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The Big E Is Canceled for 2020, But Fans Can Still Eat Some of Its Fair Food

Plus, Puritan Provisions debuts in Inman Square, Mida’s Douglass Williams plans Newton restaurant, and more news

Closeup of a tray of cream puffs, each topped with shiny chocolate sauce
In the absence of the Big E this year, Big E Cream Puffs are available for pickup at the fairgrounds and at a Holyoke event venue
The Big E/Official Site

Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

The Big E Is Canceled, But Its Cream Puffs Are Not

New England’s annual Big E, a multi-state fair showcasing the region’s bounty and taking place in West Springfield, Massachusetts, may not go quite as over-the-top with its food options as, say, the Minnesota State Fair or the State Fair of Texas, but there are always some fair favorites to be found, such as the Big E cream puff and turducken sandwiches.

The 2020 fair, like pretty much every giant event this year, has been canceled due to the pandemic, but some fair food lives on: The New England Craft Pub, a typical Big E fixture, is popping up at Holyoke event space the Log Cabin from September 10 through October 4, open Thursday through Sunday.

Indoor and outdoor tables are both available, spaced at 10-foot intervals, with local beers and ciders on tap; outdoor live entertainment, when weather permits; and a menu that includes the aforementioned turducken sandwich and cream puff as well as chicken pot pie, “beeramisu,” Bavarian pretzels, and more. Reservations encouraged.

(Note: Big E cream puff and eclair fanatics can also pick up the treats at the Big E Bakery within the fairgrounds on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; online ordering is available.)

Puritan Provisions Debuts in Cambridge

Inman Square restaurant Puritan & Co. is transforming its next-door space (which has functioned as storage, event space, and a pandemic-era takeout hub over the years) into Puritan Provisions as of today.

Located at 1164 Cambridge St., the walk-up storefront is open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, offering a concise menu of lunch (sandwiches, chips, cookies), weekend breakfast (bagels, breakfast sandwiches), and market items (condiments like truffle butter, herb jus, pea hummus, and crispy shallots). Several bake-at-home meals are also available, such as eggplant parmesan, baked lobster pasta, and beef short ribs.

Customers can either show up and order on the spot or pre-order online during operating hours.

Mida’s Douglass Williams Plans Newton Restaurant

The team from South End Italian favorite Mida — chef Douglass Williams along with partners Brian Lesser and Seth Gerber — announced today that they will open a restaurant at Trio Newton, a mixed-use development at 261 Walnut St. in Newton. The as-yet-unnamed restaurant could open in spring 2021, and like Mida, it will feature Italian food, a bar, and a patio, serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. It will be part of the development’s 42,000 square feet of retail and dining space; there are also 140 apartments.

The Mida team also has a fast-casual pizzeria in the works, Apizza, at the forthcoming Hub on Causeway’s food hall in Boston’s West End. Apizza will serve its namesake New Haven-style pizza (called “apizza” if you live in New Haven) as well as Roman-style pies by the slice or tray.

In Other News...

  • RIP to two local food icons: Marina “Chickie” Aggelakis of Ipswich’s Clam Box, a hands-on restaurant owner and a “mentor to literally generations of kids,” has died at 70. Michael Valerio, who started the Papa Gino’s pizza chain in East Boston (originally Paradise Restaurant, then Piece o’ Pizza, then finally Papa Gino’s as of 1969), has died at 89.
  • Salem’s Bit Bar — a venue with food, drinks, and arcade games (and a forthcoming expansion to Malden) — is suing Gov. Charlie Baker over the state’s coronavirus reopening plan, noting that arcade games should be considered similar enough to casino slot machines that the venue should be able to operate them as casinos are already open (with limitations). Bit Bar is saying that the state and governor are violating its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Arcades were originally supposed to be part of phase three of the reopening plan, along with casinos, but were later switched to phase four, which won’t begin until there’s a vaccine or effective treatment. (Bars without food service are also stuck in phase four.) Bit Bar is currently open for onsite dining as well as takeout and delivery, but its games remain off.
  • Why is Boston-brewed liqueur Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy so popular in Maine? Boston Magazine investigates.
  • For The Boston Globe, Devra First looks at how restaurants are preparing to weather the winter ahead, from igloos to outdoor heaters.

Got a news tip for the Eater Boston team? Email boston@eater.com.

Puritan & Co.

1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617 615 6195 Visit Website

MIDA

782 Tremont Street, , MA 02118 (617) 936-3490 Visit Website

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