Tony Maws, the award-winning chef and restaurateur behind Boston's beloved Craigie on Main and Kirkland Tap & Trotter, lives in East Cambridge between Inman and Kendall Square with his wife Karolyn and seven-year-old son Charlie. "It’s a great neighborhood with easy access to all points in Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge," says Maws, who grew up in nearby Newton. Here, he shares his top things to do in Boston.
Where do you put up friends visiting town? Le Meridien if they want to be close to Craigie on Main (20 Sidney St.; 617-577-0200; starwoodhotels.com), or I'd suggest just using Air BnB.
Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? This is a question that makes me sad—unfortunately I feel you can't get a great bowl of chowder in Boston these days. Go to the North Shore or the Cape and you can get chowder or fried clams, but in town it's hard to come by. Neptune Oyster does a good job (63 Salem St.; 617-742-3474; neptuneoyster.com), and then, of course, there are the Craigie on Main (853 Main St.; 617-497-5511; craigieonmain.com) clams when we have them on the menu...
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? There is no restaurant with a better view than Market (33 River Rd.; 978-282-0700; themarketrestaurant.com), since it sits on Gloucester Harbor. A simple menu, wonderfully prepared, chilled bottle of rosé...it's worth every minute of the 45-minute drive. Neptune Oyster in the North End is where we go when we can't make it to Gloucester—great oysters, fun wine list, and super friendly service.
Where can you find the best cocktails? Beer list? Wine list? Beverage programs in Boston have grown immensely and there are too many great choices to count. I often stop into the One Kendall Square complex because it's on my way home from both restaurants I run, and down the street from where I live. West Bridge (1 Kendall Sq.; 617-945-0221; westbridgerestaurant.com) is great, as is Atwood's Tavern (877 Cambridge St.; 617-864-2792; atwoodstavern.com) a few blocks away. West Bridge is a traditional restaurant bar where I can get a cocktail or glass of wine along with a couple of a la carte dishes. Atwoods for a no-frills, honest bar with a terrific beer list, and you might even catch some live music. Belly Wine Bar (1 Kendall Sq.; 617-494-0968; bellywinebar.com), also great, has charcuterie and funky, off the beaten path wine.
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? A big steak and a big bottle of Burgundy at Grill 23 (161 Berkeley St.; 617-542-2255; grill23.com).
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Whichever restaurant I'm working in! Have to get home so I can wake up and make my son's breakfast!
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? Walking down the Cambridge side of the Charles River towards Boston for a day game at Fenway Park. We're a family of baseball fans and we try to see at least 10 games a year. Cambridge is just over the river so it's a unique and special way to have a family outing.
What is your Sunday morning routine? A walk towards Inman Square and/or Kirkland. Inman is the closest Square to our house, and Kirkland is the restaurant I own outside of Inman Square. Good coffee along the way...
Where is the best brunch? When we don't go to the Kirkland Tap & Trotter brunch (425 Washington St.; 857-259-6585; kirklandtapandtrotter.com), we head to Tatte on Third Street often (318 Third St.; 617.354.4200; tattebakery.com). At Tatte Karolyn and I split a Shakshuka (eggs poached in a tomato and pepper sauce) or the Tatte Breakfast (various Israeli salads, eggs, and challah), and Charlie gets a treat of a pastry. The Druid's brunch is also a fun spot to unwind with a pint of Guinness and a true Irish breakfast (1357 Cambridge St.; 617-497-0965; druidpub.com), or sometimes the beef stew.
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? The best single shot of espresso is at Barismo in Arlington (171 Massachusetts Ave.; 339-368-7300; barismo.com). But you can get a good cup without attitude at 1369 in Inman Square (1369 Cambridge St.; 617-576-1369;1369coffeehouse.com).
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? Standing on the Mass. Ave. Bridge as the sun sets. Do a 360. It's awesome.
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? The Charles River separates Boston from Cambridge and has outstanding walkways along both riverbanks. The views are terrific all around, and the vibe is awesome with everyone out and about in boats, on roller blades, or just strolling along.
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? You don't have to be into maps to check out the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center—it's just a spectacular permanent exhibit (200 Massachusetts Ave.; 617-450-7000; marybakereddylibrary.org). It's fun to marry a walk through the South End checking out the shops and brownstones as part of the visit. I also love all the newly renovated Harvard Museums (32 Quincy St.; 617-495-9400; harvardartmuseums.org).
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? Bobby From Boston in the South End for funky used men’s clothing (19 Thayer St.; 617-423-9299); Abodeon on Mass. Ave. outside of Harvard Square for cool random stuff (1731 Massachusetts Ave.; 617-497-0137; abodeon.com), and Suzuki Bean outside of Inman Square (99 Beacon St.; 401-862-9870; suzukibean.bigcartel.com); and Formaggio for cheese, of course! (268 Shawmut Ave.; 617-350-6996; formaggiokitchen.com.)
What’s the best-kept local secret? I think all secrets went away with Twitter and Instagram. But I'll suggest visiting the Harbor Islands because I don't think so many people who live here actually go out for a visit. It's cool that you can take a short very ride from the waterfront of Boston and then kick off the shoes and walk on the beach, bring a picnic, explore an old fort, and look back to our amazing city's skyline.
In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »
Photo Credits: Michael Piazza; Heather McGarth; Abodeon