It was a proud day for Maxine McBride as she kicked off the official grand opening of her new restaurant in St. Albans — Maxine’s on the Boulevard.
The eatery offers low-fat options like broiled fish and roasted chicken in an area where fast-food restaurants and take out establishments dominate — but she also serves classic fatty favorites like ribs, macaroni and cheese, and peach cobbler for those who do not need to watch their waistline.
The restaurant at 113-33 Farmers Blvd. has been around for over 35 years and McBride worked as the chef there for 16 of those years before buying the restaurant in February. It used to be called Boulevard Fish and Chips. She had the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to coincide with the arrival of its new sign proclaiming its new name.
McBride, 47, said the old owners wanted to sell the store because business had been declining, but she feels she can make it thrive again with her new menu and strong work ethic. So far, she said business has been good.
“I have fresh, new ideas, and hopefully better customer service, and a different variety of food,” McBride said. “Instead of just fish and chips and fried food, if someone wants a grilled chicken breast, they could have it. If someone wanted a piece of baked salmon, I could make that also.”
Customer Ann Thomas of Cambria Heights is a regular at Maxine’s and praised the quality of the food. “I come here for the fish,” she said. “The fillet of sole is nice and cooked just right.”
A native of the country of Jamaica, McBride came to the U.S. 26 years ago, and presently resides in Cambria Heights. Asked if she had any advice for fellow immigrants coming into the community, McBride replied, “Just follow your dream. I always loved to cook and owning my own restaurant was part of my dream, and now it’s been fulfilled.”
City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), whose district office is located a few doors away from Maxine’s, is a regular customer. The lawmaker, who is an advocate for healthy eating, is glad that there is an eatery in the community that will now satisfy that need.
“She’s bringing in new ideas and creating a new menu and focusing on things that are healthier for people to eat as well, and a more diverse menu to reflect the changing community,” Comrie said. “It’s great to see an employee that has now taken over store ownership.”