Boston, MA happens to be an extremely underrated city to visit 6-8 months out of the year (i.e. whenever the ground isn’t covered in snow). It’s a beautiful city, with unique architecture, and more American history than practically all others in the country.
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, all kosher restaurants in the Boston area mentioned in this article are under the KVH (the local Boston Vaad).
— Dani Klein (@YeahThatsKosher) July 21, 2015
For breakfast, one of the area’s mainstays is Kupel’s Bakery in Brookline (pronounced “couples”). I had fond memories of food from Kupel’s from a trip to Boston numerous years ago. On this trip we went here twice for breakfast and it was just OK. My discerning tastes prefer NY style bagels and pastries to those from Boston, although it’s been named to numerous “best bagels in the US” lists, including this one. In the Brookline area, we didn’t really find any other kosher breakfast alternatives.
One newly kosher restaurant (chain) that does serve breakfast options is Clover Food Lab, a Cambridge, MA-based natural food restaurant chain in the Boston region, with numerous locations (and food trucks) mainly in Cambridge, with one in Brookline. We got to try an all-vegetarian lunch at Clover HUB (the main restaurant & factory, where all the food is processed in-house). What’s interesting about Clover is that they don’t have freezes at any of their locations, ensuring you are always eating fresh, natural food with no preservatives.
Since becoming kosher last month, Clover has been polarizing in the Jewish community due to their hashgacha not being from the local Boston Vaad (KVH) but rather from an Orthodox rav (Rabbi Dolinger) in Providence, RI and the restaurant’s approach to genivat akum. Click here to read Rabbi Dolinger’s response to the criticism.
Clover is very kid-friendly, offering sheets of paper & crayons, as well as tape to paste the drawings to the wall. All of the food we tried was very tasty, including the Rosemary French Fries and the homemade sodas & lemonades.
We have a map here of all of Clover’s locations and approximate food truck regions.
For a fun summer snack, one should not miss J.P. Licks, a chain of Boston-area kosher ice cream shops that makes some pretty amazing flavors. I’m a sucker for Cookies & Cream concoctions, and they probably had the 2 best C&C combos I could think of: Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream and Mint Cookies & Cream. So I got a cone with both, and it was glorious. J.P. Licks has 13 locations, all within 15 miles of the original one. Here’s a list of all the locations.
Whilst soaking in some of downtown Boston’s historic sites & waterfront, we happened to have passed a food truck I know is kosher: The Chubby Chickpea, a Middle Eastern falafel & shwarma serving truck that roams the Boston area. The Chubby Chickpea had a physical location in Canton, MA, but now only runs a food truck. Follow them on Twitter for location updates: @TheChubbyChickpea.
The above restaurants were the ones we visited or spotted on our recent trip to Boston over the July 4th weekend. They are certainly not the only kosher restaurants in the Boston area. Here are a few we missed on this trip:
- Milk Street Cafe – located in downtown Boston near the city’s financial district, MSC is one of the only kosher restaurants in the world with both a dairy & glatt kosher meat kitchen (+ a pareve kitchen with sushi), serving customers all types of kosher fare during the work week. I’ve visited MSC numerous times over the last 15 years in both Boston and at their short-lived NYC Wall Street location, and their food never disappointed. (Unfortunately, they were closed for the long holiday weekend when we were in town). The original Milke Street Cafe Boston location has been around since 1981 and has recently undergone renovations to beautify and expand the eatery. Milk Street Cafe is under the hashgacha of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of Greater Boston under Rabbi Nochum Cywiak.
- Rubin’s – Boston’s quintessential kosher deli located in Brookline has a lot of the old school deli feel and food you’d come to expect from a kosher deli.
- Other options include Jerusalem Pita & Grill, Cafe Eilat, and Taam China (under the Supervision of Rabbi Aaron Hamaoui) – all located near each other on Harvard Ave. in Brookline, MA
- The KVH also certifies kosher dining hall / Hillel options at Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, Tufts University, BU, and Hebrew College.
A few years ago, one of our writers had written a great post detailing things to do and explore around Boston, so instead of recreating that, you can have a read here: Things to do in Boston. One location not covered in that article that we were recommended to visit was Castle Island Park in South East Boston. Not only can you visit a historic landmark fortress, but you can go swimming in a waveless lagoon (safe for the family) and get amazing waterfront views of all the ships leaving Boston Harbor and the planes landing at Boston’s Logan Airport. Recommended stop for both adults and kids.
Featured image by @ronnie0057 on Instagram.