Seven Must-Eat (and Drink) Culinary Events

March comes in like a lion with free lunch at a new Verts, a local dog-supporting beer fest, destination dinners on Cape Cod and in Worcester, and more.

Verts Menu photo provided

Verts Menu photo provided

Free Lunch at Verts Mediterranean Grill

A fast-growing fast-casual company opens its second Boston-area location on Friday, March 3, and it’s celebrating with free food. Verts Mediterranean Grill is offering a free entrée per guest all day at its new Back Bay location, as long as supplies last. But considering dropping some dime, too: The company is donating sales of sides, drinks, and extra entrées to women’s running non-profit, 261 Fearless. Verts, a Texas-based chain, proffers pitas, bowls, and salads, with Mediterranean-flavored meats, falafel, fresh vegetables, and scratch-made sauces. It debuted in the Financial District in fall 2016, and plans to open a Downtown Crossing shop this summer.

Opening Friday, March 3, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 545 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston,

Pagu dining room photo by

Pagu dining room / Photo provided

Live Jazz at Pagu

First-time restaurant owner Tracy Chang has a vision of collaboration for her debut, Pagu—the chef wants to fuel community near the MIT campus not only with her food and drink, but also by creating a gathering place for people in tech, arts, and other fields. Cambridge jazz musician Marvin Gilmore, who previously owned the nightclub Western Front, was inspired by her passion, and granted Chang his liquor license when his venue shuttered. Now, they’re coming together at the new restaurant: Gilmore and Berklee College of Music students will perform a tribute to jazz legend Fred Taylor and the Western Front, and tickets include passed Pagu pintxos and one beverage before the cash bar kicks in.

$65, Sunday, March 5, 3 p.m., Pagu, Cambridge, 617-945-9290,

Hidalgo Sherry at No. 9 Park

Hidalgo Sherry at No. 9 Park. / Photo provided

Celebrate Sherry at No. 9 Park

The bar room in Beacon Hill is dedicating a night to this Andalusian liquid gold. No reservations are required to try flights of three sherries ($19-$24), an extensive selection of by-the-glass options, sherry cocktails, spirits aged in sherry barrels, and Spanish snacks. Everything is priced a la carte.

Tuesday, March 7, beginning at 5 p.m., 9 Park St., Boston, 617-742-9991,

Democracy Brewing logo

Democracy Brewing Logo provided

Democracy Brewing Tasting

James Razsa and brewer Jason Taggart have been developing the plans for a worker-owned brewery in Boston, and they’re ready to share a taste of their fermentations. They still need financial help getting off the ground, though, so they’ve teamed up with Slow Money Boston to share the details about a direct public offering to invest in the fledgling community brewery. Show up for to try five libations—Suffragette pale ale, Fighting 54th saison, Consummate Rioter IPA, 1919 Stout, and Elegant Advocate cider—and you might leave a business investor. Chef Andy Husbands of Tremont 647 will provide light bites, too.

$20, Wednesday, March 8, 6-8 p.m., 1630 Shoppe, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 4 So. Market St., Boston, Eventbrite.

Laura Higgins-Baltzley photo provided

Laura Higgins-Baltzley photo provided

Safe Plates Dinner by Laura Higgins-Baltzley

Here’s one for the South Shore dwellers, or the roadtrippers. While her husband, Brandon Baltzley, is cooking for the likes of Eugene Mirman at Café ArtScience, Laura Higgins-Baltzley is preparing for another season of the Buffalo Jump on Cape Cod. Before spring 2017 really gets underway, she’s teaming up with her mother, Annie Konner-Higgins, owner of Peck O’ Dirt Farm, to benefit some positive causes. The spread of buttermilk fried chicken, baked mac and cheese, broccoli slaw, butternut squash lasagna, and apple crisp will be available for an inexpensive suggested donation, with proceeds going to four South Shore and Cape Cod organizations: No Place for Hate Falmouth, PFLAG, Engage Falmouth, and the Cape Cod Center for Women. Try this rising star’s food, and promote safety and acceptance at the same time.

Suggested donation $12 for adults / $8 for children, Wednesday, March 8, 5-7 p.m., Wequoit Congregational Church, 15 Parson’s Lane and Rt. 28, East Falmouth, 508-548-5269, Instagram.

Mass Hysteria: Local Beer and Taco Fiesta

Love cute animals, and beer? Well, definitely check out these must-follow brewery Instagram accounts. But then, get yourself a ticket to this local beer and taco fest. While there won’t be any pups or kitties in attendance, the evening supports furry friends: It’s a fundraiser to help get a Somerville Pet Food Bank off the ground. A partnership with the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the new endeavor aims to help people facing economic hardship continue to afford their pets. During the beer fest, in-house catering company Cuisine en Locale is providing the tacos, and Brazo Fuerte Artisanal Beer, Bone Up Brewing, Exhibit ‘A,’ and Lamplighter are providing the hyper-local libations. There will be a silent auction, a raffle, and other fun—and the evening won’t be completely void of adorable animals: Keytar Bear is providing the tunes.

$45, Thursday, March 9, 7-10 p.m., Once Ballroom, 156 Highland Ave., Somerville,

Honest Weight Artisan Beer

Honest Weight Branch Bridge / Photo by Matthew Cain

Kummerspeck and Honest Weight Pop-Up

We’re pretty jealous that Worcester is getting a fantastically named, European-inspired deli and restaurant from a talented team of Barbara Lynch Gruppo alums. Kummerspeck (“grief bacon”) opens there this spring from former chef at the Butcher Shop, Matt Mahoney, and his wife, Rachel Coit, who was sous chef at Sportello. We’re also jealous that Worcester has a delightful dive bar that gets beers from Hill Farmstead, Oxbow, and more coveted kegs. So, we’re definitely interested in taking the commuter rail or making the drive out west for a pop-up featuring Kummerspeck and Honest Weight Brewing from the North Quabbin region. Kummerspeck promises “sausages, slider fiascos” and crazy pickles, edited to comply with FCC regulations, to pair with Honest Weight brews. The a la carte smorgasbord starts at 8 p.m., so you have plenty of time to get to Worcester after work.

Priced a la carte, Thursday, March 9, 8 p.m.-midnight, 34 Green St., Worcester, 508-752-5802, Instagram.