The Jamaica Plain neighborhood in Boston is a diverse area known for large populations of Latinos, activists, artists and hipsters. Some of Boston’s top-rated restaurants reside within the 02130 zip code, including Ten Tables, Ghazal, and The Haven. While these new hot spots serve up gourmet fare, their gourmet prices leave JP residents aching for good cheap food. The Galway House on Centre Street relieves that ache.
The Galway House is located at 710 Centre Street, in the heart of JP’s commercial district. With a private parking lot out back and the front door open until 2 A.M., this convenient spot attracts all kinds of traffic at all hours of the day. The menu is just as eclectic as the clientele. Many reviewers on Yelp.com mention the scary old brick facade of the restaurant, but even more rave about the food and service they find once inside.
Come in during the lunch hours for a sandwich. Order a $9 open faced steak sandwich, and unbutton your pants as you consume a hearty ten ounces of beef on a sub roll, accompanied with a heap of onion rings and a piece of seasonal fruit. “They eyeball it,” explains bartender Mike Owens when asked how much steak is on the sandwich. “It’s the junior steak, and they eyeball it, definitely in favor of the customer.” You might also try the eggplant parm sandwich, weighing in at approximately four pounds, and enjoy it while watching a daytime Sox game with local old-timers.
Perhaps you’ll sit next to Herb, former owner of neighborhood staple Herb’s TV, whose shop sign adorned South Street for over 40 years and now hangs inside the Galway House. Or maybe you’ll be near the door as Mr. McIntyre, father of New Kids on the Block singer Joey, comes in for his weekly take-out order. Or there’s a chance you’ll find a new friend in a tattooed artist or bicycle-commuting doctor; a sample of JP’s new residents. Whoever you meet, you can be sure they’re there for the same reason: the unreasonably delicious but reasonably priced food.
|Above: A bartender buzzes briskly behind the bar. Overhead, to the right of a glowing MBTA sign, hangs the Herb's TV sign, gifted by Herb to the Galway House in 2010. Photo credit to Galway regular Joel Veak.|
Dinner specials change nightly on dry erase boards in the dining room, but the regular menu is where you’ll find the best deals. The 20 ounce prime rib is as big as my head, but only costs $18. Served with a soup or salad and choice of two sides, this might be the best deal in Boston. Or perhaps the Jr. Steak, nine ounces for $9, is the better bargain.
In an Irish pub with an Italian cook (“the best of both worlds,” the website boasts), one can’t neglect the pasta menu. The Galway Italian Platter might force you to head to neighboring thrift shop Boomerang for a bigger pair of pants after dinner. For just $15, the plate serves eggplant parm, chicken parm, sausage, meatball, and pasta, as well as a soup or salad. The menu description of the Baked Lasagna says “HUGE,” and even at only $11, you can be sure they’re not lying.
|Pictured: The heaping Fried Clam platter and the enormous Montreal Steak. And no, those plates aren't just extra small!|
With such great lunch and dinner options attracting so many people to the restaurant, the bar has had to expand food service as well. This spring saw the launch of a late night menu, which runs from 11:30 P.M to 1:30 A.M. Monday through Saturday. You’re not just looking at wing dings and potato skins on this menu. Order a bar pizza for just $7 and wash it back with one of over 25 beers on tap. Grab an $8 burger, or that open-faced steak sandwich, and your nighttime drunk munchies will be cured. Bartender Mike is not only the cutest bartender in JP, his years of restaurant experience will have you feeling as relaxed and sated as Thanksgiving Day by the time last call rolls around.
|Above: an iPhone drawing of the facade of the Galway House regular Peter Allan.|
The Galway House is open from 11 A.M to 2 A.M., with take-out options available during regular dining hours. Late night options are available Monday through Saturday. Visit their website at www.GalwayHouse.net. Like them on Facebook and get nightly updates of the action at the bar, or become a fan of head bartender “Mikey Galway.” To visit via public transportation, take the T to Green Street or Forest Hills, or have the 39 bus drop you at the front door. Come in for the cheap eats, stay for the 52’ plasma TVs, friendly service, unique conversations, and cold beers.