Lunching and lingering at long-term pop-up Café Beatrice in Allston
Where to Café Beatrice in Allston, close to Harvard Business School. It’s a capacious, frill-free space with big garage doors that open onto a patio, where the Rabottini’s pizza pop-up used to be.
Why To work on your laptop and graze on breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, and bowls while sinking into a coffeehouse vibe, hopefully al fresco, if it ever stops raining.
The back story Allston resident and restaurateur Will Gilson (Cambridge’s Puritan & Company) helms the six-month pop-up, named after his newborn daughter. He embarked on this project to experiment with new ideas — presumably lunch-oriented ones, since his permanent restaurant is solely open for dinner and brunch.
What to eat At breakfast, choose from a medley of toasts (which sometimes stick around through lunch, if you ask nicely). Pick your vessel — sourdough, brioche, 7-grain, or cranberry pecan from Iggy’s — loaded up with ricotta, Nutella, and honey, or maybe cheddar, chutney, pickles, and salami. In an acknowledgement of hipster fatigue, there is a sign: “Yes, we have avocado toast.” There is also pastrami lox (for an extra $6). Breakfast sandwiches are $6 and aim higher than your typical egg and cheese: Try a “bodega” with American cheese, mayonnaise, and bologna, or a bagel with caramelized onion cream cheese or smoked bluefish pate. At lunch, there’s an assortment of compact $9 salad bowls (kale Caesar, Thai cabbage) and $10 sandwiches warmed in a big brick oven, such as braised pork with rabe and provolone on a sesame torta.
What to drink Your favorites are all here: Nitro cold brew, La Colombe coffee and espresso, lemonade, San Pellegrino, and iced tea.
The Takeaway A pleasant spot to e-mail and lounge, with lots of communal tables and a manageable noise level. Counter service can be tentative (though winsome), and your order might get mixed up — my pimento-feta toast with mushrooms, sautéed onions, and greens first arrived with a glop of cheese, a few lonesome fungi, and nothing else — but this was eventually rectified by a busy but apologetic cook.
182 Western Ave., Allston,