MATTHEWS – The anticipation is killing Donnie Gaskin.
It was six days before his beloved New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII and Gaskin kept bouncing up from his seat in the bar area at the Beantown Tavern in downtown Matthews as he talked about Super Bowl Sunday.
The excitement of the Patriots eying their second-straight Super Bowl victory and their third in the last four seasons was already building for the Massachusetts native.
Gaskin is a lover of all New England sports teams, but the Patriots seem to have a special place in his heart. But Gaskin has a lot more on his plate than just wondering if the Patriots will hang a sixth Super Bowl Championship Banner in Gillette Stadium.
Gaskin owns and operates the Beantown Tavern. His bar and restaurant will be full of New England fans from as far away as Lake Norman and Concord for Super Bowl LII.
The Beantown Tavern is a special place every day, but when the Patriots play, it becomes a gathering place for Patriots fans. In fact, a national travel writer recently listed the Beantown Tavern as the No. 5 rated place in the country outside of New England to watch the Patriots play.
Gaskin opened the Beantown in 2005, so hosting a Super Bowl party when the Patriots are one of the featured teams is nothing new. But Gaskin is confident Sunday’s bash will be the best yet.
After all, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are not getting any younger and all good things eventually come to an end.
“This will be our biggest Super Bowl party yet,” Gaskin said. “This is Brady’s and Belichick’s eighth Super Bowl. This is going to be a huge event. This place is going to be nuts. Everybody knows I am the New England bar and people want to be around all of their brethren.”
The party will get started early Sunday as Gaskin is having a New England-styled clambake for $10 per person from noon to 5 p.m. There will be live music during the clambake up until the start of the game at 6:30 p.m. There will also be $6 half-pound hamburgers and many other food and drink specials.
“We are going to have little neck clams, oysters, shrimp, new potatoes, corn on the cob and for my Irish folk from Boston, we are going to have corned beef and cabbage,” Gaskin said of the pregame festivities.
Gaskin will raffle away a big-screen television Sunday and several of his beer distributors are providing other giveaways.
“We are giving away a 70-inch television,” Gaskin said. “The beer distributors have told me they are giving me big things to give away.”
As for staffing, Gaskin said it will be all hands on deck.
“We will be super-staffed for the Super Bowl,” Gaskin said. “This place is going to be nuts. We will be 40 percent busier because the Pats are in the Super Bowl. During the regular season, if the Patriots are not on regular TV, you can’t fit a soul in this place.”
Gaskin grew up in North Attleboro, Mass. and moved to Matthews in 1995. He then opened the Beantown in 2005
“I told my wife I was going to open up a restaurant in downtown Matthews and call it the Beantown Tavern,” Gaskin said. “She told me, ‘Call it Matthews Tavern because nobody is going to go to Beantown Tavern.’ But I said, ‘Honey, I see Red Sox caps, I see Patriots hats everywhere. I’m telling you, it’s going to be a niche.’ Thirteen years later, we are still killing it.”
But the Beantown Tavern isn’t just for fans of the Boston and New England sports teams. Gaskin has built a loyal following in a friendly place that is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
“My heart, soul and passion is for people,” Gaskin said. “Not everybody is from Boston. I would say 80 percent of my customers are regulars every single day. I have some of the most loyal customers in the world.”
And Sunday, there will be a lot of loyal Patriots fans in the Beantown Tavern.
“I can’t wait for Sunday because it is all about people and to see the joy on their faces,” Gaskin said. “I’m so excited.”
Want to go?
Beantown Tavern is located at 130 Matthews Station St., Matthews. Visit www.beantowntavern.com or call 704-849-2023 for details.