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Vin Bin: Lunch Rejuvenated

Grandma'a Meatball Sandwich from the Vin Bin in Marlborough, MA (Submitted)

Have you ever been sitting at work and dreading the boring lunch you packed yourself? The thought of reheated leftover chicken, or a lazy PB&J is enough to drive you insane. Ok, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but sometimes a changeup for lunch does your psyche good. Let me introduce you to Vin Bin. I think by now it’s clear, I tend to gravitate towards small local establishments that focus on quality and customer service. The Vin Bin fits these criteria, though it hardly fits the “traditional” model of a restaurant. In fact, it may have been the wide selection of craft brewed beer, wine, and artisanal cheese that put Vin Bin on the map, but it was the cafe that stole my heart.

Salad from the Vin Bin in Marlborough, MA (Submitted)
A Seasonal Salad from the Vin Bin in Marlborough, MA (Submitted)

When you walk into the Vin Bin, you will immediately notice a large selection of beer and wine with names you may not recognize. No worries, the staff is plenty knowledgeable and will delight in helping you. Additionally, the Vin Bin hosts beer and wine tastings on a regular basis, which provide customers the chance to expand their own craft brew or vino knowledge. A full list of events can be found on the Vin Bin website, but I wanted to highlight “Burgers, Brew, and Bleus” every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at their Southborough location. There’s nothing like some good beer and even better burgers to take you to the end of the work week.

Making the Middle East from the Vin Bin in Marlborough, MA (Submitted)
Making the Middle East from the Vin Bin in Marlborough, MA (Submitted)

The Cafe provides a wonderful selection of handcrafted sandwiches, salads, and soups. The Angry Italian comes piled high with Italian meats and cheeses, while the Korean BBQ Pork sandwich arrives doused in gochujang mayo with a spicy daikon pickle. My favorite is Grandma’s Meatball sandwich on ciabatta bread. The tomato sauce is sweet, the meatballs are well seasoned, and the ciabatta bread is perfectly toasted by the panini press. Service is quick and every sandwich is made to order.

Although Vin Bin has three locations (Southborough, Marlborough, Hopkinton), only the Southborough and Marlborough locations have a cafe. Never let a boring lunch let you down again; make your way to the Vin Bin for a great midday pick-me-up or an evening tasting event.

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Your ¡Hola! Moment

Hola Restaurant and Tequila Bar

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and thought, “Hello, I just found my happy place!”? I had one of those lightbulb moments a few weeks ago, though my inner monologue said something closer to, “Hola.” I knew it, just as soon as the smells of fresh tortillas and authentic Mexican food filled the air.  Based on my profile of Quicks Hole, I have a bit of a reputation for praising authentic, well prepared Mexican food. ¡Hola! Restaurante & Tequila Bar fits this profile, but in a more traditional restaurant setting.

When I wrote about Quick’s Hole in Woods Hole, I raved about their tacos, and lamented that I have taco withdrawal come winter. The snowbirds might have Florida, but I have Hola to get me through the cold New England winters, one taco at a time. From the tequila shrimp tacos to the footlong American Burritos and the complimentary homemade tortilla chips with a quartet of salsa – the menu is a crowd pleaser.

Unfortunately, Hola’s location is limiting in that it does not seat very many customers, and arriving anytime after 5:30 on a weekend results in a wait of 45 minutes or more. But, they have come up with an age-old way to pass the time…tequila. And lots of it! There are two distinguishing features of the decor that immediately caught my eye. First, a large juice dispenser filled with margarita mix, and more importantly, a back wall made up entirely of tequila. It is important to mention that more traditional drinks are available as well, yet it is clear that Hola knows it’s tequila. Whether it is a simple marga ta, or the “Diablo” muddled with jalapeños, your tequila clad options are endless. Add a bowl of fresh made guacamole, and so too will your Hola moment arrive.

¡Hola! Restaurante & Tequila Bar can be found at 154 Turnpike Rd Suite 150, Southborough, MA 01772, and online at