PULSE MAGAZINE: AUGUST 2022 COVER STORY
MORE THAN 7 THE SUM OF ITS PARTS: THE WORCESTER FOOD HUB KEEPS HEARTS & BELLIES FULL
ENTERTAINMENT ARTS • CULTURE
STYLE • FASHION BEAUTY BARBERSHOP LIVING
Out and About
420 in the 508
DIAMOND HEARTS ARTS STUDIO
Arts & Culture Listings
DESIGNING WITH PLANTS
SPORT AND FITNESS
EAT • BREWS COCKTAILS
CITY LIVING • ARCHITECTURE • DESIGN 27
WORCESTER’S HOT ODG SAFARI
Dining Review: MERCANTILE
NEW IN THE WOO
STEEL & WIRE
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Bernie Whitemore, Jennifer Russo, Travis Duda, Jason Savio, Shaun Connolly, Giuliano D’Orazio, Shannon Jutras April Goddard, Irena Kaçi, Vincent Pacifico, Eric James Yanko Franco, and Jenny Pacillo.Writers
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MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS: THE WORCESTER FOOD HUB KEEPS HEARTS & BELLIES FULL IRENA KAÇI The Worcester Food Hub is the juggernaut behind so much of Worcester’s small business renaissance. Founded in 2015, The Food Hub was the collaborative brainchild of four separate local organizations: The REC (Regional Environmental Council), The Chamber of Commerce, The Worcester County Food Bank, and the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. As the 3rd largest city in New England Worcester has been prone to produce deserts and food insecurity. When these groups came together to solve the problem, the obvious solution became the Worcester Food Hub. Food Hubs have proven most effective for resolving food deserts in big cities. The Worcester Food Hub (WFH) has two main prongs: the incubator kitchen and its distribution initiative. The incubator kitchen, which currently resides at the Greendale People’s Church on 25 Francis Street, has launched countless small businesses, including Asylum Coffeetorium and Stretch’s Pickles. I had the pleasure of meeting with Shon Rainford, the director of the Worcester Food Hub to get a clearer sense of The Hub’s scope and future. Shon Rainford came to Central Massachusetts to work for the former Heifer International in 2008. Working with food, farms and nonprofits has been his long standing passion. After Heifer sold, Rainford was approached by the Worcester Food Hub with an offer to run the fledgling Food Hub in Worcester. So in February of 2018, he joined the small four-person team that runs the elaborate machine of farm-to-table accessibility. “Right away, I knew it was a great fit for me. I like being able to do work that I am proud of, and I’m proud of my work here at the Hub. We have had some turnover over the years, but we have been fortunate to always end up having people with a real passion for food justice make up our core group.” In 2019 The Hub launched the Diverse Food Entrepreneurs program, and that has been one
of its most successful initiatives yet. “Worcester is such a wonderfully diverse and dynamic city, it was important to us to celebrate that, and to really put our diversity on the map.” The Diverse Food Entrepreneurs program offers so many advantages essential to starting a small business including Servsafe training for food service, food and beverage permits, as well as start-up money, to name a few. “One of the biggest hurdles for anyone starting a small food-based business is knowing how to navigate the system, and having that seed money. That is why there is often a barrier for immigrants. We work hard to remove that barrier and make small business dreams accessible to everyone.” Only three years later and the Diverse Foods Entrepreneurs program boasts countless applicants to the coveted 24-person graduating class. “We represent cuisines from about twelve different countries, and many of these cuisines have a chance to gain a foothold right here in Worcester.” The program is incredibly intensive and worthwhile. I interviewed Tran Le, proprietor of Mint and former graduate of the program, and she was visibly enthusiastic. “When I registered for the program during the pandemic, I didn’t know what I was doing. I did not think I would have a business model at the end of it, let alone a restaurant. I was just making meals for people, and still learning how to do that. The program was so supportive and taught me so much, and now here I am operating my own place. I did not think this was possible.” The program is a sixteen weeks intensive that covers everything from wholesale distribution to leveraging digital media, business strategy and planning, in short all the ins and outs of starting a business. In addition to all of that, the program arranges for students to participate in pop ups and slowly build both confidence and stamina for an actual brick and mortar location. Glazy Susan, Namaste Wu, and Mint are some of the more recent gradu-
Rainford at the Worceser Public Library ates that have been able to set up their own shop. Meanwhile, the Worcester Public Market is also brimming with small specialty food shops that were conceived in the Worcester Food Hub, including Nuttibird Granola, Peg’s Preserves, Kay’s Kitchen and many others. But brick and mortar shops are not the only outcome of the incubator kitchen. The Worcester Food Hub supports a variety of business models, including virtual shops that rely on pop ups, or even local artisans that forego retail altogether, opting to sell to other local businesses instead. The Worcester Food Hub provides a network of business relationships that by nature allows for a wide range of both t h epu ls emag.com
Bali Marle making their Green Sambal with Thai basil from Kettlebrook Farm
products and engagement. The Hub has also been invaluable when it comes to connecting the local producers to those needing more access to local produce. Being able to drive to farms all over central Massachusetts in order to collect food in bulk and then transport it back to the city solves so much of the problem. Springfield Public Schools were some of the first to jump on the bandwagon of fresh produce accessibility. The Hub provides apples for school lunches, giving a leg up to small orchards looking for ways to distribute their more niche apples and giving students the opportunity to test out the old adage of “an apple a day” in these trying pandemic times. Colleges such as Holy Cross, and Clark University are among some of the local universities that have partnered with the Food Hub for their local produce.
Bali Marle Display
their headquarters to Union Station, things are looking brighter than ever for the Worcester Food Hub. “We will have six kitchens in that space, compared to our one.” Rainford tells me, with relish. Currently, the one small kitchen is having a hard time keeping up with demand, and with so many interested parties, the schedule cannot always accommodate everyone. “Having six kitchens is going to be a game changer.”
facilitate parking in that famously challenging part of the city. “So much of what we do here is build accessibility.” Says Rainford. The Food Hub partners with REC and Growing Places out of Leominster to run mobile farmers markets, which bring fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods and accept SNAP benefits for payment. I spoke with Ashley Carter, the farmer’s market program coordinator for the REC. Carter has been involved with food sustainability for as long as she can remember, and her memory goes way back. “I remember when The Food Hub was just the back end of our Mobile Market, and it was this great idea that just kept growing.” In fact the Worcester Food Hub is the only non-profit that provides produce for the mobile market. “They’ve connected us with some great farms along the way.” Says Carter “I have loved seeing the evolution of this REC brainchild.”
My favorite thing to hear about, however, is the future. Having just signed a deal to move
Indeed the excitement is contagious. The Union Station basement space has been underutilized for over a decade and it has been one of the city’s ambitions to change that, and make good use of the spacious architecture. The plan is to have, in addition to the six kitchens, a small retail space, as well as a multipurpose room. The design process is well underway and the city will be breaking ground on the new Food Hub space, the old baggage claim area as early as this fall. There is talk of arranging for a parking garage nearby to
Streatfood Commiseray Passing Day
Bali Marle presenting U.S. Representative Jim McGovern and U.S, Senator Ed Markey at Union Station
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In the kitchen at Greendale Church
Worcester has been such a successful iteration of a Food Hub, the Incubator Kitchen has increased food service jobs, and created opportunities for immigrants interested in starting their own businesses. It is this kind of success that cities all over central Massachusetts are looking to replicate. To that end, the WFH is working to expand into other parts of our state that fit the same profile, starting with Fitchburg. “We have partnered with Fitchburg State for many of our upcoming projects.” Says Rainford “ and they have been just as receptive and enthusiastic as Worcester. We are effectively working to duplicate the work that we’ve done in Worcester but now in Fitchburg and if Worcester is any indicator, we can count on a truly satisfying journey of connecting people with the food that’s being grown right here in our community.” With the Worcester Food Hub on our side, it is starting to feel like the great Worcester Renaissance is not merely in our sights but finally upon us. Perhaps in five years’ time, Union Station will live up to its architectural glory in function as well as form, cooking up the next culinary wonder, and giving more people than ever a slice of the proverbial pie.
