Written by Tara O’Riordan

Working at the Ashmont Grill* for the last 18 years has been the journey of a lifetime. I couldn’t possibly put into words what it has meant to me. In my free time, I might start that juicy tell-all book I keep threatening to write (no names, don’t worry lol). But, for now, here are a few slices of the restaurant life lesson pie:

It’s all about the people. Literally.

You are going to learn so much about and from your coworkers & guests – whether you want to or not. Some will become best friends. You might even marry one. You’ll laugh & cry together. Share good & bad times. It’s a type of raw honesty that can’t be duplicated in other settings. These relationships will be rich & spicy. You won’t regret one second.

The $20 Cheeseburger

When someone can afford to pay $20 for a sandwich – guess what? Life is most likely pretty damn good. Just think about it. $20. For a sandwich. How lucky are we? Not cooked to your liking? We will make you another one. It’s not a big deal. Honestly, once you learn not to sweat the small stuff, life gets exponentially better. Own & fix your mistakes. Move on. Every day is a new day that provides a chance to do better. Just simply do that.

Learn a little Spanish

Comprende? This goes a long, long way and took me a long, long time to realize. My relationship with half of my staff lacked depth. It was superficial. It was average at best. Once I started learning Spanish (as fledgling as it still is), everything changed for the better. Build bridges across cultural differences. Be curious. Learning is free – and fun!

We have the skills to pay the bills

Find me a more talented, dedicated workforce – I dare you. Restaurant workers know how to do something miraculous – it’s called ‘work’. Night after night after day. Our ability to multitask and have fun while doing it is unmatched. I have worked with some of the smartest, wisest, most driven, motivated folks around. I am continually inspired by them to do better.

Go on vacation

Seriously. Go. It doesn’t have to be two weeks in Bali (but that sounds amazing, doesn’t it?). Anything will do. There is nothing like a change of scenery to reset & reflect. We all work hard in whatever field we are in and deserve these breaks. The “work-until-you-die” mentality isn’t healthy or productive (I’m working on this mindset). Life is short. Take the day off and treat yourself!

A lifelong Dorchester resident, Tara O’Riordan is an avid fan of living life to the fullest. In addition to hanging with her pups, trying wine and making restaurants hum, she helps people buy & sell homes. 

*The Ashmont Grill opened back in 2005 in the Ashmont neighborhood on Dorchester Ave. Known for its classic comfort food, fun cocktails, friendly staff, and kick-ass patio, chef Chris Douglass told the Globe, “We have had a great run, our core team has been together from the start, we’ve all gotten older (especially me), and we are ready for new things.”  The wildly popular restaurant closed its doors officially on February 16th. 


  1. April Clay February 22, 2023 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Tara!! I’m so lucky to have worked with you and all the Ashmont family. Luckier is calling you my friend. Hardest working broad in the biz!

  2. Cynthia Sellers February 23, 2023 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Thank you all for your service, laughter and friendship throughout the years! My absolute favorite place to feel at home!

  3. Jane Hohmann February 23, 2023 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Oh the Ashmont Grille was there way before 2005 just very different but still all about the people and the fun OFD

  4. Eileen Boyle February 23, 2023 at 8:35 am - Reply


  5. Kisha February 23, 2023 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Love you guess so much , we will miss Ashmont Grill , since we’ve moved we have not found a place close to what feels like family. Love Kisha and Chris

  6. Kellie fenton February 23, 2023 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I hope Tara opens her own restaraunt one day….. Tara you are great at what you do… keep up the good work my friend…. ♥️

  7. PKD. Naples FL February 23, 2023 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Spent quite a few Sundays there through the years! Even have a rooster painting!
    All good things come to an end they say…
    Onward and upward towards new adventures!
    Will miss those train wreck fries!

  8. gee francis February 23, 2023 at 6:42 pm - Reply


  9. Mary Ellen Andrews February 24, 2023 at 12:59 am - Reply

    My favorite restaurant in Boston. We had our son’s law school graduation dinner there in 2009.
    Wonderful memories- thank you!

  10. George February 24, 2023 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Tata, loved coming in and seeing you and Ben, even if I was with that a!!hole I worked for. Hope you recovered from “the incident ” LOL and best of luck to all

  11. SHughes February 25, 2023 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you to everyone at Ashmont Grille! It was our favorite “go to” restaurant, never a disappointment.

  12. Karl March 1, 2023 at 9:24 am - Reply

    “When someone can afford to pay $20 for a sandwich – guess what? Life is most likely pretty damn good.”

    Words to live by!

  13. Bill Gaylord March 5, 2023 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Many occasions and dinners over the years; bittersweet.

  14. Deirdre March 6, 2023 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Simply one of the best, staff, service, food! Dining room, bar and outdoor seating unmatched. I will miss the burgers, the drinks (the Dotini – don’t get me started) and the food. Sad that you have closed but wishing everyone well in their next ventures.

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