Where to: Revolution Hall in Lexington, part of the local Craft Food Halls mini-empire.
Why: For pizza, healthy tacos, and beer, ordered from your phone and dispensed with almost zero human interaction. This place is an introvert’s delight (although there is a Ping-Pong table and shuffleboard).
The back story: Craft is a modern-day food court, with locations in office parks throughout the region. From the outside, the place looks like an improbable barn planted in the middle of a remote parking lot — pastoral paradise meets suburban ennui.
Inside, though, the music is thumping. Choose from three vendor stalls and scan your chosen menu from a QR code. You’ll get an alert when the food is ready; pick it up at a counter. Beer and wine is self-pour, too (though automatically apportioned, so you can’t go crazy). Then tote your bounty back to your seat, either outside on a big, sunny patio or at comfy seats amid games.
Cofounder Doug Ferriman launched Crazy Dough pizza in 1999 and then developed Oath Pizza. Now he runs food halls in Lowell, Lexington, and Waltham, with more to come. This branch opened in October 2020, hardly the ideal time to launch in an office park.
“It was nerve-racking, but we believe people will come back to offices. They need culture and interaction,” he says.
What to eat: “The philosophy was to create a place that was next-gen,” he says. “We have many mantras, differentiated deliciousness is one of the biggest.”
Vessel offers salad and grain bowls; most dishes are gluten-free and vegan.
“We enhance the food in that concept to maximize your gut health and digestion — to optimize your ‘vessel’ to be its healthiest,” he says. (His wife, cofounder Melissa Ferriman, has a certificate in functional nutrition.) Graze on turmeric cauliflower or avocado falafel tacos, or try the Jumpin’ Jack Flash version — a tortilla overflowing with kale, red cabbage, biodynamic vegan cilantro aioli, hemp hearts, mango salsa, and jackfruit. Is this how Mick Jagger stays so youthful?
Sousviderie is kid-friendly: mac and cheese, burgers, chicken tenders (with kids’ sizes). Project X Street Pizza, with Neapolitan-style pies, gets back to Ferriman’s doughy roots. Sadly, on my visit, they were out of food.
That’s where the contact-free ordering system can be tricky. My husband and I kept trying to order from our phones with no luck, while our hangry kids begged for pepperoni pizza. Were we old and incompetent? Was our Internet down? Finally, we did track down a staffer, who apologetically told us they’d run out of dough. Ideally, you can try anything from pepperoni to barbecue chicken to spinach and tomato on a vegan cauliflower crust.
What to drink: Load up a “pour card” and then choose your own beer from a wall of dispensers, from Allagash White to Farmhouse Pale Ale to an ultra-low APV Schöfferhofer Grapefruit. Coming soon: Pre-batched, self-serve espresso martinis.
The takeaway: The future looks like jackfruit tacos on demand. If you cringe at the thought of calling for delivery or interacting with a waiter — or if you’re tired of bringing sad salads to work — you have found your paradise.
3 Maguire Road, Lexington, 781-778-7158, www.craftfoodhalls.com