Tangerini Farm pickup for the REC
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ENTERTAINMENT • ARTS • CULTURE
DIAMOND HEARTS ARTS STUDIO JENNY PACILLO
Diamond Hearts Studio, at 7 Wall Street in Fitchburg, was established in 2019 by Nancy and Sean Bray, a husband and wife team who have known each other for their entire lives. They specialize in creating “abstract acrylic paintings and crafts” and can be found not only in their studio, but at art festivals throughout Central Mass.
I first met Nancy and Sean at a recent Worcester Public Market Pride Walk, and their energy was infectious. “We have been making art all our lives,” Nancy explains. During the pandemic, she discovered an acrylic artform called “paint pouring”, which is exactly as it sounds. Paint pouring is a way for artists of all skill levels to utilize various techniques to create colorful marbling on canvas. For Diamond Hearts Art Studio, the more colorful the better. “There is something about putting the right set of colors together and composing them in specific ways to catch the eye that really surprises people in a beautiful way,” Nancy says, adding, “Our abstract art is always unique and colorful and full of surprises. We try to use specialty paints, like color-shifting paint or glow-inthe-dark, or holographic glitter to enhance our paintings so they always look different in different light.” Paint pouring isn’t all that Nancy and Sean have been working on. “In the past six months, we have started making resin art of all kinds, from jewelry, to tumblers, to resin skulls with flowers inside, hauntingly beautiful,” Nancy says. Part of their mission is to introduce art to children in a fun and accessible way. “We see parents and kids every week where the kids are just overwhelmed by the colors and things to look at. You can see them being inspired in the moment,” Nancy says. “Kids don’t get enough art in their everyday lives, for the most part. For every event we attend, we create a stack of 5inch by 7inch paintings to hand out to kids that visit us. It is so much
fun to see them flip through the stack to find their most favorite colors. We get kids visiting us multiple weeks in a row to get the latest painting for their desk or their wall, and we never say no, unless we have run out first!” Nancy and Sean also hold classes at their studio and in homes. “We offer classes to teach people how to create art in our style. We teach every step from prepping a canvas to mixing the paint recipe and applying it to create their own amazing pieces,” Nancy says. “We even come to you to teach paint parties - set up, (teach) the class, and clean up included.” Overall, the goal of Diamond Hearts Art Studio is, “to make the world a more colorful place, in general. With everything that has been going on the past few years, it really made us happy to be able to show people our art and make them smile.” Nancy and Sean often create art together and will find themselves “dancing around the studio to music” as they work. “We genuinely enjoy what we do, but what we enjoy most is working together,” Nancy smiles.
diamondheartsartstudio.com Diamond Hearts Art Studio on Facebook and YouTube @DiamondHeartsArt on TikTok and Instagram 978-516-3040 email@example.com
ARTS & CULTURE LISTINGS American Heritage Museum (978) 562-9182 568 Main St., Hudson https://www.americanheritagemuseum.org/ August 13 & 14 - Tank Demonstration Weekend
August 27 - Too Darn Hot: 150+ Years of Burlesque History
Arts Worcester (508) 755-5142 44 Portland St., Worcseter https://artsworcester.org/ Boulder Art Gallery (978) 354-7000 960 Main St., Fitchburg http://theboulderartgallery.com/ Gallery open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Brick Box Theater (508) 413-5622 20B Franklin St., Worcester https://www.jmacworcester.org/brickbox.html August 6 - Mary Darling presents 1,5,10: A Short Play Extravaganze Fitchburg Art Museum (978) 345-4207 185 Elm St., Fitchburg https://fitchburgartmuseum.org/ Free First Thursdays Hanover Theatre (877) 571-7469 2 Southbridge St., Worcester https://thehanovertheatre.org/ August 6 - Footloose: Youth Edition August 7 - Josh Gates Live! An Evening of Legends, Mysteries, and Tales of Adventure August 12&13 - Footloose! August 17 - Historic and Architectural Tour August 19 - Jazz at Sunset featuring Grace Kelly
Tuckerman Hall (508) 754-1234 10 Tuckerman St., Worcester http://www.tuckermanhall.org/ The Village Worcester firstname.lastname@example.org 4 King St., Worcester August 30 & 31 - QTS Latin Dance Workshop Mechanics Hall (508) 752-5608 321 Main St., Worcester https://www.mechanicshall.org/ August 3 - Organ Concert featuring Stefan Donner August 10 - Organ Concert featuring Marshall & Shaylen Joos Old Sturbridge Village (800) 733-1830 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge https://www.osv.org/ Kids Free Summer at the Village August 12 - Evening at the Village featuring Max Cohen & Rose Clancy Preservation Worcster (508) 754-8760 10 Cedar St., Worcester https://www.preservationworcester.org/ Samuel Slater Experience (508) 461-2955 31 Ray St., Webster https://samuelslaterexperience.org/
JMAC Popup (508) 561-0173 20B Franklin St., Worcester www.jmacworcester.org August 16 - Too Darn Hot: 150+ Years of Burlesque History August 17 - Out of the Darkness and Into the Light Exhibit August 23 - QTS Soca Dance Workshop
August 13 - Vertical Screen Floral Design August 14 - Forest Bathing August 17 - Swing Night: Concert & Dance on the Lawn August 18 - Plants and Pints August 20 - Therapeutic Horticulture: Fragran & Culinary Herb August 25 - Botanical Mixology August 27 - Garden Portrait Photography
Tower Hill Botanical Garden (508) 869-6111 11 French St., Boylston https://www.towerhillbg.org/ Tuesdays - Yoga in the Garden Wednesdays - Afternoon Yoga for Stress Relief Thursdays - Yoga in the Garden August 5 - Tour of Berkshire Botanic Garden & Rockland Farm August 6 - Therapeutic Horticulture: Ocean Seashell Wreath August 7 - Summer Paint Pouring Parties: Landscape Puddle August 11 - Botanical Mixology
Worcester Art Museum (508) 799-4406 55 Salisbury St., Worcester https://www.worcesterart.org/ Free First Sundays Saturday & Sunday - Public Tour of Jewels of the Nile Sunday - Highlights of the WAM Collection Docent Tour Worcester Center for Crafts (508) 753-8103 25 Sagamore Rd., Worcester https://www.worcestercraftcenter.org/ Worcester Chamber Music Society (508) 926-8624 323 Main St, Worcester https://worcesterchambermusic.org/ Worcester Historical Museum (508) 753-8278 30 Elm St., Worcester https://www.worcesterhistory.org/
August 11th-14th 2022
Our Lady of Mount Carmel & Loreto Parish 37 Massasoit Road, Worcester
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NOW STREAMING. JASON SAVIO
GUAVA -THE DOLPHINS ARE BACK IN VENICE UK artist Guava turns up a tight EP with “The Dolphins Are Back in Venice,” four techno dance numbers that will get you out of your seat and grooving across the room. The opening “Twang” in collaboration with LUXE resembles underground British techno of the late 90’s with a hypnotic beat and electronic flares. It’s the perfect music to zone out to or dance to—dealer’s choice on this one. “Framboise Baby” is much the same—Guana finds a syncopated rhythm he likes and keeps it going while adding layer upon layer above it, creating what is ultimately a kind of dance sandwich that is hard to resist. There are no lyrics here on any of these tracks, making them easier to enjoy. Guava teams up with Breaka for the title track, which is actually quite disappointing and seems to lack direction. Whereas the other tracks are tight and feel like they’re building toward something, the title track just never really seems to lift off at all. The closing “SZD Orion” starts out much the same as the title track before eventually picking up the slack and finishing the EP strong. https://controlfreakrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-dolphins-are-back-invenice
SOCIAL UNION - FALL INTO ME Why not take a break from the typical radio fare and listen to something fun and experimental, like the darkwave synthpop of New Zealand’s Social Union? The duo’s five-song EP “Fall Into Me” is something of a gold nugget—it’s short, but packs a lot of interesting, multi-layered sounds and ideas that will make you want to listen to it over and over. Vanilla Martin’s airy vocal delivery whispers mysterious lyrics in between electronic whizzes and bops throughout the songs here, in both a hypnotic and alluring way. Looking closely at the lyrics though, suggests there may be danger when it comes to Martin and what she’s saying, or at the very least an unhappiness that could lead to a bad conclusion. The lyrics, “Starve the feeling ‘til it dies/Cause feeding it keeps it alive/Smoke it out/Choke it out”, in “Choke” seem to suggest a conscious decision to kill a relationship that she no longer wants to be in. The hard, dark groove adds to the sinister feel of the songs, as does the dissonant guitar embellishments. The lyric “I’m concrete beside him” only adds to the cold psyche of the tune. The title track oozes with the kind of synth waves you’d expect from a release like this with Martin’s lyrics almost becoming one with the music, camouflaged by it and adding to the mood. Because these songs, after all, are all about mood and a certain headspace. Whereas Martin seemed distant in “Choke,” in “Fall Into Me” she’s offering a safe haven as she sings “I’ll stay with you ‘til you come down/I’ll lie beside you on the ground/I won’t be going anywhere just so you know.” Does this EP drone on after a while? Yeah, it kind of does. But then again this is the kind of music you can just turn on and play in the background while you’re doing the dishes or reading. For more, visit: https://socialunion.bandcamp.com/album/fall-into-me-ep
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EXPLORETHE THECANAL CANALDISTRICT DISTRICT EXPLORE THE CANAL DISTRICT EXPLORE
VISIT BEFORE OR AFTER the woosox GAMEs
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ENTERTAINMENT LISTINGS If you’d like to be included in future listings, please email JPacillo@pagioinc.com.
