Food & Drink

Seven Cambridge spots you might not know about

Dave Baldwin Published On 05/19/2013 Published On 05/19/2013

With an edgy (though outdated) rep that still keeps some Bostonians at bay, Central Square's one of the Hub's more diverse and eclectic 'hoods, boasting an alterna-crunch vibe and penchant for curry, coffee shops, and the homeless. And while you've probably watched soccer at the Phoenix, rocked out at the Middle East, or done some light reading at the Marxist Center for Education grabbed a cocktail at Green Street, there are a slew of other hidden gems scattered about the neighborhood. Here are seven of them.

Eat Catfish Sammies And Collard Greens Like You Live In Tuscaloosa: The Coast Café 233 River St Tucked well off the beaten path five minutes down River Street, this tiny three-seat take-out joint slings some of the Hub's absolute best soul food, covering all the bases with the likes of fried chicken & smoked-turkey collard greens, catfish sandwiches, and BBQ beef rib plates, not to mention pork chops & cornbread, sweet potato pie, and banana pudding. Prepare yourself for the deliciousness
Laser Etch Your Entire Collection of Porcelain Ballerina Figurines: They will laser almost anything. Check it out.
Why Sit Inside When You Can Smoke A Hookah On The Patio: Andala Coffee House 286 Franklin St With over 12 coffee/tea shops in a half-mile radius, Central Square's got your java fix covered. But this laid-back Middle Eastern coffee house designed to evoke the feel of Jerusalem's Old City also offers a trestle-covered patio on which to smoke an afternoon hookah, a brightly lit sunroom, and a ridiculously tasty grilled chicken Khalili sandwich on toasted Arabic bread with jalapeños. Hookahs and coffee, straight ahead
Dance With A Large Group Of Women, Don't Get Escorted Out: Havana Club 288 Green St Open only on the weekends in Green Street's Greek American Political Club, this hard-to-find, late-night Latin salsa spot boasts a full bar, club lighting, and 300-plus getting their dance on -- not to mention complimentary lessons and a welcoming "no-partner-required" attitude. To the left, to the right, over here
Buy A Tux That JFK Might've Worn: Keezer's Classic Clothing 140 River St Located off River Street in an old stand-alone building sorely in need of a paint job, these longtime Cambridge clothiers have been peddling vintage suits and tuxes since 1894 (originally located in Harvard Square, they're technically the second-oldest vintage clothing store in America), and they'll gladly sell you a set of tails in pristine condition for as little as $45. If you need said tails (and/or that handsome three-piece navy wool suit) tailored, head back into Central, find the door marked "Center for Marxist Education", and go up the stairs. At the top, one of the Hub's top tailors: Le Couturier House of Alterations. You're welcome. Presidential steez, for cheap!
Wooden Thrones + Sea Nymphs + Steak Tip Sandwiches: River Gods 125 River St Oddly built into an old single-family house, this funky, set-off-on-its-own neighborhood bar catches your attention with its dimly lit, mish-mashed Medieval interior highlighted by gargoyles, high-back wooden thrones, and giant sea nymph outstretched over the bar. But it seals the deal with nightly DJs (spinning in a booth that overlooks the space), a solid lineup of beer, scotch, and cocktails, and a silly good filet-mignon-tip sandwich topped with caramelized onions & Boursin cheese and served with fries and their roasted garlic aioli. No, you didn't just stumble onto the set of Alice in Wonderland...
Grab A Seat At The Counter, Flo Will Be Right With You: Mass Ave Diner 906 Massachusetts Ave In a town with a dearth of good greasy spoons, this cozy, 10-table, counter-service joint w/ a front facade that depicts a graffiti cityscape boasts a strong lineup of breakfast/lunch go-tos, like their Karolina's chocolate chip & cranberry pancakes, chicken-salad club, and popular three-egg-, sausage-, and home fries-featuring Hungry Man's Breakfast. Now that you're starving, check out the rest of the menu...

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1. Coast Café 233 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

The next time you're craving some soul food, swing by Central Square's Coast Cafe for lauded fried chicken, juicy ribs, and a plethora of comforting sides. Don't miss the sweet potato pie, which is as smooth as you are (on a good day).

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2. Danger!Awesome 10 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Massachusetts)

After they helped Ok Go (those dudes on treadmills) shoot a video, two MIT grads were on the receiving end of some pretty advanced laser-etching technology courtesy of the band. And what did they do with that amazing education and their new equipment? They opened a store that will handsomely engrave nearly anything you want (DUH) - MacBooks, iPhones, briefcases, etc.

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3. Andala Coffee House 286 Franklin St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

Stop by this Middle Eastern coffee shop for a relaxed cup of joe and an Arabic-bread sando -- or just to enjoy an afternoon hookah sesh on the pretty patio.

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4. Havana Club 288 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

If you're looking for somewhere to late-night salsa, this place's got you covered with a club that fits 300-plus and offers a full bar and complimentary lessons. You might have to look a little hard, though, as it's housed inside Green St's Greek American Political Club (just follow the signs). If you just want some late-night salsa for your Fritos, though, you'll have better luck elsewhere.

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5. Keezer's Classic Clothing 140 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

Affordable vintage and second-hand suits & tuxes are the go-to goods at this institution, where JFK himself sold his suits during his time at Hahvahd.

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6. River Gods 125 River St, Boston, MA 02139 (Central Square)

Did you accidentally stumble onto the set of Alice in Wonderland 2: Winter is Coming? No -- you’ve just walked into one of the weirdest and coolest bar-staurants in Central Square. Pay homage to the river gods by slurping down an Amazon’s worth of classic cocktails, then chase it down with one of their tasty sandos, all amidst the gargoyle-bedecked walls, red-velvet seating, and Halloween-year-round decor.

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7. Mass Ave Diner 906 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

A trendy, but cozy joint that serves a less greasier version of your all-time favorite comfort food and breakfast whenever you want. All for less than 15 bucks. Perfection.

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