It’s already been a special season, right? Three non-gimme wins, a QB cup that runneth over (except, you know, for all those injuries), and the ever-closer return of Brady, which will basically shut down the city on October 9th. With an already-epic season at hand, there’s no better time to move beyond basic wings-and-pitchers offerings (yawn) and explore some of the city’s funkier game-time food and drink specials.
Barbecue and pig skins... some things are just so thematically linked, it would just be a damn shame not to bring them together. Andy Husbands' bucket-centric football menu is a magnificent showing: choose between a pail of crispy pig skins with buttermilk cream cheese dipping sauce ($7), a pail of 18 bar wings ($24), and a half-dozen sliders made of either pulled pork or burnt ends ($14-$16). To wash down all that excess, you can nab a bucket o’ Highlife Ponies -- five to be exact, for just $13. And some intel: this menu is available during every. single. game. of the 2016 season.
We love it when restaurants really, really get into gridiron gluttony. Chef Jason Heard is like the Belichick of the kitchen, creating not one, but two separate menus for game-time snacking. The "rivals menu" features a different food special each week based on the Pats’ opponent (think smoked kielbasa and pierogi for the Cleveland Browns and Baja fish tacos for the LA Rams). Come Monday, Heard basically goes for it on fourth, dishing up street food representative of the two MNF teams, and a tailgate menu of burnt end or black bean chili atop tater tot nachos ($10), Texas-style brisket Reuben ($14), spinach and artichoke dip ($14), and wings with a selection of homemade sauces. We’re Team Coppersmith.
The JP mainstay has just gotten into the football season swing of things, and we’re very grateful -- every neighborhood local is a little pressed to find a good out-of-the-house viewing option. On Sundays starting at 1pm, the kitchen starts turning out wagyu beef chili with tortilla chips ($8) and fried pickles ($4), and bartenders will also slap down a bucket of Miller High Life Ponies for just 10 bucks. Oh, and the sound will be on for every game from now on -- not always a given, even in the most sports-centric boroughs.
When you want to make Monday Night Football a classy affair (hey, there’s a first time for everything), head to the Lounge at Ocean Prime. At this otherwise sea-centric establishment, 25 bucks nets you the prime cheeseburger (cheddar, onions, mayo, pickle relish), normally only offered at lunch, and a beautifully built Manhattan. The Pats next play on MNF in December... but why not practice beforehand?
That backroom fireplace is reason alone to hit up the joint this fall. But for 1pm games, Capo also sets up a brunch buffet for guests who reserve a spot in advance ($25). The menu changes weekly, but focuses on the three Ps: pizza, pasta, and panini. Basically, you’re going for a carbo-loading fest to help you power through all the sports viewing you can handle. No matter: some are athletes, and some are athletic supporters.
Every Sunday, Sweet Cheeks augments its offerings with specials like Lockhart Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing ($14), boneless buttermilk fried tenders with jalapeño ranch ($14), barbecue nachos with all manner of meat options (we say pork belly, $14), and a smoked pastrami sandwich ($16 with a side scoop). The sheer number of canned beers available will almost make you shed a single, solitary tear of joy.
So first off, yes, the games have sound. Second off, they have a special midday menu that’ll satisfy both high- and lowbrow tastes, including a grass-fed cheeseburger with kimchi Russian dressing and the well-renowned KT&T fries. There are also hangover-free cocktails like the Green Chile Michelada (house-made green chile sauce, lime, and Bohemia lager). But really, this is the spot for night games, because every Sunday they have a dinner special worth staying out late for: fried chicken with slaw and chips ($22).
OK, so some Sundays, you just want to loll in your Edelman jammies and hang with your FF buds while flipping between the game and the Red Zone. There’s a menu for that, too: Post 390 just introduced a tailgate package that lets you go far beyond chips and dip. You can go with the classic sandwich platter (cured deli meats, cheeses, and rolls, plus clam chowder), or go all out with the BBQ package: pulled pork shoulder, sausages, wings, and/or St. Louis pork ribs (choose two of the four), plus all the usual sides. If you’re feeling fancy, just add on more-mature fare like shrimp cocktail and hummus with pita chips.
