, Newburyport, MA

May 11, 2009

New manager, chef at Michael's

By Katie Farrell

NEWBURYPORT — While there are two new faces behind the menu at Michael's Harborside these days, customers will see little change, the management team says.

New England Development, which owns Michael's, announced last week that Matt Kirk, 39, of Amesbury has been hired as its new general manager, replacing Jim Rogers, who held the position for nine years.

Beau Marchitelli, 29, of Newburyport, has been hired as the new executive chef.

Both men have roots in the Newburyport restaurant scene.

Kirk served as general manager at Not Your Average Joe's and Kiwi Grille. Marchitelli was a chef at Harborside Catering, also part of Michael's Harborside.

"We're not going to reinvent the wheel here at Michael's," Marchitelli said recently. Certain staples will still be part of the menu, he said, like the lobster roll and other seafood favorites, with a focus on "fun, family food."

The well-known waterfront restaurant and bar has undergone a number of changes recently, parting ways with some of its management team and giving the upstairs of the restaurant a face-lift, adding leather couches and tables. Instead of bands or DJs, acoustical music is now played in the lounge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Tina Santoro-Smith, the marketing director for Newburyport Development, which owns the restaurant, said the restaurant is still in conversations with the Yankee Homecoming Committee about how Michael's could contribute to the annual summer festival. In the past, its Beach Blast party has been a popular aspect of the celebration.

Kirk's background also includes serving as the general manager at the Naked Fish in Lynnfield, Jumbalaya in Danver and Bertucci's in Waltham.

Marchitelli worked as a chef at The English Pub in Amherst, The Beach House in North Hampton, N.H., and Joseph's Trattoria in Haverhill.