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Eight Must-Try Fast-Casual Eateries Nearby

And this doesn’t mean just pizza, burgers, or burritos


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.

241 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston

Food from Spyce

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.

Saloniki Greek
4 Kilmarnock St., Boston, (and two more in Cambridge)

Saloniki Boston Fenway

 Photos by Alexandra Wimley (COM’17)

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.

43 Northern Ave., Seaport, Boston

food from Fuku

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.

By Chloe
100 Van Ness St., Boston (and two more around the city)

The Guac burger, mac ’n’ cheese, and Oh So Fancy fries (from the restaurant’s secret menu) use vegan substitutes and are full of savory flavor.

Photos by Chynna Benson (CGS’18, COM’20)

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.

35 West Newton St., South End, Boston

food from Anoush’ella

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.

5 Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston

A bowl of Ramen from Ruckus

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.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
485 Cambridge St., Allston (and one in Cambridge)

Roxy’s Muenster Club

Photos by Dave Green

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.

Life Alive
888 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline (and several more around greater Boston)

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

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 today@bu.edu.


One Comment on Eight Must-Try Fast-Casual Eateries Nearby

  • acketon on 03.08.2019 at 4:09 pm

    Anoush’ella is more specifically Armenian based, but very approachable. Bringing those flavors to a familiar fast-casual format. Really, really tasty options there.

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