A ray of sunshine this week comes in the form of Earnest Drinks, a bar-meets-coffee-shop-meets-cafe located within a brand new outpost of Gracie’s Ice Cream in Kendall Square. While the newcomer launched in soft open mode over the weekend, its official debut kicks off at 2 p.m. Wednesday. And the menu is as playful as they come.
In addition to offering the ice cream that fans of the original Gracie’s in Somerville have come to know and love, Earnest Drinks gives the new location a boozy twist with inventive adult frappes, beer, wine, and cocktails. There’s the pandan whiskey frappe sporting a dash of walnut bitters, the chocolate stout float made with Winter Hill Brewing Co.’s Autumn Midnight, the ube coconut frappe using white rum, and the Kendall Creemee, a Vermont classic made with soft serve and your choice of spirit.
Earnest Drinks — owner Aaron Cohen named the bar after his son, whose middle name is Earnest — also features beer and wine, ranging from hard cider and chocolate stouts to sparkling rosé cava and lambrusco in a can (“Make a float out of it,” reads the lambrusco description, solidifying that the lines between bar and ice cream shop here are blurred.) Cocktails cover the classics — old-fashioned, margarita, mai tai — as well as the original, including the Chris #1, made with gin, watermelon, and basil, and the Jinx Removing, which uses rye, lemon, cherry, and seltzer. Teas and coffees round out the beverage list, along with affogatos, a double shot of espresso poured over your choice of ice cream.
Chef James Lavigne, formerly the chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s Stir, is in charge of the comfort food-driven cafe menu, where guests will find dishes like charcuterie plates and “fancy cheese and crackers”: Ritz crackers with house-made parmesan mousse, za’atar whipped feta, and herb-whipped chèvre. Lavigne also included a classic New Orleans muffuletta sandwich, a Southern cheese dog slathered with house-made pimento cheese and Fritos (guests can add barbecue pulled pork and slaw), meatloaf burgers, and ham and butter sandwiches.
Cohen said that, over the weekend, the muffuletta and Pandan Whiskey frappe were particularly popular. He has his own favorites, though.
“We’re going to be adding to and removing items from the menu over the next few weeks, but a sandwich I’m really excited about is The Linden, which is turkey, crispy pancetta, and Swiss,” Cohen shared with Boston.com. “It’s a nod to my favorite sandwich from the sandwich shop I grew up going to. Also, the Southern cheese dog with barbecue pork and Fritos. It’s an investment in napkins, but worth it.”
There’s merchandise, too: trucker hats, fanny packs, bandanas, and yard flamingos, available in classic pink and skeleton options. If you’re in need of a one-stop-shop for sustenance and lawn ornaments, this might be your place.
Earnest Drinks will launch breakfast and lunch in the coming weeks. Until then, you can stop by for a cup of coffee, boozy frappe, ice cream sundae, or meatloaf burger on its patio Wednesdays through Sundays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Takeout is also available.
Earnest Drinks at Gracie’s Ice Cream; 399 Binney St, Cambridge; Wednesdays — Sundays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.; orderearnest.com
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