Where to Shop and Eat in Cambridge’s Observatory Hill
The intersection of Huron and Concord avenues in Cambridge may be near Harvard Square and Huron Village, but the area has a character all its own. Just ask Jonathan Henke, who owns Didriks and Local Root there. Eight years ago he began looking into the enclaveâ€™s history, and found that it had once been called Observatory Hill, after the Harvard College Observatory. Local business owners have since banded together to reclaim the name. â€śItâ€™s become a hidden little garden of housewares,â€ť says America Duralâ€™s Phillip Miller. Here are a few top-notch spots to shop, eat, and pamper yourself when youâ€™re in the neighborhood.
1. Touch Art & Craft Gallery
The former Circle Furniture outlet is now home to a colorful exhibit space celebrating multicultural artists from near and farâ€”the local painter Nedret Andre recently showed her dreamy landscapes in the front gallery. Check the calendar for poetry readings, author talks, and wine events.
281 Concord Ave., 617-547-0017, touchag.com.
2. Local Root
Jonathan Henkeâ€™s kitchen boutique stocks gadgets galoreâ€”asparagus tongs, melon ballers, twirl whisks, and more. Youâ€™ll also find a rainbow of Le Creuset pots, as well as a selection of F. Dick and Berti knives (which Henke will sharpen for free when they get dull).
221 Concord Ave., 617-354-2400, localroot.com.Â
3. Wet Paint Nail Spa
Michelle Phoenix takes the environment seriously. All of her polishes are DBP-, formaldehyde-, and toluene-free, and when she found out that sanitizing the foot baths at her nail and skin spot wasted 10,000 gallons of water a year, Phoenix opted for steamy towels instead. â€śThey are luxe and delicious, but also guilt-free,â€ť she says. By the way, Wet Paint offers kid-friendly hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
143 Huron Ave., 617-868-0620, wetpaintnailspa.com.
4. America Dural
This design firmâ€™s space includes a showroom, a store, and even a fine-art framer. Room vignettes showcase antique chests, modern art, and coveted Milo Baughman furniture. Our favorite find? Porcelain vases emblazoned with rabbits and dogs, from Middle Kingdom.
143 Huron Ave., 617-661-4100, americadural.com.
5. European Country Antiques
Nesters hankering for sideboards and farm tables from the late 19th century should make their way to Ed Stuartâ€™s 4,000-square-foot antiques trove. Among the treasures that heâ€™s brought back from recent trips overseas: fruit-picking ladders, a giant clock face, and a wine rack with space for 170 bottles. Bonus: Thereâ€™s a parking lot.
146 Huron Ave., 617-876-7485, ecountryantiques.com.
6. Harvard College Observatory
The neighborhoodâ€™s namesake is open to the public on the third Thursday of every month (except in June, July, and August) for free lectures and guided stargazing. This monthâ€™s talk is on natureâ€™s telescopes: clusters of galaxies that bend light, allowing us to see more-distant objects in high definition. And although visitors can no longer look through the â€śGreat Refractorâ€ť telescope, installed there in 1847, they can still see the night sky through a 100-year-old Clark telescope.
60 Garden St., 617-495-9059, cfa.harvard.edu/hco.
WHERE TO EAT:
1. T.W. Food
The five-course â€śKitchen Improvâ€ť menu, served after 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, showcases seasonal flavors. At $49 per person, itâ€™s one of the best deals in town.
377 Walden St., 617-864-4745, twfoodrestaurant.com.
2. Hi-Rise Bread Company
Thereâ€™s a reason weekend lines stretch out the door at this bakery. Everythingâ€”from the buttery cheddar â€śsnailsâ€ť to the signature sandwichesâ€”is simply delicious.
208 Concord Ave., 617-876-8766, hi-risebread.com.
The Sicilian slices at this old-school pizza joint have star chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Tony Maws waxing poetic.
163 Huron Ave., 617-354-8275.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/fashion-style/article/2013/03/26/observatory-hill-cambridge-shopping-eating/