Thanks to a $50 loan from his grandfather, Chef James Messinger was able to promote his small catering business in the local classifieds, kicking off the career he dreamt about as a student at the Culinary Institute of America. The unlikely success from this small ad helped The Crazy Chefs Caterers to flourish and allowed Messinger to finance a long-desired wine-tasting odyssey through Spain, where the local cuisine quickly captivated both his tongue and imagination. Upon arrival back home, he established Loco Tapas & Wine Bar with his wife, brandishing fresh, quality ingredients from local farms to construct traditional tapas influenced by Spain's Catalonia, Basque, and La Rioja regions. The highly praised seasonal menus flaunt a rotating arsenal of small plates and elegant entrees, including a saffron-rice paella with chicken, chorizo, and mussels that the Boston Globe declared as one of "40 fantastic dishes" in the Boston area.
Hovering above Loco Tapas & Wine Bar's fully stocked bar, a chalkboard announces a handwritten roster of Spanish wines by the glass. Elsewhere in the dining area, dangling chandeliers and flickering candles set the stage for shadow-puppet tours de force upon rich crimson walls. Striking black accents, tablecloths, and furniture punctuate the sleek color scheme.
• For $35, you get one ticket for seatingin the far side of section 4 or 8 (a $50 value before fees, or up to a $70.50 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $54, you get one ticket for seating in the back part of section 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 (an $85 value before fees, or up to a $109.20 value online, including all ticketing fees).
The cooks at Piccadilly Pub Restaurant bake, fry, grill, and assemble a medley of sandwiches, seafood platters, and other comfort cuisine. Haddock fillets take a dip in a light beer batter before trans-fat-free oil cooks them to a golden crisp, and fries and coleslaw cuddle up beside them in a dish of fish 'n' chips ($11.69). A dozen seafood platters harvest additional ocean occupants, including lobster, salmon, shrimp, and mermaid-grown sea vegetables. Baked bowls of shepherd's pie ($9.59) and chicken pot pie ($8.99) release a flood of steam after knives and forks cut into the blistering combination of seasoned meat and vegetables. A different house-made soup holds court daily ($3.50–$4.50), and the soothing staples of Piccadilly clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl ($7.99) and lobster bisque ($4.59–$7.99), taking their middle-school yearbook inscriptions to heart, never change.
Surly Johnson Sports Bar & Grill's cooks assemble a menu of hearty pub fare, which diners fork into while cheering on their favorite sports team or battling in trivia. The fried turkey Gobbler piles deep-fried turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce pile onto a hoagie roll ($7.99)—a traditional sandwich invented by pilgrims in the 1960s—and asian beef skewers ($6.99) spear char-grilled sirloin steak as lightly pan-fried crab cakes dip into chipotle sour cream ($8.99). Flat-screen TVs broadcast sports games as patrons perched at a long, dark wood counter bite into Surly Johnson’s signature Surly Pizza ($11.99), a pie loaded with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, and bolognese sauce. On Trivia Tuesdays, the 10-ounce Stockyards bistro steak teams up with blue-cheese butter ($13.99) to answer questions such as, "What is the capital of India?" and "Who was the first president to time-travel?"
Jump Trax's menagerie of inflatables plays host to kids of all ages for parties and open-play sessions. Sock-footed youngsters can explore two climate-controlled arenas filled with bounceable attractions, such as Spongebob’s pineapple house and a prehistoric obstacle course overseen by a tyrannosaurus rex. Other activities abound, such as tyke-sized push cars, a slide shaped like the Batmobile, or an inflatable Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. To prevent the inflatables from becoming vitamin D deficient, Jump Trax's location is used for block parties, barbecues, and birthday parties. Their menu consists of pizza and sodas, as well as goodie bags. Check out their FAQ for more info.
In his first design for 5 Wits, Mathew DuPlessie channeled the fedora-wearing, whip-cracking swagger of Indiana Jones. Called Tomb, this interactive entertainment experience threw its participants into ancient Egypt to solve riddles and clues from a supernatural pharaoh. Since then, DuPlessie, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School, has opened up two new adventures that combine the immersive special effects of a Hollywood movie with the interactive role-play of a video game. "It's hands-on entertainment," the former designer for Disney World and Universal Studios told the Patriot Ledger, "that forces people to get off their rear end."
Thus far, all of his adventures have worked to immerse the mind and the senses—the Shakespearean origins of the company's name. Taken from Much Ado About Nothing, "five wits" refers to the Bard's nod to memory, imagination, fantasy, common sense, and estimation. Though the scenarios are meant to thrill and challenge players, none are meant to frighten, nor are they designed to be beyond the reach of those with average physical ability and psychic powers.