Getting to Know Your Neighborhood: The South End
Largest urban Victorian neighborhood in the country boasts trendy boutiques, top-notch restaurants, pocket parks, and more
One of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and one of its most culturally diverse, the South End has a rich history. Bordered by the Back Bay, Chinatown, and Roxbury, the primary commercial area runs along Tremont Street, Columbus Avenue, and Harrison Avenue. Most of the residential cross streets are named after the towns (Dedham, Newton, Canton, Dover, etc.) that were served by the former Boston and Providence Railroad, which originally bordered the South End.
Developed in the mid-19th century to relieve overcrowding in downtown Boston and Beacon Hill, the neighborhood—originally a narrow strip of land surrounded by salt marshes connecting Boston to Roxbury—was created with landfill from nearby Needham. Prominent architect Charles Bulfinch (the Massachusetts State House, the Boston Common, and much of the US Capitol), designed the new neighborhood.
Today, Bulfinch’s imprint can still be found. Tree-lined streets are graced by connected brick bow-front townhouses surrounded by iron gates and built around a series of shaded pocket parks, many with elegant fountains. In 1973, the South End was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “the largest urban Victorian neighborhood in the country.”
The area has long had cycles of boom and bust. By the 1880s, many of its wealthy founding families had been replaced by waves of immigrants from Ireland, Lebanon, and Greece, and tenements and settlement houses were built to accommodate them. During the 1940s, the South End became home to a vibrant African American middle class. At the same time, it began to attract gay men and women drawn by the many single-sex rooming houses that provided them with social cover.
By the early 1960s, the area had become synonymous with crime and poverty. But it underwent another gentrification beginning in the late 1970s, led primarily by gay men.
Today, the South End is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, both economically and racially. Still home to a gay community, it also has a considerable Hispanic population. And it has become a popular place to work for artists. Pricey restaurants like chef Barbara Lynch’s Butcher Shop, B&G Oysters, and Aquitaine Bar à Vin Bistrot draw locals and those from surrounding suburbs. But there are still plenty of places to grab good cheap food, and lots of trendy boutiques and performing arts venues. Below is a sampling.
Southwest Corridor Park follows the Orange Line nearly five miles, from Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain to Back Bay Station. A stroll along the section between the Massachusetts Avenue and Back Bay subway stops is a great way to start a visit to the South End. The gently meandering path, popular with dog walkers, joggers, and cyclists, is dotted with community gardens maintained by local residents.
111 Dartmouth St.
Brownstone is one of the few restaurants in Boston that is best known for its brunch, served every Saturday and Sunday. With tantalizing dishes like smoked salmon eggs Benedict with home fries, the menu offers a fresh take on everyone’s favorite meal. Brownstone is also an excellent venue for a drink at the bar with friends. Some of the brunch menu standouts: a prosecco float with coconut rum, pineapple juice, and blue curacao affectionately named “Baby Shark,” and a French toast and fried chicken sandwich coated with maple syrup.
100 Chandler St.
You can hear Delux before you see it. The music varies in this crowded, windowless hipster dive bar and restaurant tucked away from the more posh eateries—but it’s always loud. Walls are plastered with old LP covers and festooned with Christmas lights, a statue of Elvis’ head takes up space at the main bar, and a portrait of Dolly Parton at Symphony Hall dating to 1979 stands out among the eclectic décor. The drinks (including bottles of Schlitz and Narragansett tall boys) and entrées on the seasonal better-than-dive-bar menu (like Yucatecan pork tacos, grilled hanger steak with broccoli rabe and roasted potatoes, and pork enchiladas) are priced right. The menu changes often. Be sure to bring cash—Delux does not take credit cards.
209 Columbus Ave.
The owners of Club Café say that when it opened in 1983, it was the first gay club in Boston to have windows—patrons didn’t have to hide from passersby. Still a favorite gay restaurant, bar, and club, it serves lunch and dinner and a popular Saturday and Sunday à la carte brunch. It hosts dancing, trivia, bingo, karaoke nights, and special events like drag shows. Entrées like pizzas, southwestern avocado egg rolls, meatloaf, steak tips, and baked cod are served till 9 pm Sunday to Wednesday, and 10 pm Thursday to Saturday. However, late-night diners can order from the bar menu until 11 pm or 1 am, depending on the day. The restaurant is closed to everyone under 21 after 9:30 pm.
