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Townsend's - Hyde Park

I just got back from a "soft" opening at Townsend's in Hyde Park. (They're doing a few soft openings before they open for good). I was very, very impressed. The decor is beautiful--open space with a full dining room on the second floor and large windows opening up onto Fairmount Ave. The food was amazing. Everything was incredibly fresh and everyone in my party cleaned their plates. Owner Michael Tallon (former owner of The Kendall Cafe and The Swan in Cambridge) has hit a homerun here. There is also a great bar area with a ridiculous number of beers on tap.

This place is a great addition to the area and I look forward to when they open for good with their expanded menu.

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  1. Do you know what their hours are for the next few weeks?

    4 Replies
    1. re: catsmeow

      I'm not sure exactly. I thought I heard one of the servers telling some other patrons that they are doing one more soft-opening weekend then they will be open full-time. I know they are open tonight (Sat) so I would call to find out about the upcoming schedule.

      1. re: markmin1

        Thanks. What did you order and how was it? How are prices? Been looking forward to this for a long time!

        1. re: catsmeow

          I only stopped in for a drink, but I agree with the first poster - the beer menu is fantastic (murphys and BBC pale ale, 2 of my favorites, on tap), and the food menu looks great. Prices are around 5-12 for 1st course, 17-24 for mains. Some really good looking choices. Also really looking forward to the brunch menu (which the bartender said should be up and running within a couple months).

          1. re: catsmeow

            I had the potato-leek soup (it was that night's soup) and the shepherd's pie. Both were amazing (especially the shepherd's pie). My brother had the lamb shank (which rocked) and all of the vegetables were very fresh. Other menu items included fish, duck and hanger steak.

            Stephen Hoddinott is the chef. He worked for Jeff Fournier at 51 Lincoln and the Met Club. Fournier also serves as a consultant to Townsend's and helped create the menu.

      2. I saw a sign on the door saying they're open at 5 every day but Mon. They're closed Mon. There's also a temporary banner on the building now with the name on it. I can't wait for the cafe next door to open. When it does, it's suppose to be open mornings and afternoons.

        1. Where is this place in Hyde Park ?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ScoobieSnack

            81 fairmount Ave. Across the street from Fairmount Commuter station.

          2. I went for Brunch on Mother's Day. We had made a reservation and when we arrived we were seated at a table downstairs. The hostess was not very friendly and squeezed us into a table that was clearly not big enough for our family. She then asked the bartender to take our order. He was nice enough, but clueless about the menu. He had no idea about the menu. He kept informing us that the kitchen was slammed and that was the reason he could not ask the chef the ingredients.A few of us opted for the Classic Breakfast eggs,homefries and toast(we couldn't find out what type of cheeses where in the 3 cheese omellette or what German pancakes where ) Apparently they ran out of bread, so they brought whatever they could scrounge up....4 of us got toast ...all different varietes and one of us only got a half a slice of bread. We were told it was coming. The eggs were dry and one of the hash browns was good, the others were overcooked. At the end of our meal we recieved 2 pieces of burnt toast ?? The Diet Soda was flat and they were out of Sprite.....God knows I could have used a drink, but they couldn't serve until noon. It was clear they didn't have their acts together,. I know it's a busy day togout but clearly very disappointing.We've waited a long time for a descent spot in Hyde Park...The space is nice, but how do you run out bread a few hours into brunch and not to mention no servers.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pk143

              Sounds like they were unprepared for the Mother's Day onslaught. Not unusual for a new place still getting on their feet. I wouldn't hold it against them.

              1. re: purple bot

                As much as everyone rags on NY Eve and Valentine's Day, I think Mother's Day is the worst and definitely recommend doing lunch/dinner some other day. Things were VERY mellow when I was at Townsend's on a Thurs. about a month ago. Plenty of bread, knew preparations, etc.

            2. Just an FYI-

              On June 25th Townsends is doing a 5 (or 6? can't remember) course menu with each course being paired with a different beer. They said they are going to try to have them all on Tap. I don't remember the pairings other than I know Gulden Draak was in there, with dessert I believe.

              They have an impressive collection of Belgians that is only going to get better. I'm going tonight I'll grab a menu for the 25th event.