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1. Smoke Shop BBQ1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge
2. Coppersmith40 W 3rd St, Boston
3. Canary Square435 S Huntington Ave, Jamaica Plain
4. Ocean Prime140 Seaport Blvd, Boston
5. Capo443 W Broadway, Boston
6. Sweet Cheeks1381 Boylston St, Boston
7. The Kirkland Tap & Trotter425 Washington St, Somerville
8. Post 390406 Stuart St, Boston
Toto, I don't think we're in Massachusetts anymore. World Barbeque Champion Chef Andy Husbands brought his love for the art of Texas-style bbq to East Cambridge in the form of this modern smoke shop, where chicken, sausage-links, ribs, burnt ends, and pulled pork are rubbed down in seasoning, slow-cooked, and slathered in sauce. Traditional deep-South sides like collard greens, cornbread, and coleslaw joint the mix alongside a whopping 100-plus collection of whiskeys.
Set in a former copper foundry, this massive South Boston restaurant space features an 88-seat dining room, a 75-seat bar area, a WiFi-equipped coffeeshop, two food trucks, a seasonal patio and accompanying floating bar, and a roof deck with an Airstream bar. So yeah, the Coppersmith has a lot to offer. The food menu is pretty classic American, and the beer menu largely emphasizes New England craft brews.
Essentially a marriage of the concepts at Coda & Common Ground, CS's a neighborhood bar/eatery (from the cats behind both of those spots) slingin' seasonally inspired, locally sourced grub.
Ocean Prime brings a bit of extra class to Seaport thanks to its elegant decor and top-notch surf & turf menu. It's an outpost of a national chain, but its sophisticated feel and excellent service are anything but cookie-cutter. The waitstaff show careful attention to detail, as do refined dishes like blackened snapper with corn spoon bread and jalapeño tartar, yellowfin tuna, and filet mignon. The dining room is accented with wood and modern light fixtures, and the granite bar at the center slings craft cocktails and wines by the glass.
Chef Tony Susi’s South Boston kitchen offers homemade pasta, wood-fired pizza, and everything you’d expect from a classic Italian restaurant. With little lamps on the table, a fire casting warm light on the brick walls, and repurposed wood details, it looks every bit the part of a cozy kitchen. Between takeout, late-night pizza, and brunch, you’ve got a lot of options -- think breakfast pizza, sfogliatella, and arancini.
Launched by a former Top Chef contestant, Sweet Cheeks serves heaping trays of exceptional BBQ, including homemade biscuits that are Boston bucket list-worthy. On each tray, you get your choice of succulent meat (pork belly, pulled chicken, chopped brisket), a hot scoop (mac & cheese, collard greens), and a cold scoop (coleslaw, potato salad). It all makes for an extremely filling meal that will comfort your soul, but make sure to save room for a bucket of those flaky biscuits with house-made honey butter. The dining room tends to get noisy thanks to communal tables (they're made of repurposed church doors), so if that's an issue, opt for a spot on the covered beer garden out back.
Tony Maws' Somerville gastropub is more laid-back than its upscale sibling, Craigie on Main, but the food is just as good. Inspired by English neighborhood pubs, KT&T wants to be the kind of place you can go every night of the week, so it serves an American comfort menu that will have you begging for more. Both brunch and dinner are a meat-lover's paradise, and the kind of amazing grass-fed cheeseburger is available on both menus.
This two-floor, 300+ seat Back Bay "urban tavern" from the owners of Harvest and Grill 23 & Bar dons multiple fireplaces and an in-house smoker, and serves up high-end comfort food like beer and bacon mac & cheese w/ a crisp shallot crust.