Anchovies Food & Spirits
433 Columbus Ave.
Anchovies is authentic Italian. Take a seat at one of the high booths or a bar stool, and you’ll be fed and treated well at a reasonable price. The lively eatery offers classics like linguine with meatballs, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, and penne with chicken and broccoli. It’s a great place for night owls since the kitchen is open seven days a week until 1:30 am.
563 Columbus Ave.
Widely hailed as one of the best coffee shops for studying in Boston, Render is known both for its delicious food and drinks and its comfortable back room, which is filled with natural light. It serves up rich coffee, several tea options, and a menu that includes bagels and over a half dozen lunch sandwiches. Getting a table may be tough at this South End favorite, but it’s worth the wait (or an early arrival). Render also has locations in the Financial District, Seaport, and, coming soon, in Charlestown.
492 Tremont St.
One visit here, and you may forswear Dunkin’ Donuts forever. The unique doughnut flavors—like apple cider or salted toffee—are fantastic. Stop back a couple of weeks later, and the flavors may be completely different. This artisanal doughnut shop is known for its creative, ever-changing take on the classic breakfast treat, with airy raised doughnuts made from brioche dough, and cake doughnuts, monkey bread, and, of course, coffee. They’ll even slice a doughnut in half and make it an ice cream sandwich. Natural and local ingredients are used whenever possible, and the doughnuts are baked fresh on-site daily at their production facility in Brighton. Note: the tiny shop has no seating (a shame, since the open kitchen has plenty of action), but there are a couple of benches out front. And if you want to skip the line that forms outside the door at peak hours, you can preorder. Be sure to check out Blackbird Doughnuts’ other locations: next door to Target in Fenway, and in Beacon Hill, Harvard Square, Newton Centre, the Financial District, and Brighton. You can take a look at their constantly rotating flavors here.
513 Tremont St.
Known for its thin-crust pizzas and ice cream made from scratch, Picco is a South End favorite, offering soups, salads, pasta dishes, snacks—like roasted red kuri squash fries and dry rubbed chicken wings—and most notably, pizzas. The wine menu features wines from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, and the United States, and its 12 beers on draft (from pale ales and ciders to lagers and stouts) rotate regularly. Be sure to check out Picco’s delicious ice cream and dairy-free sorbets—they’re made from scratch and frozen in-house. They’ll even ship your favorite flavors across the country.
Barcelona Wine Bar
525 Tremont Street
With its warm walnut décor, friendly staff, an impressive wine cellar featuring nearly 400 wines, and a menu influenced by the flavors of Spain, South America, and the Mediterranean, this Spanish tapas restaurant, helmed by executive chef Jose Ochoa, offers charcuterie and cheese plates, an extensive tapas selection (bacon-wrapped dates, chorizo with figs, potato tortilla), salads, and larger dishes for two or more people. It also has a popular weekend brunch and special dining events throughout the year. The restaurant is open after midnight Thursday to Saturday for those looking for a late-night meal.
532 Tremont St.
At this Greek deli/supermarket/restaurant, you’ll find delicious sandwiches like the Biden (homemade grilled chicken tenders on ciabatta bread with jalapeño mayo, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and tomato), the Obama (Ovengold turkey with pepper jack, mozzarella, bacon, basil mayo, and Dijon mustard on multigrain bread served with lettuce and tomato), and the Hillary (buffalo chicken breast, bacon, blue cheese, coleslaw, ranch dressing, and cucumber on ciabatta with lettuce and tomato). But this is also the place to go for traditional Greek sandwiches like falafel wraps and lamb gyros, as well as chicken lemon rice soup. Giorgiana’s is open daily and offers breakfast items throughout the day.
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St.
Among the city’s most vibrant cultural hubs, the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) supports 10 resident arts programs and currently houses two theater companies: Artists’ Theater of Boston and Fresh Ink Theatre. This art incubator also houses an art gallery and studio space for local artists. One of the buildings, the Cyclorama, a massive brick rotunda built in 1884 and topped by a copper skylight dome, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Formerly home to a bazaar and later a flower market, the 23,000-square-foot space is now a venue for art shows, public events, and private functions. In 2004, through a partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company, the BCA opened the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion, with two performance spaces: the 370-seat Virginia Wimberly Theatre and the 200-seat Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre. The pavilion is a second stage for the Huntington, as well as a venue for a number of smaller companies.