              They also have a chocolate infused dessert wine that comes as part of a 3 chocolate truffle dessert that is incredible. Each truffle is paired with a different wine.

              I love this place. I especially love the fact that it's within staggering distance from home.

              1. Has anyone else heard the rumor that they are trying to open a beer garden behind the restaurant?

                I went to Townsend's two Sunday's ago for dinner. I was thoroughly impressed. The Sunday night bartender's name is Mario. Apparently he is in the band that plays there (I'm not sure when they have live music, but I wanna say Sunday Brunch). He was really attentive and helpful in selecting beers.

                The food: The pasta appetizer was on par with the best homemade pasta in the city, It was served with a rich mushroomy sauce and Beech mushrooms. The half roasted chicken was served with champ (never had it before, but I guess it is Irish mashed potato with shaved onion strings mixed in). I almost never order chicken because I am usually disappointed, but I am so glad I did. It was cooked with the kind of TLC usually reserved for squab (although not served med-rare). Perfect skin, perfect crispness and the meat was sooooo tender, My date's hanger steak was cooked to perfection. All in all, it was the most satisfying meal I've had in a while given the food/service/ambiance to cost ratio.

                I love the gastro pub trend. This place is a great example of what almost every neighborhood is missing.

                3 Replies
                1. re: naughtywaitress

                  I drove by Townsend's yesterday and the chalkboard out front said, "Patio Open Soon".

                  1. re: naughtywaitress

                    I still wish they'd add a burger or sandwich. It's not like there are other places around that have those options.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      They actually do have a burger (that is quite good) it's on the bar menu.

                  2. I was really looking forward to Townsend's as we live easy walking distance away on a nice day. We haven't yet been however, as a quick look at the menu shows a dinner will cost us twice what we'll pay to drive over to Geoffrey's (our most frequent outing). Is the food that much better? I do realize that Geoffrey's is a bit of an anomaly in their fantastic pricing but, any comments on the difference between Geoffrey's in Roslindale and Townsend's?
                    I recognize that a big part of the draw for Townsend's is their beer selection but we rarely drink so that doesn't help me much.

                    From a strictly self-centered perspective, I really do hope that Townsend's flourishes and we get a nice crop of places to eat in that area; I do hate needing to drive to Roslindale or Quincy (we are in Milton blocks from the HP line) for a decent meal.

                    For those that haven't noticed, their website has a menu at:

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: drboom

                      We still haven't tried Geoffrey's so I can't make a direct comparison. But I will say that the prices at Townsends are justified for the quality of the food, in my experience. Sometimes when we go, we just do a beer tasting and order food off the bar menu, which is a cheaper and fun option. Too bad you don't drink often, because the beer selection is stellar. It's also within walking distance for us, making the beer tasting even more fun since you don't have to worry about driving home. Some of those Belgians have a pretty high alcohol content.

                      1. re: drboom

                        From my one time there, I'd say the cooking is more refined than at Geoffrey's. My trout dish was amazing and it's just not a style you'd see at G's. But you're right, it's a little pricey, esp. for that area. Worth a try tho. And now that I know there's a burger, maybe if you're in that kind of mood.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          thanks for the feedback. We'll give it a try in the next month or so.


                      2. I finally got to Townsend's last week after hearing many of my area friends rave about it. They were right. It was excellent! I had the chicken with champ as one of the above posters did... delicious! It was also served with roasted brussel sprouts that were yummy. We tasted each others...a pasta dish, asparagus tempura, salads, desserts that were sinful. Rosalee, the owner's wife, makes the desserts. Everyone, including our waitress strongly suggested the banana bread pudding. I'm not a big banana fan unless their plain ol' bananas. I opted for a special....german chocolate cake. I was in heaven with coconut walnut frosting. Suprisingly, when I tasted my friend's banana bread pudding it was wonderful too. I'm not a beer drinker, but they're having a special beer tasting dinner in the next few weeks. Evidently, they had a wine tasting dinner recently. It's nice having a wonderful place outside of the hectic downtown area that is just as good if not better than some of the more highly "rated" downtown ones. The service was also friendly and attentive, and free valet parking is suppose to start in the next few weeks. Their bakery/cafe is suppose to open in about a week too. I cant wait!