Jenn and Donny have long accepted their elitist take on coffee. As college students and self-professed coffee snobs who both worked in the food industry, they bemoaned a lack of sophisticated brews and attentive service, finally deciding that innovation would be the best form of protest. They dreamt up their own café where the beans would be freshly micro-roasted, the cocoa would incorporate three types of chocolate, and every drink would be handmade by the same person who took your order. The resulting venue, Coffee Break Cafe, lined its menu with libations of all temperatures and caffeinated creeds.
The café's house blend hails from locales such as Sumatra, Colombia, Africa, and South America and is shipped from specialty roasters who prep the beans in small batches. Jenn and Donny's commitment to coffee quality is matched by their enthusiasm for the natural world—they stock organic and fair-trade options, as well as dairy products from a hormone-free farm. Though they stand by meticulous barista techniques, they are hardly sugar-shunning purists. They readily infuse hot and frozen drinks with dessert flavors, ranging from red velvet cupcake to cinnamon bun, crafting a far superior breakfast sweet than grapefruit pie. Bagels and pastries, delivered daily by neighborhood bakeries, balance out refreshing sips. The morning hotspot's communal spirit is reflected in hanging pictures by local artists, live music, and complimentary story readings for kids.
After more than 25 years as a lobsterman, Peter Dawson experienced what many others never see in a lifetime—fishing off the New England coast, he reeled in a blue lobster. Nicknaming it Baby Blue, Dawson couldn't bear to let it see the pot; today, the arthropod lives out its days at the New England Aquarium, turning red only when it blushes from too much attention.
Transferring his love of the ocean to his own enterprise—and energized by a life's worth of bragging rights—Dawson opened The Lobster Stop right along the docks. That proximity to the sea ensures a bounty of fresh, native seafood, from fish, clams, and scallops to live lobsters—a specialty, of course. Comprised of Dawson and his family, the shop's staff also prepares cuisine for takeout, serving up platters and sandwiches behind a large display case, and a large mural behind the counter depicts two whales just waiting for the day when the menu includes bowls of plankton soup.
At Bistro Chi, modern circular pendant lamps, floating ceiling panels, and white tables and chairs contrast with the traditional flavors of Chinese cuisine. In the kitchen shared with a neighboring tapas restaurant, chefs from Eastern and Western backgrounds work alongside one another. They prepare the house specialty, Chinese-style fried chicken with a golden, crispy crust encircled by a series of tiny Great Walls. A sparkling 2010 review in the Patriot Ledger calls the restaurant’s steamed pork dumplings a "revelation" and describes the clams with black-bean sauce as "steaming and redolent of sea and earth." Behind the full bar, mixologists craft cocktails infused with ingredients such as lychee purée, watermelon, and fresh strawberries.
Fox and Hound’s chefs modernize comfort foods, such as mac ’n’ cheese with cracked lobster meat and english peas and wood-grilled bruschetta with bacon, which patrons devour amid exposed bricks and a floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace. The original Fox & Hounds Grille first opened in 1936, but despite its popularity, it couldn’t stay open, as it was beset by fires and various transient owners. It almost burnt entirely to the ground after a dragon sneezed in the mid-’90s—all that remained was the original stone hearth fireplace that still exists today.
Finally, in 2004, it underwent massive renovations and reopened as Fox and Hound, an homage to the local history. Since then, patrons have been regularly stopping in for upscale American fare coupled with live entertainment on the weekends.
Servers wind between tables at Spettu's Steakhouse, brandishing skewers of 14 different cuts of spit-roasted rodizio meats. Upon request, they stop tableside and carve slices of boneless pork loin, top sirloin, and marinara lamb directly onto diners' plates, unleashing the aromas of traditional Brazilian Churrascaria rotisserie. Between servings of regular or Halal cuts of meat, patrons can make unlimited visits to a buffet loaded with 40 different salads, meats, and rice dishes. Overhead, a panoramic photo of Rio de Janeiro unfurls placid blue seas as parrot figurines keep watch over the buffet's cracker supply.
There's no flashy decor in Koi Restaurant's dining room. Instead, it's trimmed in neutral-colored walls and light wood accents. The unassuming setting does well not to distract from the main attraction in the room?the sushi. From the sushi bar, you can order inventive items such as the truffling tuna, which couples tuna and black flying fish roe with a decadent truffle butter. Spicy crab meat gives an extra zing to the torched salmon roll. The green monster maki, one of the inventive house special makis, melds distinctive flavors of green tea sauce and spicy mayo with fresh asparagus, cucumber, and . Chefs also craft traditional Asian entrees, including teriyaki, seafood tempura, and savory katsu pork.