Domenic's Italian Bakery and Deli has been a Waltham institution for more than 30 years, but the legacy of its fresh breads goes back all the way to the 1920s. Current owner Ciro Maione is a third-generation baker and butcher, his kneading and slicing prowess passed down to him by his father, Domenic, who learned from relatives in Naples, Italy. The menu begins with authentic Panini and deli sandwiches, with ingredients like imported parma ham, sopressata, and house-made garlic roast beef stuffed between slices of the shop's own homemade ciabatini or soft or crusty bread. Certain pastas, like the hand rolled and cut gnocci, are made to order in Dominic's kitchen, while others, like the potato cavatelli, come from local purveyors, but all are perfect for showcasing the flavors of fresh basil, mozzarella, or homemade meatballs. And of course, in true Italian-family tradition, the pasta and risotto dishes are available in family style portions, perfectly sized for two to three people or one very hungry caterpillar.
“Who says northerners can’t do ‘cue?” asked Boston magazine as it crowned Blue Ribbon BBQ on its Best of Boston list in 2011. Whether dished out from its two brick-and-mortar locations or its trailer, the restaurant’s tender meats are lauded for their slow-cooked, pit-smoked tenderness, infused with the flavors of hickory and oak hardwoods. Blue Ribbon dishes out memphis dry-rubbed ribs, Texas-style beef brisket, and Kansas City–style burnt ends dubbed “absolutely addictive” by Boston. Locally made hot-smoked sausage and Mr. Whitner’s smoked-turkey-breast sandwiches help round out the menu alongside Southern sides such as dirty rice, potato salad, and corn bread. Blue Ribbon BBQ also caters special events and sells bottles of its most popular sauces so guests can enhance their grandmother’s recipes or add flavor to their super-soaker fights.
Waking up is the easy part. Choosing just one breakfast dish may prove a little more challenging. At In a Pickle, there are roughly 15 omelets to choose from, starting with the supreme, a medley of black forest ham, hickory-smoked bacon, and a garden’s-worth of vegetables, all the way to the El Diablo, a spicy mix of melted cheddar, sliced jalapeños, lime buffalo hot sauce, and tomato salsa. But that's just the beginning. A hearty selection of breakfast burritos and egg sandwiches comes next, followed by savory morning entrees like steak and eggs, eggs in a basket, and eggs benedict. Then, of course, comes the endless parade of sweet stuff, from thick slices of French toast dipped in vanilla and cinnamon, to pancakes stuffed with fresh fruit, chocolate chip cookie dough, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or smaller pancakes. The lunch menu is equally as ambitious, offering up a slate of creative sandwiches, wraps, and panini. One possible standout––the triple-decker Jersey sloppy joe, which layers rare roast beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and cole slaw between three slices of marble rye. Of course, you could always take matters into your own hands by building your own sandwich, but be warned: with 11 bread choices, eight cheese options, and 20 possible condiments, the possibilities are endless.
Before you even get inside, Russo’s assaults the senses with a colorful spread of its bounty. Fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, and plants line baskets and bins, waiting patiently to be scooped up and carried home or lobbed at a rival landscaper. Inside, the temptations only get stronger as local eggs and milk, cured and fresh meats, and imported and domestic cheeses call out to browsing shoppers. It’s all in homage to founder Antonio Russo, who blazed the trail for neighborhood grocers more than 75 years ago. That’s when he first peddled the fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and beans he grew in his own garden to local shoppers. Today, his namesake store honors Russo’s legacy by selling only the freshest meats, produce, and groceries—both to individual customers and popular Boston restaurants. The shop's personal ties to local farmers and manufacturers mean everything, from bok choy and mushrooms to the bakery’s bread ingredients, arrives as fresh as the day it was imagined into being by a distracted third grader. Russo’s also caters parties with upscale hors d’ouevres, fruit platters, and hot entrées.
Frozen yogurt may be one of the few desserts with health benefits beyond sweet-tooth satiation. YoFresh Yogurt Cafe's swirls of peppermint stick, tart pomegranate, sugar-free cheesecake, and red velvet yogurt can help strengthen the immune system, fortify bones, and lower cholesterol. Customers top their yogurt with blackberries, chocolate chips, Whoppers, peanuts, and cookie dough before a staff member weighs creations to price them.
Founded by Eric Bickernicks, Velma's Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn serves up fresh kettle-cooked popcorn at stands and farmers' markets throughout New England. The staff also brings its salty snacks to private events and parties.