541 Tremont St.
This exuberant bohemian restaurant and music venue has hip vibes, cool tunes, and delicious plates. Try tasty appetizers like “fall-off-the-bone” baby back pork ribs, and then go for one of the delicious entrées, like the dry aged burger served with malt onion jam or vegetable couscous. Live music multiple nights a week makes it a premier nightlife destination and a great place to hear local musicians and up-and-coming jazz bands. There’s a popular brunch on weekends.
Banyan Bar + Refuge
553 Tremont Street
Banyan, a modern Asian gastropub, serves a range of delicacies like pork belly bao buns and ahi tuna poke, as well as noodle- and rice-based dishes. The modern décor includes showstopping chandeliers made from tree branches, and diners can enjoy a meal on the patio during warm weather. There is a selection of sake, white and red wines, beer, and specialty cocktails. Bonus: they serve 10 dumplings or 5 spring rolls or 2 scallion pancakes for just $5 from 4 to 6 pm daily.
Frenchie Wine Bistro
560 Tremont St.
This relaxed restaurant serves modern cuisine with a French touch, paired with great wines. Headed by chef Alex Falconer, former executive chef at Kenmore Square’s now-closed Josephine, it cooks up lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday, with brunch on weekends, starting at 10 am. Dinner standouts: a selection of cheese and charcuterie plates, traditional steak frites, duck magret, and salt-crusted branzino. Those with a sweet tooth can end a meal with crème brûlée or Nutella chocolate mousse.
584 Tremont St.
This cozy and casual Mediterranean cafe prides itself on being a “small kitchen (with) big flavor.” Popular dinner items include pan-roasted chicken, rigatoni with fennel sausage, and veal scallopini. It’s equally famous for its weekend brunches—however, be prepared to wait. But the huevos rancheros, sweet stack (three buttermilk pancakes with caramelized bananas, Belgian chocolate, whipped maple butter, and powdered sugar), and smoked salmon eggs Benedict are worth it. Dinner reservations are strongly recommended.
Niche Plant Shop
619 Tremont St.
This cozy store provides a tranquil sanctuary, offering a wide array of plants and pots of every size, shape, and shade of green. From tiny potted succulents to three-foot-tall cactuses to ready-to-plant vegetables and herbs for your backyard garden (spring and summer), Niche has it all. Not sure where to start? No problem: its website has all the information you need to know your plant’s niche (hence the shop’s name) in its environment, so you can be fully prepared when you go in and talk to one of the shop’s knowledgeable staff members. The shop offers a number of classes and events. Note: Niche is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Heartbreak Hill Running Company
652 Tremont St.
Founded by former Boston College track stars Dan Fitzgerald and Justin Burdon to put a fun and fashionable spin on traditional running gear and fuse fashion with function, Heartbreak Hill also has stores in Newton and Cambridge, and in 2019 opened a location in Chicago. It carries the running industry’s top brands and has an impressive rainbow-colored wall of shoes for both runners and nonrunners. The store also offers several free run clubs for all levels, professional personal coaching, and a club/training program, the Heartbreakers.
Cathedral of the Holy Cross
1400 Washington St.
The cathedral, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, opened in 1875, signaling the city’s demographics shift from Protestant to Irish Catholic. Designed in the Gothic Revival style, it is 364 feet long and 120 feet high and contains one of the country’s finest pipe organs. Today, the cathedral serves a diverse faith-based community, including English- and Spanish-speaking congregations, a German apostolate, and Ge’ez Rite Catholics from Eritrea and Ethiopia, as well as a large traditional Latin Mass community. It is the largest Catholic church in New England and has played an important role in the life of Boston’s evolving immigrant communities.
Boomerangs Special Edition
1407 Washington St.
Boomerangs Special Edition is the upmarket version of this chain of thrift stores, whose proceeds benefit the nonprofit AIDS Action, which provides services and advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Like the other Boomerangs locations, this one sells gently used clothing, furniture, housewares, and jewelry, but the goods are high-end quality. If you’re looking for elegance, but don’t want to pay elegant prices, this is the place for designer fashion at a good price. Best of all, you’ll be supporting a worthy cause.
