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June 8, 2021

New music venue, restaurant slated to open next to the Palladium

Photo | Michael Ivins/Off the Rails Executive Chef Rick Araujo sits on the two-person stage in the dining room of Off the Rails.

A downtown restaurant facility owned by Cliff Rucker, owner of the Worcester Railers HC hockey team, announced on Monday plans to open a new music venue and restaurant at a property he owns at 90 Commercial St. in Worcester, adjacent to The Worcester Palladium. 

The hardcore band Have Heart plays at the Palladium in 2019.

The restaurant and venue dubbed Off the Rails will feature live music seven days a week on a two-person stage, as well as two additional venue spaces set to accommodate up to 500 and 10,000 guests, respectively.

In contrast to The Palladium, which is a mainstay for rock, alternative rock and rap, Off the Rails will broadly focus on country music, according to Monday’s announcement. Rucker purchased a 25% stake in the Palladium in 2017, part of several properties he purchased in downtown Worcester around the DCU Center, including the restaurant space at 90 Commercial St.

Off the Rails will boast a 500-person music hall, as well as an outdoor concert space to hold up to 10,000. This is the third iteration of restaurants in the space since Rucker purchased the facility in 2016; first, it was the hockey-themed Railers Sports Tavern, and then the new location of the cocktail bar Still & Stir.

Cliff Rucker, owner of Worcester Railers Hockey Club and the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center

At the same time, Off the Rails restaurant will be a southern-influenced locale led by executive chef Rick Araujo, recently of Civic Food and Drink in Westborough.

Restaurant renovations are already underway, with a planned opening for July 17. Construction on the music venue portion of the business is set for later this month, with a projected completion of December.

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