Buzzards Bay ‘Dive Bar’ Will Give You Something for Your Lindsey’s Gift Card
The sudden closing of Lindsey's Family Restaurant in Wareham has left a lot of questions in its wake, not the least of which is what should people do with their unused gift cards?
One self-proclaimed “dive bar” in Buzzards Bay is offering up a little something in exchange for the gift cards many worry are now useless otherwise.
Lindsey’s did take to Facebook on Saturday to say the restaurant “will have a post up within the week with steps to take if you are looking to have your gift card refunded,” and that the restaurant is “working to rectify the gift card situation as quickly as possible under the circumstances.”
However, for those who don’t want to wait to find out what may or may not happen, TJ’s Grill and Bar at the Buzzards Bay rotary is willing to give you 10 percent off your meal if you stop in anytime this month.
“Bring in any worthless (expletive) gift card from Lindsey’s for 10 percent off your meal all December long,” TJ’s posted to its Facebook page on December 1.
Naturally, the commenters immediately began bashing TJ’s for its approach.
“The extra adjective in your offer did not impress me. Just saying,” Irene Carbone posted, referring to TJ’s use of the “f word” in the original post.
“We're sorry, the owner fires us if we don't meet our curse quota,” TJ's replied. “It's an image thing.”
Tia Costa also didn’t like the way TJ’s was using the Lindsey’s situation to draw in potential new business.
“As a company you probably shouldn’t be cussing and bad mouthing another company just to make a dollar,” she wrote. “SO UNPROFESSIONAL SEEING (YOU’RE) JUST A DIVE BAR! But hey do what works best to bring (your) customers in right!”
“We would never slander an existing restaurant... other than ourselves of course,” TJ’s responded. “What's going on here is a judicious if cantankerous application of cussing and dark humor to reach the masses and get them in the door. Welcome friends!”
We reached out to TJ’s and spoke with the owner, Chad Smith, who is also the voice behind most of the social media posts. In his own inimitable way, he explained why he decided to use the Lindsey’s situation to his advantage.
“TJ's is hidden behind PetSmart at the Buzzards Bay Rotary, many don't know where we are. Everyone knew Lindsey's, they were a local icon,” he said. “I was looking to attract new patrons and people seemed really fired up about the gift certificates. So, I put down my day drink, whipped up a fresh post, dropped in an f-bomb and sent it.”
While TJ’s may pride itself in being a “dive bar,” it definitely has some unique food items, utilizing meats such as alligator, pheasant, venison and wild boar. The food is created by Chef Lou Rizzo of the Wild Game Sausage Man food truck, who runs the TJ’s kitchen.
“Originally, I didn't have much food and my bartenders had to cook it themselves. It was all quick and easy, just like most of my staff, but it wasn’t enough,” Smith said. “I looked for something unique, something that matched our attitude. Lou and his food truck were it. I gave him my kitchen and the rest is history.”
Smith said he has tried to run TJ’s in a way where he can make things as affordable as possible for the customers, and this is just another way to help them afford a night out when the price of everything is going up.
“We're all being ripped off by inflation and I set up TJ's lean, so it could be run by one snarky bartender and one chef, no waitstaff, no busboys, no Gen-Z hostess for your husband to pretend he isn't looking at. You can feed yourself for under 10 bucks, and it's good,” he said. “It's something you would buy if it were twice the price. We can do this because Chef Lou, the mastermind behind our menu, is chained in our basement. He doesn't get to enjoy freedom like the rest of us. We do not pay him.”
Smith had a special connection to TJ’s, and during the COVID-19 pandemic he bought the bar and the land because he had an undying love for the bar and quite the story behind it.
“She was closed, sad and lonely. It's a sacred place to me, it's where as a Mass Maritime Academy Cadet, I had my first legal drink at 21. Later that night I experienced unwanted sexual advances via a retiree from Boure Scenic Park; this gal had a voice like a tuba filled with gin and gravel,” he said. “The next morning at school I vomited in the trash can of the Radar lab, gave the bird to my instructor, thereby inexorably failing the class that semester. That was it for me – I was in love. It's fate that has brought TJ's and I together again.
Smith has embraced the “dive bar” label and that has helped create the persona of TJ’s, both in real life and with its social media presence.
“TJ's is a proud dive. But if it were a person, TJ's would be that one lovable alcoholic uncle who never really got his life together but always showed you the best time. He used to give you rides in his IROC Camaro and let you watch the movies your mom wouldn't,” he said. “He might not be the guy you come to for college advice or help filing your taxes, but no matter how bad life got, his door was always open and he always made everything okay.”
“We give a lot of attitude online, because people take things a bit too seriously there. Kind of like life in general,” Smith said. “In a sea of outrage and virtue signaling, we are an oasis of questionable humor, loud rock and bad decisions.”