Foodie’s Urban Market
1421 Washington St.
You can pick up a gallon of milk and some eggs here, but this is the South End, so it’s not just the hardwood floors and stamped tin ceiling that make this place different from your average neighborhood market. They source from local farms when in season and offer a large selection of organic foods. You can pick up freshly squeezed (in-store daily) orange juice. The deli has prepared lunch dishes like chicken salad with grapes and walnuts, chicken wings, and chicken empanadas. There’s also a salad bar, with classic ham and macaroni and red bliss potato and quinoa salads for a quick snack, befitting the store’s slogan: “For gourmet and every day.”
Flour Bakery + Café
1595 Washington St.
Blue hospital scrubs and stethoscopes are a common sight among the lunch crowd at this renowned bakery and sandwich shop a couple of blocks from the BU Medical Campus—one of 10 Flour locations in Boston and Cambridge. Indoors, patrons stake out a square foot or two while waiting for their food, coming from a seasonal menu and cooked by a 2018 James Beard Award–winning baker, Joanne Chang. The pastries—among them the sticky buns that beat out Bobby Flay’s own on his Food Network show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay—are legendary. Be forewarned: the sticky buns sell out quickly during the lunch hour, so plan on arriving early if you want one. (Customers can now make the sticky buns at home, courtesy of Flour’s ready-to-bake “Sticky Sticky Buns Kit.” A saying chalked on the menu board urges Flour patrons to “make life sweeter…eat dessert first.”
1638 Washington St.
Taking its name from police speak for lunch break, this family-owned corner café serves a full menu all day long: breakfast sandwiches, paninis, hot dogs, salads, and homemade soups. Lunches tend toward stalwart sandwich classics like smoked ham and cheese, BLT, and Genoa salami. And while it can’t compete with Flour for sweets, it offers its own temptations: Richardson’s ice cream (with favorites such as maple walnut, cookie dough, Totally Turtle, and Purple Cow blackberry frozen yogurt), and brownies, cookies, and homemade baklava.
1704 Washington Street
This Barcelona-style tapas bar serves traditional and modern small plates made with local and sustainable ingredients, as well as an eclectic wine list and cocktail menu. It’s open for dinner only (dine in, takeout, or delivery), seven days a week. Some favorites from the kitchen of James Beard Award–winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette: croquettes de bacalao (salt cod croquettes), gambas al ajillo (grilled garlic shrimp with chilies, parsley, and lemon), and maíz asado (grilled corn with aioli, lime, Espelette pepper, and aged cheese). The restaurant also has a patio for warm-weather dining.
This tiny, unpretentious sandwich shop’s name says it all. Breakfast and lunch are the only options here, but when homemade soups, pressed sandwiches, and “bagelwiches” taste this good, who needs dinner? Located just across the street from Boston Medical Center, it’s popular with med students, faculty, and staff (you can call in your order ahead). Try the Upstream panini (smoked salmon, green apple cucumber slaw, lemon aioli, and baby lettuce) or the Bird on Fire (roasted chicken breast, applewood smoked bacon, spicy aioli, sliced tomato, cheddar cheese, and lettuce) and then top it off with one of the eatery’s oh-so-gooey triple chocolate chip cookies.
SoWa Open Market
530 Harrison Ave.
From May through October, a parking lot in the SoWa district is transformed into an artisan market every Sunday (except holiday weekends). Artists and craftspeople set up shop under white tents, featuring dozens of vendors selling jewelry, clothing, home goods, photography, ceramics, and more. Check out the adjacent vintage market, the farmers market at 500 Harrison Ave.—offering fresh produce, baked goods, meats, jams, and flowers—and the beer and wine garden open Sundays at 540 Harrison Ave. SoWa also hosts an annual Winter Festival holiday market featuring more than 100 of the region’s best makers, artists, designers, and specialty vendors together under one festive roof. This year’s market runs November 25 through December 11. Admission is $10.
The Urban Grape
303 Columbus Ave.
This Black- and woman-owned wine shop, with its special emphasis on carrying labels from those underrepresented in the wine and spirits industry, sticks by their tagline: “drink progressively.” Unlike other wine shops that categorize their inventory by flavor or region, wines are separated by “body,” (i.e., by how they feel in your mouth). The shop also includes space for private group tastings and sample dispensers. Owners TJ and Hadley Douglas, who received the 2021 national Small Business of the Year Award from the US Chamber of Commerce have partnered with Boston University’s Metropolitan College to create the Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color, which supports BIPOC students earning a certificate in wine studies.
