So, here’s the thing; I never learned to cook.
I never learned to cook anything (no, I’ve almost never even been in a grocery store, either). In fact, as I eat almost every meal out, I couldn’t say with any certainty whether or not the oven or the stove in my apartment even works—though, I assume both do. They “look” like they do, anyway. My not learning to cook was not deliberate, but rather it was something that just happened over time. So a few years ago – after having lived in the Copley area in Boston for more than 25 years where there are dozens of eateries in walking distance – when I decided to move to Revere Beach, proximity to restaurants was a paramount concern!
The truth is that I might not have moved to Revere at all if it weren’t for Renzo opening (hopefully, I haven’t just started a boycott). Having grown up in the western suburbs, the only time I had even been to Revere in my youth was to enjoy the iconic Kelly’s Roast Beef. I always loved Kelly’s, so when Renzo opened just down the Boulevard, I saw that this area not only had Kelly’s with great roast beef and cheesy fries, but also a very nice, full service restaurant in its midst that boasted not just great pizza and calamari, but also a killer view of the beach and outdoor dining. Therefore, when an apartment facing the beach and squarely between Kelly’s and Renzo became available, I took the plunge. I had Renzo for sit down meals on the water, and Kelly’s for casual fare and for very late night snacking (Kelly’s being open until 3 a.m. is huge on the weekends, especially when one’s refrigerator and cabinets are perennially bare).
So, there I was in culinary heaven on Revere Beach.
I had Kelly’s to my left and Renzo to my right, but then, the unexpected happened. Things got even better. Volare popped up on Broadway a short time later, and I was immediately drawn not just to their outstanding pistachio encrusted haddock and mushroom risotto, but also to their veal parmesan and arancini, which can hold their own with anything the North End has to offer. In addition, Volare introduced a whole, slightly upscale, nightlife/clubby scene on the weekends, featuring not only awesome wine, cocktails and music, but also complimentary Midnight Pizza—sweet! And if that wasn’t enough right there, soon thereafter Figaro’s jumped into the fray popping up on the beach and serving up some delectable high end sandwiches, delicious antipasto and gourmet salads. Figaro’s upped the gastronomical ante even further when they got a beer and wine license and began offering multi-course prix-fix meals where each course includes a wine pairing.
Lydia Shire, who’s that?
At this point, Figaro’s has brought fine dining right to the beach.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the pastry at Luberto’s makes Mike’s in the North End look like the frozen food section at PriceRite (or at least how I envision the frozen food section at PriceRite, as I’ve really never been to a grocery store). Their cannoli and Lobster Tails are top notch and would give any bakery a run for its money—not to mention that they make a tasty espresso to boot.
And while I’m at it, since moving to Revere, I not only learned two new words, “empanada” and “pupusa,” but also I learned that Las Delicias Columbianas on Shirley Avenue has elevated both delicacies to an art form. In fact, whoever is chefing it up back there should surely fly out to the KFC school, not to enroll but rather to teach, because the fried chicken has the Colonel’s beat—and believe me, he “covered the spread.”
So, there it is.
I mean, the truth is, I didn’t move to Revere for the food. I moved here for the community, but it’s great to see that the culinary landscape has come such a long way. It may not quite match Boston just yet, but it’s getting there. And besides, at least here, everyone says ‘hi’ to me.
Cheers, and bon appetite!
Marc Johnson is a teacher in the Revere Public Schools, and has been for a number of years.