NFT Boston Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain

Essentials
Heavy gentrification in Jamaica Plain means that the population of new parents pushing strollers is at an all-time high. Other residents include artists, hipsters, young professionals, eco-friendly folk, and lesbians. Perhaps the neighborhood with the most access to green areas, Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum provide ample space for joggers to sprint and bikers to ride. The addition of a Whole Foods, joining the Harvest Co-op Market, has solidified the community's reputation as being pro-organic and locally farmed foods.

Sundries/Entertainment
Centre Street functions as the main artery in JP, lined with restaurants, boutiques, and vintage/consignment shops. The Blue Nile dishes out heaping sharing-sized platters of Ethiopian delicacies on the cheap. If Middle Eastern's your bag, it doesn't get much better than the shawarma at See more.

>Café Beirut. Grab a Guinness and a shot of Fernet at the Brendan Behan Pub. Jackson Square and Washington Street offer the flavors of its Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cape Verdean communities.

Transportation
Driving is fairly convenient in JP, thanks to the quick flow of traffic on the Riverway and the abundance of free parking. Locals use the 39 bus as often as the Orange Line. The fleet of bicyclists that pedal down the tree-lined Southwest Corridor Park bike trail each day is an inspiring sight. It follows the route of the Orange Line, and doesn't end until Back Bay.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Living on the Cheap in Boston

By
Cheap things in Boston--whores, crack and donuts. The old sacred triad is true no longer. Lacey Prpic-Hedtke knows better.

Read More...
The Drinking Man's Guide to Boston

By David Sargent
A drinking man must have a drinking plan and for this reason he reads David Sargent's feature.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Fat Ram's Pumpkin Tattoo
There are plenty of places to score some ink in Boston. If you're drunk and looking for a totally extreme barbed wire arm-band, you'll find someone willing to take your money with ease. If you're a more discerning of a tattoo buyer and you want a piece of wearable and permanent art the I'm suggesting you take a look at Fat Ram's Pumpkin Tattoo in J.P. Ram's is a small shop, right next to the Brendan Behan on Centre Street, but it's packed tight with outstanding artists. The work I've seen done here, from full sleeves to small personal pieces is all well planned and well implemented. Color or black and white, covering up your ex's name or finishing off your Cuz God Likes Me chest piece, everything I've seen here is eye catching and done very well. They offer walk ins for the impulse buyer, and consultations for x dollars an hour for those of you planning out your yakuza like back-piece. Take a look at their website, or pop in between beers at the Behan to browse through the books to see if something matches your need for skin expression. With a name like Fat Ram...



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

JP Comics and Games
As some of you might be aware, I am a giant nerd, and thus I find comic books to be a great distraction. I just recently stumbled upon JP Comics and Games in that oh so artsy hood, and I came away impressed and with a copy of Hellboy under my arm. Giant red demons aside, this place is pretty small, but it works well within it's existing framework. The owners have divided the store between comics along one wall and tabletop and role playing games on the other. They stock the big name DC and Marvel books, have a decent amount of Graphic novels for the collectors, and if you're willing to listen, they will chat all day about their suggestions. As for their games, think of a huge board of Risk, only with Orcs instead of the French, and you’ve got a good idea of what they stock. On the three separate times I've been, the owners have been playing one of the items they sell, and have invited people to sit in and learn the rules if interested. Pop on in if you tend to the nerdy side of the fence, and check em out.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

MSPCA Angell Memorial Animal Hospital
Alright dog lovers, it's time to put your puppies where your house is. I just started volunteering at the MSPCA Angell Adoption Center in JP, and I cannot believe how captivating the dogs are. Granted, I'd do just about anything to have an excuse to interact with the pups, but these guys and gals are so damn charming they make even me pay extra attention. For those of you out there who are looking to bring a four legged friend home, I cannot stress enough how much you owe it to yourself and these animals to check here before you go down the puppy mill route. First, you get a dog, like the adorable little guys I've attached here. Then you get a full health evaluation, spay/neutering, opportunities for training classes, and every bowl, leash, collar, and bed you'll need. For those of you out there that are thinking that a kitten might be better for your shoebox apartment, then you’ll love the huge rooms that house their cat collection. If, like me, you can't have a dog, then just come down to visit. These pups need a home, but if nothing else, they can definitely use some love.



Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

Arnold Arboretum
Ah, the signs of spring in Boston: hoards of suburbanites, donned in Red Sox gear, crowding onto the T; college girls busting out their halter tops the minute the temperature rises above 70 degrees; the long lines as soon as Richardson's ice cream opens its doors. I guess these are all okay if you're into seasonal local color. But if you're looking for more traditional, earthly signs of spring, the best place to go is the Arnold Arboretum. The arboretum was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed a little known plot of land called Central Park) and houses 15,441 individual plants in its 265 acres, including magnolias, bonsai, redwoods, willows, and their famous lilacs. It's a feast for the eyes AND the nose! And it doesn't cost a penny.



Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge
Ladies and germs, it is my sad duty to report to you my prediction that the new incarnation of The Milky Way is not long for this world. I wanted to love it, really. When The Milky Way closed its Centre Street location earlier this year and said they were ditching the candlepin bowling for skee ball, I was fully ready to embrace it. But my heart broke when I checked out their new digs at the Brewery Complex. First of all, there was ONE skee ball alley (the old location had TEN bowling lanes). And the skee balls kept getting stuck, and a few times it neglected to acknowledge my earned points. The dance floor was still there, though unimpressive and small compared to its earlier counterpart. The Bella Luna dining aspect consisted of 95% two-person tables, which can be a problem if there are four of you. And despite the overabundance of wait staff, they weren't very productive. In its current state, I can't say the Milky Way has any saving grace that separates it from the 10,000 carbon copies in this city. And the impending Pac-Man/Galaga game isn't going to keep the ship from going down.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Brendan Behan Pub
This? This is a god-damn BAR! They let dogs in, I don't even remember if there was a tv, and every seat is uncomfortable. So what can you possibly do? What you're supposed to do in a goddamn bar, people! You sit there, you get a few pints, and you talk about any damn thing under the sun. Deep introspective discussions about shared pop culture experiences seem to cover the most ground, so if you need a good starter, talk about the first mix-tape you ever made for that "one." The moron who admits to putting Air Supply on his? He buys the next round. Behan has plenty of taps--somewhere in the neighborhood of 20, from the low key PBR up to your usual assortment of local microbrews, so plenty to help lower the inhibitions of that cute guy/gal in the corner. Also, as it shares a wall with Pupusa Guanaca, you can step next door, order a giant sack of burritos, and bring it back in to your table. Pints, conversation, and Salvadoran chow make everything better people. GO.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Yumont True Value Hardware
Unfortunately, Boston hasn't been successful at avoiding the wrath of Home Depot. Most people I know seem to forget that local hardware stores still exist. I don't know about you, but when I go to Home Depot, I usually leave cursing, empty handed, and craving a drink in order to speed up the recovery process from such a horrible experience. In JP, we are lucky enough to have one of the best hardware stores, Yumont Hardware. They carry a good variety of almost everything, high quality paint, and an amazing staff. Unlike Home Depot, these people know their stuff, and they are here to help you, rather than direct you to an aisle that doesn't exist or stare at you blankly when they have no idea what you are talking about. At Yumont, they are professionals, and it makes all the difference.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

