Although it may have fallen out of Top 40 rotation in the 70 years since it was sung by a burger-shop owner’s barbershop quartet, the song “When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)” lives on in the legacy of a Seattle-based burger joint. The Red Robin franchise has spread its wings far and wide, now serving locations throughout North America with sustainably grown, environmentally conscious burgers and sides that marry classic American flavors with savory twists such as onion straws or bruschetta. Most of the shop’s fire-grilled burgers, chicken sandwiches, and entrees come with a side of bottomless steak fries, allowing patrons to soak up the juicy Whiskey River barbecue sauce, melted blue cheese, and edible fedoras that top the menu’s varied eats. The staff are happy to help patrons pair their sandwiches with one of the full bar’s microbrews or specialty mixed drinks, keeping glasses filled while athletic superstars battle it out on the eatery's big-screen TVs.
Melted butter and housemade cracker stuffing coat the succulent pieces of tail and claw meat inside Bridge Street Bistro's lazy lobster pie. The name cheekily undersells the rich entree, as well as the bistro's culinary team, whose extensive menu showcases a commitment to cooking that's anything but lazy. Dishes range from panko-crusted pork chops to Italian-style entrees such as haddock parmesan and flatbreads topped with pesto-infused mozzarella. Besides hearty lunches and dinners, the bistro's cooks add upscale twists to brunch with options such as pumpkin-stuffed French toast, which, at the stroke of noon, turns into a carriage for your ride home. Gluten-free dishes are available at any of the bistro's mealtimes.
Fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables fill the shelves of Weepin Willies, a local market that stocks produce and meats at two locations. Shoppers can find high quality cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, or opt for Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and prepared soups, salads, and sandwiches from the deli.
Made up of a team of culinary creatives, Niche Hospitality Group has carved out four hubs of gourmet extravagance in the greater Worcester area. Yet apart from belonging to the same parent umbrella, the restaurants show few commonalities. Each outpost champions its own distinctive vibe and cuisine, from Spanish tapas and modern Mexican dishes to classic American seafood and pizzas.
At Bocado, chefs showcase imported Spanish meats and cheeses in 40 hot and cold tapas, which favor complex flavor pairings such as bacon-wrapped scallops with white-truffle honey. Wines from an exclusively Spanish list and in-house sangria complement the small bites. While guests delve into the signature paella, they lounge amid rustic brick walls, curvy leather upholstery, and lighting as sultry and alluring as a chocolate sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.
The Citizen Wine Bar / The People's Kitchen / Still & Stir
The Citizen Wine Bar introduces newcomers to the finer things in life. There, a vast selection of wine, cheese, and chocolate combine and intermingle to awaken taste buds and deepen appreciation. In the same building, The People’s Kitchen anchors that triumvirate with a menu of house-butchered and dry-aged steaks, and Still & Stir’s mixologists invite visitors to wind down with old-fashioned cocktails served until 2 a.m.
Mezcal Tequila Cantina
Chefs at Mezcal don’t shy away from bold flavors. To wit: they whip up six globally inspired varieties of guacamole by hand, and toss southwestern shrimp scampi with tequila-butter sauce and pickled jalapeño. Dishes from Mexico and the southwestern United States combine with a checklist of aged tequilas to fuel long conversations and marathon sessions of Truth or Dare.
Rye & Thyme American Tavern
Situated in the 120-year-old historic Wood Block Building, Rye and Thyme has all the trappings of a classic American tavern. It’s a fitting locale for devouring wood-fired steaks, pizzas, and seafood, whose smoky flavors stand up to the bourbons and ryes that dominate the drinks menu.
When festival founder Anne-Marie Aigner first noticed the burgeoning food-truck scenes on the West Coast and the Midwest, her prescient mind foresaw that the tide would make its way to New England. In order to cultivate the nascent movement, she founded her food-truck-festival tour to bring dozens of trucks' eclectic wares to locales outside of Boston. Already scoring mentions in Boston and Worcester Mag in its first year, the festival has featured such four-wheeled kitchens as Redbones BBQ and Roxy's Grilled Cheese. Aigner hopes to sustain the food-truck industry beyond the festival's inaugural year by attracting interest throughout the region and motivating grassroots support for the mobile culinary spots and their future descendants, sandwich-slinging helicopters.
Perched on a grassy knoll overlooking a pond, Grill on the Hill's surroundings set the tone for leisurely meals. While out on the sunny patio, diners order from a menu of classic American cuisine, starting with nachos piled high on the plate or boneless buffalo wings. For the main course, flatbread pizzas?available with gluten-free crust upon request?are topped with ingredients such as sliced black olives, feta cheese, and fresh marinara. Live music accompanies meals on the deck Thursday?Saturday, giving couples the opportunity to gaze longingly into each other's eyes and chew in unison.