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.
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.
Leather sofas sit across from a large wooden bar, whose polished surface reflects the flashing lights of flat-screen TVs overhead. The casual, yet elegant, atmosphere of Corrine’s dining room mirrors the distinctively American sensibilities that inform the restaurant’s menu. Chefs pluck their culinary inspirations from regions as diverse as the North East and the Deep South, arriving at a selection that includes rotisserie chicken, bourbon-glazed tips, and seared fillets of Atlantic fish. Though far-flung in origin, these dishes have at least one thing in common: each pairs nicely with a beer or cocktail poured by the barkeeper.
Corrine’s isn’t just known for its food, though. Three banquet spaces, including a grand ballroom, host private events seven nights a week that range from casual cocktail parties to wedding receptions for up to 300 guests. Back in the dining room, live entertainment takes place nearly every night a week; the schedule features everything from DJ-hosted ladies’ dance parties to cover bands and Dad playing his favorite Grateful Dead songs with a borrowed guitar.
The staff at Sullivan's Publick House cherishes three things: good food, good beverages, and good company. These pillars of traditional Irish hospitality shape the restaurant's day-to-day business, beginning in the kitchen, where chefs prepare authentic beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips and shepherd's pie. At the bar, the barkeeps pour one of 24 on-draft brews, such as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or Hoegaarden. To fulfill the good company portion, the restaurant hosts trivia events and build-your-own burger nights that spark lively conversation about whether cheese belongs on top of a beef patty or securely in one’s front pocket.
At Lucky's Bar & Grille, the crunch from hand-cut french fries and hearty Irish-American pub fare competes with the cheers from sports games on 16 flat-screen TVs. Grilled pizzas brim with locally sourced tomatoes and exotic toppings such as roasted corn and grilled eggplant, and chefs stir macaroni into thick cheddar cheese sauce. On Friday and Saturday nights, live acoustic music echoes off the hardwood floors as bartenders top off pints of 30 varieties of draft beer at the 35-foot granite-top bar.