Ask the Editor: A Fun Dinner Spot Near Logan Airport?
This Bostonian is taking a visitor out for his birthday on Sunday night.
Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s new dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.
My boyfriend is flying in for his birthday weekend on June 22, and he’s leaving Boston at 9 on Sunday night. Any cool ideas for a dinner spot near Logan before his flight?
Fun! I hope he has a great birthday weekend in our beautiful city. There are plenty of options for a quick meal in and around Logan Airport, but let’s focus on a few places that will show your guest a good time in Boston before he heads back home.
A requisite pre-flight meal in Boston is a pie and grilled lamb skewer or two from Santarpio’s Pizza. The place, two miles from the airport, is fairly unchanged since it opened in 1930. Slide into a wooden booth, and don’t ask for a menu. I know, that seems counter-intuitive, but it’s kind of a thing here. Santarp’s only serves pizza and a few barbecue plates—sausage, sirloin tips, and the lamb—so the move is to act like a local, not be intimidated by the occasionally grumpy waitstaff, and order sans menu. Your confidence will impress your out-of-town visitor, anyway.
Santarpio’s does that classic, East Boston Italian thing well. Saucy, crispy crust supports fresh toppings like garlic, peppers, and mushrooms, Italian cheeses, and generous helpings of ground beef, sausage, or pepperoni. A plain Italian cheese pie is a strong move, but my go-to is sausage and garlic.
So, why bother with the grilled lamb? You don’t have to, but the simply seasoned meat is deliciously smoky from Santarpio’s charcoal grill. A skewer makes a great appetizer to go along with an extra round of domestic bottles of beer or glasses of house wine before you have to say goodbye. (111 Chelsea St., East Boston, 617-567-9871, santarpiospizza.com.)
If you and the boyfriend are looking for a cool spot to hang out before his flight, check out KO Pies at the Shipyard. The quirky, Australian pie shop is located in Eastie’s busy working shipyard, which is no more than a 15-minute drive to Logan. It’s also home to public art on view from HarborArts, and Downeast Cider House, which is open until 7 p.m. on Sundays; and it’s a short walk from Piers Park, which boasts one of the coolest views of Boston.
KO Pies itself has a ton of seating on a covered deck overlooking the industrial neighborhood and further, East Boston’s enviable harbor and skyline views. There is cornhole to play, plastic Adirondack-style chairs for relaxing with a beer or sangria, and seriously delicious food from Down Undah. The personal-sized pies come in hearty beef stew, curried vegetable, and more flavors. Get a bucket of potato wedges, a seasonal salad, or a grilled seafood special to round out the meal. (256 Marginal St., East Boston, 617-418-5234, kocateringandpies.com.)
Finally, I’ll suggest a spot closer to downtown. The Seaport District is conveniently just across the channel from the airport, and its Fort Point neighborhood is one of the most charming in the city with its brick buildings and salty air. It’s home to several must-visit Boston restaurants, but I’ll send you to my personal favorite: Row 34.
Here, your boyfriend can get the New England seafood that I bet is on his Boston bucket list. Row 34 is co-owned by the founder of Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, a premier purveyor of bivalves; and the kitchen team’s smoked and cured seafood offerings make for a unique charcuterie board-style appetizer. There are lobster rolls, both cold and creamy and hot and buttered; fried clams and crispy oysters; and cider-steamed mussels that are some of my favorites around. If he’s not into seafood, the bacon-cheddar burger with caramelized onions is also a great option.
But the reason I return here again and again is for the impeccable beer selection and top-notch hospitality. Get a reservation in ahead of time, or grab a seat at the bar for dinner and a couple of rounds. The beer list is ever-changing, and the well-educated staff can help guide you toward the local farmhouse saison, German lager, or midwest sour that’s right for you. This is typically a great spot to try something from a regional heavy-hitters like next-door-neighbor Trillium, and Maine’s Oxbow, which would be cool to share with your visitor.
This spot validates parking in the Stillings Street Garage, and is a 10-minute drive to Logan. Or, have your boyfriend leave himself extra time (a half hour or so) to take the Silver Line from nearby World Trade Center straight to the terminal—he might even leave with a rosy view of the MBTA. (383 Congress St., Fort Point/Seaport, Boston, 617-553-5900, row34.com.)
Have a great weekend with the birthday boyfriend! And share our Liquid Layover ideas with him—they might come in handy while he’s waiting for his flight.