Chef Galen Sampson assures me that The Dogwood in Hampden is not closing permanently. He’s heard the rumors, too. Even his liquor distributor thought he had shut his doors for good. His answer, "No, absolutely not."
Galen, who has had bronchitis for the last few weeks and been out of touch, said that the restaurant he owns with his wife, Bridget, is going through a reorganization. It stopped lunch service and closed for August.
When Dogwood reopens in September, Galen said it will just serve dinner Tuesday-Saturday. It may be a financial decision, but he thinks the restaurant is better suited to evenings anyway. "We’re a basement restaurant," he said. "We’re more attractive at night."
His lunch staff, who were part of a culinary training program, is now at the nonprofit Plates Cafe and Catering in the Woman’s Industrial Exchange on North Charles Street. Galen is on the board and also develops recipes for the restaurant; Bridget is its acting executive director.
Plates currently serves lunch Mondays-Fridays but plans to add breakfast hours in the fall, Galen said.
In the meantime, he said many of his other kitchen help and servers took vacation time and "plan to come back to us" at Dogwood.
I also talked to Christian DeLutis today. He’s Dogwood’s former chef de cuisine and now executive chef at Alizee. He’s also a good friend of Galen’s. He said the restaurant was always busy when he was working there. "I see them landing on their feet," he said.
Galen sounded positive about reopening. "It’s tough right now," the chef said. "I expect September to be a good month."
We hope so, too.