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Worcester Kicks Off 2018 With Seven New Restaurants

An artist rendition of the AC Hotel at City Square in downtown Worcester, MA.

Worcester’s food scene continued to grow in 2017 with the addition of a dozen new restaurants including the Railer’s Tavern and Kummerspeck, and Central Massachusetts doesn’t show signs of slowing down. As Worcester continues to expand its commercial spaces, grow by population and its demand to satisfy the needs of every foodie in the city, it solidifies itself as the culinary capital of New England. In 2018, Worcester has already revealed seven new restaurants and Mass Foodies has already seen some incredible plans for more. But, for now, here are some places that you should prepare your appetites for.

Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse:

Opening in April of 2018, Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse will add to the Canal District fever as a “truly neighborhood pub” according to the owner, Chef Adam Hicks. Maddi’s will serve a range of pub-style dishes, including salads, sandwiches, hamburgers and fish and chips. With an affordable wine list and a craft beer selection, Maddi’s may be the new “after-work hang out” this Spring.

110 Grill

If Worcester’s food scene lacks anything, it is a restaurant with an allergy sensitive menu but that will change with the addition of 110 Grill – attached to the new AC Marriott – this March. With featured appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, entrees, and desserts, 110 Grill will bring a regular dining menu and an accompanying gluten-free menu to downtown Worcester. Creating five seating areas: a dining room, a lounge, a U-shaped bar, a private dining room for up to 50 guests, and an outdoor patio with couches and a fire pit, the restaurant will cover over 6,000 square feet of downtown space.

Protein House

Nurturing and supporting a healthy lifestyle, Protein House will offer a fast-casual environment with superior, healthy foods including protein pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, lean bowls, high protein burgers, PH wraps and acai bowls alongside cold press juices, protein shakes and wellness shots.  Opening at City Square, Protein House will cater to fitness and wellness foodies of Worcester with a diverse menu including a gluten-free option.

New England Craft Restaurant Concepts

New England Craft Restaurant Concepts is “a lively restaurant group inspired by innovative craft food and by extraordinary experience.” 2017 was just the beginning of the New England Craft Restaurant Concepts in Worcester with the addition of Brew on the Grid and Techni Mediterranean Grill in downtown. In 2018, they plan to expand their Worcester collection with four new places: STIX Noodle Bar – 72 Franklin Street – will serve up classic and creative ramen bowls in a contemporary space with hand-made curry and teppanyaki dishes; Revolution Pie + Pint – 50 Franklin Street – will cook up pizzas in an 850 degree oven in under two minutes and offer a large selection of entrees, sandwiches, salads and sharable apps; Craft Table and Bar – 50 Franklin Street – will feature craft beer, wines and innovative dishes with dishes including lamb lollipops and spice-crusted rib eye; Brew Beer Garden – 64 and 66 Franklin Street – will be the city’s new outdoor space to splurge on craft beers, homemade sausages, and “Wicked” pretzels.

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Fast Casual Worcester

Birchtree’s Pick-Me-Up Pair

Welcome to the world of ‘fast casual’ dining where you can enjoy high quality dishes made with fresh ingredients even if you’re under a time crunch. As downtown Worcester transforms into a bustling residential neighborhood, plenty of fast casual options are cropping up.

Take, for example, Techni Mediterranean GrillThe Grid’s spot for falafel, grape leaves, and gyros. Diners can spice things up with tahini, tzatziki, harissa, or cilantro sauce. Guests can order a wrap or bowl on the go, or enjoy their lunch at Techni and its sister cafe, Brew on The Grid. Techni is only the beginning of The Grid’s fast casual empire. In the very near future, The Grid has plans to open a ramen spot called Sticks, Pie & Pint for slices, and a beer garden that will serve pretzels and sausages.

Niche Hospitality Group’s newest venture, Nonna’s Pizza and Pasta, will also embrace a ‘fast casual’ concept driven by the development of the Worcester Ice Center. Customers will be able to order Italian fare in a low stakes environment with high end ambience. Nonna’s will appeal to large groups and offer a beverage program that will set it apart from other grab-and-go options.

It should be noted that BirchTree Bread Company, open since 2014, has thrived in the fast casual market for years. BirchTree’s warm counter service, local ingredients, and enticing ambience define the fast casual genre. Visitors enjoy hassle free pastries, sandwiches, and pizzas that are more reasonably priced than a full service restaurant. With that, the promise of swift service attracts shoppers from on site retailers like Canal District Farmers Market, Crompton Collective, and Seed to Stem.