Cafe Neo 774-253-6139 97 Millbury St., Worcester Nightly Karaoke
Electric Haze 26 Millbury St., Worcester Wednesdays - The Space Jam with Brandon Sunshine Esteves August 4 - Maladies Drag Karaoke with Mal E. Fishn’t August 5 - The Duke Street Kings: A Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band August 6 - August Art showcase ft. Maker Jake August 7 - The Runaway Grooms, The Humans Being August 12 - WooVybes Entertainment presents Soul Vybes August 13 - Major Bloom 1 Year Anniversary Celebration August 18 - Maladies Drag Karaoke w/ Mal E. Fishn’t August 19 - TourForLife22 Feat Dizzy Wright, Paranormal Adam August 20 - Sexy Drag Bingo: Spongebob Theme August 21 - End of Summer Bash August 25 - Off Night “ACID”: an experience of sound and light August 26 - Rose Alley: A Jerry Garcia Tribute Band August 27 - A Tribute to Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac
Chuck’s Steakhouse 508-832-2553 10 Prospect Street, Auburn
Elm Draught House 508-865-2850 35 Elm St., Millbury
Classic’s Pub 978-227-5258 285 Central St., Leominster
Fidder’s Green Pub 508-792-3700 19 Temple St., Worcester August 14 - Chicken Barbeque August 28 - Irish Seisiun
---BirchTree Bread Company 744-243-6944 138 Green St., Worcester Birchtreebreadcompany.com Black and White Grille 508-885-5018 206 North Spencer Rd., Spencer Blackandwhitegrille.com Black Sheep Tavern 978-422-0255 261 Leominster Rd, Sterling Meetmeatthesheep.com Blueprint New American Bar & Grille 978-668-5580 10 Village Sq., Westminster
Chashu Ramen + Izakaya 508-304-7183 38 Franklin St., Worcester 1st & 3rd Thursday - Mauro Depasquale’s Jazzed Up Trio 2nd & 4th Thursday - Van Dam Duo Draught House Bar & Grill 508-835-4722 42 West Boylston St., West Boylston
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Firefly’s BBQ 508-357-8883 350 E. Main St., Marlborough Dante’s at Firefly BBQ: Indoors August 6 - Whiskey Church August 12 - Shady Armadillo August 13 - Bone City August 19 - Undercover August 20 - Gunpowder & Lead August 26 - Gary Backstrom Band August 27 - Pieces of Eight
The Backyard at Firefly’s BBQ: Outdoors August 5 - Peter Lavenson August 6 - Greg Schuler August 7 - Screen Door August 12 - Jared Hanrahan August 13 - High Harmony August 14 - Joe Macey August 19 - Dan Emino August 20 - Mike Gorgone August 21 - Chris Barber August 26 - Greg Schuler August 27 - Mike & Missy August 28 - Jennifer Truesdale Flying Rhino 508-757-1450 278 Shrewsbury St., Worcester Gardner Ale House 978- 669-0122 74 Parker St., Gardner Greater Good Imperial Brewing 508-926-8736 55 Millbrook St., Worcester Greendale’s Pub 508-853-1350 404 W Boylston St. North, Worcester Sundays - Night Jam Wednesdays - Wacky Blues Jam August 5 - Super Chargers August 12 - Holly’s Farewell August 13 - Rock It August 19 - Project Alice August 20 - The Verge August 26 - Auntie Trainwreck August 27 - Blackstone Soul Halligan’s 508-832-6739 889 Southbridge St., Auburn Thursdays - Bike Night August 5 - Boom Box August 6 - Gold Dust Refuges August 11 - ViVi & DaFunk August 12 - Decades By DeZyne August 13 - Freeballing August 18 - Alter Ego August 19 - Billy Pilgrim Band August 20 - Superchargers August 25 - Doctor Robert August 26 - Dock 10
August 27 - Crazy On You Husky’s Pub 508-425-9614 413 Park Ave., Worcester Mondays - Movie Night Thursdays - Trivia Sundays - Sunday Funday August 5 - Joe West Acoustic August 12 - Karaoke Party August 19 - Falsely Accused August 26 - Karaoke Party August 28 - Wormtown Mugwumps August 31 - Open Mic Night Indian Ranch 508-943-3871 200 Gore Rd., Webster Indianranch.com August 4 - Margaritaville Cruise August 5 - Weird Al Yankovic August 6 - Collective Soul & Switchfoot August 12 - ABBA the Concert August 13 - Badfish: Tribute to Sublime August 20 - Home Free August 26 - Get the Led Out August 27 - Webster Lake Association Gala Legends Bar and Grille 978- 342-6500 68 Airport Rd, Fitchburg MB Lounge 508-799-4521 40 Grafton St., Worcester Wednesday - Karaoke Thursday - Weekend Pregame Friday & Saturday - Dance Party Sunday - Game Night August 28 - Drag Bingo MCL Club 508-797-0141 181 Lake Ave., Worcester Worcestermcl.org Thursdays - Karaoke August 13 - Right Angle Woman August 19 - Joanna Connor August 20 - Say Uncle Band
Michael’s Cigar Bar 508-459-9035 1 Exchange St, Worcester Movie Mondays Mint Kitchen + Bar 508-459-1532 79 Maywood St., Worcester Fridays - Karaoke Night
Rascal’s 508-459-0862 70 James St., Worcester Rascalsworcester.com August 4 - Lyssa Coulter August 6 - Flock of Assholes August 13 - A Night of Zeppelin August 27 - Heartless
Off the Rails 508-304-6411 90 Commercial St., Worcester Wednesday through Sunday Live Music Thursdays - Line Dancing hosted by Kevin Richards August 5 - The Mallett Brothers Band August 6 - Frank Foster August 12 - Lindsay Ell August 25 - The Gibson Brothers
Reunion Tap & Table 774-293-5501 198 Worcester St., North Grafton Mondays - Musical Bingo Wednesdays - Trivia with Nate Briggs
One Eyed Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill 508-459-0089 433 Park Ave., Worcester Park Grille 508-756-7995 257 Park Avenue, Worcester Partner’s Pub 978-345-5051 970 South St., Fitchburg Patsie Duggans 508 755-4155 49 Millbury St, Worcester Nightly Entertainment Peppercorn’s Grille & Tavern 508-752-7711 455 Park Ave., Worcester Purgatory Beer Co. 508-596-2194 670 Linwood Ave. Building C, Whitinsville Ralph’s Diner 508-753-9543 148 Grove St., Worcester Monday - The Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic Wednesday - Karaoke with Dj Matt R!
