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Laurie's 9:09 in Wakefield

Flowers celebrate the restaurant's first anniversary.
Flowers celebrate the restaurant's first anniversary.
Sandi Miller

For those on the North Shore, or for those escaping Boston, Wakefield is a prettylittle town, with a LOT of Italian restaurants. Until last year, at least, when Laurie’s 9:09 came to town.
Newton Marriott’s Laurie Rizzo and avid Beatles fan Bob MacFadgen met at a gym a while ago; he was retired from the tech industry, and she was looking to move up after more than 20 years running the Square Deli in Everett. They wanted to open a steakhouse and seafood restaurant that was city quality, but also casual for the parents who didn’t want to travel too far for a great meal, and a lunch spot near the Woburn courthouse. She was serving up meals for the homeless at St. Joseph’s when she heard about the spot across the street opening up.
“The deli was busy, but only at lunch,” she said. “I wanted to be busier.” Her grandfather was a fisherman, so she knew great seafood. They also decided to serve the same steaks from the same purveyor as Capital Grille. “There’s plenty of Italian restaurants in Wakefield,” said Laurie. “I wanted to expand to a place that’s more sophisticated, that is affordable but offers great quality,” she said. “Sophisticated but not dressed up.”
It’s for the 35+ professional crowd as well as the parents who want the filet mignon but don’t want to hire a babysitter to go into town.
A year in, they are not only making some great dishes, they’re having fun. Tonight, they are holding their first beer dinner with some of this writer’s fave beers, featuring Seaboard Ales & Lagers at 6:30PM.At $45 per person, guests will start with Laurie’s Spicy Shrimp Gumbo and a Lagunitas IPA; then Autumn Salad, with Mixed Greens, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Caramelized Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese Shallot Vinaigrette, and an Allagash White; third course will be Braised Short Ribs topped with Cabernet demi-glace, served with garlic-sage mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, paired with Brooklyn Brown Ale; and ending with Laurie’s Chocolate Outrage double fudge chocolate lava cake, and Ommegang 3 Philosophers.
Can’t make it? Every Wednesday night test your luck and flip a coin to win a free meal. There are no party size restrictions on this offer -- It’s a 50/50 chance. Not valid for takeout, excludes alcohol and you are asked to still tip on the total amount of the bill that is complimentary should you win the coin flip.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 5 PM to 6:30 PM it’s $1 per oyster, especially handy for the bar crowd perusing a huge martini menu at the nickel-lined raw bar, which also serves up freshly made pasta. there’s also a penny-lined bar on the other side, and both have a view of the commuter rail station. For the National Inquirer crowd, the penny bar also has a whorl that kinda looks like Jesus. Really.
Also look for paint nights, blues jams and jazz nights. They have curbside pickup for busy soccer moms who don’t want to feed their kids fast food, and soon to come will be Sunday brunch.
There’s a lot of promotions, but don’t let that fool you: the food is terrific.
The oysters are fresh PEIs and Wellfleets. The bread is from North Shore bakery Mamadou’s, a an assortment of crusty fresh rolls. Start off with the Laura’s Crab Cakes ($11.09), which are light on breading, heavy on the chunks of sweet crab, with an interesting tarragon aioli. The PEI mussels ($8.09), with white wine, olive oil, garlic and herbs, served with crusty Artisan bread, is kind of addictive, and I think they made it with some anise on my night. We also loved the clam chowder, which was a little on the light side, but chunky with clams. Chicken wings ($8.09) come with a choice of Thai chili, jalapeño ranch, or BBQ, although we ordered them plain for the kid, crispy and moist on the inside.
For dinner, couldn’t resist getting the French cut rack of lamb ($28.09), which I rarely see in a casual-setting restaurant. It was about six lollipops of luscious medium-rareness. It came with sides of asparagus and sweet potato fries, with a spicy horseradish dipping sauce.
The Pasta 9:09 ($25.09) was a seafood platter with a generous mix of lobster and scallops atop homemade tagliatelle curls and a light marinara. No oil, no cheese, nothing fried.
There’s also salmon, baked haddock, jumbo scallops, a baked fisherman’s feast, stuffed chicken breast, for a great selection of food.
For the gluten-free crowd, special nods go to the Redbridge beer, and a noodleless lasagna ($17.09), where the noodles are thinly sliced roasted eggplant. It was like a roasted veggie casserole with meat, ricotta and cheese, with prominent slices of mushrooms and artichokes. Delicious! And for dessert, there’s a GF lemon cake and a brownie.
But for the gluten lovers, I highly recommend the limoncello cake, which melted in my mouth, and the three small house-made cannoli, with Laurie’s own cannoli shells that taste like cookies.
Complaints? Only one bathroom!

Laurie Rizzo, co-owner of Laurie's 9:09 in Wakefield
Brian Samuels

33 Tuttle Street, Wakefield, MA 01880
Phone: (781) 246-1909

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