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First Printer in Harvard Square

Has anyone had a chance to check it? If so, any recommendations or things to avoid?

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  1. Stopped in one evening about a month ago, looking for dinner ca. 9:15 pm. Turned around and left because it was SO LOUD. All hard surfaces. They had a good crowd, which is good for them, but we didn't feel like shouting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Splendid Spatula

      Thanks for that loud alert. I appreciate the warning so I can have a backup plan if I want to try it.


    2. Bumping this thread to see if anybody has had any recent experiences here. Thinking of trying it out on Thursday night. Thanks!

      2 Replies
      1. re: mocooks

        haven't had any food but went for a few beers. It's a nice space with a Squarish bar and a good tap selection. It is loud as it is fairly open. It's larger than I thought it would be. I will say that it was packed the night i was there and seeing people sitting at the bar, I concluded that I wouldn't attempt to eat there as there were people standing behind the bar stools and it's an odd space in the middle of the room.

        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

          do they have ice cream; they used to make herrells there. They said that the machine would be back to work once they opened. i kept seeing progress and wondered when it would reopen.

      2. I'd love to hear as well. I checked out the menu when I was walking the dog and it looked all over the place, and not necessarily in a good way. I'd love to have another good option in the square, so I'm hoping I'm wrong about it.

        1. I checked in out in early March. My BF wanted to watch the UNC/Duke game at Tommy Doyle's, so I bailed to find better food. So, at that point I was just happy to NOT be at Tommy Doyle's and anything may have looked good - but I did really enjoy First Printer.

          Roasted Harvard Beet Salad: Harvard, gold, and candy stripe beets, parsnips, turnips, mixed greens, toasted almonds, Vermont Creamery goat cheese, craisins, Honeycrisp cider vinaigrette - Yeah I really hate turnips, that was confirmed. But the rest was good.

          Shrimp and Grits: asiago cheese, andouille sausage, Holy Trinity tomato broth - I am a sucker for shrimp and grits, plus anything with andouille, so, YUM.

          Side of Braised Baby Spinach, Rainbow Swiss Chard and Broccoli Rabe - Too bitter for me, but I was trying to be healthy.

          Looking forward to going back, with more people so I can try more. Also, the wine was cheap.

          1. Went last week on a Monday after work. The space is wide open, and if you get a booth there's no problem hearing each other. Between the two of us we ordered the shrimp & grits, beet arugula salad, a beer braised pork shank w/ root vegetables, and the wild boar carbonara. The special of the day was a short rib bolognese. Everything was o.k. Presentation excellent. Not wowed. Biggest complaint is that the bus boy did all the work, while the server chatted away with other servers. And if you are going to dress the servers in white shirts and black ties, they should at least look cleaned up and not lazily put together. We'll probably try it a couple more times, maybe sit at the bar next time.

            1. We actually ate there last weekend, and still, very loud. Not bad food, but underwhelming. We too had that roasted beet salad to start, and enjoyed it. (Note: it is huge! Order to share if you are having it as a starter.) Then I had a brisket that was amazingly flavorless under its glaze of barbecue sauce, and a bit more chewy than I'd have liked, esp. given how little flavor it had. My husband had a fried oyster po' boy that he seemed to like fine, but didn't rave. I'm not sure we'd go back, there are plenty of other, better options in the Square.

              1. Nadeau seemed to like it.


                Although, it is not at all clear from the text of the review how it deserves 4 stars. It reads more like a 2-star review to me.

                6 Replies
                1. re: DoubleMan

                  I have found this to happen occasionally.

                  1. re: DoubleMan

                    Note to restaurateurs: good decafe = four stars!

                    1. re: DoubleMan

                      A good example of why star ratings suck and critics hate them.

                      Nadeau does contextual star ratings, meaning he's awarding stars in terms of the category into which the restaurant appears to fit, not on an absolute scale. But given the scale (zero to four stars in half-star increments), it does seem like he found enough faults, like the awful seafood fra diavolo, to not give the highest rating.


                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I don't want to ever eat in a place Nadeau gives 1 or fewer stars to.

                        He gave Floating Rock four.

                      2. re: DoubleMan

                        In the hard copy of the paper, he gave it 2 stars. He did rave about the decaf. :-)

                        1. re: CookieLee

                          Thanks for that, Cookie: I passed this on to the Phoenix, and they're going to fix the online edition. That sure makes a lot more sense.


                      3. I went for an early dinner recently. Like Nadeau said, they seem to be aiming solidly at value-conscious diners with low food prices. I had a burger, nicely medium-rare as requested, nice and juicy with some good flavor. It also came with a side salad that filled an entire separate bowl. However, something about the salad said "chain restaurant" to me. Maybe it was the lettuce mix that was used and the dressing.

                        My DC had the chicken pita sandwich which she seemed to enjoy. Overall, it was refreshing to get essentially a two-course meal for two for under $20 before tax and tip, but at the same time the kitchen didn't seem to be aiming too high. I can also relate to the loudness issue, as the room was quite loud despite being less than half full.

                        1. Had brunch here yesterday & loved the stuffed poblano pepper! Stuffed with goat cheese this plate was tremendous! Full flavored and quite a composition, I must say :) I'll be back!

                          1. bump
                            Heading east in late Jan '14. I am an old printing geek.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: KarenDW

                              Used to have pretty good drinks, but, in my irregular visits, they have not been able to keep any staff, and quality declined as new people were not well trained to execute the menu (also, menu has seen little update in the past year or so, from what i've seen when walking by).

                              Food is a bit of the same, but without the 'good' start: kitchen has seen a lot of turnover, menu has gone through numerous iterations, and I haven't tried the food in quite some time. I suppose that could mean it has become better, but, unfortunately, I wouldn't bet on it.

                              1. re: KarenDW

                                If you are looking for good places to dine you have come to the right place. Here you can ask about your favorite type of food.

                                For printing history you want the Museum of Printing in North Andover.


                                I'm sure if you start a new conversation the folks who are more knowledgeable about that area will help you combine a good meal with great print history.


                                1. re: BostonZest

                                  Thank you Penny for that Museum link!
                                  I'll start a new thread for current eating recs.

                                2. re: KarenDW

                                  At least on my one visit the only printing-related aspect of First Printer is the name.

                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                    Thanks for bumping this up. I've been curious about FP for dinner, and also wondering if anyone has had brunch there.

                                  2. looks like it is closing/closed already
                                    @EaterBoston @hiddenboston pic.twitter.com/MV3hTS8fyH