Where to Eat and Drink in Hudson, Mass.
Once known as a shoe-manufacturing town, Hudson is now becoming a culinary mecca for entrepreneurial restaurateurs priced out of Boston.
Fresh out of Babson business school in 2011, friends Karim El-Gamal and Michael Kasseris began searching for the perfect site to open their first restaurant. But faced with Boston’s exorbitant rents, they (like so many before them) decided to head west, where Kasseris’s uncle owned real estate on Hudson’s main drag. In 2012, joined by Kasseris’s childhood friend Jason Kleinerman, they opened the Rail Trail Flatbread Co., offering 20 taps of craft beer and char-blistered pies. That leap of faith opened the floodgates for other food-oriented entrepreneurs, who are populating downtown with everything from a gourmet cheese shop to a next-level gastropub. Ahead, a pedestrian-friendly tour of Hudson’s burgeoning Main Street.
1. New City Microcreamery
The Rail Trail team added something sweet to their arsenal this past May, with a 5,000-square-foot ice cream shop directly across the street from the restaurant. Not content to churn the Mapleline Farm dairy the old-fashioned way, executive pastry chef Elaine Stella (Harvest, L’Espalier) is flash-freezing flavors like rum-Raisinet and chipotle-mezcal with liquid nitrogen. The process, with its clouds of smoke, results in not only a smoother, creamier product, but also a rapt audience. Don’t even think about ordering yours without a buttery waffle cone and a sprinkling of “funk”—toppings such as torn chunks of orange–olive oil cake. 28 Main St., 978-333-7144, newcitymicrocreamery.com.
2. Less Than Greater Than
Will this spot, marked only by a shoe-shop sign, be a place to browse leather wingtips, or a dark, moody speakeasy serving craft cocktails? You’ll have to tap on the wooden window, situated at the back of New City Microcreamery, to solve the mystery. Then sip and savor the, ahem, “shoes”—many frozen with the same liquid nitrogen canisters used to make the ice cream—from a soapstone perch with prime views of the bartending action. 28 Main St.
ON THE WAY
3. Crossroads Tap and Table
To build a serious gastropub, former management consultant Vafa Ansarifar not only hired executive bar manager Emily Morrisette, who helped turn Bondir Concord into a mecca of rare and cellared beer, he also leaned on a little pro bono advice from his fiancée’s family, which happens to own Portland, Maine’s acclaimed Novare Res Bier Café. To pair with locally distilled spirits and craft beer, Crossroads will specialize in seasonal fare like lentil-and-saffron-crusted cauliflower. 23 Main St., crossroadstapandtable.com.
Hudson native Katie Mullahy Quinn presides over this artisanal-cheese-and-specialty-food shop, where you can sample everything from 12-month-aged manchego to raw-milk cheese from Hardwick’s own Robinson Farm. Get schooled in the art of building the perfect cheese board at one of Mullahy’s classes, or just grab a “lunch box” filled with olives, salami, locally baked bread, and a solid hunk of the finest fromage. 63A Main St., 508-570-8068, mullahys.com.
5. Medusa Brewing Company
It’s easy to see why this new brewery is already a preferred local watering hole, with 15 house-brewed beers, board games, and a laid-back BYOF policy that encourages deliveries from Rail Trail and other nearby eateries. Enjoy the taproom’s soft-baked pretzels alongside head brewer Keith Antul’s ever-rotating beers, including the potent Laser Cat imperial IPA and an English stout brewed over cocoa nibs, each available on site or in growlers to go. 111 Main St., 978-310-1933, medusabrewing.com.