River Styx 978-696-5176 166 Boulder Dr., Fitchburg Thursdays - World Tavern Poker/Trivia Fridays - Finicky Fork August 5 - Luke DeRoy August 6 - Bruce Andrews & the No Street Band August 12 - Ashley and Bridget August 13 - Jake Hunsinger August 15 - Eddy Troxler & Friends Jazz Sundays August 19 - Ryan Hood August 26 - Daniel Gay August 27 - The Food Pit! Southside Grille 978-632-1057 242 West Broadway, Gardner Tuesdays - Slingo Thursdays - Trivia with Kevin Stakes Pub 508-755-2955 1281 Pleasant St., Worcester Steel and Wire Cocktail Lounge 508-373-2225 124 Millbury St., Worcester Tuesdays - Trivia Wednesdays - Brooks Milgate and Friends Thursdays - Karaoke with DJ Matt R August 5 - Lights Out Blues Band August 6 - Ed Sullivans
August 7 - Sally and Linda August 12 - Little Sugar and the Big Spoonful August 13 - Giuliano August 14 - Sam Femino August 19 - Heavy Sweaters August 20 - The Combination August 21 - Joan Cleary August 26 - Sarah Levecque Band August 27 - Tootsie Pa August 28 - Chris Houston The Bull Run 978-425-4311 215 Great Road, Shirley August 5 - Gary Hoey August 6 - DeadBeat August 11 - Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds August 12 - Dinner with a Psychic/the Troy Gonyea Band August 13 - The Englishtown Project August 18 - Mason Jennings August 19 - Joanna Connor “Chicago’s Queen of the Blues” August 24 - Eric Gales August 27 - The Weight Band The GazBar 978- 534-6600 1045 Central St, Leominster The Mill at 185 774-261-8585 185 W Boylston St., West Boylston Live entertainment Thursday through Saturday The Muse 508-796-5900 536 Main St., Worcester The Palladium 508-797-9696 261 Main St., Worcester August 3 - Broadside August 4 - Spider Gang August 6 - Joey Valance & Brae August 18 - Shordie Shordie August 20 - Fathom Farewell August 26 - Tattoo the Earth Festival Pre-Party featuring Unearth
August 27 - Tattoo the Earth August 28 - Simple Plan/Sum 41 August 31 - Hail the Sun Thirsty Robot 265 Summer St., Fitchburg Thursdays - Trivia Night Rob Boss August 6 - Quincy Lord August 10 - Craft Beer with Counselor Cruz August 13 - Amanda Cote August 20 - Mike & Missy Tryst Lounge 978-400-7906 320 Main St, Fitchburg Vincent’s Worcester 508-752-9439 49 Suffolk St., Worcester Wachusett Brew Yard 978-874-9965 175 State Rd. E, Westminster August 13 - Synergy August 20 - Petty Larceny Whiskey on Water 774-578-8829 97 Water St., Worcester White Eagle 508-753-9612 116-120 Green St., Worcester Whiteeagleworcester.com Thursday & Friday - Dj Nights Woo Bar & Grill 774-243-6130 358 Shrewsbury St., Worcester Worcester Beer Garden (774) 530-9000 64 Franklin St, Worcester Live Music Thursday - Sunday Volo Cornhole League registration open Music BINGO every Wednesday starting 8/10 Bi-Monthly Tap Takeover featuring local breweries
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WACHUSETT BREWERY - WORCESTER
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BBQ Massachusetts PREMIER KANSAS CIT Y
Indoor & Outdoor Seating or Carry Out
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EAT • BREWS • COCKTAILS DINING REVIEW:
THE MERCANTILE ROOFTOP BAR AND RESTAURANT LOCATED IN THE MERCANTILE CENTER, 2 MERCANTILE STREET, WORCESTER WWW.THEMERCANTILEWORCESTER.COM
PHONE: (774) 389-5180 BERNIE WHITMORE CitySquare, a massive project that includes Mercantile Center, represents a post-Worcester-Center/post-Industrial-Milltown vision for the city’s downtown. Its most visible progress was the destruction of the Galleria. Since then, progress has been incremental and slowed by the pandemic. For anyone not paying attention, the cityscape as seen from the Mercantile Restaurant, which anchors a corner of the development, can be startling. Startling for what it isn’t: small-town Worcester. And for what it is: let’s daresay, urban. Witnessing the development of Mercantile Restaurant I came to expect that it would be up-price, up-dress and therefore, an option for special occasions or the affluent. Wrong!
Our drinks met their flavor challenge with MR’s Chicken Potstickers. Sauteed deep brown, they were served warm in a gingery soy broth studded with bits of chili crunch, chili’s roasted in garlicky oil, for a deep rich spark of flavor. Curls of bright green lemongrass woke the dish visually and added fresh crisp crunch. One more lavish treatment for the humble potsticker! The Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl was my entrée choice till I realized all I’d consumed in the past couple days was vegetables and it was time to break away. So I did the logical thing and ordered a Corned Beef Brisket Handheld. Thin-sliced tasty brisket meat was packed inches thick into a loaf-shaped bun schmeared with mustard aioli and a quick melting of gruyere cheese. It came served with a little sack of shoestring fries sprinkled with coarse salt. Happiness = brisket + beer at the Mercantile. The only off-note to the evening’s meal was dessert, Cherry Crostata. Teamed with vanilla gelato and bourbon caramel, I was ready for something phenomenally wonderful. As soon as it was served, though, I knew the actual phenomenon was let-down. A serviceable pastry crust shell had been packed with cherry pie filling. Cloying sweet, it reminded me of canned products from the dollar store. The cherry experience was akin to a package of twinkies or a trainwreck. You try your hardest to turn away, but you just can’t. We actually finished our crostata; the shame lingers.
The MR blends fun and affordable with impressive cuisine into a space that is the most sophisticated in town. On the Tuesday evening my friend and I stopped by for dinner, the place was high energy and pulsing with sound. Selecting an IPA proved challenging; with a dozen to choose from I relied on Honesty, our server, for help. She guided me to Fiddlehead IPA, hazy and softly bitter, one of my favorites. My friend ordered a cocktail he’d enjoyed when he first visited MR, the Persephone. Summery and sweet, it’s a mix of vodka, St. Germain and prosecco for a bit of fizz. Large blocks of orchid-embedded ice add color and chill.
My companion’s steak, a 12oz center cut sirloin, was expertly seared and came with gorgeous bright green asparagus and a pile of French fries. Just a glance at it told me it was thicker than most and, midway through his dinner he took a moment to assess; “The steak is thick and tasty, cooked perfectly medium rare and it’s even better with the bearnaise sauce”. At first bite we looked up and agreed that MR’s fries were wonderfully reminiscent of the shoestring fries we grew up with at McDonalds: hot, crispy-thin, plenty of salt and golden brown.
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Our visit to Mercantile Restaurant dispelled my faulty assumptions. Far from the stuffy special occasion place I expected, it was instantaneous fun and packed with hearty flavors. All this with a level of service we haven’t enjoyed in years: prompt, friendly and caring. I can’t wait for a return to delve deeper into their menu; the pizzas looked amazing.
what’s happening in the restaurant scene
PAUL GIORGIO IT’S THAT TIME: The summer edition of Worcester Restaurant Week kicks off
on August**. About 40 local restaurants are participating in this annual summer event that offers a 3-course meal at Central Mass’s best restaurants for $28.22. The widely popular event is sponsored by Discover Central Mass, Pepsi, Mercadante Funeral Home, Major Bloom & Percy’s. Media Sponsors include Pulse Magazine, Radio Worcester, WXLO, NASH & the Pike. Visit www.Worcesterrestaurantweek. com or find the event on Facebook for participating restaurants.
