Eric's LaPatisserie Café sates the morning and afternoon eat reflexes with fresh-baked, oven-hot pastries and gourmet stuffed sandwiches and paninis. Fresh croissants emerge from steaming hot ovens ($3), and toasted bagels remain crisp even while bearing gobs of the eatery’s famous labor-inducing cream cheese ($2). Afternoon appetites, meanwhile, can be sated with a grilled herb-chicken sandwich ($6.25) or a shrimp-and-seafood salad ($5.50).
Originally built in 1879, the building at 25 Union Street stood for nearly a century as an industrial bastion in downtown Worcester. When the last manufactures moved out in the 1970s, Robert "Gus" Giordano had an idea: convert the ruggedly beautiful interior into an upscale restaurant, preserving the historical building and ensuring that he would not be eating in there by himself everyday. Inhabiting the former screw-machine department, Maxwell-Silverman's Toolhouse ensconces diners in industrial elegance, with a ceiling crisscrossed with heating pipes, a floor dotted with oblong railroad ties, and cozy illumination courtesy of more than 40 vintage pool-hall lights.
Nestled in Union Station, Luciano's Restaurant transports diners back to the 1920s and '30s with walls covered in vintage photos and framed newsprints detailing the escapes of legendary gangsters. The refined indoor dining room features plush white seating and lush, flowery carpeting, while outdoor tables allow patrons to enjoy the sun or taunt slugs with salt shakers. Free parking is available at both locations.
Union Station proves to be a fitting location for Byblos Lounge, a Lebanese restaurant that ferries guests away to the eastern borders of the Mediterranean Sea with shareable mezzas, marinated meats, and toasty loaves of pita bread. Waves of Mediterranean spice crest on dishes of Levantine cuisine as sizzling kafta and kebabs fill the air with the savory aromas of beef, lamb, fish, and chicken. The architecture of classical antiquity meets the hip atmosphere of modern nightlife in the restaurant’s interior, where Corinthian colonnettes frame tables clad in royal purple and diners hold Platonic dialogues beneath the glow of neon lights. After cleaning off plates of grilled meats and veggies, groups can head to the dance floor and sway to the sounds of live DJs, singers, and bands that take the stage on weekends.
For over one hundred years, Widoff’s Bakery has handcrafted loaves of bread and other baked goods, prepared fresh every day. The bakery's dough devotees use a secret recipe involving premium, preservative-free ingredients and an elaborate secret handshake to shape specialty bulkie rolls ($6.60/doz.), which encase a soft bread pillow within a crispy crust. Sliced bread, meanwhile, comes in either italian loaves ($2.99/lb.) or rye varieties ($3.75 for 1 lb., $4.75 for 2 lb.). In addition to bready offerings, Widoff’s decorates its overflowing counters with colorful butter cookies ($9.50/lb.) adorned with vibrant patterns such as hearts, flags, or photo-realistic presidential busts. Visitors can further delight sweet teeth by sinking them into bite-sized whoopee pies ($0.99) and caramel cannoli cakes ($12.99).
Yoway Frozen Yogurt delights dessert devotees in a sea of self-serve low-fat and fat-free frozen yogurts buoyed by more than 50 toppings. Five frozen-yogurt stations stand sentinel within the café's lime-green interior, teasing sweet teeth with a rotating selection of 10 daily flavors and 35 flavors overall. Fill paper cups with mango, peanut butter, or eggnog fro-yo to build towering mountains of tart tastiness. After edible edifices are constructed, patrons decorate them at the topping bar, choosing from a selection of seasonal fruits, chopped nuts, and candies such as jellybeans, chocolate malt balls, and mini marshmallows. Each colossal creation is paid for by weight ($0.45/oz.), letting customers craft treats suited to their appetite and the number of pennies in their back pocket.
The cooks at Wholly Cannoli obliterate cravings with a menu of casual café fare flanked by an array of creamy pastries and coffee drinks. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., diners can sic their hunger on a custom breakfast sandwich, which starts with a bagel or house-made italian roll topped with two eggs and a choice of cheese ($2.75+) and can be embellished with an assortment of meats and veggies.
The sucrose stylists at Sweet Creations bake a bevy of hand-held and decadent sweet treats as well as specialty cakes in a menagerie of flavors and fillings. Give sweet teeth something to brag about at the dental arcade with a sampling of small and large cupcakes ($1.25; $1.75), brownies ($1.95), or plates of half-dozen cookies ($4). Ice-cream-enriched treats are readily available, including brownies à la mode ($3.95) and sundaes ($4.95), and specialty cakes ($40+) come blanketed with house-made buttercream icing or marshmallow fondant and adorned with soccer balls, fire trucks, and still-life scenes from the Constitutional Congress. Sweet Creations also traffics in tasty small and large smoothies ($2.75; $3.25), as well as chocolate lollipops in dark, milk, or white chocolate, all wrapped up with a colorful ribbon.