Ask the Editor: Where to Fuel Up for Holiday Shopping

This reader wants to eat something decent around the retail north of Boston.

Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.

The Smoke Shop BBQ at Assembly Row

The Smoke Shop BBQ at Assembly Row. / Photo by Melissa Ostrow


Post-Thanksgiving, I always end up going shopping with my mom at some of the malls north of Boston. I know Black Friday can be crazy, but it would nice to know what might be new and cool (and easy get into) to fuel up that day.


I’m going to assume this question is from Santa Claus, looking to score some Black Friday deals around the North Pole. Anyway! Without a specific shopping mecca specified, I’ll focus on a couple northern hotspots bound to be bustling this Friday, Nov. 23.

Perhaps you’ll be taking your holiday haul home on the Orange Line after visiting the Outlets at Assembly Row. While you’re at the Somerville retail destination neighborhood, temper all that turkey with Smoke Shop BBQ at the newest outpost of chef Andy Husbands’s Best of Boston barbecue joints; or, opt for faster-casual fare in the form of ZO Greek’s gyros loaded with fresh veggies, soups, and flaky spinach pie. Post-shopping, you could unwind with a flight at the American Fresh Brewhouse—where Somerville Brewing showcases their Slumbrew beers—and share a charcuterie board, a big Cobb-style salad, or even a hearty entree like butter cracker-dusted baked haddock with maple carrots. (Assembly Row, 355 Artisan Way, Somerville, 617-440-5565,

If family and holiday shopping takes you to the North Shore’s Simon mall, try the new Bancroft & Co. Open since April, it offers a similar steakhouse experience to its Burlington sibling the Bancroft. Grab a comfortable seat at the large bar Friday afternoon—or make yourself a reservation—to tuck into the heirloom carrot and leek bisque, house-made ricotta ravioli, and well-portioned proteins. At the open-air MarketStreet Lynnfield, I would choose a couple slices from Portland export Otto Pizza—the chewy crust provides the carb-fueled energy you need, while topping options like fresh spinach, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese will be a well-deserved break from holiday food. (Northshore Mall, 210 Andover St., Peabody, 978-531-3441,; MarketStreet, 600 Market Street, Lynnfield, 781-484-5400,

Finally, consider making new Black Friday traditions this year at Bow Market. Also in Somerville, this is a small-scale, hyper-local version of mega mall, full of independent artisans selling everything from potted succulents, to handcrafted cards, to vintage clothing, to one-of-a-kind light fixtures. It’s also home to small food businesses like Buenas Maxi Kiosko (Latin-American foods), Hot Box pizza and roast beef sandwiches, and Hooked Fish Shop—all of which could provide your lunchtime fuel, as well as gifts for food fans, and fare to fill out your holiday-season table. (1 Bow Market Way, Somerville,

Whatever you do this season, don’t shop on an empty stomach.