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Try these 4 new restaurants for fried chicken, burgers, and (plant-based) soft-serve

The Celtic burger at R.F. O'Sullivan & Son.Handout

Dave’s Hot Chicken

Yes, you can probably warm up chicken tenders at home — but can you calibrate seven levels of spice, from nothing to lite-mild to the blisteringly fiery “reaper,” which requires a waiver and probably isn’t fit for toddlers? I respect Dave’s, which began five years ago as an East Hollywood parking lot pop-up and has now expanded nationwide. Why? Well, unlike other fast-food spots that to please everyone with burgers to chicken to fried mushrooms to plant-based patties to bowls, their menu is tight (only chicken tenders or sliders smeared with a creamy hot sauce and the requisite pickles); they have eschewed all other sides in favor of mac-and-cheese and fries; and they go beyond soda to sell chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry shakes. 141 Needham St., Newton, 857-328-1777, www.daveshotchicken.com


Hahaha Chicken

Please don’t laugh: This unprepossessing storefront on a Woburn corner sells some of the juiciest, craggiest, heftiest fried chicken in town. I brought takeout to my son’s soccer game and was the envy of fellow parents.

Hahaha specializes in Korean fried chicken, which tends to be airier and less batter-heavy than its American counterpart. Top it with pineapple teriyaki or soy garlic sauce — for $7.75, it’s a steal (as are their 15-piece, $15 boneless wings, lacquered in spicy soy and scallions or, for discriminating kiddos, plain ). Dukbokki, chewy rice cakes simmered in gochujang, spicy Korean red pepper paste, is the sleeper hit: sweet, spicy, savory, saucy, and smothered in a sheet of mozzarella. The prices are right and the portions are heaping. Try it while it’s still a sleeper hit. 437 Main St., Woburn, 781-355-7555, www.hahahachicken.com

R.F. O’Sullivan & Son

This noble Somerville pub is finally back after a closure and a management switch in 2021. And, rather than resorting to bar-food gimmicks and Mad Lib-style appetizers, it still sticks with what it’s always done best: smoky, splayed-out burgers, wrapped in bacon and maple glaze, smeared with mayo and blue cheese crumbles, or topped with onion rings in simple surroundings. For adults, a perfectly poured Guinness. 282 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-945-1551, www.rfosullivanandson.com


PlantPub's cheeseburger.Handout

PlantPub at Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift opens a beer garden in Kendall Square on Thursday, June 2, and PlantPub provides the food. Mary Dumont (a fine-dining veteran of Cultivar and Harvest) reworks pub classics: cheese fries (made with sweet potatoes), garlic “fingers” with ranch sauce, and even oat-based soft serve as a frappe, root beer float, or in a cone with rainbow sprinkles. It’s a clever way to coax your kids to eat a teeny bit nutritiously — and there’s local beer in it for you, if all else fails. Just scan a QR code from your sudsy perch. 675 West Kendall St., Cambridge, 617-714-5452, www.plantpub.com

Soft serve from PlantPub in Kendall Square.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.