Shays, the quiet small stepsister of longtime Harvard Square stalwarts Charlie’s Kitchen area and Grendel’s, has been serving loyal patrons and pleased passersby considering the fact that 1984. Its longevity and cozy grunge vibe enable have on a bohemian essence of the “old” sq. that has been fading rapidly as houses adjust fingers and establish-outs become commonplace. (Grendel’s opened in 1961, Charlie’s in 1951 – and you could increase Whitney’s Cafe to the record as getting the very same classic as Charlie’s, having opened in 1953, but it doesn’t provide foods.)
The wine bar has constantly been marked by and adored for its sunken outdoor patio house, positioned prominently on JFK Street – a spot, like Charlie’s Beer Backyard, that overflows with joyous crowds on Head of the Charles weekend. With Covid, Shays has expanded nicely into adjacent on-avenue parking areas with an inviting cityscape atmosphere that feels more assumed out than a lot of restaurants’ cold, jury-rigged business office furnishings setups.
For eats, Shays has a restricted menu, but a rock good one particular with fantastic burgers, such as veggie- and plant-based alternate options. But the actual jam is its sandwiches. My common lunch standby is the spicy chicken there’s also your common tuna melt and, for one thing a little bit extra off the radar, the BLTC, with the C currently being cucumber. On my the latest stop by I had the turkey melt distinctive – the specials are an absolute ought to to peruse – and though I wasn’t specific what I was finding until it was served, it wound up as extra akin to a turkey reuben (with slaw and Russian dressing) than a melt, and came on a super ethereal sesame seed roll. The chips, oddly, had been nacho, and came with salsa. It all created me raise an eyebrow, but just after the 1st chunk I was sold: lean turkey, melted cheese, tangy sauce and garnish, and a bun that did time beyond regulation to convey it all jointly. I’d have it yet again in a next. The other fantastic detail Shays has is a extensive selection of bottled beers from all over the environment and a refreshing wine record that states summertime: pinot grigio, albariño, grüner veltliner (the residence white), vinho verde and a French rosé.
Tom Meek is a author living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short tales and article content have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston Metropolis Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Modern society of Film Critics and rides his bicycle everywhere you go.