Even if you don't know your light roast from your French roast, you will after a visit to Sudbury Coffee Works. That's because the staff, led by owner Daniel Kenn, is on hand to educate customers about all things coffee, from the properties in different beans to the role that acidity plays in the finished product. Customers also have a chance to see part of the coffee-making process in action thanks to the roaster, a computer-controlled machine imported from France that warms up beans to the ideal temperature, readying them for coffee making or coffee-bean swimsuit season.
After learning about their favorite caffeinated beverage, customers can select a drink from a variety of flavors, pairing it with coffee cake, Tuscan grilled-cheese sandwiches, and salads from the menu.
At Oishii Too Sushi Bar, chef Kung San fuses his knowledge of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, south Asian, and French techniques with fresh, local ingredients to create dishes that are as tasty as they are beautiful. The well-traveled chef handpicks produce from local farmer's markets and fish that's fresh out of Boston Harbor, crafting sushi with yellowtail, salmon, and soft-shell crab. But he also garners inspiration from his own customers, using their ideas to design an innovative menu page devoted to patron-generated rolls such as scallop sushi topped with tobiko, Japanese mayo, and lemon.
The upscale, artistic maki is complemented by an array of sake and wine and an elegant ambience. Soft lighting at the green, lit-from-beneath sushi bar illuminates a few potted flowers, who crane their necks to jealously admire the natural beauty of the chef's creations.
Though Bistro 20 Restaurant & Tavern's contemporary dining room can accommodate more than 175 guests, its staff keeps the restaurant casual in the bistro tradition. Dark wood panels and a red-and-brown color scheme dominate the cozy interior, where soft lighting plays on photographs and Italian paintings or spills out from a fireplace like syrup from a newly tapped syrup bottle. Inside the kitchen, chefs craft Italian and American meals using ingredients such as housemade pasta, farm-fresh produce, and Maine grass-fed beef. They plate chicken piccata, grilled mahi mahi, and grilled grass-fed beef tenderloin alongside fruits de mer, braised lamb shank, and grilled steaks, and customize pizzas with up to 23 eclectic toppings.
It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Local artists and spouses Denise Girardin and Steve Levinsky are the brains behind Palettes, a studio that aims to awaken the creative side of the community with painting's jubilant anthem. The couple's artistic endeavors stretch far beyond Palettes, though—Steve plumbs the depths of fire to find glass art, and Denise designs unique pottery inspired by the ocean and the seahorses that ride off into the sunset every evening. In addition, they are so involved in local affairs that Natick Center Associates selected them as the recipients of the 2012 Heart of the Community Award.
A row of easels dominates Palettes' roomy space during classes and open sessions, in which students re-create works of art while snacking on menu items such as asian-noodle salad and sweet-potato chips. Herb-, spice-, and fruit-infused potions flood the Water Bar, whose imported and house-made waters are perfect for making toasts to the art instructors for offering such helpfully Latin-free guidance. Palettes' people also teach students how to develop their taste buds during Waters of the World Club educational lectures, which lead to the studio's signature H2Ommelier certification.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. Other menu items includes creamy crispy deep-fried jumbo shrimp with coconut sauce and spicy orders of Mala chicken, as well as signature sushi rolls like red sox maki and tempura lobster.