Six Boston restaurants we’d love to see turn into chains
They haven’t exploded yet, but we hope these places serving Brazilian hot dogs, Indian dosa and more really do explode.
For many foodies, “chain” is a bad word synonymous with “quantity rather than quality”. Nonsense. Many quick and casual eateries, in particular, have proven that they can replicate in volume the same great food they served when they were single-location outfits. With that in mind, here are a few small businesses that we’d love to see grow across town or beyond – they would represent us (and nurture us) well.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love. In the absence of this, however, we will also gratefully accept more outlets for Brazilian style hot dogs, which are loaded with mashed potatoes, peas, corn, potato sticks and (almost) anything you can imagine. Obviously, we have great affection for Love Dog Hot Dog, a food truck that just won Best of Boston kudos for providing such franchises. That said, new restaurant Natick Hot Doogy already has the kind of quick, casual format that could lead a whole bunch of posh storefronts.
1300 Worcester St., Natick, 774-231-4177, hotdoogy.com.
Considering how hard it is to find quick and casual gluten-free outfits across the board, we’re surprised some rainmakers haven’t yet grown Grainmaker bigger than its two existing locations. (And no, two do not make a chain. Boston Hospitality Review agrees.) There is no wheat or dairy in sight when the place loads its celiac-friendly bowls with rice, noodles or greens, as well as crisp, Southeast-inspired dishes. Asian like sweet chilli shrimp, lemongrass steak, pickled veggies, and zipped sauces like spicy hoisin. During this time, cross-contamination is completely removed from the menu.
91 Summer Street, Boston, 617-482-0131; 248 Elm Street, Somerville, mangergrainmaker.com.
Deli bored, amirite? (Growl.) Sure, you can keep spreading homemade cold cuts and cheese on decorative wooden planks (zzz), but those planks at home don’t have anything on the takeout boxes that this operation allows you to do. fill with sweet basil chicken, sausage, truffle salami, goat cheese, olives, jams, etc. Even better? Roll for cold cuts cones, bouquets of on-the-go delicacies that are particularly practical to take away, for example, on a picnic. It’s a smart concept that starts off strong: the original Beacon Hill location only opened in June and has already spawned an outpost at Time Out Market in the Fenway.
83 Charles Street, Boston, 617-870-4151, kured.co.
Since Clover’s early days, we haven’t been so excited about a quick, laid-back vegan – sorry, herbal—concept like this. Southie’s Lulu Green has everything you need to thrive outside the neighborhood: bright and cheerful surroundings, friendly service, and a lovely cafe menu that covers good ground without getting lost. Keep an eye out for the seitan tacos with pickled vegetables and harissa mayonnaise, the barbecue cauliflower sandwich with muhammara and more in saj bread, seasonal soups and more. There are morning pastries, take out and juices, from mandarin tea punch to spicy sesame iced latte.
246 W Broadway, South Boston, 617-420-4070, lulugreen.com.
The latest quick and easygoing joint to join the many people in the seaport is Madras Dosa, and the Indian restaurant doesn’t hide its desire to become big: it promotes franchise opportunities on its website. Hoping someone bites soon, because the more places there are, the faster we can make our way through the over 30 varieties of dosa. These thin fermented rice and lentil paste pancakes are dipped in chutneys and curries, or stuffed with selections that are both salty (upma, a polenta-like porridge) and sweet: think Nutella in a dosa. Need we say more?
55 Boston Wharf Rd., Boston, 857-233-5188, madrasdosaco.com.
Tahaza Hummus Cuisine
Mediterranean make-your-own bowls have been very popular in these regions in recent years. Somehow, however, Tahaza Hummus Kitchen seems to have gone unnoticed, at least more than most. This is probably because it is hidden away in an East Cambridge, surrounded mainly by offices of the innovation industry. Because everywhere else, its exceptional homemade hummus on its own – served in seasonal varieties like spicy harissa and cilantro jalapeño – would deserve more attention, regardless after being spiced up with additions like Moroccan-spiced beef, lemon za’atar chicken, cumin pickled carrots, Sriracha tahini sauce, and more.
1 Canal Park, Cambridge, 857-259-6960, tahaza.com.