For 12 of the past 18 years, I’ve worked in or near the so-called financial district of Boston. This area has changed a lot over that time (hooray for the Greenway!), but one thing has remained the same: the challenge of finding a decent place to get lunch.
For those of you who tire of whatever place has installed itself in or across the street from your office building, I present Alli-K’s Favorite Non-Expense-Account Lunch Spots.
Before the farmers’ market showed up, complete with signs identifying it as the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market, I didn’t know that the big cement plaza across from South Station in the middle of the expressway had a name. Apparently, it’s called Dewey Square.
It’s only a seasonal option, and even then, only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I haven’t spotted any vendors who sell beverages…but still, check it out.
This is a fantastic addition to the South Station area. Some of the vendors sell lunch-type foods, and there are a few tables set up for those who want to eat their purchases on-site. Also handy for European-style food shopping (you know, the kind where you buy fresh food the same day you are going to eat it).
Hot Tomatoes Urban Kitchen
If you happen to work at State Street, this *is* one of the places across the street from your office building.
For those of us whose offices do not directly abut Chinatown, it may qualify as a hidden gem. Diverse menu that includes salads, sandwiches, and pizza. In my experience, the food has been tasty and the staff friendly.
Caveat: If it’s a warm day and you are the sweaty type, best to wait for a cooler day. No a/c (or grossly insufficient a/c).
Corner of Bedford and Otis (across from The Good Life).
If it weren’t so clean, this would be a Manhattan-style hole-in-the-wall. It can get a bit chaotic here, and the menu is limited, but you might just find yourself addicted to the secret sauce from the home country.
Entrance is on Chauncy Street (near the Hyatt; around the corner from the big CVS on Summer Street/Summer Street entrance of Macy’s).
Not as convenient for a lot of us as it used to be, but the new digs near Quincy Market are nicer. If you go, take a flyer and try one of the authentic Turkish dishes instead of just getting the chicken kabob. You’ll likely be glad you did. State Street, near Faneuil Hall.
Caveat: the staff is sometimes surly and may try to accuse you of trying to steal a soda from the cooler if you do not make it very clear that you intend to pay for it.
A great option for those of us in the semi-wasteland of the Seaport side of the highway. Excellent sandwiches, fantastic desserts, and a wonderful house-made raspberry seltzer. If you are on the inland side of the expressway, it’s a great reason to take a walk when the weather is fine.
Caveat: The ordering and food delivery system could use some “leaning out”, as they like to say in my office space.
On Fort Point Channel (Farnsworth Street, behind the Children’s Museum). If you go, check out Made in Fort Point, which is next door.
A true find for the worker bees within an easy walk of Fort Point Channel. Quirky and fun. It’s a sit-down place, but usually very quick. The food is consistently good and the owner seems to always be there.
Bonus: An adjacent gallery space features exhibits that often have the feel of something you’d see at the ICA.
On the OTHER side of Summer Street (across the channel).
I’ve been a regular at this place since its early days, when it was called The Wrap. Even though it’s a chain now (there is one next to The Container Store in Natick — check it out if you are about to quit your fancy downtown job to become a MetroWest SAHM), I still think of it as a local joint.
The lines can be annoyingly long, but that’s because the burritos are so darn good. They also make a mean smoothie here. The chocolate chip cookies are tasty and, in my view, the right size (in that they are not so big as to constitute a meal in themselves). Multiple locations.
A place I walked by many times over the course of several years, yet overlooked. As it turns out, they do a very nice job turning out a standard Mexican lunch menu. If you don’t like Qdoba, try this place. (Conversely, if you do like Qdoba, you probably will not like this place. The food is a lot closer to authentic Mexican.)
At 125 Summer Street (on the odd-shaped plaza that connects the South Station area with Chinatown).