We’re all eating a little differently these days: Cooking at home more. Ordering takeout. Now that Phase 3 is well underway, though, some of us are starting to sip cocktails on patios and enjoy indoor dining again. Whatever your comfort level, here’s what’s been going on in Boston’s restaurant world recently, plus a few ways to enjoy some of our region’s best restaurants and bars from both the comfort of your own home and out in the world.
Here’s what you may have missed this week:
Following the tragic explosion in Beirut on August 4, a growing list of restaurants have joined local initiative Beirut Box to raise money for relief efforts in Lebanon.
The James Beard Foundation made the surprising decision not to name winners at this year’s awards ceremony. Here’s what local chefs had to say about the announcement.
Café Phinista is now open in the Fenway with Vietnamese coffee and crepes. “We definitely didn’t want to be some place where people just rushed to get coffee,” said co-founder Phi Pham.
Dunkin’ decided we all needed pumpkin spice lattes even earlier this year, launching its fall menu on August 19.
Two more bars are down for the count: Cheers at Faneuil Hall will say its final farewells on August 30, and McGreevy’s owner Ken Casey announced the Back Bay sports bar has permanently shuttered. The North End will also lose a neighborhood stalwart soon, with the announcement that Taranta will close on August 29.
New patios to check out this weekend:
As Phase 3 chugs along and indoor dining resumes at some restaurants, patios are continuing to pop up across the city. This week is no different — here are five recently-opened outdoor dining spaces to lounge on this weekend.
BISQ: Craving fried chicken this weekend? Cambridge’s BISQ just launched its outdoor patio for all of your fried chicken needs (reservations and walk-ins available). The restaurant will also offer dishes from sister spot Taqueria El Barrio in case you’re more in the mood for tacos.
Bootleg Special: Gumbo, po’boys, Cajun fried rice — Bootleg Special is back in action with hearty Southern fare and a spacious patio outside its South End home. If you’re planning on stopping by with friends, I highly recommend one of their signature boils, like Mama Sue’s “Big Bowl of Crabs.”
Shore Leave: This is a return I’ve been anticipating for quite some time: Tiki destination Shore Leave has reemerged with a patio setup dubbed The Life Raft located at the entrance of 345 Harrison Ave. in the South End. Along with snacks from chef Colin Lynch, there are cocktails that hint at the tropical vacation we could all use right now: A Drink in Every Port, made with Guyanese rum and passionfruit, or Dressed Up Claw, featuring Mango White Claw with a tajín rim and tequila.
State Park: Kendall Square’s State Park reopened this week with a new patio and some old favorites, like its hot chicken sandwich and fantastic deviled eggs. The follow-up move: Take some of State Park’s habañero hot sauce home with you.
Terra: Eataly’s third-floor restaurant, Terra, has debuted a greenhouse-inspired patio with new dishes and drinks, including rotating grilled skewers and the Il Giardino di Erbe, a botanical cocktail rife with fresh herbs.
Eating and cooking alone, together:
The next time you’re taking a stroll downtown and are in search of a cup of coffee, here’s a tip: Night Shift Coffee from Night Shift Brewing just launched a coffee cart at the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center on the Greenway, selling espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and cold brew on tap. You can also find a special Spectacle Island Latte featuring organic matcha, as well as a limited edition Boston Harbor Blend available at this location only. Stop by Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
‘Tis the weekend for eating all kinds of pizza, starting with the brand new Mr. Roni Cups that just opened at Bianca at The Street Chestnut Hill. The Roman-style slices — sold in squares, and made in rectangular pans from Italy — are currently available in three options: margherita, Roni Cups, and a seasonal mushroom variety. Then there’s the brand new location of cult favorite Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana at Arsenal Yards in Watertown, which opened on Monday. Inquiring minds want to know: Is their white clam pizza really the best pie to order here? And further south, Boardwalk Pizza is now open at Victory Point in Quincy’s Marina Bay, featuring thin-crust slices topped with fig and prosciutto, buffalo chicken, fresh clams, and more. The point is: If you’re looking to satisfy a ‘za craving over the weekend, there are plenty of options.
Here are some more recently-introduced dishes I can’t wait to eat in the coming days: Buko pie from Uni, which sounds like the most luxurious-yet-light treat, and is made with coconut, lime, and fleur de sel. A Korean-style fried chicken sandwich from Highland Kitchen, which converted to Highland Chicken this week and now focuses on chicken sandwiches, wings, and tenders. Israeli-inspired barbecue from A La Esh, popping up in sister restaurant Simcha in Sharon every Sunday starting at 11 a.m. A box of baklava from Sofra, with proceeds going towards the inspiring Beirut Box initiative that launched last weekend. What are you looking forward to eating this weekend? Let me know in the comments!
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