and he's really the backbone, he holds it all together."
Friday's already usually busy. But it will be busier than usual in celebration, as the Schilling family has plans. Every table will receive mystery envelops, which at random hold a discounts from 10 to 50 percent or a free meal or desserts, Hub t-shirts, bumper stickers and more. In addition, they'll have a big cake that everyone will get a slice of, $5 appetizers all day long and $5 drink specials.
Matt and Kate Schilling both have been in the restaurant business for awhile. Matt Schilling has about 25 years of experience, and even ran the Mangrove Mamas, located in Key West, Fla., for 14 years. Kate Schilling started her restaurant experience at 16 and worked in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she met and worked with Matt.
"I was as far north as you can go and he was far south as you can go on the same seaboard," said Kate Schilling, a North Adams native.
They made a good team, and as Kate Schilling put it, "decided to get married even after working together in a restaurant," which if you have ever worked at a restaurant, you would understand.
They eventually moved to North Adams to get married and then they saw the old Milan at 55 restaurant for sale and decided to make a move.
"We were like, 'would this be a good opportunity?' And it was a good spot, right on Main Street," said Kate Schilling. "Me being from North Adams, I felt like there was so many things missing restaurant-wise. Even since we opened in five years, so much has happened. The town has really improved, there's a lot more here."
Kate Schilling felt her connection to North Adams also helped her decide on the menu.
"I felt like I knew what North Adams needed," she said. "I knew that most people don't want the fancy-schmancy escargot... People just want good food, good honest food... It doesn't need to be that complicated."
Matt Schilling joked that the expectation was to "become millionaires and retire" but quickly retracted that statement. They just want to make a living, offer the city a restaurant to "be here for the long haul."
"We hoped that the town would keep us going and they have," Kate Schilling said.
The Schillings, as well as their staff, credited the locals for their success.
"We have such a good local following, and that's the most important thing ever," Kate Schilling said, noting that although they are thankful for the added business from Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Porches and others.
They also credited their staff, the "Hub Family," for keeping the place successful.
"We have the best staff, and you know who says that? The customers say that all the time," Kate Schilling said.
Tatro, a waitress at The Hub, echoed Kate Schilling's feelings.
"I love all the staff, we're like family," Tatro said.
The Schillings hope for the next five years to treat them as well as the first, and hope to expand to offer entertainment.
The Hub is located on 55 Main St. and is open on Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 9:30.