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5 min read

Best Places for a Bite in Boston’s Back Bay


When you’re a high-energy Boston digital marketing agency — building beautiful websites and helping a fascinating range of clients craft cutting-edge, business-growth strategies — the hours and days tend to zip by pretty quickly.

Here at Vital, we work hard, we love our work and we also work up a powerful appetite. We’ve got a full menu of creative services and digital marketing strategies. And though it’s not unusual to skip a meal, we also know how important it is to stay hydrated and well-nourished.

Fortunately, whether it’s for a quick bite, a formal business lunch with clients or anything in between, there is a veritable cornucopia of amazing restaurants just a short walk from the front door of our office at 867 Boylston St.

Confession: Sometimes we just chow down in-house, gobbling up a healthy and delicious lunch prepared by our own personal chef (see video) so we can get right back to work, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile, here are some quick, bite-sized morsels about a few of our favorite nearby workday refueling spots. These aren’t comprehensive reviews, mind you; and as you can see, the list is nowhere near complete. In fact, we hope you’ll share some of your favorites so we can add them here, expanding the menu of great choices for a bite and a beverage, during business hours or at day’s end.

So, what are some of your go-to eateries and watering holes around Boylston Street and the Back Bay? Here are just a few of ours.

Parish cafe

Parish Café (361 Boylston St.)

Founded in 1992, Parish Café features signature sandwiches created by “chefs of local renown” — from The Benny, a Vietnamese-style, spicy grilled chicken breast concoction by Clio chef/owner Ken Oringer, to the Spicy Tuna Burger from O ya chef/owner Tim Cushman. Parish Café owner Gordon Wilcox calls the concept “simple, but fabulous.” And we agree. There’s usually a line, but it’s worth a bit of patience. 

WhiskeysWhiskey’s (885 Boylston St.)

Located literally just outside our front door, Whiskey’s serves up all kinds of pub food and more in a relaxed, rambunctious atmosphere. Think $5.95 Lunch Combos, a bite and a pint for 12 bucks, 25¢ wings at the bar (11:30-4), a “Real Honest BBQ” menu, in and out within half an hour. Plus, Whiskey’s is a steakhouse so … beef (mmm, Classic Ribeye).

viga Viga (140 Clarendon St.)

A small place with a big reputation, this Italian eatery was founded in 1999 with a mission of “great food, great service and a great price,” according to this clip from “TV Diner.” Specialty items like Chicken Florentine crowd the menu alongside fresh staples like sandwiches, soups and salads; calzones, pizza and pasta. (I’m not even going to tell you what these items are — Treviso, Montalcino, Terra Luna, Pavarotti — but don’t they just sound delizioso?) Viga also makes their own focaccia bread.

Pour house

Pour House (907 Boylston St.)

No frills here (it says so right on their website). A great spot to grab a fast bite at lunch or after work, the Pour House is an “inexpensive watering hole” that touts mouth-watering menu items and mountainous nachos. Find classic burgers and sliders (even a $5.95 Chowder & Burger deal) on a diverse menu loaded with pub-style faves. Open early and late (8am-2am), they also serve breakfast and brunch — and, of course, pints!

Capital GrilleCapital Grille (900 Boylston St.)

Renowned for its fine food and “comfortable elegance,” the Capital Grille is a classic spot for a Back Bay business lunch or dinner. In fact, there’s no telling how many ideas have been launched or deals closed over the Gorgonzola and Black Truffle Crusted Dry Aged Bone-In New York Strip or the Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails. They take immense pride in their steaks (video) — dry aged and carved in-house, sizzled in infrared broilers, “masterfully prepared in recipes designed to engage all of your senses.”

Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern (50 Dalton St.)

Attitude? Yep. Named for famed writer and alcohol enthusiast Charles Bukowski, the place prides itself on “great food, great beer and surly service.” (Their website lists two locations, and instructs you to “pick one, dumbass!” The menu also has some naughty words on it.) As for the food, they call it “Americana-style cuisine.” Burgers and dogs; steak bombs, chicken bombs and pulled pork; special soups; and a little taste of the weird (they swear their burger with peanut butter and bacon is “good”).

Flour BakeryFlour Bakery + Café (131 Clarendon St.)

Opened by Joanne Chang back in 2000 before she was a James Beard Award-winning super chef, Flour powers the morning routine of many downtown commuters. In addition to the breakfast loyalists, Flour attracts local workers for lunch, regulars picking up bread, desserts or take-out dinner specials, and all categories of coffee talkers and sugar cravers. Famous for her sticky buns, Chang also serves savory sandwiches, pizza and quiche, and weekly dinner specials like the Fort Point (grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce and toasted cauliflower).

eatalyEataly (800 Boylston St.)

Pop in here for a slice or some pasta, but brace yourself when you do. Located at the Prudential Center, Eataly is a massive three-story Italian food emporium featuring multiple sit-down restaurants, cannoli carts, bakeries and grocery stores, cooking schools, even a mozzarella lab. Sure, you could grab a quick bite but there really is a lot to see here. Try a creamy gelato. Learn about truffles. Dine on acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch’s Paella Di Mare at Il Pesce. Mangiamo.

TOFU is Part of a Balanced Digital Marketing Diet

At this point, it is perfectly natural for you to begin feeling a bit hungry. And at this point, it is also perfectly natural for you to wonder: Why is a dynamic Boston digital marketing agency in the heart of this thriving metropolis writing about restaurants?

The answer is TOFU. But we don’t mean the bean curd-based delicacy that you’ll find in the Marinated Tofu Sandwich (with charred tomatoes, arugula and a winter slaw of turnips, pears and chives on a zucchini poppy seed roll) at Viga.

In the world of digital marketing, TOFU also stands for “top of the (sales) funnel.” Specifically, it refers to one particular element of a comprehensive content strategy in which the goal is not to do business or make a sale, but rather to offer some helpful information and, yes, create some awareness. For example, in this case:

  • Awareness about what an interesting, energetic company we are
  • Awareness about our ability to churn out useful, engaging content
  • Awareness of how we use effective content strategy to drive business goals
  • Awareness about our expertise in web design, digital marketing and more

This post is also intended to demonstrate that if you ever visit our Boston office, you will A.) have a stimulating conversation about how our team of creative services and digital marketing professionals can help you grow your business, and B.) not go hungry.

Before we sign off, please take a moment to send us a note about your go-to lunch or dinner spots and favorite meal deals in our bustling Back Bay neighborhood. We plan to expand our list and don’t want to miss any hidden treasures.

And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you ever wish to exchange ideas about how the team here at Vital can help your business.

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