SUNSET IN THE CITY: Pulse Magazine’s, Sunset in the City, returns after
Covid with a rooftop party at a new location on Saturday August 13th. Join us from 7 to midnight on the roof of the Pearl/Elm garage in downtown Worcester. Visit the Facebook page for event details and to purchase tickets. The party will feature food and alcohol by the Flying Rhino Café and a DJ.
LET’S TRY TO CONNECT: Connect is the name of the new restaurant
opening in Spencer in the space that formerly housed Five Loaves Bakery on Mechanic Street. Owned by Ciarah and Joel Santos, the 75-seat restaurant will serve both Italian and American cuisine. They hope you will connect with them!
IT’S A NEW DELI: Word on Highland Street in Worcester is that a deli is opening in the space that once housed the Sahara Restaurant. The owner has not been revealed but we hear it is someone with restaurant experience. Looking forward to this new deli, as people still miss Weintraub’s and Murrays.
WHAT’S UP WITH ANNIE’S: Word in main South is that Annie’s Clark Brunch is closing for good with Annie Jenkins hanging up her apron after 35 years in business. It appears that Clark University is going to tear down the building and put up student housing. If this is true, we wish Annie a long retirement. ANOTHER ICON SOLD: O’Connor’s Restaurant has been sold. The new
owners will be taking over this month and have no plans to change anything. We send Claire and Brendan O’Connor our well wishes as they start the next chapter of their life. Himself will be missed, not only for his good food but for his sharp wit.
HOW DO YOU EAT A WOODEN NOODLE? Wooden Noodles, owned by Chris Ly and Spencer Merriwether, the creative team that brought the Wooden Noodles pop up to the city, open Wooden Bar at the home of 3 Cross Brewery on Cambridge Street. Wooden Bar is serving handmade ramen and Asian dishes from 4pm-10pm on Thursday and Fridays. GET SAUCED: Sauce is a new eatery that recently opened at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Leominster. The restaurant is owned and operated by the Houde family. BARRE IS BOOMING: Barre Patch, a restaurant and tavern, opened the first week of July. It was the old Ice House. IN MORE NEWS FROM BARRE: Captain T’s at 25 Exchange Street re-
cently opened its doors featuring home style dinners. They are serving breakfast, lunch or dinner, which makes for a very long day.
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the Mercantile Center was scheduled to open August 1st. THIS AIN’T YOUR DAD’S KITCHEN: Dad’s Keto Kitchen, which serves prepared Keto diet friendly meals, will be opening soon on Worcester’s Shrewsbury Street. The kitchen will be located in the space that formerly held the Pomir Grille, nestled in between the Wonder Bar and Ralph’s Tavern.
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PULSEBREW BREW RURAL BREWERIES
SHANNON JUTRAS EXTENDED VERSION ON THEPULSEMAG.COM
Dear Drinkers, I hope your fridge is packed with cold beer, your air conditioning is brisker than the abominable snowman, and your latest trip to the beach did not result in a weird, handprint-shaped sunburn on your back. (Maybe that’s just a me problem?) I know you read this column for the latest and greatest in Worcester’s beer scene, but first, let me tell you the heady, passionate origin story of my first true love: Ice cream. Some of my most sentimental memories are of summers on Sebago Lake in Maine, where an ice cream BOAT sometimes appeared on the horizon. When we heard the boat’s siren song in the distance, a whole beach full of kids sprang into action to get the ice cream boat captain’s attention. Then we waited impatiently as the boat reached our shore. There was something magical about those afternoons, sitting on a dock, feet swinging through warm water with an ice cream in my hand. Years later a bottle of Allagash White would often take the place of that ice cream, but guys: what if we could have it all? Beer and ice cream pairings are the non-traditional summer treat our inner child has been yearning for. GREAT GOOD JAVA MOCHA CHIP AND MADULKA’S VANILLA SOFT SERVE Grab a can of Greater Good’s Java Mocha Chip Imperial Oatmeal Stout and a swirl of Madulka’s soft serve and enjoy a summertime twist on Italian affogato. Traditionally served by pouring warm espresso over vanilla gelato, soft serve’s texture lends a similar effect when enjoyed with Greater Good’s rich stout. Brewed with coffee from Acoustic Java and a healthy dose of oats, Mocha Java Chip is a roasty, luscious alternative to espresso and a treat for coffee Aficionados. WORMTOWN BLIZZARD OF ‘78 AND DAIRY QUEEN BLIZZARD This pairing may require recon work this time of year, because Wormtown’s classic English-style brown ale is technically a winter seasonal. However, it keeps extremely well - you may even have a can in your fridge right now. It is my firm belief this beer is the perfect pairing for literally any DQ Blizzard. Turtle Pecan Cluster? Check. Caramel Drumstick? Double check. Even a Thin Mint Blizzard is complemented by Blizzard of ‘78’s malty complexity. RIVER STYX EROS IMPERIAL STOUT AND GIBSON’S OREO COOKIE Am I a genius? No, but if you try this concoction, you may start to wonder. Order some of Gibson’s handmade Oreo cookie ice cream to-go, and add it to your favorite pint glass. Top it off with a gentle pour of River Styx’s Eros Oreo stout and you have a sumptuous, decadent ice cream float. Beer floats are exciting, underexplored culinary territory, with many potential pairings. But this particular duo not only celebrates the world’s most addictive cookie, the foam smells like cookies and cream. JESTER KING CITRUS FROOT DIRECT BATCH #2 AND ARMSBY ABBEY WHIPPED FETA As delightful as ice cream is, savory desserts are elite. The whipped feta at Armsby Abbey arrives in a small bowl, drizzled with mint gremolata, citrus oil, honey, za’atar, and sunflower seeds, like a savory sundae. It is creamy, almost soupy, lightly tart, and intensely salty. I tried it alongside Hill Farmstead classics like Edward Pale Ale and Susan IPA, but neither of these harmonized. A German Berliner Weisse was too tart and overwhelmed the feta’s brightness. It was the gentle tang of Jester King’s farmhouse IPA that struck the perfect balance, with bright notes of orange and floral hops complimenting the complexity of the feta cheese.
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK, 24 HOURS A DAY! 155 SHREWSBURY STREET • WORCESTER, MA • 508-791-4535 20 AU GU ST 20 22
I hope you’ve been inspired to get crafty with your summertime snacks. Support some unique local businesses and make some late season memories. Always enjoy these concoctions responsibly and respect open container rules. Pack a cooler and enjoy these pairings on a lake, perhaps? If you do, take a moment to dip your toes in the water and iimmerse yourself in nature’s splendor.
COCKTAIL CORNER THE SUNDOWN SEAN COURTNEY JENNY PACILLO The Sundown recently opened at 34 Green Street in Worcester, and has already become the go to chill zone for drinks in the city. I attribute the instant success to owner Sean Woods, the fact that we all missed the Dive Bar, and to your bartender’s favorite bartender, Sean Courtney. There are a million kind things I could say about Sean Courtney, but I would hate to feed that guy’s ego so let’s just get to the drinks. “A classic daiquiri is really simple. It’s rum, fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup. Shake it, strain it up, that’s it,” Courtney explains. “It’s a classic drink, it’s like an old fashioned drink, perfect for summer. It’s making a comeback. Remember when cosmos made a comeback, from that terrible show Sex in the City? Actually Sex in the City was an okay show.” Courtney hands me a refreshing, light daiquiri with a lime wheel as Woods tells me, “Sugar cane, lime and rum. Good rum, like Plantation rum.” “It’s an easy summer drink to make. You don’t have to tweak it, you don’t need a spring of Rosemary,” Courtney adds. This is the perfect summer drink, and although it’s easy enough to make at home, I suggest grabbing one (or many) at the Sundown and enjoying an always interesting conversation with the wonderful Sean Courtney.