City Feed and Supply
Standing out among the restaurants, bakeries, shops, and way too many banks and real estate offices on Centre Street in JP, you'll find it hard to miss City Feed. With a few aisles of groceries, staff busy making sandwiches, and patrons enjoying some food and/or coffee at the tables near the front of the store, there is a lot going on in a location that used to be home to a not so good video store. While many, including me, gasp at the high prices, the quality of the produce is better than you will find down the street at Harvest, also, at City Feed, you will be buying organic. If you have the extra cash, spend away, you are going to be getting great food and supporting a local business. If you’re cheap like me, don't walk out after looking at the prices, you can still support them since there are a bunch of items to fit your budget. I've found myself going there for their day-old bread and the Eight Fold Path sandwich.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Revolution Bicycle Repair
I like bicycles almost as much as I like old scooters. I probably wouldn't care too much about bikes if so many people didn't leave their old ones out with the trash. In the past year, I've picked up at least 10 bikes on my way home from work. They've ranged from nice looking ten speeds from the 80s to a beautiful Raleigh from the '50s to cheap ass department store rust buckets. Some of these bikes get rat rodded, others I sell, and, one, I turn into a fixed gear. Lately, when I need parts, I've been heading to Revolution Bikes, which just re-opened in a new location in JP. When I'm having trouble with a certain bike, they answer my dumb questions, and sell the parts I want at fair prices. If you don't want to work on your own bike, you'll be more than happy with their repairs and tune-ups. One of the many things that sets them apart from other bike shops is that they are known to save their customers cash by teaching them some bicycle basics.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Samuel Adams Brewery
I like beer. I like beer a lot. I also like shellfish. I don't like paying entrance fees for the stuff that I like, but when it comes to the Shellfish Shindig on September 14th (12 pm-5 pm), I'll happily fork over the $10. Unfortunately, according to the website, $10 only gets you "tastings of Samuel Adams beers." So, yes, you're going to have to fork over some cash for the locally caught oysters, quahogs, and steamers. But won't it be worth it to bask in the company of ale, folk and mollusks? I'm just hoping that the shellfish don't cost too much and the so-called beer "tastings" amount to at least two pints.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Bukhara
Along Centre Street in J.P. are a passel of the world’s cuisines. Bukhara, while nothing exceptional, puts out an impressive lunch buffet for $8.95. The Tandoor oven is a draw. It seals in the juices and gives the breads a nutty, toasted taste. Your waiter will bring you a bowl of regular or garlic Naan. Tandoori chicken is often on the buffet. The Murg Tikka Masala is another Tandoori chicken, this one in a rich tomato cream sauce. There was a wok-like heating dish called a Kadahi. One of the most interesting dishes at the condiment station is the pickles. Mango, limes, peppers, small caper-like berries, and a strange, firm pod are fermented in spices. Not one waiter knew what the pod was. Don’t ask questions, enjoy.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo: 

The Dogwood Café
The Dogwood Cafe is one of those places that I always forget about. I have been there a number of times over the years, but when it comes to where to eat in JP, I never think of the Dogwood as an option. This is pretty stupid of me since they serve the best pizza in Jamaica Plain, along with very good pub food and pasta dishes. And, I just found out that they serve a weekend brunch. Supposedly they have been doing it for quite a while. Don’t even bother getting a menu. You want the Breakfast Pizza. Since it’s covered in bacon, sausage, egg, and cheese, there is nothing bad that I can say about it. Go there for either brunch or dinner, I don’t care, but make sure that you order a pizza and a Guinness.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Sorella's
One elsewhere reviewer didn’t allow good food to forgive lousy service. I do. True to his words, the staff is crabby, but most blokes don’t go for service. They go for the best pancakes you’ll ever have. With choices like oatmeal, gingerbread, pumpkin, almond blue nana, and banana coconut, to name a few, there’s something for everyone. My pick are the butterscotch raspberry ones. The mildly sour berries balance the candy. Sweet, but not cloying. The place has a screw you Berkeley feel to it. Notice the menu items written on cardboard creeping around the top of the wainscoting. They also make a mean omelet. Try the Cha-cha-cha omelet with cilantro, jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream, black olives, black beans, rice, spinach, mushrooms, cheddar, salsa, and sprouts. Crêpes and waffles round out the menu, and there are even two polenta breakfast specials. My only complaint is that it’s only open for breakfast and lunch (until 1pm). They were forced by the hungry radicals to open a dining room in the adjacent space. Maybe too many customers and a skimpy staff accounts for the testiness.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Wonder Spice Café
One thing that I do not like about Centre Street in JP, between the Monument and a fraction of a step before Ten Tables, is that it’s packed with too many restaurants that are mediocre in quality and high in price. There a few greasy gems, and I have written about them in the past, but I thought those were it. Well I was wrong; there is another place I like, although I would not call it a gem. I never used to like Wonder Spice. I found the food mediocre and the ambiance not much better. However, all that changed when I tried their crispy Hot Chili Fish. Although it is far from being a bargain, it is delicious (as long as you do not get it to go because it does not travel well). Besides that dish, there are only three other items that I like on the menu. I’m not going tell you what they are. I will only give you two clues. One is the picture and the other is that they are all appetizers.



Posted By:  Sam Baltrusis
Photo:  Courtesy Boston Beer Co.