Estragon Tapas Bar
700 Harrison Ave.
Estragon offers excellent tapas at reasonable prices. Classic dishes such as albóndigas de buey (meatballs with herbed brandy cream), espinacas andaluzas (sauteed spinach and butternut squash with hazelnuts and raisins), and several superb paellas explain why the place has so many repeat customers. Diners can enjoy a quiet weeknight meal, but on weekends it’s bustling and reservations are recommended. An outdoor patio offers great people-watching during warm weather.
535 Albany St.
This mom-and-pop diner, owned by Maria, Nick, and Dennis Koufos, is the place to go for cheap comfort food served up in a cozy environment. Nearly everything on the menu is $10 or less, and the three-person crew that runs the place seems to know everyone’s name. Go often enough, and they’ll know yours, too. Try the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich at breakfast and the chicken kebob wrap at lunch. The restaurant is open Monday to Friday from 6 am to 1:30 pm, and closed weekends.
253 Shawmut Ave.
A neighborhood favorite, Coppa offers innovative Italian dishes by chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, the James Beard Award winners behind Toro. You’ll find a seasonally updated menu that sources local ingredients to create both classic and new dishes, including made-in-house pastas and pizzas cooked in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven, as well as an extensive charcuterie menu and a diverse natural wine and cordial program. The restaurant is popular for its Sunday brunch, with a menu that changes weekly. An expansive patio offers outdoor dining during warm weather months.
This palace of pooch pampering was inspired by a one-eyed dog named Pearl, who would perform a little polka in an effort to see people with her good eye. The glass jars are crammed with doggie treats, such as peanut butter Wonder Nuggets and Chicken Littles, a chicken-based treat. There’s also a huge selection of meat jerky (including haddock, cod, and chicken), and seasonal offerings like “holiday feast” jerky made of turkey, pumpkin, and cranberry. The small downstairs boutique carries more practical supplies, like toys and stain-removing spray. It’s worth stopping by, even if you don’t carry your dog around in your handbag.
268 Shawmut Ave.
If you want cheese, the South End’s Formaggio Kitchen is a must. It keeps well over three digits’ worth of cheese varieties in the store, and the website has five filter categories, so shoppers can find the precise type for any occasion. It’s the perfect place to find a gift for the gourmands in your life. Despite its name, the food shop offers much more than cheese. You’ll find a wonderful selection of oils, vinegars, handmade sweets, craft beers, locally baked bread, spices, gift baskets, and more.
274 Shawmut Ave.
This women’s clothing store sells bold fashion items alongside closet staples, from graphic T-shirts to floral maxi dresses. The shop also carries beauty and bath products, including body mist and hydrating bath soaks. In addition to clothes, you’ll find home décor, kitchenware, and accessories. Whether you need a cute shirt, another warm layer, or a statement piece to add to your closet, fly on over to Flock.
The Franklin Café
278 Shawmut Avenue
This charming café has an innovative approach to traditional American cuisine, with dishes like turkey meatloaf with fig gravy and chive mashed potatoes, slow-braised lamb and mint risotto with tomato, carrot and aged ricotta, and lavender-honey glazed salmon with baby green lentil du puy and a red wine sauce. It serves a full menu daily until 1:30 am. The bar offers local microbrews on tap, a diverse wine list, and an innovative cocktail menu. Try the Ideal Manhattan, made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Cinzano Rosso Vermouth, and grapefruit bitters.
South End Buttery
314 Shawmut Ave.
Co-owner Richard Gordon (LAW’89) has created a welcoming café, restaurant, and takeout market that will satisfy you and your canine companion (dogs are welcome on the patio). The restaurant is committed to using organic, all-natural, locally raised and grown ingredients whenever possible. The lunch menu has crowd-pleasers like a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich (bacon, Gruyere cheese, aged cheddar, and roasted tomato on sourdough) and the Coronation Chicken (curried chicken salad, golden raisins, green apples, cashews, mayo, and lettuce on a tortilla wrap). The dinner menu includes comfort food like shrimp fra diavolo (spicy marinara sauce, spaghetti, and shrimp) and a Black Angus cheeseburger (natural Angus ground chuck, aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, crispy bacon, and truffle aioli on a brioche bun). The café serves Equator tea and ethically sourced drip coffee, as well as tea from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Kilogram brand. Additionally, signature cupcakes are named after staff members’ dogs, and a portion of the proceeds from the cupcake sales are donated to animal rights causes.
