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Say So Long to June – Here’s Your Restaurant Recap

Wachusett Brew Yard at the Railers Sports Tavern downtown Worcester, MA

During the month of June, Wachusett Brewing Company launched the Brew Yard at Railers Sports Tavern where lawn games and live music abound. We’re still waiting on The Brew’s 500-seat Beer Garden which is ostensibly “coming summer 2018” just a few blocks away.

This month, contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores continued on her #SundayFunday quest, taking readers to Rail Trail Flatbread Co., a spot largely credited with activating Hudson’s once sleepy downtown. Giselle praised Rail Trail for, “Pressing their own juices and creating their own syrups,” in addition to lauding their fire roasted mussels as a fine summer dish. We were also excited to see the return of contributor Anna Leigh this month whose three day juice cleanse with Steam Energy Cafe left her feeling energized and lean.

Brandon, Server of the Week at VIA Italian Table on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA (source: VIA)
Brandon, Server of the Week at VIA Italian Table on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA (source: VIA)

I continued my tour de pre-meal, courtesy of Reserve, by spending an afternoon at VIA Italian Table. Sitting in on Worcester Restaurant Group’s pointed staff meeting reminded me that plenty of local eateries play at the idea of being the result of an owner’s eccentric passion-project-turned-success. VIA, on the other hand, makes no qualms about being an unabashedly corporate affair. Expectations are high, competition is hot, and employees are unequivocally happy. (Heck, I’d pick up a few shifts just for the gelato.)

Stonecow’s Farmhouse Saison pairs with Buck's Spicy Cougar from Buck's on Green Street in Worcester, MA.
Stonecow’s Farmhouse Saison pairs with Buck’s Spicy Cougar from Buck’s on Green Street in Worcester, MA.

I found a new corner of the Canal District in Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar, an establishment built for cowboys and sportsmen. (Cowgirls and sportsladies too.) I paired Stonecow’s Farmhouse Saison with Buck’s Spicy Cougar burger, knowing that sessionable libations are key for me when it comes to a lot of heat; at just 4.5% abv, this beer was superbly crushable. I also had the opportunity to visit Maddi’s Cookery and Taphouse in the Canal District for their soft opening. The menu was spearheaded by Chef Christopher O’Harra, formerly of Flying Rhino, and owner Adam Hicks of Depot Street Tavern. I feasted on buffalo chicken balls, stick e. Bacon, and wings. With our hearts set on the Woo Sox, Worcesterites just can’t seem to get enough pub fare; both new restaurants shared conceptual similarities.

Cape Cod Bay Wine Pairings (Erb Photo)Finally, I had the pleasure of announcing that I will be visiting a half dozen Cape Cod restaurants this summer to add to the Mass Foodies repertoire. In my opinion, there is no strong comprehensive resource for dining on Cape Cod the way Boston has Eater and Worcester has us. Yours truly is hoping to fill the void (with lobster.) Expect visits to Ceraldi, Fishermen’s View, Chatham Bars Inn, and maybe even The Beachcomber. We salute summertime in the beautiful state of Massachusetts.

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January’s Food News Wrap Up

With the dawn of a new year came the promise of eight new Worcester restaurants, and counting. This month, Mass Foodies contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores reported on the anticipated rollouts of Maddi’s Cookery, 110 Grill, Protein House, STIX Noodle Bar, Revolution Pie + Pint, Craft Table Bar, and Legacy Bar & Grill. While most of these new establishments will take root near downtown, Rivera-Flores pointed out that Legacy is unique in its location along the waterfront at Coes Reservoir. Executive Chef Michael Sobel has a long history on the west side of Worcester and promises prime rib every Friday and Saturday night. Veronica Van Jura likewise took a spin around one of the recent additions to the scene, touring Niche’s new concept: The Railer’s Sports Tavern. Van Jura favored a print of Ted Williams playing at Holy Cross during a 1939 exhibition game versus the Red Sox.

Everyone seemed to be embracing one ‘clean living’ trend or another during the month of January. At Mass Foodies, we tested the waters with the Vegan Nest, pairing plant-based pastrami and spicy lemonade. We continued our wellness kick at Steam Energy Cafe with the Tropic Thunder acai (that’s ‘ah-sah-EE’) bowl and some soothing peppermint tea. Consequently, “America’s healthiest grocery store” Whole Foods Market also opened its doors in Central Mass this month revealing a 50,000 square foot outpost in Shrewsbury. Nods to the site’s former tenant, Spag’s, were not lost including an enormous original marquee sign, Olive’s Flower Shop (named for Anthony ‘Spag’ Borgatti’s wife) and the Borgatti Bar.

Health food is great, but we believe in enjoying everything in moderation. The Worcester Foodies visited Dacosta’s Pizza Bakery where they savored Neapolitan style wood-fired pizza, vintage video games, and a fierce round of ping pong. Contributor Mark DiStefano Jr. likewise let loose with a Diablo Margarita and some tequila shrimp tacos at ¡Hola! in Southborough. We don’t, however, claim to have exercised restraint at Worcester’s Best Chef where twenty local restaurants competed for our affection. Chef Alina Eisenhauer was spotted with her new team from the International where she plans to transform the Fireplace Room beginning with a Valentine’s event on February 11th. Deadhorse hill Chef de Cuisine Robin Clark’s dish was named the top ‘Judge’s Choice,’ the first woman to be recognized for this award since 2008. Other honorees included Brian Treitman of BT’s Smokehouse and Ken O’Keefe from the Publick House. O’Keefe won the Iron Chef portion of the competition at the end of the night.