Urban Legend

Boston City Councilor Mike Ross finds inspiration in every corner of town.

mike rossMike Ross’s favorite hang? The Fenway’s Tasty Burger. (Photo by Jared Leeds)

At the Fenway’s throwback snack shack Tasty Burger, you can enjoy a koozie-wrapped pint, a free game of pool, or a cheesy painting by City Councilor Mike Ross. (We mean that literally — his brushstroked burger opus sports cheddar and a nice bun.)

Of course, there’s more to the Fenway than burgers and the Red Sox. “You can spend the whole day — weeks — here and not get bored,” says Ross. “Anything from planting your own garden to reading a book, and there’s a great set of basketball courts in the Fens.” Does he play often? “No, I’m horrible,” he admits. “But I do other things.”

Representing District 8 (which includes the Fenway, Beacon Hill, the West End, the Back Bay, Kenmore Square, Audubon Circle, and Mission Hill) on the city council since 2000, Ross has passed legislation to create year-round outdoor cafés in business districts, pushed for bike-friendly policies, and re-established physical fitness as a priority in Boston’s public schools.

“Our resources are the people of this city — from young to old,” Ross says. “We’re very connected in our neighborhoods and communities.” Turn the page for a few more things that inspire Ross’s work.

picnic basket(Photo via iStockphoto)

1. COMMON SENSE
“I’m excited about what’s happening on Boston Common,” Ross says of the new fountain and renovated visitors’ center. He’s particularly sweet on the fact that the park’s old comfort station (read: men’s bathroom) will become an outpost of takeout mecca Earl of Sandwich, raising the bar of Boston picnics forevermore.

burger(Photo by Jared Leed)

2. BUDDING YOUNG ARTISTS
“I like to pop in there a lot,” Ross says, referring to the sprawling art studios that anchor the South End. “I really love that Boston is home to so many emerging artists.” His own burger painting is pictured here.

cityscape  (Photo via Dreamstime)

3. URBAN THEORY
Ross adores big cities. “They’re environmentally efficient, culturally relevant, and fun. They’re what society intended,” he says. “Social impact, our responsibility to each other — nowhere is that better embodied than in the city.”

bike

(Photo via iStockphoto)

4. BEING ACTIVE
Ross sweats it out daily at 6:30 a.m. with Baron Baptiste yoga and a heart-pumping run. And he’ll occasionally bike from Boston to Gloucester, then run the 5-mile loop along Back Shore.

potted plants(Photo via iStockphoto)

5. FOOD AND PUBLIC POLICY
Ross is working with Southie-born chef célèbre Barbara Lynch to teach kids in Boston Public Schools how to eat healthier and grow their own food. “She’s a ­really terrific leader,” he says. “It’s been great working with her on this.”

building(Photo via iStockphoto)

6. LOCAL GOVERNMENT
“I think we have some great leaders in our city, both established and emerging,” Ross says. “We’re accountable to our citizens directly. There’s a level of expectation that we serve; whatever crisis there is, there needs to be results.”

obama(Photo by Getty Images)

7. BARACK OBAMA
“I’m a big fan of our president,” he says. Election prediction? “I think he’ll win.”

coffee

(Photo via iStockphoto)

8. TASTY BURGERS AND WELL-EARNED COFFEE
“I love my first cup of coffee in the morning, but it always tastes better after you run 5 miles,” Ross says. It’s all about a lifelong commitment to health for Ross, who has followed a pescetarian diet for the past year and a half and can be seen indulging his vegetarian-mushroom-patty habit at Tasty Burger. “I used to eat meat, so I can say with authority that [owner Dave DuBois] has the best meat and nonmeat hamburgers around.”