Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.
Seriously, There’s Another One
Look, you know the drill by now. Caffe Nero (stylized with a snazzy accent — Caffè Nero) is a London-based, Italy-inspired megachain of cafes that began its United States expansion here in Boston in mid-2014, with a location in Downtown Crossing, before rapidly expanding around the Boston area, seemingly opening a new location every week. People like it, each location looks a little bit different, and it’s everywhere, but yeah, it’s a non-local megachain. Today, it touches down in the bursting-at-the-seams Fenway neighborhood, opening at 1375 Boylston St. and serving free coffee from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. today (Tuesday, February 27).
In other expanding cafe news, growing local chain Pavement apparently has a Lower Allston location in the works at 415 Western Ave.
Restaurant Pet Peeves From Both Sides
For The Boston Globe, correspondent Kara Baskin dives into restaurant pet peeves from diners as well as employees, teasing out a list of recommendations for both sides based on some informal social media polling and interviews with local restaurant owners and employees.
Diners, for example, should keep in mind that “a restaurant isn’t a day-care center”; don’t hand a server a giant stack of credit cards; and speak up if something goes wrong, rather than stewing about it in silence and then going home to leave a nasty Yelp review. On the restaurant side, employees should avoid “auction[ing] off drinks and food with editorial comments,” bringing attention to, for example, someone who wanted to quietly consume a mocktail instead of a cocktail. Other recommendations for restaurants include turning up the lights and down the music, spellchecking the menu (“roast beef on a toasted ‘bum’ is not appetizing”), and being sensitive to seating (“do not steer grandma or a heavily pregnant woman to a section with only high-top seating.”)
Scout Somerville profiles Somerville-based Ben Lewis, maker of RainTaps — umbrellas with decorative beer tap handles. The idea started brewing years ago when Lewis first noticed a Pretty Things (RIP) tap handle. “It was like a work of art,” Lewis told Scout. He filed his newfound interest in decorative taps away in the back of his mind until a recent search for Pretty Things taps on eBay. He found one but couldn’t justify spending $80 if it were just going to gather dust. But a couple weeks later, pondering how normal umbrellas are “aesthetically unpleasing” when you have to carry them around post-storm, inspiration struck. Lewis currently sells his creations at Davis Squared, Arlington Centered, and online.
“Do It Right, or Don’t Do It at All”
For The Contribune, an online publication that “share[s] the stories written by noteworthy professionals who have overcome adversity in order to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on the world,” O Ya and Hojoko co-owner Nancy Cushman tells the origin tale of building O Ya with her husband Tim — including taking on all of the financial risk themselves, having to pay rent for six months before opening while waiting for the liquor license to come through, and being “about two payrolls away from not being able to stay open” about a year in when the big break came, two giant press hits in The New York Times and Food and Wine.
One Thing You Should Eat Today
This is spanakopita like you’ve never seen it before. Brendan Pelley’s 100-layer spinach pie, which he took with him from his Pelekasis pop-up at Wink & Nod to Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar (79 Park Plz., Back Bay, Boston), where he’s chef de cuisine, could almost function as a savory dessert — it’s rich, it’s satisfying, it’s going to put you into a food coma almost immediately. Pelley is doing a lot of excellent work at Doretta (try the baked manouri cheese, the pikilia, or the pan-roasted shrimp), but the spinach pie — topped with dill cream and crispy calamata — is the crown jewel.
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