The span of Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Central squares can feel a bit like a no man’s land, quietly sandwiched between the two ultra-busy squares — and weirdly full of furniture stores. But a number of restaurants and bars have been drawing crowds to those few blocks for years, such as the Plough and Stars and the People’s Republik, not to mention newer spots like Dumpling House and Waypoint.
Now, another newcomer has joined the ranks: a New American-meets-Italian restaurant called Pammy’s, replacing India Castle at 928 Massachusetts Ave. The latter had been there since 1999; the former opened earlier this month, showing off a brilliantly remodeled space (goodbye, weirdly stuck Entourage poster) with a number of attractive pieces of decor and a wood-burning fireplace that’s sure to turn this into a cozy winter hangout. Add in warm smiles from co-owner Pam Willis (as in “Pammy”), general manager Andrew Foster (Fairsted Kitchen, The Frogmore), and bar manager Moe Isaza (The Baldwin Bar, Tiger Mama), along with the rest of the friendly front-of-house staff, and it’s a recipe for one of the most hospitable openings this year. Hearty bowls of pasta don’t hurt, either.
Willis owns Pammy’s with her husband Chris, who is also the chef. The Willises designed the restaurant themselves, aiming to make it feel like an extension of their home. A 14-foot formidable communal table is the centerpiece of the dining room and helps with the homey feel, although a marble strip down the center of the wide table, studded with flower vases, helps give diners a bit of privacy if they’re not sold on the whole communal thing. (Pairs are seated next to each other, lunch counter-style, rather than across from each other.) The table is made from old drafting tables that were found in a salvage yard in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
But the design really starts outside with a colorful peacock mural that spans nearly 20 feet, stretching from the outside of the building into the lounge area of the restaurant, by the Willises’ friend, Rebecca Walsh. Inside, a large statue of Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest, stands watch over the bar; the Willises found the statue at “a crumbling estate in the Hudson Valley.”
The space also features a sizable gold-framed mirror, vintage bathroom doors from a New Jersey dental office, and other antique bits found by the Willises.
Pammy’s is open from 5:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, with the kitchen open until 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.