Restaurant News

Longterm Lunch and Dinner Pop-Ups to Check Out in Boston

Local food vendors set up shop this summer with regular hours in Cambridge and Boston.


Kendall and Harvard squares, Fort Point, and even Lower Allston all have a bounty of dining options for people who live and work nearby. But with so many exciting food trucks and pop-ups on the scene these days—and all the empty storefronts waiting for tenants in developing neighborhoods—the more the merrier. We have to eat lunch and dinner every day, after all.

So, this is welcome news about four longterm pop-ups around Boston.

Hood milk bottle Boston

Hood milk bottle by Leonid Khachaturov on Flickr / Creative Commons

This week, the iconic Hood milk bottle at the Boston Children’s Museum welcomed back Sullivan’s Castle Island, the equally iconic South Boston snack stand.

Sully’s is serving a limited menu inside the Fort Point landmark, including hot dogs, lobster rolls, and soft-serve ice cream. Like last summer, there will be no fried seafood, French fries, or anything requiring a fryolator.

It’s open through the end of September, seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays.

Commonwealth Kitchen at Kendall is home to the Dining Car for the next several months

Commonwealth Kitchen at Kendall is home to the Dining Car for the next several months. / Photo provided by Commonwealth Kitchen

Food truck favorite the Dining Car also debuted a new, semipermanent home this week. The sandwich shop is the first resident of Commonwealth Kitchen at Kendall—no relation to Steve “Nookie” Postal’s Commonwealth restaurant on Broad Canal Way, but a retail venture from food business incubator Commonwealth Kitchen.

Commonwealth Kitchen is a commissary in Dorchester used by many food truck, farmers’ market, and other culinary businesses without permanent homes. It has signed a three-year lease with BioMed Realty to take over a standalone space on their Kendall Square property, to give its established caterers a place to test out a scaled-up concept and build up their customer base, CWK exectutive director Jen Faigel says in an email.

“Our goal is to build customer awareness of our collective work, and maximize the opportunity of this new retail spot for as many of our 50+ member companies as we can,” she adds.

The Dining Car will be serving lunch there through the fall, and new operators will take over at CWK every four to six months. But every culinary resident will also feature products by other Commonwealth members that “make packaged goods, beverages, and baked goods, or otherwise may not be quite ready to operate their own dedicated retail outlet,” Faigel says.

There is no seating inside CWK, but the takeout window is adjacent to a public park managed by the Kendall Square Association, which has umbrella-covered seating and a lovely fountain. The Dining Car is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Abide's drinks are available on the Parsnip patio every weekend

Abide’s non-alcoholic drinks are available on the Parsnip patio every weekend. / Photo provided by Parsnip

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, sip bright matcha and black tea drinks on the Parsnip patio. Abide, a pop-up tea bar, is bringing four signature drinks to the upscale Harvard Square restaurant every Saturday and Sunday through the summer. Try the Godfather, with strawberry, milk, and matcha; or Foggy Bottom, ceylon tea with lavender, coconut, bergamot, and milk.

The drinks are non-alcoholic options to accompany a Saturday happy hour, or Sunday brunch. They can also be taken to go, and are $6 each.

Abide continues to be open at Middlesex Lounge in Central Square Tuesdays-Sundays. The Parsnip patio pop-up will continue through September, weather permitting. It happens Saturdays from 1-4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Rabottini's Pizza at Bagelsaurus

Rabottini’s Pizza pictured here at Bagelsaurus, is popping up in Lower Allston this year / Photo by Chloe Nolan

In the coming weeks, doughy, cheesy life will return to a vacant pizzeria in Lower Allston. Rabottini’s Pizza, which founder Dan Roberts started as a  Friday lunch pop-up out of Bagelsaurus, has an extended stay in the former Stone Hearth Pizza space on Western Avenue.

Roberts just got into the Allston kitchen to start testing menu items, he says. He is now looking to hire a handful of front- and back-of-house employees.

Rabottini’s will serve full pies (no slices). Expect some new flavors, and ones that were popular with the Bagelsaurus crowd, like sausage, house-made with M.F. Dulock pork, and pickled peppers. There will be five or six house options, plus toppings for build-your-own pies. There will also be two, seasonally rotating salads; what makes the menu depends on when the pizzeria opens, Roberts says.

“My intention is to make the menu heavily seasonally rotational, and to pull on my relationships with farms in the area,” he says.

Rabottini’s could open in mid-June, and will stick around in Allston through the fall. It will serve dinner only (and no beer or wine), Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10 p.m.

Sullivan’s, the Hood Milk Bottle at the Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston, 2080 William J. Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685, sullivanscastleisland.com.

Commonwealth Kitchen at Kendall, 300B Athenaeum St., Cambridge, commonwealthkitchen.org, diningcar.net.

Abide x Parsnip, 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, parsniprestaurant.com, abideplace.com.

Rabottini’s Pizza, coming summer 2018 to 182 Western Ave., Lower Allston, rabottinispizza.com.


This post was updated Friday, May 25, at 10:30 a.m. with information about Abide’s pop-up at Parsnip.