Samuel Adams Brewery
Mmmm, beer good. If buying the full-flavored brew at the local bodega isn’t enough, trek out to Jamaica Plain (the MBTA Stony Brook T stop on the Orange Line) for the annual Sam Adams’ Beer Lover’s Choice promotion running for nine weeks starting Friday, July 27 until Monday, October 1. The brewery currently churns out 21 flavors of frothy bliss and, with your help, they may offer a few more in 2008. Experience the entire brewing process from start to finish and sample several of their newer potent potables, including the Samuel Adams Utopias collection. For a mere $2 donation, beer connoisseurs are encouraged to sample two potential styles of beer and are asked to pick their favorite. For the novice, tour guides even offer a tutorial on the steps used when judging a beer. More of a foo-foo Cosmo cocktail drinker? No worries. The intoxicating smells of Hallertau and Tettnang hops will quickly win you over. Bottoms up.



Posted By:  Matthew Killorin
Photo:  Matthew Killorin

Ten Tables is my idea of a good restaurant. Its small with 10 tables (duh), the food is all traditional and local with a changing menu, and it has a nice open kitchen. The chefs and cooks not only chop and sauté in front of you, but may even chat you up as well. Plus, they have homemade sausages du jour. On Tuesdays, they have a four course, wine-tasting dinners for $40—there’s a calendar of featured regions on their website. If it’s busy, they have you wait in the downstairs food prep area where the smells of cheese and herbs and the store of fresh bread and unopened bottles of wine make you wish you weren’t so trustworthy. This place is a go-to for me when friends are in town and highly rated for a reason.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

This is one of the few places in Boston that satisfies both the pickiest and the most adventurous eater. What the place lacks in ambience, it makes up for in quality and price. If you have never tasted food from El Salvador, you are missing out. While their full dinners are delicious, I like ordering a bunch of greasy treats. My favorites are the cheese pupusas, cheese empanadas, the fried yucca, and the enchilada. If you have never had an El Salvadoran enchilada, go get one now. It is way different (and tastier) than the Mexican dish that goes by the same name. Besides the food, my other favorite thing about La Pupusa Guanaca is that it is located right next to the Brendan Behan which is the perfect stop for a pint to compliment your food.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

I always feel guilty shopping online when I know that I should be supporting local shops. I think the problem is that due to high rents and competition, most unique stores never get past the planning stage or are only in business for a short time. I can think of tons of stores around Boston that would have prevented me from online shopping, but most of them have closed within the last few years. Then, I can think of many more stores that still stand, but because of their prices, a $20 shopping budget will get me little more than a few tiny trinkets that won't impress anyone. That's why I was thrilled when Honeyspot opened over a year ago. When I walk in, I feel like I am entering the owner's dream come true. This is one of the few shops that rival any online store due to the assortment of products—where you can find something for your mom, your hipster cousin, and yourself.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Since I moved to Boston almost ten years ago, the corner of Washington and Green in JP has always held a special place in my heart. Back then, it was a small motorcycle shop that had a 1960s red Vespa in their window which I used to stare at as my 1969 Vespa was far from running. Now, my scooter is running and that corner is home to Canto 6. Canto 6 has much more to offer than your average bakery. With a mouth watering counter display, I find it nearly impossible to order just a few items. Every time I go, I end up with two bags of goodies, some that I have tried before and some that I haven't. No matter if you are looking for a sweet, a baked treat, or a sandwich, you will not be disappointed. To top it off, if you bring your own travel mug, they will fill it up with Equal Exchange coffee for $1.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Costello's Tavern
For the past few months, I have been going on and on about how The Galway House in Jamaica Plain has the best Onion Rings (you can even read about this in a past radar), and, therefore, I crowned them JP’s King of Grease. However, immediately after hearing about the Chili Fries at Costello’s (which is located right across the street from the Galway), I left work early, jumped on the bus, and found a seat at the bar. Due to my hatred of beans, I refused to order the chili fries, so I went for the Cheese Fries. The hand cut fries were nice and crispy and the cheese sauce was artery cloggingly delicious. The fact that it was covered with pieces of crispy bacon left me with no choice but to take the crown away from the Galway House and place it on Costello’s roof since they are now JP’s true King of Grease.




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