Restaurant News

You Can Now Pay What You Want at Juliet in Somerville

Through the end of the year, two tables each week are reserved with a super-accessible offer; and there is also new, affordable takeout.


For select reservations each week, customers can pay what they want for a three-course meal at Juliet in Somerville

For select reservations each week, customers can pay what they want for a three-course meal at Juliet in Somerville. / Brian Samuels Photography

The problem with having an embarrassment of riches when it comes to dining out in Greater Boston? We don’t have an infinite dining-out budget. But with two new options, including a couple of pay-what-you-can reservations available every week, top-tier Somerville restaurant Juliet is trying to make dining out a little more affordable.

An all-day café, European-inspired restaurant, and ticketed dining “production” from chef Josh Lewin and partner Katrina Jazayeri, Juliet earned a place among the Top 50 Restaurants for simple elegance like a Dijon omelette, handmade pastas, and a saffron-sumac tarte tatin. The innovative restaurant has also been a leader in alternative management practices, eschewing gratuity since day one in favor of livable wages, and opening its books and profit-sharing with employees.

But providing those staff benefits doesn’t always make it easy to keep Juliet—particularly its multi-course, menu-based productions—accessible to the general public, despite that being another pillar of the mission of the first-time restaurateurs, Lewin says. The pay-what-you-can reservations are a way for customers who might not otherwise be able to afford a $60-plus, three-course meal to experience a night at Juliet.

Two tables each week, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday, are reserved for pay-what-you-can diners, with reservations first-come, first-served online. Any menu supplements and wines or cocktails from Jazayeri’s succinct list are priced as usual, but any guest can pay whatever they truly feel they can for Les Pommes Sauvage, a menu production celebrating the traditions of Normandy and the bounty of the New England fall; Juliet’s Steakhouse (the menu available from Thanksgiving to Christmas Week); or the Feast of Seven Fishes.

Diners also have an affordable new option to try Juliet’s a la carte dishes to-go. On the food waste-fighting app, Food For All, Juliet just launched $6 dinners available for pickup nightly on Wednesday-Saturday.

Both of these low-cost programs are intended for “anyone who can benefit from the option,” Lewin says, so there isn’t any documentation or proof of income required. The Juliet team “is especially hopeful that individuals early in their restaurant career will take advantage of and benefit from the experience,” he adds, “or that members of the community will be able to use and appreciate the special evening out that Juliet promises, devoid of the financial pressure associated with it.”

As the season of giving gets underway, it can pay to support locally owned businesses.

257 Washington St., Somerville, 617-718-0958, julietsomerville.com.