Purists might be put off by the fact that there's pizza on the menu, but it's impossible to argue with the down-and-dirty authenticity of Chris' barbecue sauce. This place would be right at home on a Memphis side street, from the friendliness of the staff to the offbeat customers who wander in now and then. Try the Dallas-sized plate of meaty, flavorful ribs, or the heaping pulled-pork sandwich. Both ooze in a sauce that is at turns sweet and spicy, changing subtly with each bite. There are traditional side dishes such as collard greens and cole slaw, but the sweet potatoes drowned in maple syrup are a must. 1370 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA .
Sorry to disappoint Clint Eastwood fans, but this much-loved dog spa and shop is named for owner Michelle Fournier's Lab-retriever mix. Pooches are the stars here as groomers lovingly shampoo, trim, and clip. There's even pickup and drop-off service for Charlestown residents so your pup can greet you at the door, clean and styled, when you arrive home from work. Fournier and her team also dole out advice on toys and training, deliver food free of charge, and host gratis Ruff Week parties in Charlestown's Paul Revere Park. 287 Main St., Charlestown, MA durtyharry.com.
When your wardrobe starts to feel like the by-the-pound pile at the Garment District, it’s time to give Geraldine Cole a call. The fashion maven began her career working in the costume departments of various theaters, eventually starting Style Your Threads when friends kept asking her for outfit advice. She’ll organize and cull your closet (or "archives" as she calls it), put together the ultimate special-occasion ensemble, or even pick out the perfect gift. MA styleyourthreads.com.
The former for the regular season, of course. The latter for the play-offs.
Squished into a Beacon Hill storefront is this incredible urban resource center. Need to rent a power drill? It's five bucks a day. Run out of paint in the middle of a job? Head right over. Want to plant a window box full of tulips? Seeds of every sort are out front on the sidewalk (in season). Plus, the store sells the entire Leatherman line of cool-dude tools, and the service is terrific; these guys make Bob Villa look like he needs a little renovating. 216 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA .
Provincetown is a rather long way to travel for ultrahip vintage and modern accessories, but Yates and Kennedy is a true destination for the antler-hunting, owl-coveting, woodblock-pillow-desiring crowd. Bonus: After working up a shopper's sweat in the delightful store, you can skip down to the beach for an ocean dip. 368 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA 2657, .
Miggy Mason and Roisin Giese founded their home design store with a clear objective: Whenever possible, collect items that are made locally and sustainably. In their lofty space, the duo has created an urban dreamland that's equal parts industrial, romantic, and ethical. 319 A St., Boston, MA 2210, twelvechairsboston.com.
This gem of a store's Charles Street window is always so artfully filled with brightly colored home furnishings and accessories that passing by without stopping in is nearly impossible. If you're looking for the perfect lamp, chair, or vase, you'll find it here, along with accouterments you may not have considered—beautifully molded candles and gorgeous pillows, for example. With brands including Francesco Rota for Paola Lenti and Reidel, the home selection here is as cutting edge as it gets this side of Paris. 34 Charles St., Boston, MA koodekir.com/.
There's nary an item over $100 inside Nikki Dalrymple's ode to cool dcor. Choose from goodies like Trina Turk needlepoint pillows ($55 apiece), vintage cordial glassware sets (around $40), and globes printed with 18th-century maps, which at less than $30 each, prove great design doesn't require stratospheric spending. 61 Salem St., Boston, MA 2113, acquireboutique.com.
Prepare detailed written reports along with certificates of inspection. Very thorough and thoughtful. 26 Main St. (P.O. Box 613), Concord, MA .
As home store after home store opened this year, we wondered, Do we have enough space for all this stuff? If it comes from Diseño, we'll make the room. A trip back to his home in Buenos Aires usually yields owner Frank Campanale yet another South American showpiece to sell alongside the finely detailed leather furniture, artisan-crafted pillows, cowhide rugs, and creamy alpaca throws in this handsome South End shop. Diseño also doubles as a shopper's hangout, where the coffee is strong and Latin music videos stream throughout the day. 409 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 2118, disenobos.com.
The ground-floor inventory at Louis Boston changes as often as Maria Fei's whim dictates—which is to say, almost daily. The veteran home-accessories buyer is constantly tweaking the store's displays to incorporate her latest prizes, gleaned from upscale markets and dealers around the world. Porcelain tea sets by Mat & Jewski and graceful Astier de Villatte flatware are juxtaposed with handcrafted birch birdhouses; dotted amid the lighting fixtures are vintage French dishes and glassware, handmade candles, and even a clutch of beautifully preserved antique handbags. 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, louisboston.com.
Bastion of awe-inspiring seaside houses that it is, the South Shore is flush with well-stocked home shops. Among that crop, the undisputed attention-getter is the nine-year-old La Petite Maison, brimming with French-inspired panache. Its trove of sumptuous Yves Delorme bedding, Matouk towels, eye-catching Juliska glassware, and vintage silver and porcelain is unparalleled in making the interiors of local oceanfront manses as fabulous as their views. 142 North St., Hingham, MA 2043, .
This firm will arrange for qualified baby-sitters to accompany your family on vacation and help take care of the kids, at modest prices. 9 Crest Rd., Wellesley, MA .
Whenever Sekali announces preorders on Instagram, the food sells out faster than plane tickets for post-vaccine vacations. Why? Because Borneo-born chef Derrick Teh’s transportive, modern Malaysian-inspired recipes are world-class — from the jars of sweet and creamy coconut-milk jam he home-delivered during the pandemic to the plates of richly spiced short-rib rendang available for pickup during his restaurant pop-ups. He doesn’t have his own brick-and-mortar (yet!), but with talent like this, he’ll go far no matter what the future holds. instagram.com/sekaliboston.