The mussels are among the most popular items at the Grille at Westborough Country Club, owner Michael Hightower and Food and Beverage Director Tracy Simone say.
And Hightower hopes his staff will further flex its creative muscles as the new restaurant grows.
"I think where we're starting now is a very basic place," says Hightower, who owns the Grille with his wife Erin.
"Moving forward, I would hope to get into some more experimental or higher upscale dishes. The feel I'd kind of like to get to would be a gastro-pub: different takes on classic dishes."
The Grille opened at 121 West Main St. on Friday, Nov. 22, hosting a fundraiser for the Westborough Athletic Boosters Association.
The pub succeeds Mulligan's Taverne, which was at that location for 10 years.
Hightower is the Westborough Country Club's superintendent, and was very familiar with the restaurant space.
"Just seeing it over the last 12 years, I kind of got a sense of what potential it had, and how it could help the golf course," says Hightower, a Westborough resident.
"We haven't been doing great in the last few years, with membership being down, in part because of the economy. I felt like this restaurant could be something that could really bolster the local economy as well as the golf club economy."
Simone responded to Hightower's ad for a chef manager.
"She really fit the bill perfectly," says Hightower, who also manages other properties, and "I help with a lot of the rec fields in town."
"She's opened several restaurants before, and I wanted somebody with a strong food background. She's a classically trained chef. She can create good recipes. I also need that person to act as a manager, being that this was a very low volume establishment, so I kind of felt like I needed to combine two jobs."
Simone says she was looking for a new project when she saw Hightower's ad.
"Most of these items are my signature dishes from past restaurants, just compiled to make it one great menu," she says.
So far, steak tips are the Grille's top seller, followed by mussels, and hog wings, Simone says.
Hightower says the space was renovated considerably for the new restaurant.
In the bar design, "I tried to create little areas where groups of four to five people could sit down and enjoy a game," he says.
The Grille offers "three TVs that are going to be playing sports," Hightower says.
"We'll definitely have the games on," he says.