FRAMINGHAM - The pizza is legendary. The cheeseburger is absolutely insane, and the dessert is totally over the top! At Bourbon's Kitchen and Cocktails the food is outrageously delicious, the atmosphere has plenty of city style, and the crowds just keep coming, because this brand new spot is exactly the kind of restaurant this area needed.
"Framingham was missing a non-chain restaurant that had a great neighborhood feel, but was still cool," said owner Luke Foley. "I grew up in this area and I felt like there was a need for a place like this. So I just went for it."
Despite his young age, Luke is no restaurant rookie. He worked in his family's restaurant for years, and drew on that experience to create this spot with a 22-seat bar, pouring a dozen craft beers, and mixing updated takes on classic cocktails, alongside a large and comfortable dining room designed with a specific American spirit in mind.
"We had the inspiration of a bourbon barrel. So you're gonna feel this nice warm wood. You see the real wood tables; you see the barrel tops on the wall. It's Americana. It has that warm comfy wood feel, like a saloon meets a speakeasy."
Much of the menu at Bourbon's is devoted to a section called Sharables, with almost twenty mouthwatering choices.
"The way I like to eat it is, you go out with your friends, you get a bunch of different things, put them on the table, try them, talk about them, and that way you're not just stuck with one thing, in case you chose the wrong thing," Luke explained.
You really can't go wrong with any of the options at Bourbon's, like Chicken Wings in a sweet and spicy Asian inspired sauce; fiery Buffalo Cauliflower with blue cheese for dipping; golden Arancini with a mushroom truffle cream sauce; Ahi Tuna atop crispy wontons; and Nachos like you've never seen before.
"Out nachos are inspired by street corn: grilled corn that's tossed in a crema that has cilantro, lime juice, a little garlic, ancho chile powder. And so we take this corn that's off the cob, put it over some crispy tortilla chips, with shredded pepper jack cheese, and cover it in this crema and cotija cheese, which really balances everything out," Luke described.
If you're in the mood for bacon, Bourbon's can definitely cure the craving. There's Loaded Potato Bites stuffed with cheddar and bacon; Sweet Potato Fries tossed with candied bacon; and sweet prunes filled with gorgonzola and wrapped in bacon. If that's still not enough bacon for you, check out the PBLT, which takes bacon to the extreme.
"We love BLT's, but no one ever puts them out with enough bacon. You're never full," Luke said. "So we decided to do a PBLT. It's a pork belly, lettuce, bacon, and tomato. We take nice, thick, piece of crunchy, fatty pork belly, put four strips of bacon on that, lettuce and tomato and mayo, on a beautiful brioche bun. It's a huge, filling, indulgent sandwich."
For something even more indulgent check out the Double Cheddar Burger. Despite its simple name, this thing is certainly something special.
"The cheese is the star of that one. We do two four-ounce patties, but we just top it with about five to six ounces of cheese, a big handful right on the griddle. So what happens is it melts over the burgers, and then the cheese that touches the griddle around the patties crisps up into what we call a cheese skirt. So you serve that and the skirt goes on about four inches around outside the bun," Luke explained. "It's a real head turner out in the dining room."
Open just a few months, Bourbon's may be brand new, but their pizza has actually been around for generations. The recipe itself, and the pans they're cooked on, come from a legendary Framingham restaurant named The 400.
"The 400 Club was a long time restaurant in Framingham that was known for its pizza, this 12-inch square pizza," Luke said. "So my father reopened the 400 after it had closed. He bought it from the original owners and then I grew up working there. So when I opened this place, I just knew I had to bring back the pizza. That's something in this town, people hear the 400 pizza is around and they go nuts."
Made with just a traditional marinara, and plenty of whole milk mozzarella, these pizzas may seem simple, but what really makes them special are those well-seasoned pans.
"This is our cast iron pizza pan, going on 65 years old. These were from the original 400 Restaurant. This is the key to the operation. These things are like gold," Luke said. "I mean each time you use this pan it just gets more and more character, more and more flavor, and that's what really makes the difference."
If you save any room for dessert, the Nutella Chocolate Cake is a good choice, but the Deep Dish Magic Bar is even better. It's basically a warm, melted, sharable version of a seven layer bar.
"You have a graham cracker crust. You have butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, coconut, condensed milk, and you put it in a dish, throw it in the oven. It will come out nice and ooey gooey, and we'll top it with ice cream," described Luke. "You're getting every texture. The cool ice cream starts to melt into it and that's when it's the best."
A Magic Bar, some magic pans, and everything else on the menu, make for a magical meal at Bourbon's.
You can find Bourbon's at 47 Beacon Street in Framingham, and online at bourbonsframingham.com.
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