A GLOBE TROTTING BARTENDER CRAFTS BOTH COCKTAILS AND A ZEN STYLE OF LIVING
BY GILDA ROGERS PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
“Tennessee Whiskey,” by country music and Grammy Award winner Chris Stapleton, wafts over the airwaves inside Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in downtown Somerville, where head bartender Matthew Boardman beams a smile.“
This is a good song,” he emphatically stated. Indeed it is, and not for obvious reasons for Wolfgang’s bartender of two years, but rather for sentimental ones.
The lyrics say it all, he explained:
“But when you poured out your heart, I didn’t waste it, ‘cause there’s nothing like your love to get me high.”
Boardman is also on a natural high, having recently proposed to his now fiancé, Whitney Treich, who he confesses at times has saved him from himself.
At six foot five, he’s hard to miss, which turns the conversation to Thailand, where he spent a month and a half in early 2016 teaching art and yoga to underprivileged kids.
“I was the tallest person over there,” Boardman quips. “We visited the Lantern of Lights in Chiang Mai. Everyone is very friendly there, and it’s meditative, peaceful, and respectful.”
Boardman, who grew up in Montclair, and though almost celestially hip, manifests a lost art…how to be sociable. He attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, where he studied graphic art and design. That’s where he started bartending at a local bar, e Warehouse, pouring shots and beer.
“If you’re not happy where you work, then you’re not going to be good to your guests,” he said. His bartending roster includes Papa Razzi Trattoria & Bar (formerly in Short Hills Mall) and the Stone House in Warren, where he worked for five years. The impressive 25foot bar at Wolfgang’s, along with two gigantic television screens behind, make real statements to the young man.
“I liked moving up to more high end [establishments],” said Boardman, who is also a personal fitness trainer, and describes his current work environment as an asset, as it lends itself to networking and has helped grow his fitness client list.
He’s gearing up for summer, too, with more gin and vodka cocktails infused with fresh fruits and herbs for example the Cucumber Basil Gimlet, made with fresh cucumber juice, lemon juice, a splash of St. Germain Liqueur, gin, and basil simple syrup.
An adventurer, Boardman learned to surf while living in Los Angeles, and counts New Orleans and Negril, Jamaica, as his idea of happiness.
“I also want to get into advertising,” he said. As a result, he has been put in charge of the restaurant’s social media, and credits the TV AMC series Mad Men about an advertising agency with resurrecting the classic drink, the Manhattan. He also takes pride in assisting customers in search of a special cocktail, which led to the “Meet Me on Main Street” Boardman’s take on the margarita made with Cuervo Tequila, jalapeno simple syrup, grapefruit juice, triple sec, and lime juice.
“It’s a little more power than a [standard] margarita,” he said, adding that, partially due to his fitness background, he insists that hydration is key, so offers a tall glass of water with every drink.
A popular dining locale owned by Wolfgang Zwiener (a former head waiter at Peter Luger Steak House), Wolfgang’s features a “Wall of Fame,” an eye catching attraction featuring politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer, pro athletes Peyton and Eli Manning, actress Lisa Ray, and actor Armand Assante. The openness of its interior and the beauty of the wood furnishings, Boardman explained, are a fitting backdrop for fine dining, along with a cocktail like the “Gin Fashioned.”
Here’s to that!
119 West Main Street, Somerville / 908.541.0344 /