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STYLE • FASHION • BEAUTY
ERIC JAMES YANKO FRANCO
Jose Ramos Jr from Rich Cuts Barber Shop
Daiva Ginkus from Quick Snips
When I walked into Rich Cuts Barber Shop at 243 Lincoln Street in Worcester, Jose Ramos Jr knew exactly which haircut he would give me. “Small boy’s regular or 2 or 3 on side and leave the top a little bit longer. Maybe a little tight fade, shadow it out,” Jose stated confidently.
Like Ginkus, Ramos Jr. spent time making a name for himself by working hard and meeting new people. “You have to get out of your area,” he explains, “On your downtime go for a walk, talk to people. Sitting down you’re not going to get it. Build a relationship with people.” Sal, a well known barber in Worcester noticed Ramos Jr’s dedication and skill to the craft, and arranged a surprise interview for him at the Rob Roy Academy. That was it from there. “Once I was a full time barber, I became a full time barber and that was that. I dedicated my lifestyle to the barber lifestyle.”
Ramos Jr, a graduate of Rob Roy Academy, started cutting his own hair when he was 13 as a way to avoid the line at the local shop by just getting it fixed up. Pretty soon people started to take notice of his natural talent and pretty soon he was cutting the hair of his friends. There were many different avenues Jose could have taken, cutting hair was a good way to occupy his time while also making people feel good. Not to mention the impact that barbers have on the community. They become peoples therapists, a big brother or father figure to some. “Barbers always get the best respect. Barber’s are always loved out here” Worcester has a seemingly endless amount of barbershops throughout the city. Truepenny Barbershop at 14A East Worcester Street has more of a hipster vibe, Michaelangelo’s at 138 Green Street provides high end services, and some barbershops are even open late night. Quick Snips, at 572 West Boylston Street, recently opened but is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite thanks to the kindness and talent of owner Daiva Ginkus. Ginkus is a third generation hair stylist who immigrated to the US from Lithuania in 2008 with her three sons. Her mother and grandmother were both hairdressers, and although Ginkus loved watching her mother create “amazing bee hives and styles”, she was drawn to the neighboring barbershop. “At the salon it’s a lot of action, a lot of talk and that’s the energy, it’s busy energy. The barber shop was more quiet, more reserved, more centered. Conversation was more about life, topics and situations. It was a different energy. I liked it more because I was a more quiet, observant kid. I like to observe people and how they communicate and interact with each other.” Ginkus is quick to credit the previous barbershops she worked at before opening Quick Snips, but she always knew she wanted her own shop. “My dream was always to have my own business all my life, and I just couldn’t believe this opportunity opened up. It’s amazing.”
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“Barbershops are a part of lifestyle,” Ramos Jr. says, “I mean you need a haircut, you need to look presentable. It’s health, it’s hygiene.” As for Ginkus, she says, “My passion was to make men look good. Men don’t give themself enough attention to how they look.” Ultimately, barbershops are a vital part of our community. Barbers like Ramos Jr. and Ginkus have been cutting hair for generations of families.“To be a barber you have to love hair, you have to love being with people and communicating. You’re either meant to do it or you’re not,” Ginkus explains.
S Savvy TYLE BLOCK PARTY AND OUTDOOR BBQ STYLE APRIL GODDARD Hi Pulse readers! Can you believe that it is August already? Summer is slowly drawing to a close, but with just enough weeks to spare to attend those last few outdoor BBQs and block parties. In the midst of the August heat, you might be wondering how to keep your style fresh and get out of the cycle of the same outfits that you have been wearing all summer, while still keeping current and cool. We have a solution for you! So if you are pumped to end the summer stylishly, dear reader, carry on to discover four outfit ideas that will be perfect for your next get-together! 1. Vintage Graphic Tee and Jean Shorts: This is the time of year that you can go a bit darker with a tee and denim shorts, especially if you are attending a party in the late afternoon or early evening. Keeping it cool (literally and figuratively) and casual is the name of the game here, with adding something a little extra in the way of a graphic tee instead of a plain white one. One of the big trends that I have been seeing recently is picking a vintage motif with a classic show, artist, or music group for that bit of nostalgia. Plus, it could be a definite conversation starter!
I am a big fan of just throwing a dress on for an outdoor BBQ because it is quick, easy, and fairly cool. This time of year, you can get away with darker, richer colors as well. Think sunset rust, dark taupe or brown, or even black (reader beware if you’re going to be in the sun all day though, black is better suited for a night-time event). If it gets cooler in the evening, you can simply throw a cardigan or a denim jacket over your dress and you have the perfect outfit!
2. Full Length Maxi Dress:
A pair of light-wash, loose fit jeans are something a little different that will help to keep you cool and stylish. I always recommend dressing in layers when going somewhere, because if the weather changes you have something to fall back on. If it’s a particularly cool day in August, try a tank with a cardigan over it. Too hot? Simply just take it off and show off that stylish shirt underneath.
3. Jeans, a Tank, and a Cardigan:
4. Jumpsuits: This one is for the parents of little ones. If you need to
keep cool, stylish, AND practical (meaning you can bend, run, and lift) then a jumpsuit will be your best friend. It is a one-piece look, so you really don’t even have to coordinate separates! Just pick either a shorts jumpsuit or pants, throw on some shoes and shades and off you go! Soak up the last of that summer sun in style while you’re enjoying those cookouts, block parties and outdoor hangs with friends!
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OUT & ABOUT WORCESTER PRIDE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!
GIULIANO D’OR AZIO
Hey there Worcester Queers and allies! It’s already August, which means Pride is coming up in September. “But Giuliano, we just celebrated Pride month in June!” Officially Pride is observed in June for most of the world. For years, Worcester has done Pride in September. Some say it’s to accommodate the return of the city’s college crowd. Another reason may be to avoid competition with larger Pride celebrations in the region, like Boston and Providence. Either way, we get to be excited for a bunch of queer stuff happening in the city over the span of two weekends! This year, Pride Worceter is taking place from September 2nd through 11th. Pride Worcester is organized by Worcester’s Queer Coalition. The organizing committee is planning the main Pride Festival event on September 10 in downtown Worcester, with the rest of events being independently organized by participating organizations. Most of the major events are taking place on weekends, but there are a host of other events throughout the week. There’s some really exciting stuff going on this year, including a major queer takeover of Worcester’s Palladium. The “Pride Worcester Pageant” is taking place on August 20 at the Brick Box Theater on Franklin Street. All members of the local LGBTQ+ community are invited to participate. There are no categories, so get in there and show ‘em what you’ve got! On September 1, the Pride flag will be raised at City Hall with a short ceremony. On Friday September 2, the Woo Sox are hosting “Pride at Polar Park”, starting at 5:30 (National Anthem sung by yours truly!). “Latin Night Dance Social” is also happening on September 2 at the Brick Box Theater, presented by local queer nightlife business Queer The Scene. On Tuesday, September 6, ArtsWorcester is hosting “Sips & Sights”, a gallery event where guests will have the chance to preview artwork before it’s open to the public! “Vogue Worcester” is a two-night free vogue workshop by Queer The Scene, happening on September 6 and 7 at the Brick Box. For the horticulturally inclined, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is hosting its Pride evening on September 8. The “Queer Youth Prom” is happening at the Crompton Building’s White Room. \ On September 9, queer-youth-serving nonprofit Love Your Labels will be hosting “Queer AF: Art + Fashion” fundraiser at the Palladium. The main stage will be home to designers, models and performers who break barriers and celebrate individuality and community through fashion and art that has no boundaries. Following the show, the “Floating Dance Floor” after party will be held in the Palladium’s upstairs space. Floating Dance Floor is an homage to the venue-hopping dance party of the same name, started by Worcester’s Lesbian community in the 1970s. For more info and tickets to this one of a kind event, check out QueerAF.org. Saturday September 10 will be the date for some of the more traditional Worcester Pride events. The Pride Festival around the common, organized in partnership with Creative Hub Worcester, will block off portions of Franklin and Portland Streets for a makers market, food vendors, and an outdoor main stage. That night, the MB Lounge will host its annual Pride Block Party. Sunday, September 11 will be the final day of Pride festivities, with a Wormtown Brewery Drag Brunch, followed by The Woo Bar & Grill’s Tea Dance. Hopefully you’ll make a point to come out and be wonderfully fabulous as we celebrate Queer identity in Worcester!
