BY MEREDITH MASON
Report From Newport: Fall 2013
Boss Man Burgers – run by Sean Peters ’09 and his brother, Jason – has it all … with hand-cut fries.
As an administration of justice major at Salve Regina, Sean Peters ’09 planned to pursue a job with the police force after graduation. His twin, Jason, had recently opened Boss Man Burgers in Portsmouth, R.I., and Peters was helping out with the restaurant while applying for jobs. But when Jason developed some health issues, Peters put the job search on hold and stepped up to run his brother’s business.
Today, the Peters brothers co-run Boss Man, and Sean’s role is just as important now as when he joined the business three years ago. Located on 510 East Man Road in Middletown – Boss Man has evolved from a small burger joint inside an Irving gas station to a 2,000-square-foot restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
“People don’t like to travel on the island,” Peters says. “We wanted to get closer to the majority of the people.”
Once known only for burgers, the restaurant now serves breakfast and has expanded its menu to include a variety of appetizers, salads, seafood and pasta specials. Although burgers are still a staple, Peters says the new menu serves the needs of a greater number of people.
Focused on fresh and local ingredients, customers can feel confident they are eating quality food while dining at Boss Man. “This is not fast food,” says Peters. “This is more food fast.”
Boss Man relies on local farms to get the majority of their produce. “We don’t bring much stuff in; we make everything in-hose that we can,” Peters adds. “We hand-cut our fries, make our own onion rings, pickles, mozzarella sticks, sauces and even our salad dressings.”
In looking toward the future, The Peters brothers have a few ideas to expand their business. “The dream is to franchise, kind of like a Five Guys,” says Peters. “We have someone in Texas that wants to open one and we have someone who contacted us from Massachusetts as well.”
In addition to franchising Boss Man, Peters says the ultimate goal is to expand their business to include “gastropubs,” upscale pubs that serve high-quality food.
Although Peters is working in a field totally unrelated to administration of justice, he says the Salve Regina curriculum prepared him well to run a business. “Nobody holds your hand in college,” Peters adds. “Nobody tells you what to do; you have to be responsible enough to know what you need to do and do it.”
During the past year, Boss Man has developed a partnership with Salve Regina that enables students with funds on their student ID card to swipe and make a purchase at the restaurant. The business also participates in Swipe for a Cause, a credit card system that supports local charities. “Our credit card processor is Swipe for a Cause so the credit card fees go toward hospice houses in Rhode Island,” Peters explains.
With a more centralized location on Aquidneck Island and a recently acquired license to serve beer and wine, odds are that Boss Man will keep Peters even busier as the business grows. When he does manage to get some time off, he spends it with his high school sweetheart and spouse, Alison Wicks Peters ’09 (MBA). Although she does not have a lot to do with Boss Man, Wicks Peters has a busy schedule of her own as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, where she works as a contracting officer.
“Alison and I always look forward to having old friends from Salve Regina come down to hang out at Boss Man,” Peters adds.