On Our Radar

Five Guys Comes To Boston
Business/Location: Five Guys
Address: 58 Summer Street
City: Boston
State: MA
Zip Code: 02110
Phone: 617-482-2244
Website: fiveguys.com

Posted by:  Jon Mael
Photo:  NFT
   Five Guys
Have you ever been out in the city, desperate for some good eats, but have no idea what the trendy, or legendary spots are? If that's your Sunday, than national burger chain Five Guys is the best spot for you. Your burger is never frozen, it is only cooked after you order it, and toppings include everything from grilled onions to A-1. The double stacked Bacon Cheeseburger is orgasmic, as are the Cajun fries. Everything in this fast-rising chain is of the utmost quality, so much so that you forget that you're eating "fast" food about two bites in. Five Guys just recently made its way into Boston. There are now three restaurants nearby. Franchises costing $2 million each have been established on Summer Street, Huntington Avenue, and Braintree. While everyone wants to go to that one secret spot that's been frequented by locals since 1746, there's something to be said about knowing where a great chain is and keeping it in your back pocket just in case. Five Guys is the best burger chain around, and now that it's in Boston, we can finally get in on the action.

Up & Coming
Business/Location: The Red Room @ Cafe 939
Address: 939 Boylston St
City: Boston
State: MA
Zip Code: 02115
Phone: 617-747-6038
Website: cafe939.com

Posted by:  Sonia Weiser
Photo:  Sonia Weiser
   The Red Room @ Cafe 939
Fun fact, this was my first legit non-classical concert ever. And the Red Room was a great gateway to the dive bars in my future. The Red Room @ Cafe 939 is Berklee's student-run music venue. Showcasing anyone from one of Berklee's rising musicians to youtube favorite Pomplamoose (whose sold out concert on June 21 was my first and definitely not my last Red Room experience.) Red Room's concerts provide entertainment to more than the 21+ crowd. Literally a red room, the venue has a completely chill vibe. Small with couches lining two of the walls, the room says, "Come and enjoy" to all. At Pomplamoose, there were "tie-dyed hippies, classy parents, and little kids," explained one Berklee student. Michele Lapegna, a woman who came all the way from Central Maine to hear Pomplamoose described the audience as "artistically minded, outside the box thinkers, progressive and liberal...None of us are Republicans," she joked about her group. While this transition to ticket prices is awkward, The Red Room is run smoothly. And decently priced, the concerts generally run from Free to around $15. Take advantage of this place. You don't know when that next student gig will be performing for a packed house at the Garden.

They Always Win
Business/Location: Buffalo Exchange
Address: 238 Elm St
City: Somerville
State: MA
Zip Code: 02144
Phone: 617-629-5383
Website: www.buffaloexchange.com

Posted by:  Sonia Weiser
Photo:  Emily Doutre
   Buffalo Exchange
Two years later, Buffalo Exchange has outlasted Poor Little Rich Girl in the race to fill Davis Square with student budget-friendly shops. There is something extremely unique about BE (that's what the cool kids call it). While going through your clothing, they can either make you feel a.) like an idiot for ever buying something or b.) proud to have had something in your wardrobe worthy of Ms. Hipster buyer's approval. They don't buy back a lot (or maybe they just don't like my clothes), but when they put a little price sticker on something you brought, you feel just as good as when a fitting room lady tells you, "that dress looks great." It doesn't really matter if this one person thinks you look good or likes the clothing you brought in, but by god, it's nice to be validated. And if they don't take anything, you feel like a fashion disaster...And then you buy "better" clothing from the store to fix the situation. So both ways work in their favor.