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For more information, and a full calendar of events, please visit prideworcester.org/events. Bio Giuliano D’Orazio (he/him) is a Worcester native, musician, music educator, member of the queer community, and a board member of Love Your Labels. Email: email@example.com Instagram: @musicbygiuliano
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420 50 8 IN THE
RUNNIN WITH THE DEVIL’S LETTUCE
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Some of the kind people at KindRun reached out to make sure I knew about what they’ve got going on. Knowing that I have a proclivity for bubbly water, their rep Julia was all too excited to show me how easy it would be to acquire infused seltzer from them without leaving my home. With more and more delivery options available, I’m pumped to see more curated cannabis delivery services like KindRun. They offer a collection of options for purchase and the ordering couldn’t be easier. I stay fairly busy, so anyone that can help get cannabis to me easier is beneficial in my books. Their minimum order amounts are reasonable, so if you’re in need of some supplies with no time to run to the store, maybe give them a try? COLOR ME IMPRESSED
I recently went to my first cannabis networking event. This particular meet up was hosted by Canna Mgt and included a smattering of really interesting people from the industry. The most notable company I learned about that night is called HUUE. They are making plant-based vapes that come as pre-packed pucks, perfect for their vaporizer or a DynaVap. For those, like me, who didn’t even know about DynaVaps, they are a battery-free dry herb vaporizer that can be heated with a butane lighter. I was told that HUUE is focused on making the vaporizing experience better. Since the meet up, I’ve gotten to try it first hand using a DynaVap. It only took a couple minutes or so for the butane lighter to bring the vape up to temp and the hit was extremely clean. Like most flower vaping experiences, I took a few good whacks off the puck and there were still plenty of it to go. What’s also cool is that you could take one of their pucks and put it in a glass bowl, and hit it with a lighter. Because of the way it’s packed with the air hole in the middle, it burns nice and slow with no flare ups like a normal pack of flower. I don’t vape often but if it’s going to be this easy to pack a punch I’m gonna have to move more towards this method. GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAYS
A recent report from the Cannabis Control Commission shows that the most popular day for Massachusetts residents to purchase cannabis is Fridays, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a 5 week period from May 30 to July 3, Friday saw an average sales of almost $5.5 million compared to Monday or Tuesday averages which were only over $3 million. Having this information allows us, the consumers, to plan our trips accordingly. Also we know that if Fridays are the busiest times and a local dispensary doesn’t want to staff appropriately, we’ll find a place that does. With no shortage of dispensaries in our area it should also come as no surprise that positive user experience drives repeat sales. So basically, I’ll probably make my purchases on Mondays or Tuesdays, just to make my transactions as quick as possible. I just need to make sure I plan ahead for the weekends... THANKS FOR READING AND HAPPY TRAILS! -TRAVIS (@HUNCHBACKTRAVIS)
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CITY LIVING • ARCHITECTURE • DESIGN
DESIGNING WITH PLANTS VINCENT PACIFICO One of the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways to make your home more vibrant and inviting is to decorate it with plants. Whether you choose baskets with hanging vines, pots on the floor or a window sill herb garden, bringing just a little bit of nature into your home can help to raise your mood, add more color to a bland room or in some cases even cleanse the air. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, house plants can be quite simple to take care of and easily forgiving if you forget to occasionally water them. We live in a time when repurposing and adapting old items is the norm. Anything can be a planter if it has good drainage and is the right size for your plant. Old wood crates, tool cabinet drawers, metal jugs, and even just your classic terra cotta pot all make unique planter options and are sure to draw attention. Window sills are great locations for potted plants to sit on especially if they get good light. Some plants require more light than others so make sure to do your research to know which plants to choose. Spice up a blank wall by leaning an old ladder against it and have potted plants sit on the steps and hang down towards the floor. Plants that hang and grow below the pot are great to use for this design idea. A plant on the edge of a bookshelf is just enough to bring a little charm into a lifeless room. Using plants as home decor can either simply accentuate a well designed room or overwhelm a current boring design if you prefer it more jungle like. Any types of succulents are great for plant beginners because they require minimal care and you can plant many different types of them in the same pot and they usually do just fine. One of personal favorites is the snake plant, also known as Mother-in-Laws Tongue. These look great planted in white pots on a stand and can spice up a rather blank corner of a room. They do well in indirect light and “thrive on neglect”. Some of your typical hanging plants are your spiders, ferns and string of pearls. Hang them in front of windows and from ceiling hooks to provide privacy in front of a bedroom window. Hanging ferns on a front porch is a good way to add a bit more curb appeal to your home and make your outdoor living space more lively. An herb garden can add some greenery to your kitchen and save you some money on fresh ingredients which you can grow year around. Worcester has some great small shops to buy plants from and learn from the staff about caring for them. Located at Crompton Place in the Canal District, Seed to Stem is one of the most popular plant stores which has a wide variety of succulents, cactus, hanging plants and much more. Hans House of Plants, The Plant Ward, and La Jolie Fleur, are just a few of the other small shops that carry great quality house plants. Once you buy a few of your first house plants, you’ll definitely be back for more. Whether you’re trying to make your home office more appealing or just adding to a sunroom botanical garden, house plants can definitely play a role in the way a space makes you feel. The internet is full of great DIY plant design tips and tricks that you can do in your own home so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep it cheap and see what you have lying around that you can use for planters, you might be surprised. Try something new, shop local and don’t forget to water!
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SPORTS & FITNESS
The list this year includes last year’s champion Schultzy’s in Sutton, Mama Roux in Shrewsbury, Captain Ron’s, George’s Hot Dog Stand in Fitchburg, Stix and Pux in Sterling, and Shake N Dog in Leominster.
HOT DOG SAFARI SHAUN CONNOLLY Thanks to hot dog aficionados Tom Mahoney and Bryan O’Donnell, the Worcester Hot Dog Safari has been the charity event of the summer for over a decade. Mahoney describes it as a “pub crawl for hot dogs, where you go to a bunch of hot dog places around. We all rate them and give a trophy to the best one. T-shirts and hats are sold to commemorate the day, and we have a big party and everyone has a lot of fun. Money from the merchandise and entry fee all get donated to the Worcester County Food Bank.” In the last decade the Safari has been able to raise over $20,000, including $6,900 just last year alone. Mahoney says, “food insecurity helps solve a lot of outstanding issues in your community and this event helps keep the bank fresh in people’s minds.” The hub for the whole day is Ralph’s Rock Diner, where participants will be able to pick up their score sheets, t-shirts and other merch (including this year’s specialty item, a crewneck sweatshirt. on that morning starting at 10:30AM on August 13th. From there everyone will hit up all of the different hot dog places on this year’s list. After everyone has sampled and scored the dogs, Safarians head back to Ralph’s by 4PM to debate the best dogs, enjoy a libation, and wait for the scores to be tallied and the announcement of who this year’s Hot Dog Safari Champion is. The coveted Top Dog award is given to the Safarian who consumes the most documented dogs during the day, with least one from each place. There will be bands, a dunk tank and a very cute addition to this year’s entertainment, Worcester’s Hottest Dog Competition. “We’re extremely excited to also have the Hottest Dog Competition this year. We’re partnering with Second Chance Animal Services to bring some of their adoptable dogs to Ralph’s, where Safarians will be able to use donation dollars to vote for the cutest pup and name the first ever Hottest Dog,” says O’Donnell. If that wasn’t enough, it just so happens that Tim Capello of the movie Lost Boys fame will be playing upstairs at Ralph’s that night. If you don’t remember the glistening bare chested saxophone player from the brat pack era vampire movie, you’re missing out. Capello has been gracious enough to be raffling off 10 tickets to the show during the Safari, where that money will also be donated to the Food Bank. 28 AU GU ST 20 22
Mahoney’s motivation behind the Safari is simply beautiful, he explains, “This event is my muse, it’s become my identity, what I wake up for in the morning. It’s what gets me up in the winter, it brings people together, it’s survived the pandemic. It’s a way to remember old Worcester and celebrate new Worcester. You can relive your childhood, and watch a new generation experience this city.” O’Donnell adds, “Hot Dogs are kind of a perfect reflection of America. Diverse, ever-evolving, and co-opted from immigrants. Most people just want to enjoy their hot dog without examining the difficult truth of how it was formed. Well we do. We want to see the hot dog for what it isn’t, and what it could be, and we want to try and use it for good. Because a hot dog can be whatever we want it to be, if only we all rise together and say: A Hot Dog never sleeps.” “A sign of a successful Safari is if people have a good time and a bunch of money gets donated to the food bank,” said Mahoney. In that case here’s to more successes.
