Wes Baltzer is the General Manager of Stars on Hingham Harbor and Part-Owner of Entitled Beer Company.
You won’t meet a nicer, more humble guy than Wes Baltzer. He is often waiting to greet you as you walk into Stars – always with a smile ... even during those hectic breakfast hours. Stars recently celebrated its 30-year anniversary which is a huge milestone for any business but especially impressive in the restaurant industry. As of this month, Wes has been working at the restaurant for 25 of those years! Recently, Stars received an interior update replacing the tables and chairs throughout the space. Wes is also part owner of Entitled Beer Company, a local craft beer company that launched in 2014 and is served at restaurants, including Stars, and in retail. Stars is a go-to neighborhood spot for so many of us, and it’s always nice to go where someone like Wes is waiting and knows your name. Stop on in and tell him The Anchor sent you (and while you’re at it, ask him to show off his “Miss Piggy” impression … kidding, sort of).
Hingham, meet Wes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (your background, family members, passions, etc)
I’m from Hingham originally (HHS Class of ’96). I grew up in the this town playing sports and hanging out with my friends. My mother & step-father still live in the same house in Crow Point where I grew up. My sister & nephew live in Weymouth, so we’ve all stayed pretty close.
How long have you worked at Stars? What has made you want to stay?
Believe it or not I’ve worked at Stars since the summer of 1994 (August marks my 25th anniversary, excluding a brief “move to California in 2001). I’ve remained at Stars for so long because not only have they allowed me to grow as a professional (I started as a bus boy, moved up to server, Beverage Manager, Assistant GM, and finally General Manager) but EatWell is a great company to work for. All of our restaurants strive to be on the cutting edge of this industry and adapt ahead of the curve, while still keeping the core beliefs in great food & exemplary service in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere.
What's it like working "where everybody knows your name"?
I love it. I genuinely feel like I have thousands of friends & extended family members.
What's your favorite menu item at Stars?
Wow that’s tough. My go-to as of the past several years has been the Atlantic Salmon. We pan-sear it, so it’s crispy on the outside yet still tender & full of flavor on the inside. It comes with fire-grilled asparagus & basmati rice, and we finish it with a homemade cucumber-tomato salad on top, which really completes the dish.
How did you get the idea for Entitled Beer Company?
Well to be fair a couple of my business partners originally had the idea. Stars has been at the forefront of the craft beer boom at every turn (even way back when I was a busser helping to lug beer boxes up & down the stairs). In my humble opinion, we’ve set ourselves apart over the past handful of years with the South Shore’s most diverse & selective beer list. And out of all that a belief was born that we could join the fray and make beer that we knew the masses would enjoy. With our collective knowledge of the craft been industry and understanding of how the consumer approaches beer selection, we felt primed for success. And the response has been overwhelming.
What do you love most about Hingham?
Well first & foremost I love that Hingham is on the water. I’ve never lived farther than 5 or 10 minutes from the ocean in my life. So that is appealing. And our proximity to Boston. We’re far enough away to be considered a sleepy suburb. Yet you are able to hop on the boat and get to so many amazing restaurants so quickly. It’s how I do my best research on what’s out there…you gotta go experience them for yourself.
Favorite local spot (aside from your own)?
For pizza: Crow Point Pizzeria. I've been eating there since I was a teenager. For dinner/drinks: Trident, in the Hingham Shipyard. Their menu is eclectic and imaginative, and I love the décor. Plus I know a bunch of the staff down there. They’re all great people.
When you are not at Stars, where might people find you?
Either on a hike with my dog or at a craft brewery. In the winter it’s home on my couch in front of a fire (again, with my dog).
If you had a different career, what would it be?
Wow…honestly not a clue. This business is in my blood (I was named after a bus boy). Most likely something with marketing and/or graphics. I am obsessed with how businesses market their services. Whether it’s food, beer, retail goods, experiences. We’ve become so Instagram & social media driven…a lot of it is based on-line. How do you make an impact on people, to the point where they feel COMPELLED to check out what you have to offer? What sets you apart? Of course it has to start with the quality of the product itself. But how do you reel ‘em in? Fascinating.
What's one thing on your bucket list?
A vacation in Tahiti. Or, if Pearl Jam would like to perform a private show there someday I’d gladly attend.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I do a pretty spot-on Miss Piggy impression.
What is your beverage of choice/go-to cocktail?
Tree House Brewing Company makes an IPA called Green. I’ve searched far & wide, and have yet to find a better beer.
Favorite vacation spot?
Portland, Maine. Nicest people you’ll ever meet. (And yes their food & beer scene is top notch. My answers are becoming too predictable).
What is one thing people may not know about you?
Until sophomore year of high school I thought the expression “all of a sudden” was really “awful a sudden”. Yikes.
When presented with two choices, when did you make a decision that changed the course of your life?
I suppose I could have told my mother that I didn’t want to take that bus boy job.