This is Jake’s blogging debut, but he’s certainly not new to writing. He’s interested in the ongoings around Boston and likes to find out people’s stories, especially when it has to do with local food. Recently he checked out the newly renovated Cafe Esplanade and found it was easy to while away the hours in the Back Bay.
Separating the city of Boston from the city of Cambridge, the glistening waters of the Charles River gives the perfect view for a delicious meal here at the Cafe Esplanade. If you’re looking for a tranquil lunch break away from the stresses of the office, you can stop in for a cold drink on that afternoon jog or a just an iced coffee on a hot day of boat watching. Located on the shaded banks of this historic river, adjacent from the Hatch Shell outdoor music venue, the newly renovated and reopened Cafe Esplanade offers great food, cool concoctions and a unique setting to enjoy them.
I am a coffee fanatic myself and while chatting with the cafe manager Erik Kortz the other day, I was excited to learn that they both carried and allowed me to sample their espresso and ice coffee. By sample I mean two large iced coffees with accompanying espresso shots to give me my lunchtime caffeine consumption. Strong and cold iced coffee and equally rich espresso quickly put a smile on face.
Time for a bite to eat, and because I’m such a calorie counter I think I’ll go with…the cheeseburger and fries, that would seem to have the most and that’s what calorie counting is all about, right? Throughout the summer, Erik has created a burger of the week to be served and today’s burger of the week is scrumptious, Swiss cheese and avocados. Since the lease for the cafe includes the vending rights all along this part of the Charles, the cafe is doing whatever it can to make that a fun experience. Want to go for a drive in a Model T Ford? Well you’re out of luck here, but you can buy a sausage or hot dog from the Model T vending cart! By far the coolest way to sell hot dogs I have ever seen.
If you’re one of those people that ice cream is just not good enough for, you may want to hit up the mobile gelato cart or if you do have more simple tastes like myself, you could get a good old fashioned ice cream sandwich. Erik’s goal in running the cafe is to provide food for the needs of the masses that flock to the Hatch Shell during events. I wrestled my way through the crowds on a orchestra night and discovered that not only were they selling the cafe’s usual food, but you could buy a plate of cheese and crackers to go with that wine that you poured into a water bottle thinking no one would notice. Gotcha!
Every Friday during the summer months is movie night which draws in a crowd. According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, they can expect around 8,000- 10,000 people to show up some nights. So what does the Cafe Esplanade do? Sell popcorn of course – what’s a movie night without it? Also if you’re looking for something healthy for the flick they have salads, but I think I’d go with the fried dough personally to accompany my movie. Not judging, just, ya know, hungry. On top of that I think I’d wash it down with an icy fresh squeezed lemonade, that’s right FRESH SQUEEZED, made right before your eyes! Yum.
This place is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood – even if you’re not in the neighborhood but are enjoying your day in the best waterside park within the city limits. Indulge your particular creative craving with some music at the Hatch Shell, or immediately try to get rid of the calories you just consumed with some exercise at yoga night or a stroll through the park. There’s no dock to park your rented paddle boat or sailboat but an amphibious river landing might work?