For more information on the Worcester Hot Dog Safari, you can find them on Facebook @Theworcesterhotdogsafari and on Instagram @worcesterhotdogsafari. If you can’t make the event and would still like to donate to the Worcester County Food Bank you can get more information at www.foodbank.org
Shaun2 KNOWS SPORTS?
Worcester has a strong roller skating history, and I’m not just talking about Skylite. Worcester resident Samuel Winslow held a mass-produced roller skates patent in 1880. Bigelow Gardens, one of the nation’s first outdoor roller skating rinks once sat in place of the DCU. Thanks to Ellen Benson, the city has WooSkates, a free, weekly skating meetup whose motto is “All Wheels, All Ages”. WooSkates, “started very organically when I was picking up my order from the Worcester Food Hub in Summer 2020 when a friend saw my roller skates in my car,” says co-founder Ellen Benson. They agreed to meet the following Wednesday at the Worcester Common to skate, more friends joined and two years later It has expanded from an underground idea to a full blown Wednesday evening event. WooSkates meets at Holmes Field every Wednesday from 5:30-9ish to groove, dance, talk, and ultimately skate around for a bit. The playlist is always on point, featuring anything from Anderson Paak to Bad Bunny. Skaters vary from beginners to seemingly Olympic level pros and everywhere in between. There are roller blades, roller skates, scooters, skateboards, longboards, those with helmets, others without helmets, all kinds of pads and some pretty amazing styles. Sometimes there’s a dog there. Other times my son is rolling around in his stroller. Benson attributes the success from the group’s participation in the Tercentennial Parade to their recent growth. “The Tercentennial Parade was a blast, we had such a great group of people who enthusiastically skated the course showing the city our admiration and being our truest selves. We shared love and felt it. It brought us a good amount of publicity and some new joiners.” Their presence in the parade let them shout that creed for the nearly two mile route and the community took it to heart. Friendship was a theme heard by many of the skaters and a common word these folks leaned hard onto. “You always see someone helping someone else,” says Elizabeth P, “the friends here always help.” It’s hard not to completely buy into the culture. You see smiles, as they dance, skate, laugh and goof around each week. “We welcome anyone to stop by and give it a try. We have dads on skateboards coaching their kids and community members who show interest, people who have been free skating since they were little and enjoy zooming as fast as they can or community members who need to be social as work from home isn’t scratching their social itch,” says Benson In an ideal world WooSkates would “love to have a solid spot with indoor and outdoor access and a tiny shed to hold skates and gear.” Realistically though they say they are thriving on the underground, grass-roots energy for now. With a popular Instagram page, and word of mouth they’ve been able to skate with people from all backgrounds and ages. “It’s a social scene without having to go to a bar,” says longtime WooSkater Krysta K. With the absence of Skylite and the presence of COVID this is a great way to be social, enjoy a little exercise and breathe in the fresh air. “It’s a fun excuse to get out of the house,” adds fellow skater Clay Curry. Add more fun to your summer schedule with WooSkates, who suggest you come over and groove with them. It’s a “combination of cardio, absolute bliss, community and friendship,” says skater Penelope A. She says she does this because she “doesn’t like to work out!” Despite her feelings on going to the gym or not, this meetup is absolutely working out. For more information on WooSkates and their schedule, visit and follow Woo_Skates on Instagram, Benson promises a post every Tuesday about where and when the meetup is on Wednesday.
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NEW IN THE WOO: STEEL & WIRE JENNIFER RUSSO Looking for a place where everyone knows your name? That local spot that is equally as approachable as it is stylish, built for conversation, and boasts a little local history? Well, Steel & Wire is going to be that perfect place to grab a seat.
with mezcal instead of tequila, which adds a little smoky flavor, and our house-made grapefruit sage shrub,” Mara shares.
Owners Frank and Mara Inangelo wanted to create an experience that would pair the classic bar atmosphere with a little casual sophistication – fostering a good time with friends over fantastic drinks and live music, delicious snacks, and a cool vibe. Steel & Wire opened in May of this year and has already become a hot spot in town. “It’s been a goal of ours for a long time and we’ve spent the last few years shaping our ideas and laying the groundwork for it. It’s so exciting to see it come to life and we’re appreciative of the warm reception the bar has received so far,” says Mara.
There are the classic drinks everyone knows and loves as well as a rotating drink menu that brings seasonal fresh ingredients to the glass. They even have a drink named after Harvey Ball, Worcester native and the designer of the iconic smiley face. If you are feeling a little hungry while sipping those libations, the bar also offers a variety of snacks, including bar nuts, olives with feta, Bavarian pretzels, and a from scratch hummus and vegetable plates that customers rave about. Mara recommends pairing the Rite of Spring (a white negroni cocktail) with their delectable meat and cheese board.
Frank has also been a full-time, professional bartender for over 20 years, and his experience is apparent in the creative, high-quality drink menu. He was a long-time employee at Nick’s – the establishment that occupied the space before he and his wife purchased it – so his roots run deep into the brick and mortar itself.
There is trivia every Tuesday and Karaoke on Thursdays, and the stage welcomes local bands from in and around the city. Upcoming events this month include Little Sugar and the Big Spoonful playing on August 12th and Boston-based Sarah Levecque Band on August 26th. Bands interested in playing on their stage can reach out via email to inquire.
The bar’s name ties into Worcester’s industrial history – the American Steel & Wire Company, established in the late 1800s, was one of the city’s greatest manufacturing giants. Ichabod Washburn, a blacksmith, ascertained a way to create wire from metal sheets using machinery. This inspired Frank and Mara to name their bar Steel & Wire, a nod to this innovative piece of Worcester’s past. Located on the corner of Millbury and Ellsworth Streets, local music, trivia, and karaoke fills the building with sound and energy, creating that warm stirring of the senses when paired with an expertly made cocktail. It invites you in with open arms. “We like to think of Steel & Wire as a neighborhood bar with a little something extra. It’s comfortable and laid back, but we serve a variety of classic and modern cocktails made with fresh ingredients and high-quality spirits, as well as beers (including some from local breweries) and wine – our Paloma has been a huge seller. We make it
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When asked what her favorite part about working in the food and beverage industry is, Mara responded that “every day is a little different and bartending is increasingly recognized as a true profession and craft. People love to watch the process of their cocktail being made almost as much as they enjoy drinking it!” We certainly agree! Learn more about Steel & Wire and view their menu and upcoming events at SteelandWireBar.com and follow them on Instagram at @steelandwirebar
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