Where to: Fourth & Field in Stow.
Why: For a cozy dinner overlooking an airfield.
The backstory: Owner Melissa Simon is a longtime Boston restaurant industry vet, working for the Lyons Group for years. She got her start as a bartender for the Avalon on Lansdowne Street, but now she maintains a much more bucolic lifestyle with her three kids in Acton. During the pandemic, she started From My Roots, a delivery juice, health food, and smoothie business.
While searching for a storefront, she came across a listing for Nancy’s Airfield Café, a longtime breakfast destination at Minuteman Air Field in Stow. She knew the area — her husband is from Leominster — and she fell in love with the views, the serenity, and the farmland.
“I called it Fourth & Field because it’s my fourth baby,” she says.
Just one problem: The birth didn’t quite go according to plan. The grand opening was slated to be held earlier this month during torrential rains, when power went out across the region.
“It felt like a bad omen,” she says, laughing.
I don’t think she has to worry: On my visit, it was jammed (it’s loud, though not quite as loud as an airport).
The food: Think American classics with farm-fresh twists. Simon partners with many local vendors: eggs from Bolton’s Cultivate Care Farms; fresh salmon from Twin Seafood in Concord (“you just can’t beat same-day seafood, she says”); mushrooms from Fat Moon in Westford; sweets from Maynard’s Cookie Lady.
The menu is comforting, and the portions are huge (except for the trio of $13 zucchini fritters, served on an outsize platter). Simon’s favorite is the mushroom truffle gnocchi ($26) in cream sauce, with flecks of spinach and sundried tomato. Another signature: steak frites ($35) with gargantuan pipes of fries and a healthy scoop of “cowboy butter,” spiked with crushed red pepper. There are also burgers aplenty: beef, lamb, bison, mushroom ($18 and up), charcuterie boards and mezze plates.
It’s a good choice for families (there’s plenty of kids here, plus a kids’ menu) and groups; you’ll find something on the menu you like, from meatballs to Bolognese. You might even need to make conversation, since wireless is spotty out this way.
There’s also weekend brunch, in keeping with Nancy’s morning tradition: chicken and waffles, a French toast “flight” topped with blueberry bourbon syrup, cinnamon sugar, and strawberry shortcake, and a breakfast burger, served on a sesame bagel.
The drinks: You’ll see all your favorites, from a respectable maple syrup Manhattan ($15) to an espresso martini ($15) and a pineapple margarita ($13). If you’re feeling creative, try a DIY martini, where you choose the spirit, mixer, and garnish. On a recent Saturday night, the bar was packed. I do think they’re missing an opportunity by not including a Paper Plane on the cocktail list, though, given the setting. Come spring, Simon will incorporate herbs from her outdoor beds.
The takeaway: A comforting, straightforward spot for a layover in an area known more for its orchards than its restaurants.
302 Boxboro Road, Stow. 978-925-4126, www.fourthandfield.com