“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.
As guests pass under Lewis' Restaurant and Grille's festive blue marquee, they enter an inviting world of Americana, with a bar that has been in place for generations and a kitchen offering up the appetizing aroma of freshly baked pizzas and Angus beef burgers. Guests share plates of buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict during Sunday brunches and savor the tastes of inventive burgers and sandwiches, such as caprese-salad burgers or chicken-pesto sandwiches drizzled with balsamic reduction, all week long. Upscale haddock and salmon entrees satisfy refined palates, and a spread of bar food pleases crowds with chicken-finger baskets, tots, and tuna melts.
Though it has welcomed in families and bar regulars for decades, Lewis' has recently updated its interior with new bamboo flooring in the dining room and crisp dollar bills in the bar's cash register. Patrons regularly join in special events hosted by the bar, such as Tuesday-night trivia, where first-placers win a cash prize.
SoulFire Barbeque’s chefs fashion succulent entrees and sandwiches around tender cuts of hickory-smoked ribs, pork, and chicken accompanied to the table by classic Southern sides. Each day begins when chefs load the smoker with choice cuts of meat that spent the previous night marinating in dry rubs or special brines to infuse them with flavor and keep them juicy and moist. Pork shoulders, briskets, and ribs can spend up to 16 hours tenderizing in the grill, as the barbecue pros keep a watchful eye on each succulent selection, pulling it out just as the meat starts to pull away from the bone but before it has a total change of heart. Chefs then dress each dish in a choice of barbecue sauces from around the nation, from the peppery, vinegar-laden notes favored in North Carolina to the tomato-heavy flavors beloved in Kansas City.
While they soak up extra sauce with a side of house-made cornbread, diners can revel in the sound of owner Wyeth Lynch’s other passion––soul music. Lending an air of authenticity to the restaurant’s Memphis–inspired vibe, the sultry grooves are left on 24 hours a day at the request of the marinating meats, which take inspiration from the tender croonings of Al Green.
Perched on a grassy knoll overlooking a pond, Grill on the Hill's surroundings set the tone for leisurely meals. While out on the sunny patio, diners order from a menu of classic American cuisine, starting with nachos piled high on the plate or boneless buffalo wings. For the main course, flatbread pizzas?available with gluten-free crust upon request?are topped with ingredients such as sliced black olives, feta cheese, and fresh marinara. Live music accompanies meals on the deck Thursday?Saturday, giving couples the opportunity to gaze longingly into each other's eyes and chew in unison.
In addition to introducing customers to the intricacies of brewing beer and wine with instructional books and DVDs, Strange Brew can actually train customers in the fine art of making booze from scratch during its monthly in-store classes. During these small-group sessions, brewers divulge the necessary pieces of equipment, explore the core ingredients, discuss their roles in the brewing and fermentation processes, and lead a tasting of the final product. Even when they aren't applying this hands-on approach, the staff excel at helping customers ready their first batch, whether for a party or as a way to make taking a bath more fun. Starter kits for beer and wine include essential tools, such as fermenting and bottling buckets, siphon hoses, and hydrometers. To help customers fill these components with the requisite ingredients, a range of basic and specialized recipe kits feature pre-measured selections of hops and malts or juices and yeasts. Other kits are suited to more specialty brewing projects, such as mead or sake. For the more serious craft-brewers, Strange Brew also carries heavy-duty stainless-steel instruments by Blichmann.
With its focus on European and Asian cuisine, Bistro Eighty Ates furthers the Eighty Ates group's mission to bring the experience of dining in a big city to a more intimate, small-town level. The menu assembles a menagerie of Italian-style chicken entrees, hearty steaks, and exotic seafood such as chilean sea bass and swordfish. To help patrons wash down these eclectic plates, a full bar serves international wines and colorful martinis.