The Corner Stop is owned by husband and wife team Rudy and Ron Vale who have spent the better part of their lives toiling in the restaurant business, traveling the country to experience the best it has to offer. They were both drawn to the San Francisco area because of its vibrant food and wine culture. They met working at a renowned fine dining restaurant in Marin County, just north of the city where Ron was the general manager and Rudy managed the wine program. After marrying, the couple moved back east to their roots, settling in Hingham, just a few doors down from The Corner Stop location.
Ron continued to work for some of the most prominent restaurant companies in the Boston area, opening Sorellina for the group that owns Mistral, Alta Strada for Michael Schlow, and most recently, Island Creek Oyster Bar and The Hawthorne.
Rudy caught the restaurant bug early in life, attending the Cornell School of Hospitality, and moved on to manage fine dining restaurants. She garnered national attention for her dynamic and approachable wine program. While her children were young, she channeled her love of food into collaborating on cookbook projects and writing food production scripts.
The couple had always dreamt of owning their own restaurant, but hesitated knowing the time commitment it involved. When they found out the restaurant at the corner was available, they saw it as a sign. They held hands, took the plunge, and The Corner Stop was born in October of 2013.
The first recipe I ever learned was grandmother’s for chocolate chip cookies. My mother taught it to me the week after my grandmother passed away because she knew it would make us both feel better. My father taught me how to make Chili when I was in the second grade and I had the chicken pox because I needed something to take my mind off how itchy I was. My brother made us both coffee milkshakes the day he got his college acceptance letter and I was the only one home to celebrate with him.
After college I move to Saint Bernard Parish in Louisiana. I was there to help the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. The Gold Star Diner was filled nightly with volunteers from all over the world; there to relax after a long day of construction. One night I found myself talking to the owner of the Gold Star; a lebanese immigrant who had taught himself the art of creole cuisine over his thirty years in the crescent city. I asked him if he could teach me what he had learned. This was my first true kitchen job. The food was not complicated, nor was the clientele, but what I learned there has been no less integral to my growth as a chef.
Since returning to Boston I’ve been privileged to work with and learn from terrific people in restaurants large and small. I furthered my skills at Legal Seafoods, then took on a sous chef role at Watch City Brewing Company. Looking for more growth I moved to The Cottage in Chestnut Hill as a sous chef, a great experience where I learned more about working in a scratch kitchen and developing a solid staff. The Back Bay Social Club asked me to join them in 2012 and I’ve also consulted with Sauce Trattoria and Bar.
Through all of it I’ve come to know a couple of things, most importantly this: Cooking a meal for people is an act of love. It’s a therapeutic thing for the person who is being cooked for and the person doing the cooking. Whether you’re up or down cooking is a way to connect with the people in your life, and in life you’re nothing but the sum of the people who you’re connected to.
First, the name… The restaurant is located in West Corner where the towns of Hingham, Hull and Cohasset meet (West’s to be precise, named after Charles West who owned the general store at the corner). Keen eyes will notice the restaurant logo is a signpost representing the crossroads of these three disparate towns. “We wanted the restaurant to be approachable and unintimidating and the name reflects that.”
Despite Ron & Rudy’s fine dining background, they set out to create something more casual… a neighborhood eatery serving modern American food with a fresh, healthy, and bold take on the standards. “We looked at our community and wanted to be an extension of that. This is our neighborhood- we can see the restaurant from our house- and we wanted to be a gathering place where people feel comfortable bringing in their kids… meeting a group of friends out for drinks and a nibble, another couple for a nice dinner, or just stopping in for a beer and burger at the bar.” The menu lends itself to all of that, offering sandwiches, flatbreads, healthy creative salads, an innovative children’s menu, and more refined entrees like scallops and tenderloin.
Rudy designed the restaurant, inspired by the seacoast environment… the rocky, picturesque shores of Cohasset. The feeling is modern and airy, but with rustic, natural elements to add warmth. The bar is usually bustling, with a 30-seat U shaped bar and a floor to ceiling fieldstone fireplace. For a quieter night, the cozy dining room conjures up an intimate dinner by porch light, looking on to a birch wall.
The restaurant is beautiful, but unfussy and comfortable. It reflects a relaxed, west coast sensibility that good things don’t have to come with airs. “We want people to feel like they’re walking into our home, with the warm hospitality you expect from friends.”