Any good restaurant needs to have delicious food and drinks with friendly service in a welcoming atmosphere.
But a truly great restaurant is also part of the community it serves. And when the unthinkable happened to Adrienne Martin and her family, the Newton community rallied around them which made her determined to give back.
“Opening this up has been a labor of love on many levels, and I really love serving the community. It has really just been such a heart warming and opening experience.”
And good vibes and great food are what you’ll find at Cafe Martin.
Located on West Street in Newton, Cafe Martin is the quintessential quaint, cozy, local spot. There’s a long bar, local art, friendly faces, trivial pursuit cards, bowls of candy and a menu filled with craveable comfort food classics.
It’s been a neighborhood favorite since it opened about a year ago. The kind of place that feels like it’s been a local mainstay forever. But Cafe Martin didn’t start as a restaurant. It actually began as a gathering of friends.
“Cafe Martin was opened in my husband’s honor. John Martin was an NESN cameraman. And in 2018, he passed from ALS. And while he was sick, a community came together to support us. And the front of our house is where we started to gather, he wanted to be with his friends and family and so we would drink and have food and gather and somebody nicknamed our front patio, Cafe Martin. So it became a wonderful way for people to support us and for him to see how much he was loved and supported. So we wanted to give back and have a place that brings community together. So I opened Cafe Martin, here in Newton.”
And Adrienne has recreated the same warm and loving vibe the community shared on her patio, here at the restaurant.
“It’s casual. It’s cozy, it’s fun, it’s low key, you can just come in and just hang out, grab a beer, bite to eat, come with your family, come on a date. It’s sort of hits all the points. “
The ideal Cafe Martin experience should probably start with a cocktail and one that won’t have you ‘asking to see the manager’ is ‘The Karen’.
“The Karen is named after my friend Karen who grew up here in the neighborhood. Hi Karen! And she’s not a Karen, she’s awesome. It’s vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon, and it’s delicious. And we’d like to say you can sugar the rim to balance out your bitterness if you’re a Karen.”
To pair with that cold drink, a hot appetizer is in order. Like crunchy Shrimp and Scallion Rangoons with a tasty Asian dipping sauce. A pile of onion rings smothered with melted cheese, pulled pork, and scallions with Ranch and BBQ drizzled over the top and hearty Poutine topped with short rib gravy.
“A lot of our food is this comfort food and we make this great short rib gravy that we put on the fries with some cheese curds and pickled onions, and that’s really delicious. And even our Canadian friends who come they love it. So that’s a good sign.”
If Italian is your thing, you will fall IN love with the Trilogy OF Love.
“I’m Italian, the neighborhood’s Italian. So we make our homemade meatballs. We get sausage from DePasquale’s and make our own sauce and our own Braciole. What I want is the idea that maybe there’s a Nona in the back making our food. And that’s what I wanted you to feel when you came here.”
And since you’re in Newton, a city obsessed with chicken wings, you HAVE to give Cafe Martin’s a try.
“Here in Newton, there’s some amazing places where you can get wings and we have heard that we rival some of people’s favorite wing places here. So ours are really good.”
Sandwiches run the gamut at Cafe Martin. Whether you go for the ultra crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich topped with pickles and a zippy Alabama white sauce. Or their beautiful burger, served on an English muffin made around the corner at Flourhouse Bakery.
“The English muffin homemade here in the neighborhood. Really amazing Angus beef patty, we put a homemade steak aioli on it …caramelized onions, bacon and blue cheese. So it’s pretty much a mouth explosion and people rave about that.”
Entrees include tender marinated steak tips with mashed potatoes and veggies.
And crispy fish and chips with cole slaw.
But for the ultimate indulgence, order the short rib mac and cheese.
“We have homemade mac and cheese. The cheese sauce is creamy and it’s so delicious. You just want to dive right in. And we top it with braised short rib. It feels like a giant hug is what it feels like that’s what we want we want you to sit down and feel cared for. So when you have this, it feels like home somebody loves me.”
And you’ll taste the love in every dish and feel the love every time you visit Cafe Martin.
“I think people just feel comfortable when they come and…everything’s not perfect at all, because life is not perfect and that’s what we experience with John and his illness is that people showed up for us. We weren’t perfect, nothing was perfect. It was actually horrible. But you know, these cozy little things like just make people feel comfortable and cared for. And so that’s what we do here.”