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Head-chef-turned owner offers soul food in St. Albans

Cashier Arlene Burton (l.-r.), City Councilman Leroy Comrie and patron Ann Thomas help Maxine McBride cut the ribbon on her restaurant. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

After 16 years, her name is finally out front.

Maxine McBride spent more than a decade as the head chef of Boulevard Fish & Chips in St. Albans, and when the previous owners of 40 years decided to throw in the towel late last year, she saw it as an opportunity.

After renovating the space, at 113-33 Farmers Blvd. and revamping the menu, McBride opened Maxine’s on the Boulevard a few weeks ago and has earned the praise of some die-hard fans for her efforts.

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), whose office is just a few doors down from Maxine’s, help her cut the ribbon on the restaurant Friday and saluted her for providing the community with business and healthy food options.

“I’m excited for Maxine,” he said. “She has new ideas and a new menu with more diverse choices that reflect the changing community.”

Maxine’s offers Southern soul-food versions of fish, shrimp and chicken with a variety of sides, and she is eager to inform customers that they can choose to have their food either fried or baked.

“For me, if you make a request I try to fulfill it,” she said, noting it takes about 10 minutes to fry a meal, while baking takes about 30 minutes. “If that’s what you want, I’ll do it, as long as you’re willing to wait.”

McBride said she decided to offer healthy menu items because she has a lot of older customers with conditions such as diabetes who could benefit from better food choices.

She offers whiting, tilapia, flounder and catfish sandwiches for about $6 to $7, and larger orders can reach up to about $30, the number of pieces depending on the type of fish. Shrimp is offered fried and steamed, and customers can choose from sides like macaroni and cheese, collard greens and brown rice.

Special dishes include salmon with a side of whole grain pasta in garlic olive oil and fresh herbs.

Shemeka Haedee, a 26-year-old North Carolina native, said Maxine’s offers authentic alternatives to chains like Popeye’s.

“I’m from the South, so having this is a great option,” she said. “The fish, fried, or the fried chicken are my favorites.”

She said the addition of a seating area makes the restaurant a more appealing place.

Comrie said he was happy to see a former employee take the reins of a local business.

“I worked for my former boss and then I took over,” said the councilman, who used to be chief of staff to Archie Spigner. “We don’t have a lot of restaurants in the community. I try to help all of our local businesses expand and grow. I hope they do well and a lot of customers come.”

Comrie then went inside to try the barbecue pork ribs, which he said he had never had before.

Maxine’s on the Boulevard is open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from noon until 10 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 718-465-9812.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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