Steve Silverstein was tired. Tired of driving into the city just to get a good meal, and tired of paying too much for the food once he got there. So Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and create Not Your Average Joe’s, a chain of internationally inspired restaurants located in the suburbs of Boston, Washington DC, and other major metropolitan areas. Today, there are 18 Not Your Average Joe's locations serving up quality fare without pretension. There, appetizers of asian chicken dumplings and chouriço-stuffed quahogs give way to both casual grill fare and gourmet entrees. Hand-formed burgers come dressed in bacon and one of five cheeses, while stone-hearth pizzas don both classic and unusual toppings such as pistachios and rosemary. And, there are also entrees inspired by cuisines from all over the globe including a five-meat smokehouse jambalaya and a curry- and peanut-anointed vietnamese salmon. Joe's also offers a gluten-free menu, and because each dish is created from scratch the moment it’s ordered, diners can customize meals to accommodate their needs, whether they're following a low-carb, no-carb, or quadruple-carb diet.
Chef and owner Ayman Noufal crafts gourmet Italian dinners at Lantana Café, a charming neighborhood restaurant and bar. The menu features classic meat entrees including veal and chicken marsala, and a handful of vegetarian pastas such as tortellini alia pesto. You’ll also find a variety of local seafood—shrimp, mussels, baby clams, and a half Maine lobster top the signature Lantata Al Forno linguine dish, which can only be eaten with Poseidon’s trident. Brick-oven pizzas and global plates such as paella round out the rest of the menu.
Guests enjoy all of these dishes in an intimate 45-person dining room. Tinned ceilings, chandeliers, and a wooden hutch stocked with glassware add a touch of elegance to every meal. This classy yet cozy vibe carries over to the bar and lounge area, where diners can watch their meals spring from a giant slingshot out of the partially open kitchen.
Boloco aspires to delight diners with the unexpected and strives to take care of its employees and the planet in the process. The Boston-based business first opened in 1997 as Under Wraps. But in 2005, it changed its name to Boloco, realizing wraps incited some terrible feelings - often involving alfalfa sprouts. With the fresh name came a new mantra, "Globally Inspired Burritos."
Despite winning an award for "stupidest name change", Boloco's menu has steadfastly offered customers globally inspired burritos and burrito bowls alongside smoothies and shakes, such as the Jimmy Carter, infused with all-natural peanut butter and premium ice cream. Boloco also uses eco-friendly practices, recognizing that today that might mean corn cups and utensils, but tomorrow it could mean driving to work in cars fueled by guacamole.
Heirloom Coffee possesses a magic door to Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam—or at least that’s how it seems as they endlessly stock their shelves with the country and region’s best coffees. Their coffee reaches nearly every US state and territory, a feat achieved by shooting the bags of beans out of a huge circus cannon. Out of their red-trimmed office in Medford, the coffee connoisseurs also educate the public on brewing their beverages through detailed seminars that span coffee’s history and culture before diving into a hands-on brewing and tasting lesson with take-home samples and equipment.
Today's Groupon gets you $50 worth of perfectly prepared raw fish rolls at Yoki Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Medford. Yoki's eclectic sushi bar is paired with a full-scale Japanese kitchen serving traditional Japanese dishes. Plus, there's a full bar with 10 kinds of sake.
Though Rio de Janeiro native Alexandre Alvarenga grew up in Brazil, he spent his formative culinary years perfecting Italian, French, and Portuguese culinary techniques. After two decades of learning in other people’s kitchens (including Sweet Basil in Needham), he opened Chef’s House, where he prepares a predominantly Italian menu full of dishes such as lobster ravioli made with handmade pasta. There are hints of South American flavors as well—diners can order beef stew with yucca, and the dessert list includes passion-fruit mousse and vanilla flan. Chef’s House is just as adept at creating breakfast and lunch favorites. Patrons can come by as early as 7 a.m. for omelets and cinnamon french toast or stop by for lunch boxes that might be packed with pork loin or breaded tilapia.
The Chef’s House team also caters events with a variety of lunch and dinner entrees. Clients can outfit midday meetings with lunch boxes stuffed with premade sandwiches, salad, and cookies, or a sandwich buffet with assorted breads, meats, and veggies. The extensive entree list harkens back to Italian classics such as chicken riva with sausage and sweet peppers.