Wine & Pottery
Business/Location: The Clayroom
Address: 1408 Beacon St
City: Brookline
State: MA
Zip Code: 02446
Phone: 617-566-7575
Website: theclayroom.com/index.html

Posted by:  Jamie Bushell
Photo:  Jamie Bushell
   The Clayroom
Imagine being offered the combination of a glass of wine, assortment of cheeses, and paint your own pottery. Imagine a rainy day, relaxing activity that doesn't involve sitting on your couch watching "Love Actually." Well, my friend, imagine no more! The Clayroom, located near Coolidge Corner in Brookline, has found the inner child. From practical items such as platters and mugs to school buses and wizards alike, for a reasonable price, you can paint your own pottery. There are even stencils for those of us with a slightly shaky hand. The Clayroom, open until 10pm on certain weeknights, offers a relaxing environment to unwind after a day at work, catch up with a friend, and be creative. Perhaps you'll finally paint that penguin bank you've wanted your whole life. The exposed brick walls are just begging for an artistic ambiance and the music isn't bad either. The best part is the daily deals they offer: Mondays are half off the studio fee; Tuesdays are free pizza night; and Wednesdays are $30 for wine, cheese, crackers, studio fee, AND any piece of pottery up to $24. Wine and pottery? I'm in.

Fresh and Local
Business/Location: Copley Square
Address: Dartmouth St & Boylston St
City: Boston
State: MA
Zip Code: 02116
Website: www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=66

Posted by:  Jamie Bushell
Photo:  Jamie Bushell
   Copley Square
One of my favorite pastimes of fall is perusing farmers markets. The Copley Square farmers market enables us city dwellers to get a taste of a small community feel every Tuesday and Friday from May to November. All of the local, fresh produce has usually been picked within the past 24 hours with speckles of dirt still sprinkled on the skin. Plus, who can resist digging into a huge barrel of string beans to hand pick the ripest of them all for an afternoon snack? From fennel bulbs and beets the size of my fist in the early spring, to the juiciest assortment of berries during the peak of the summer, I look forward to seeing how the produce changes week to week. What truly distinguishes this farmers market from many of the others throughout the city is the unique and plentiful mix of farm stands, artisan bakeries, florists, cheese makers, meat suppliers, and independent artists as well. It is also a great place for people watching, with its central location on Boylston Street. So why not get outside to buy some veggies? The sweet corn is a callin' your name. And trust me--you won't be able to resist it!

Get Out of Town
Business/Location: Urban Escapes
Address: 10 Emerson Pl
City: Boston
State: MA
Zip Code: 02114
Phone: 617-861-4966
Website: boston.urbanescapesusa.com/index.php

Posted by:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen
   Urban Escapes
You know how you'll be having a beer one night, and someone will go, "Man... I've always wanted to go white water rafting," and everyone will nod? Do you ever do it? A few of you will figure out where to go, costs, hotels, etc. While most of you will instead say, "To hell with it, let's play some Xbox." I'm here to tell you that you can now have someone else do the heavy lifting while you get all the benefit of the adventure, and that someone is Urban Escapes. UE wants to take you, your friends, and a bunch of other people with the same interests, and give them something fun to do in the out of doors. There also might be booze. How can this be a bad idea? Take my trip for example. In the course of one afternoon, I shot skeet with some bad ass shotguns, met a bunch of great people, and then hit up a distillery to taste some locally made hooch. Do you really want to go through life without a story that starts, "so I’m heckling my shotgun buddy?" No. You don’t. So time to check out an Escape.

Classic Cambridge
Business/Location: Algiers
Address: 40 Brattle St
City: Cambridge
State: MA
Zip Code: 02138
Phone: 617-492-1557

Posted by:  Joan Hill
Photo:  Joan Hill
The Algiers Coffee House has been a main-stay in Cambridge for decades, and shows it's age, but in a very charming manner. Locals and students sit closely at Moroccan tables sipping tea by the pot, eating their truly yummy falafel platters, and enjoying unique salads in a funky, laid-back atmosphere. Service is friendly and unhurried. Entrees are $8-16 while desserts are $4-8. Try the fresh basbousa (semolina cakes with syrup) for a simple, satisfying sweet with your coffee. The Algiers is not wheelchair accessible, and serves beer and wine.

