Where to Loretta’s Last Call, a new country music-themed restaurant and bar from the Lyons Group.
What for A New England honky-tonk experience. You’ll find fried chicken, moonshine, and a (sometimes live) country soundtrack in the shadow of Fenway Park. (The space used to be Mexican restaurant La Verdad.)
The scene The walls are decorated with American flags, album covers from Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, posters of Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs, and old headshots featuring the likes of Trisha Yearwood and Randy Travis. Light bulbs dangle from wagon-wheel fixtures; bathrooms are marked “sons” and “daughters.” There is a wood stage and a jukebox stocked with George Jones and New Kids on the Block. Toby Keith is playing loudly. A sign instructs: “Bang head here,” but no one would hear you in the din. Big men eat smoked brisket sandwiches and chant “hoo hoo hoo” while watching the game. Women wear black maxi-dresses with Sox caps or long, clingy skirts in Navajo prints and tank tops. They all seem to be bleached blondes.
What you’re eating Fried Americana, with plenty of cheese, gravy, and barbecue sauce. This is the kind of place Guy Fieri would love. There are fried bologna sandwiches with mayo and American cheese, country ham dinners with biscuits and gravy, and multiple takes on fried chicken, from Loretta’s classic Southern to hot chicken (pictured) with white bread and pickles.
Care for a drink? Moonshine-spiked cocktails like the Dogwood (which also contains grapefruit juice and elderflower liqueur) are served in Mason jars with handles. But after a game, it’s more of a Corona and Coors Light crowd.
Overheard Talk about brotherhood, baseball, booze, and brisket. People trying to figure out what time the commuter rail will get them home. A bartender throwing around the F-word like it’s going out of style. A patron orders a round of shots, then tries to carry them to his table. “I’ll try not to spill on you,” he tells a woman at the bar. “Just make sure to spill them in my mouth if you do,” she replies. Someone wonders: “What is moonshine? I think of bathtubs.” An athletic type is explaining sports to his girlfriends: “You understand how softball works, right? You get loaded and then you play.” “I miss the tacos!” laments one customer. Another, tucking into hot chicken, is rendered temporarily silent. At last she speaks: “My face just melted.”
1 Lansdowne St., Fenway, Boston. 617-421-9595. www.lorettaslastcall.com.Devra First can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.