472 Shawmut Ave.
El Centro is a standout among the city’s recent surge in south-of-the-border dining. Its vibrant Mexican street art, like a hand-painted mural along the back wall and original photos and artwork, is complemented by equally vibrant food, with entrées like ceviche de camarón (shrimp cured in lime juice and tossed with onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, tomato juice, and clamato juice). Sonoran native, chef, and owner Allan Rodriguez whips up family recipes every night. It has a small but high-quality selection of wines, beers, and sangrias.
477 Shawmut Ave.
This casual South American restaurant, inspired by taguaritas (Venezuela’s small, rustic roadside eateries), gives the feel of dining in someone’s home. On the menu are old family recipes that blend dishes indigenous to the Andes and the Caribbean, and servings are generous and reasonably priced. Among the offerings are shredded beef empanadas and many varieties of arepas, the traditional Venezuelan corn flour sandwiches. Try the torta fluida, a molten chocolate cake made with 100 percent Venezuelan dark chocolate. Named by Travioso in 2021 as one of the 30 best places to eat and drink in Boston, Orinoco also has locations in Brookline Village and Harvard Square. It’s a great place for Sunday brunch, too.
The Courtyard at 46 Waltham St.
This South End studio and boutique, created and run by designer duo John Ross and Don Carney, offers choice accessories and home décor. They have collaborated with big-name stores like Hermès, West Elm, and Target, and have attracted fashion icons like Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore (CFA’83). The elegant shop offers a variety of unusual items, including their brand’s golden skull charm with diamond eyes and jewelry by Rachel Eardley. You’ll find scarves, urns, candles, sachets, and much more. Many items are made by hand in limited quantities, so prices are on the high side, but it’s one of the best places in Boston to find an out-of-the-ordinary gift for someone special or an extravagant treat for yourself.
Maná Escondido Café
68 Aguadilla St.
Low prices, authentic Puerto Rican food, and friendly staff—what’s not to love about Maná Escondido? There are only a few tables in the tiny restaurant, but don’t let that stop you. It’s known for its mofongo (fried mashed plantains), available with a variety of toppings, from chicharron (fried pork rinds) to camarones (shrimp). And it may offer the only jibarito in New England—a Chicago staple sandwich with Puerto Rican roots made with smashed plantains instead of bread. Word of warning: the mofongo can take up to 30 minutes to make, so if you’re looking for a quick snack, try one of the ready-made frituras (fritters). We recommend the bacalaitos (a thin, crispy salted cod fritter) or pastelito (turnover stuffed with beef or chicken).
2 Dartmouth St.
If you’re looking for a unique gift that’s sure to make anyone happy, stop by Gifted, an independent, woman-owned gift boutique. They feature works by more than 75 US artists and makers, as well as beautiful items from around the world and a wonderful selection of greeting cards. You’ll also find colorful children’s books, ties, puzzles, wedding gifts, baby clothes, jewelry, and more, all artfully displayed in their sun-lit store. Open daily, Gifted has your back when you need a present at the last second.
123 Appleton St.
This neighborhood eatery, run by a mother-daughter duo, serves up delicious coffee, pastries, and other food items in a welcoming space. What was once a passion project has now transformed into a welcoming space that offers fresh and made-from-scratch food like The Turkey (a turkey and applewood smoked bacon sandwich with havarti cheese, pickled red onions, arugula, garlic aioli, and whole grain dijon mustard on ciabatta) and grain bowls. A walk-up window is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm, offering a grab-and-go menu that includes apple cake, muffins, croissants, lattes, cold brew, and other breakfast food. Customers (and dogs) are invited to their indoor seating or patio tables and benches.
Getting there: The BU Shuttle (BUS) runs from the Charles River Campus to the Medical Campus, which borders the South End. Nearby MBTA stops include Massachusetts Avenue and Back Bay on the Orange Line, and Symphony, Prudential, and Copley on the Green Line. The Silver Line bus also runs up and down Washington Street.
Click on the points in the map above for more information on the places listed in our guide to the South End area.