Eight Must-Try Fast-Casual Eateries Nearby
And this doesn’t mean just pizza, burgers, or burritos
During the summer months, BU Today is revisiting some of the past year’s favorite stories. This week, we feature food and dining.
If you’re looking for fast, on-the-go casual food, but still limiting your thinking to a slice of pizza, a juicy burger, or an overstuffed burrito (all good choices, by the way), you’re missing out on an exploding food scene in Boston. Those old favorites have been joined by a new wave of gourmet-ified fast-casual restaurants, all easy on the wallet, either a short walk or T ride away if you’re willing to leave campus. So work up an appetite and start exploring. Here are eight favorites worth a visit.
The future has arrived at Spyce, where a robotic kitchen designed by a group of recent MIT grads whips up globally inspired bowls in minutes. Among the options: the Roma, with chicken and cavatappi pasta in garlic tomato sauce, and the Lebanese, with lentils, tahini, and feta. The best part? They cost only $7.50 each.
A 10-minute walk from Kenmore Square, this home of renowned Boston chef Jody Adams’ first foray into casual fare is dedicated to the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean. The menu offers lots of customization options, like pork or chicken souvlaki stuffed into pitas, served as part of a plate with rice or fries or in a salad with feta, tomato, and cucumber. For dessert, try baklava crisps, a take on the classic dessert, or donut hole-like loukoumades.
Come springtime, you’ll want to venture down to the Seaport, and when you do, hit this new spot from Momofuku Restaurant Group chef David Chang. It forgoes the ramen and pork belly buns that put him on the map, in favor of fried chicken, served fast and spicy. You can indulge in it in many ways here—try the Koreano sandwich, topped with a sweet and spicy glaze and pickled daikon, or five spice–dusted wings dunked into ssamjang dipping sauce.
Yes, you’ll find things like guacamole-smeared burgers, rich mac and cheese, and birthday cake push-pops on the menu at By Chloe. But here’s the thing—it’s all vegan. For those who prefer the more virtuous side of meat-free eating, there’s plenty for you here, including cold-pressed juices, avocado toast, and kelp noodles.
Owners Nina and Raffi Festekjian have built a grab-and-go restaurant inspired by the bold, spice-filled Middle Eastern cuisine of their childhood. It specializes in flaky m’anoush flatbreads, topped with savory and sweet fillings such as lamb and beef kofte, za’atar chicken, and ricotta with rosewater and honey. Grain bowls, salads, and soups round out the menu.
This hip Chinatown noodle bar from the owners of nearby Shojo and Best Little Restaurant serves steamy bowls of housemade udon, ramen, and rice noodles with inventive toppings like whipped pork butter and garlic roasted brussels sprouts. If you really want to splurge, top your bowl with extras that range from fried chicken to king oyster mushrooms.
Rhetorical question: Is there anything more comforting, especially in the winter, than a grilled cheese? Roxy’s elevates the childhood staple with combinations such as the Hot Honey Bacon—with cheddar, muenster, and fontina—and the Green Muenster, with housemade guacamole served on Iggy’s organic bread. Also look for the Roxy’s food truck around BU’s East Campus.
Chances are you’ve already discovered this new mid-campus hot spot. But if not, try it. A great place to recharge after a yoga or barre class, Life Alive serves vegetarian meals that are as nutrient-dense as they are delicious. Head to the airy, plant-filled place, and if you want to splurge along with your bursting bowl, order a fruit-swirled coconut milk smoothie along with a lemon cashew kale Caesar salad or curry cauliflower grain bowl.
Jenna Pelletier is a freelance writer. Send emails to email@example.com.