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By Bernie Whitmore
Always a perfect example of the college community mixing happily with civilians, The Boynton has, since its last renovation ~ when the fragmented dining areas became united around a huge central bar ~ become even more of a gathering place for a cross-section of Worcester’s diverse population. And happily for many, there’s still a smallish dining area “out back,” but the main focus is down front where both high-production and craft beers flow from their twenty-eight tap system.
On the recent weeknight I joined a friend for dinner the weather was so nasty I thought The Boynton would be dead. Instead, the place was packed and we faced a forty minute wait for a table. And I thought the country was in a recession! Fortunately, the wait was worth it and not without entertainment.
With several large-screen TVs tuned to news and ESPN, time passed quickly and soon we were seated by one of the front windows. Maria, our server, introduced herself and assisted me with my beer selection. I went with a Magic Hat creation called Fat Angel. I haven’t been much impressed with bottled Fat Angel, but its flavor really came to life when poured from the tap…the coppery-toned brew wasn’t as sweet as I feared and tasted great throughout my meal.
We started with The Boynton’s beef version of Nachos El Grande. It was a journey back in time to the golden age of nachos when you’d get a mountainous heap of chips glued together with layers molten cheese and zesty salsa. This one came with handfuls of sliced olives, jalapeño peppers, lettuce, tomato and cups of sour cream and guacamole ~ the full treatment intended more for parties of four. Half of this order went home in a pizza box to be enjoyed the next day.
If your fond memories of The Boynton are entwined with pizza, fear not! They still make it in too many combos to list…plus burgers and “signature sandwiches’. But we stuck to the entrée pages of the menu and I chose their half rack of Baby Back Ribs smothered in Jack Daniels sauce. They were so tender the bones literally fell away from the meat. No wet nap for me! I matched them with crunchy sweet potato fries and creamy cole slaw. All too often ribs are more bones than meat. Not so at The Boynton, these ribs were layered with tender meat.
Across the table my friend was busy with his Meatloaf Dinner. Usually meatloaf is served in slices; The Boynton’s appeared to have been formed in a mini-loaf configuration and served awash in deep-brown gravy with mashed potatoes. It had an excellent balance of meaty-rich flavors (but tended to slide around the dish during his first salvo of attempts to slice it ~ lots of fun to watch!). He’s far from a vegetable person so I was surprised to hear him raving about the medley of cauliflower and broccoli florets served with his entrée.
I was keen to try one of The Boynton’s locally baked desserts but, alas, that mountain of nachos combined with my entrée had decimated my appetite. But this was a reassuring evening. A few years had passed since I last dined at the Boynton. I found their high-energy dining room, great service and cuisine to be better than ever.
The Boynton Restaurant
117 Highland Street, Worcester
Photos by Bernie Whitmore