Restaurant News

What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend

The finest festbiers, the salted chocolate chunk cookie that JP is missing, a cacio e pepe martini (!), and more.


Photo collage provided by Commonwealth Kitchen

Photo collage provided by Commonwealth Kitchen

Friday Night Bites

If you’ve ever had lunch from a food truck on the Greenway, purchased a locally-jarred sauce, or checked out a brewery pop-up, chances are good that you’ve sampled something made at Commonwealth Kitchen. The Dorchester non-profit is an integral part of the success of many local food entrepreneurs, providing shared production space, equipment, and support to more than 45 wholesalers, food truck operators, and caterers. Get a behind-the-scenes look (and taste) this Friday: As part of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Fierce Urgency of Now series, the incubator kitchen opens to the public with samples and food demos, live music, and more. Tickets include five small plates made by CWK member-businesses, and there’s a discounted neighbor rate for folks in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. All proceeds support CWK’s mission to create opportunities for women, people of color, and other business owners who are impacted by social and economic inequality.

$10-$25, Friday, September 21, 6-9 p.m., CommonWealth Kitchen, 196 Quincy St., Boston, Tickets.

Oak Long Bar Oktoberfest with Zero Gravity Brewery

Photo provided by Oak Long Bar + Kitchen

Oktoberfest!

Boston bars and breweries are taking a cue from Munich and kicking off a month of celebrations. Here’s a quick and dirty list of the best Oktoberfest parties happening this weekend: The patio at Fairmont Copley Plaza’s Oak Long Bar + Kitchen transforms into a Zero Gravity Brewery beer garden starting Friday, with seasonal snacks (pictured), patio games, Vermont brews and Mass. ciders, and more. The Oaktoberfest pop-up continues through Columbus Day weekend. Oktoberfest starts early at Olde Magoun’s Saloon, which is showing the Bayern Munich match at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, then oom-pahing the day away with a ceremonial keg tapping beginning at noon. The first 300 guests to order an Oktoberfest beer at Dorchester Brewing Co. on Saturday will get a branded mug, and the party continues all day with live music, treats for purchase, and more. Down the Road Beer Co. is hosting an outdoor Oktoberfest party at its Everett brewery on Saturday; and Night Shift celebrates Oktoberfest in Everett that day, too. Chef Sarah Wade’s Oktoberfest menu begins Saturday at Lulu’s Allston, with grilled wurst, warm cherry strudel, and more, plus five Jack’s Abby lagers on draft. Hopsters Brewing Company in the Seaport has half-priced pretzels all weekend long with the purchase of one of head brewer Christian Mosebach’s new Oktoberfest beers. A bit further beyond Boston, BareWolf Brewing in Amesbury celebrates Saturday with four new beers, including the excellently named Märzen Retrograde; and on Sunday, Salem beer hall Notch is going all out—the European-inspired session beer specialists have even launched a separate brand called Voll Projekt to serve a proper, full-strength festbier. Get a first taste of the 5.8-percent lager on gravity cask tonight (Thursday) before the full festivities. So break out your lederhosen or dirndl—we’re got a big weekend ahead of us. Prost!

Alex Crabb photo provided

Chef Alex Crabb at Asta. / Photo provided

At Asta

Just after a regularly scheduled summer vacation for the Back Bay restaurant, Asta suffered a small electrical fire in mid-July and has been closed ever since. It reopens for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights this weekend with new, late-summer-themed five- and eight-course tasting menus. Owners Alex Crabb and Shish Parsigian are energized after their extended break. “It’s rare that you let your life get paused like that. It allowed us to reflect on the restaurant,” chef Crabb says. “We had all these ideas [to change the way we do things], but we kept circling back to where we are, and we’re happy to rediscover that.” Regular diners will notice one difference: Asta will no longer provide printed menus. Intrigued to find out what local produce-driven dishes will be part of the upcoming “Under the Harvest Moon”-themed dinners? You’ll have to make a reservation this season to find out.

47 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-585-9575, astaboston.com.

Pastries at Sandpiper Bakery in Gloucester, from the former owner of JP's Canto 6.

Pastries at Sandpiper Bakery in Gloucester, from the former owner of JP’s Canto 6. / Photos provided

Canto 6 Pastries

Head to Jamaica Plain this weekend not only for the 25th annual JP Open Studios, but also to nosh on some beloved, much-missed pastries: Sandpiper Bakery, the latest venture from the former owner of the beloved Canto 6 Bakery, is popping up on Sunday at Turtle Swamp Brewery. Susanne Clermont opened Sandpiper Bakery in Gloucester in June 2017, after closing her JP shop (where Exodus Bagels is now located). Alongside local art, the brewery will have a range of Clermont’s baked goods for sale, including mini chocolate croissants, sour cherry turnovers, late-summer vegetable mini quiches, house-made sausage “pigs” in croissant “blankets,” sweet and savory scones, and of course, mini salted chocolate chunk cookies. “I’m excited to see JPers and offer the stuff we do at Sandpiper,” Clermont says. Former Canto 6 baker Julia Hoffman now works at Turtle Swamp, and Clermont is hopeful that this is just the first of many future collaborations between the brewery and Sandpiper.

Sandpiper Bakery Pop-Up, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Turtle Swamp Brewery, 3377 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-0038, turtleswampbrewing.com.

Naomi Levy's cocktails headed for the Better Sorts Social Club menu

Naomi Levy’s cocktails headed for the Better Sorts Social Club menu. / Photo by Caitlin Cunningham

Better Sorts Cocktails

Naomi Levy is busy developing drinks for the list at Better Sorts Social Club, opening next month at the Nine Zero Hotel. Taste what she’s been up to this Sunday evening in Somerville, where she’ll pop up at Backbar with a sneak peek of the Better Sorts opening menu. Expect creative, spirit-forward sips rooted in classic concoctions, such as the Cacio e Pepe Martini (pictured in black coupe glass) with Ketel One Vodka, gouda-infused Dolin Dry Vermouth, and black pepper pasta water syrup; and the Tide is High, with Plantation Pineapple Rum, kale, crème de banane, and lime.

Sunday, Sept. 23, 4-7 p.m., Backbar, 7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, backbarunion.com.