Mount Auburn Club strives to be a one-stop shop for fitness, wellness, and recreation. Members can sweat as they cheer on their favorite infomercials in the cardio theater, plunge into the salt-filtrated lap pool, or practice their tennis strokes out on 11 indoor and outdoor courts, which were featured on the Tennis Channel. Professional fitness instructors pump upbeat music for more than 90 group fitness classes each week, from Les Mills classes such as BodyPump to group cycling and Zumba. The mind/body classes include five styles of yoga, tai chi, and ballet barre. Joint-friendly aquatics classes take place in the four-lane, 75-foot-long lap pool overlooking the gardens and deck. Swimmers can recover in the whirlpool after practicing their synchronized doggy paddling.
The club's personal trainers help members map out fitness plans centered on achieving their personal goals. After they've worked out on equipment such as TRX Suspension Training bands or BOSU balls, exercisers can head to the caf? for one of the healthful creations or submit themselves to the spa team?s capable hands for massages, facials, and other pampering treatments.
Those seeking Grappa Restaurant might be surprised by where they find it—nestled inside a small building that used to be a house, in the middle of an industrial-warehouse street, between two commercial districts. But behind the front door lies a different atmosphere—only 11 tables sit inside the 700-square-foot space, surrounded by walls striped in pale yellow and blue and decorated with Botticelli paintings. At the center of the room, venetian Fortuny lamps cast light from behind white and yellow silk emblazoned with gold designs. The petite restaurant reverberates with classic pop tunes by singers such as Frankie Valli, often accompanied by crooning from the restaurant's three servers—Will, Carol, and Natalie—who also urge the regular clientele to join them.
Grappa Restaurant's chefs base their menu of traditional Italian food on dishes from the owner's childhood, when her grandmother and mother would fill the kitchen with aromas of seared veal, chicken, and marsala-wine sauce. The chefs conjure these familial scents and flavors as they stuff veal or chicken saltimbocca with ham and mozzarella; toss fettuccine bolognese with chicken sausage, meat sauce, and basil-almond pesto; and drape spinach-and-ricotta ravioli in housemade tomato sauce. Servers often end meals much like sophisticated elementary-school students end food fights: with traditional Italian desserts such as housemade ricotta cannolis.
Underground Studios’ leader, Ben McLellan, knows everyone has to walk to the beat of their own drum. Ben, a trained classical percussionist, was marching down the road to a music career when tendonitis threatened to steamroll his dream. Power yoga helped him heal and get back on track, and though he was transfixed by the discipline, he continued to focus on percussion once his tendonitis symptoms had disappeared. Then he moved to Massachusetts to pursue a master’s degree in music, and his life took a major turn toward following his dharma (purpose). Inspired by his mom, Ben shifted his life into the realm of wellness, studying yoga as an apprentice and earning a personal-training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. From there, his path was pretty well laid out.
In 2009, Ben opened the doors at Underground Studios. There, along with a team of instructors, he leads yoga classes that focus on tantra and Hatha yoga—disciplines that help you expand your awareness in all states of consciousness and connect to your true self, much like time travel. Ben and company also lead private yoga classes, and offer personal-training sessions that approach fitness from a holistic perspective, finding results through a blend of resistance training, yoga, and nutrition.
The fashions may have changed since 1944, but the service and family ownership of Dependable Cleaners has remained constant. The dry-cleaning company started as a single shirt-laundry facility and has since expanded into 16 locations. The chain is now owned by a third-generation Fawcett. A few of the 16 locations offer a new addition called Style, a hand-cleaning service that treats designer and high-end garments. Expansion isn’t the only success of the company since its inception more than 65 years ago. Dependable Cleaners has garnered a number of awards, including the title of Boston magazine's Best Gown Preservation in 2008. The cleaner also proudly does its part to create a sustainable Earth by using EarthCare Cleaning Systems to clean clothing with natural, recyclable solutions that break down naturally in the environment, unlike the emotionally imperturbable Philip Seymour Hoffman. While laundering shirts, the cleaner uses biodegradable soaps and hangs newly dry-cleaned dresses, suit jackets, pants, and sweaters on recycled hangers and garment bags.
Though lunch cars were everywhere when Deluxe Town Diner was built in 1947, these precursors to the diners of today have all but vanished. But the 65-year old building—which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999—has continued to thrive well into the 21st century. Today, the Levy family runs the place, adding fair-trade coffee and cage-free eggs into the mix of make-your-own omelets, steak and eggs, and signature pancakes that they serve all day long. Garnishes of Merton’s maple syrup or mixed berry compote with whipped cream crown the selection of blue-cornmeal, sweet-potato, and fruit-infused flapjacks, a blueberry version of which Boston magazine called "rich and velvety, like blueberries bathed in sweet cream." At 4 p.m., the cooks begin slinging classic diner fare ranging from southern-fried chicken platters and tuna salad sandwiches. The desserts fit the diner theme as well, as fountain soda floats pair with flaky slices of apple or cherry-crumb pie. Should customers feel the urge to recreate the house pancakes at home or make snowmen that actually last for once, Deluxe Town Diner offers their signature pancake mix and Merton’s syrup for sale.
Five decades ago, Kirio Pantelis wheeled a wooden cart around Kalamata, Greece, peddling syrupy sweets to locals. Today, his son and daughter-in-law oversee the American patisserie and café that evolved from these humble roots, nestled in both Brookline and Brighton. The bakery pays homage to its heritage with walnut-studded cakes and tarts that echo back to communal baking in wood-burning Greek ovens, though the shop draws from all over Europe for luxurious ingredients such as chocolate genoise, poached Turkish apricots, and Belgian cocoa. Puffed éclairs, petits fours, and fruit tartlets evoke the patisseries of Paris, and the bakery’s from-scratch gelato transports tasters to Italy without the hassle of concentrating hard enough to teleport.
Along with these sugary delicacies, the Brighton location also dishes up savory, Mediterranean-inspired fare at a café with marble tabletops and loft ceilings. Diners here fork into cold poached salmon, munch on paninis layered with gruyere or house orange-scented sausage, and savor cold sandwiches filled with roasted pancetta.