The Brotherhood Targets May 9 For Reopening

New Ownership Group Acquires Rights To Brotherhood Name And Logo, Making Slight Modifications

More than a year after it was shuttered, The Brotherhood of Thieves restaurant on Broad Street is close to reopening under new ownership and new management. 

The Brotherhood is tentatively set to reopen its doors to the public on Monday, May 9, according to Steve Silverstein, who was hired by the new ownership group to manage the restaurant. The downstairs pub and patio will open first, followed later in June by the upstairs bar and restaurant area. 

The goal, Silverstein said, is to recreate the experience islanders have come to know and love at the Brotherhood as it enters its 50th season in business. 

“We’re doing exactly what they did before,” Silverstein said. “Our goal is to recreate the Brotherhood on its best day, whenever that was, and encapsulate that day. It will look like the Brotherhood. The menu will be similar: elevated pub food. Burgers, cheese soup, curly fries and fish sandwiches,  intended to be as affordable as you can do it on Nantucket.”

The lower level will remain as the Brotherhood, while the upstairs bar will be something of a whiskey bar to showcase Triple 8 Distillery’s award-winning Notch single malt, while the dining area will have a “surf vibe” featuring live music when it opens in June. 

“The Brotherhood is a cornerstone of Nantucket that has served the community year-round for almost 50 years,” said Will McDonough, one of the new co-owners. “People rely on it to get a burger and a cold beer. The winter months are not when the money is made but it’s important to keep that tradition. Too many of the downtown commercial spaces have become seasonal and are not even open for Stroll. We want to be the opposite of that. We want to be the local spot and the dependable spot that always has a seat for you and a good meal.”

The Brotherhood property on Broad Street was acquired for $7.9 million last June by a group of investors led by Henry Helgeson, along with Cisco Brewers CEO Jay Harman and Will McDonough. The new owners announced this week that they have also acquired all the rights to the name “The Brotherhood of Thieves” along with the iconic logo from the Krause family, which founded the restaurant back in 1972. 

They have since unveiled a slightly modified logo, dropping the depiction of a slave and her child, along with a bag of money. The clergyman with devil horns remains. (read about the true history of “The Brotherhood of Thieves” riots on Nantucket)

“We have a great designer that does a lot of our stuff and took a fresh look at it,” McDonough said of the changes to the logo. “In today’s world, using it for web and online and different sizes and scales, t-shirts and hats, the less detail the better for the ability to print it on a whole bunch of stuff. The reality is, many people didn’t notice the specifics of the sign because they were so granular. We’re embracing the history and that will be posted in the restaurant and on the menus. We’re using it to tell that important part of Nantucket’s history. It’s something we’re proud of.”

Silverstein said the Brotherhood, like most restaurants and businesses, was having a challenging time hiring staff ahead of the opening date. So far, they have hired roughly half of the 75 employees they anticipate will make up their workforce at the restaurant. Jamie Strobino will serve as one of the two managers of the restaurant, Silverstein said. 

“Hiring is brutal everywhere and Nantucket is only harder,” Silverstein said. “But we’re farther along than I expected. The kitchen is always the hardest.”

The Brotherhood has some employee housing both on-site and off-site, but not enough for all its staff members. 

The reopening of The Brotherhood comes after several months of discord over the new ownership group’s initial plans for a “mini-Cisco Brewers” that was proposed last fall. Those larger plans for expansion and a significant outdoor patio operation with live music came under fire from neighbors and other groups, leading the new owners to step back and propose to reopen the restaurant under the same permitting that existed when it was last operating as The Brotherhood in 2020. 

Last February, the restaurant was shuttered after the four partners who had operated The Brotherhood since 2004 – Ted Burnham, EJ Harvey, Edward Sanford and Larry Whelden – were unable to come to terms on a new lease with the Krause family. The Brotherhood sign came down off the door, and the restaurant announced a “fire sale” of all its equipment and other items.

“Sadly, COVID changed everything,” Sanford said in early 2021. “In order for our group to continue to operate we needed to negotiate a new lease that recognized the significant risks COVID added to an already difficult business model. We were unable to reach an agreement with the other owners of the building and made the very difficult decision to end our management of the restaurant. Without COVID we would have been there for at least 5 more years.”

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