June 10, 2020
Weeks ago, when COVID-19 shutdowns began in Boston, we decided to highlight some of the team’s favorite local businesses with the hopes that a social media boost would help increase patronage. Then, as part of our response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, we felt compelled to shift the focus of this post to spotlight our favorite Black- and POC-owned businesses. We invite you to join us in supporting them.
Boston is slowly starting to reopen outdoor dining this week, so all except the last of the businesses mentioned below are restaurants. We hope you are able to enjoy these recs, but please keep following public health experts’ advice, wear your masks and continue to do your part to stop the spread of the virus.
Bred Gourmet (Dorchester, American/Jamaican burgers, $$)
Aria CEO Scott Collins and his family have ordered from their favorite local business, Bred, at least once a week since the pandemic began. Bred crafts amazing burgers; some are packed with island flavors, while others favor more traditional toppings and tastes. Don’t skimp on the fries and smoothies either, because those are all on point. You can learn more about the founder, Tambo Barrow, and how he launched his restaurant without any outside investments from this Bay State Banner article.
Surya Indian Kitchen (Cambridge, Indian, $)
Surya is just down the street from AE Julia Dakhlia’s home (so close, in fact, that once when she ordered delivery, they called her back to ask if that was a mistake) and consistently delivers on flavorful, hearty meals. They supply high-quality, affordable and generous portions. She highly recommends this spot especially for its vegetable combo platter: two vegetarian dishes, rice and naan for just $11. If you go, don’t forget to order a mango lassi – which helps to cool the heat of the dishes.
Brookline Lunch (Cambridge, Mediterranean/brunch, $)
Brookline Lunch is a must-visit if you find yourself near Central Square. They are a Cambridge gem – family-owned and operated with charming service. The food is delicious and affordable, with absolutely heaping portions. If you go, ask to try their jam – it’s always homemade and the chef likes to try out new recipes.
Petsi Pies (Somerville, American/bakery, $$)
Petsi sells unbelievable pies and will deliver if you order ahead. Try their smoked mozzarella, asparagus and tomato pie, and the strawberry rhubarb pie, if you don’t know where to start. Small pies are $8, explosively flavorful and very filling.
Pit Stop Barbecue (Mattapan, American/BBQ, $$)
AE Madeleine Smith only trusts barbeque places with limited hours and consistently long lines. It means they’re good – and they know it. You can smell Pit Stop’s meat smoking as you walk up to order your takeout (though, if you can smell it through your N95, that means you’re wearing the mask wrong, FYI). The pork and beef ribs are delicious, and don’t forget to order the mac n’ cheese and collard greens as your sides.
Blue Nile Restaurant (JP, Ethiopian, $$)
Another rec from AE Julia – she and her partner save Blue Nile for special occasions, and it never disappoints. It’s an especially great spot for vegetarians, as the veggie combo – served on, and eaten with, injera (Ethiopian bread) – is just as filling, delicious and hearty-but-delicate as the meat dishes. This is the place if you’re looking for a new culinary experience with an eye on health and nutritional balance.
Frugal Bookstore (Roxbury, Literature, $$)
Once you’ve had your fill of food, make sure to stop by Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury. It is the first Black-owned bookstore in Boston and carries books primarily written by authors of color. At the beginning of the pandemic, they were struggling for business, but the community rallied around their GoFundMe (read about that here). They’re a great place to go for your BLM-inspired book list. Ashley Owen, our wellness officer and account director, has already purchased a copy of How to Be an Anti-Racist from Frugal.
Did we miss your favorite spot? Head over to our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to continue the conversation and tell us about the businesses you are supporting. We’re always looking for another fabulous lunch spot and interesting shop, so please share!