Snack Attack: Loaded Tots at Five Horses Tavern

This mountain of fried chicken, smoked ham, cheese, herb mustard, and tots is part of the Davis Square bar's five-year anniversary menu.

Loaded tots five horses

Loaded tots at Five Horses Tavern. / Photo provided

This month, Five Horses Tavern celebrates five years of business in Davis Square. It’s a milestone chef Aaron Parsons has been striving for since day one.

“I’ve always thought, ‘five years. That’s where we need to get to,'” Parsons says.

To celebrate, the chef debuted a throwback menu, which resurrects dishes from the early days. One such item is a heaping bowl of tater tots topped with fried chicken, smoked ham, spicy herb mustard, and gruyère. While loaded tots are often on Parsons’s menu—in combinations like braised short rib, and even a take on Philly cheesesteak—this version is one of his more popular spins, originally appearing on the tavern menu in 2012.

“The fried chicken stuffed with ham and gruyere is just a classic French dish,” Parsons says.

The riff on chicken cordon bleu is only available until Friday, when it will be replaced with an Oktoberfest version for the fall months, slathered in butterkäse cheese, hefeweizen beer gravy, bratwurst, and sauerkraut. Most of the loaded tot bowls can be made gluten-free upon request, too.

Anniversary throwbacks will continue through September and October, featuring different classics from Five Horses’s five years every week. Cocktail and beer specials are also invited to the party—even a tallboy of Marz Community Brewing’s Jungle Boogie, a Midwest beer you shouldn’t sleep on.

This week, the Toro Furioso also returns (a taco filled with marinated short rib, pickled Thai chili peppers, and banana peppers), as well as Parsons’s personal favorite, the Endgame sandwich, with pork belly, kimchi, house mayo, and a sunny-side egg. While most of the dishes are exact replicas of their circa 2011 debuts, Parsons has made a few tweaks, like putting an egg atop the Endgame. Many of the ingredients in these dishes are also made in-house now, whereas they weren’t originally.

Amidst anniversary season, Parsons is giving Five Horses fare an extensive overhaul in general. He’s a week or so away from finalizing everything, but says patrons can expect to see a revamped fall menu in mid-October.

Five Horses in Davis Square was Hawkeye Hospitality’s first restaurant, but the group is also celebrating three years of Five Horses South and one year at Worden Hall this fall. Both of those taverns have similar throwback specials going on.

As exciting as all of this nostalgia is, Parsons isn’t sure if these items will pop up in Davis Square again anytime soon.

“Running something occasionally from the past is never a bad thing,” Parsons says. “But I like to think that the dishes we have now, versus the dishes from five years ago, [show] a continual evolution of who I am as a chef, and who our clientele is. Five years ago, [guests] were coming here for beer, and now they’re coming here for food.”

$10, Five Horses Tavern, 400 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-764-1655,