As You Like It
Business/Location: ImprovBoston
Address: 40 Prospect St
City: Cambridge
State: MA
Zip Code: 02139
Phone: 617-576-1253
Website: www.improvboston.com

Posted by:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci
Enjoy high-brow entertainment, but love your art in approximately one-hour, T.V.-drama-like doses? Then look no further than ImprovBoston, where Discount Shakespeare's production of As You Like It is finishing its run with a show this Wednesday the 28th. The subtitle of the event promises the play will be performed in 45 minutes (and they make good on that pledge). One of Shakespeare's most satisfying comedies, there is a lot to like about this version: an arm-wrestling match, a brief vaudevillian dance number, plenty of physical comedy mostly contained in chase scenes around the small stage, and that Shakespearean staple, mistaken identity. What's more, the actors are deft, comedically spot-on (par for the ImprovBoston course), and carry off the text very well--while making it highly accessible. With this show at about 9 pm, you're $10 ($7 students and seniors) ticket also gets you into, at 8pm, "Magic and Misdemeanors," a comedic magic act by Andrew Yakoobian--who's a bit like GOB from "Arrested Development," but with talent. Yaks performance features a trick done without speaking and a hilarious SNL-style video. So, get down to Central Square (the theatre is steps away, on Prospect Street) on Wednesday, and take in a modern and a modern-take-on-classical comedic showcase. Always a place for fun and games, ImprovBoston scores again!

Streetcar Named Desire
Business/Location: Outpost 186
Address: 186 Hampshire St
City: Cambridge
State: MA
Zip Code: 02139
Phone: robchalfen@hotmail.com
Website: zeitgeist-outpost.blogspot.com/

Posted by:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci
   Outpost 186
Whether you know it or not, Tennessee Williams' iconic, post-war A Streetcar Named Desire--first performed in 1947--is part of our cultural fabric. With lines like "I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers" and male lead Stanley Kowalski (a role originated by Marlon Brando) yelling his wife's name, you've probably got a few of the show's winners committed to memory. Enter Continuity Theatre and Dance Company, who are staging a production (in which I have a part) at the intimate gallery/performance space the Outpost 186 near Inman Square in Cambridge. The close confines will underscore the immediacy of the play’s populist portrayal of life in New Orleans and the clash of cultures when a woman (Blanche DuBois, played by Jessica Tandy in the original) arrives to visit her sister, who's shacked up with her husband. In the small apartment, card games run wild, neighbors scream and argue, an old woman selling flowers passes by, and--yes--plenty of booze is consumed. So, come out and support local theatre and check out a cool art venue (tickets are only available at the door, for $12, Friday through Saturday nights, April 22 - 24 at 8pm). In the meantime try to keep your cool, something Stanley can't seem to do. Stella!!!

Clubhouse for Chefs
Business/Location: St. Alphonzo's Kitchen (closed)
Address: 87 A St
City: Boston
State: MA
Zip Code: 02127
Phone: 617-269-2233
Website: www.stalphonzoskitchen.com/

Posted by:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen
   St. Alphonzo's Kitchen
You know how every neighborhood has that little hole in the wall spot, locals only, that makes amazing food and always seems to fly under the radar? Alphonzo's seems to be that place for Southie, but for some reason it also seems to be one of those spots that local chefs eat at when they're not behind their own stoves. Originally named Potbellies when they first opened up four years ago, Alphonzo's has been steadily gaining buzz and Best of Boston awards ever since, but it's the steady draw of the local cooks that has me the most fascinated. I can no longer count how many people in the industry seem to be filling this spot whenever I head in for a bite, but if your peers find you delicious enough to grab dinner, then most diners would do well to follow. If you're coming in from outside Southie, parking is pretty easy right on Broadway, and if you're in need of a suggestion or two, you really can't go wrong with either the Cuban or the Flat Iron Steak. Be forewarned, it's absolutely tiny. That can be a bad thing if you are dying for a table, or a great thing if you're there on a date. So stop in, grab a table for two, pop a bottle of wine, and try out that local joint you've always wanted to stumble on. Just consider me your stumbling block.