Originally built in 1879, the building at 25 Union Street stood for nearly a century as an industrial bastion in downtown Worcester. When the last manufactures moved out in the 1970s, Robert "Gus" Giordano had an idea: convert the ruggedly beautiful interior into an upscale restaurant, preserving the historical building and ensuring that he would not be eating in there by himself everyday. Inhabiting the former screw-machine department, Maxwell-Silverman's Toolhouse ensconces diners in industrial elegance, with a ceiling crisscrossed with heating pipes, a floor dotted with oblong railroad ties, and cozy illumination courtesy of more than 40 vintage pool-hall lights.
Nestled in Union Station, Luciano's Restaurant transports diners back to the 1920s and '30s with walls covered in vintage photos and framed newsprints detailing the escapes of legendary gangsters. The refined indoor dining room features plush white seating and lush, flowery carpeting, while outdoor tables allow patrons to enjoy the sun or taunt slugs with salt shakers. Free parking is available at both locations.
The rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the sweet scents of napoleons, éclairs, and apple turnovers fresh from the oven. At Back In The Day Pastry Shoppe, pastry chefs fold the comfort evoked by classic treats into their batches of old-fashioned desserts. Their true forte, however, is the sweet batter they transform into jumbo muffins, cupcakes topped with puffs of swiss meringue, and cakes designed for special occasions. Skilled hands fill each cake with fresh berries or mousse and personalize the confectionary masterpieces with carefully sculpted flowers and ornate scalloped details. Not content with only making sweet treats, the chefs also dazzle palates with their sandwiches and soups. As guests fill their bellies or nibble on a nostalgic treat, they can use the bakery’s free WiFi to check their email or plot out a road trip to Drury Lane.
Union Station proves to be a fitting location for Byblos Lounge, a Lebanese restaurant that ferries guests away to the eastern borders of the Mediterranean Sea with shareable mezzas, marinated meats, and toasty loaves of pita bread. Waves of Mediterranean spice crest on dishes of Levantine cuisine as sizzling kafta and kebabs fill the air with the savory aromas of beef, lamb, fish, and chicken. The architecture of classical antiquity meets the hip atmosphere of modern nightlife in the restaurant’s interior, where Corinthian colonnettes frame tables clad in royal purple and diners hold Platonic dialogues beneath the glow of neon lights. After cleaning off plates of grilled meats and veggies, groups can head to the dance floor and sway to the sounds of live DJs, singers, and bands that take the stage on weekends.
After a stint in the kitchens of fine European restaurants, Aurelio Metohu started replicating his favorite Italian dishes in Worcester, where he's been working as the owner and head chef of Caffe Espresso Trattoria for more than 20 years. In the dining room, bruschetta on house-baked bread travels to tables alongside plates of veal marsala and delicate housemade cavatelli in a rich wine sauce. The restaurant's butter-yellow walls are dotted with paintings of Italian scenes and glowing reviews from newspapers and the diaries of pro wrestlers.
Sweet and savory strike the perfect balance at Wicked Wings & Ice Cream, a locally owned eatery that specializes in ice-cream treats and sauce-slathered chicken. Owners Mike and Pam share their two favorite foods by dousing boneless chicken strips and wings in more than a dozen sauces, including garlic parmesan and wicked-hot buffalo, and blending ice cream into shakes and sundaes. They also offer an array of sandwiches, burgers, and sides straight from the griddle's fiery embrace.
Angus burgers mixed with blue-cheese crumbles, homemade lasagna, and a roster of more than 30 pizza toppings make appearances on Black and White Grille's lengthy menu of comfort food and American classics. Diners in the cozy interior or garden-adjacent outdoor patio feast on hearty pasta dishes, grilled chicken and steak, or market-price seafood.