International Chefs Day is celebrated all over the world on October 20 of every year. The day celebrates Chefs and Gurus. To celebrate International chef day I-AM.AM team has researched Boston-based Armenian-owned food places/ restaurants to make your Armenian appetite fulfilled.
Do you remember what your mom’s prepared meals taste like? Mmm… that’s a taste that no one can forget. Even if we pay for outdoor food, spend huge money in an expensive restaurant where meals are delicious, we always strive to find a place where the food will remind us of our childhood. Remember the good French cartoon ‘’Ratatouille’’? The Chef was trying to satisfy the capricious food critic, and he fulfilled his desire with a simple French ratatouille that reminded him of his childhood. Those who live far from Armenia can feel the struggle. So what if we say that there are restaurants 10-20 miles away from your house where you can ‘’taste’’ your childhood?
Let’s start with the definition of the name of this Armenian restaurant in the heart of Boston, South End. “Anoush’ella” means MAY IT BE SWEET. The Armenian expression of love and enjoyment is to serve someone who enjoys food and is grateful to you. The owners of the restaurant are Nina and Raffi Festekjian. They believe when food is prepared with love and passion there is no way that meal will not be tasty.
The owners of Anoushella are originally from Beirut, Lebanon. Living in the United States, they desired to bring Eastern Mediterranean food into a casually elegant atmosphere, which brought them to open Anoush’ella in the South End in 2017.
Having successfully served the Boston area for the last four years, Anoushella is the favorite of not only local Armenians living in Massachusetts but to the local international residents. The menu is based on the traditional Armenian recipes that you can find in every Armenian house. Anoushella often hosts community gatherings at their space and actively supports the community, and organizes humanitarian fundraisers to support Armenia.
Are you on the hunt for a local Armenian restaurant that captures the tradition and comfort of Armenian cuisine? Then visit Anoushella and don’t forget to check out a “virtual pop-up” Nu Burger (Founded by chef Nina Festekjian) within the Anoush’Ella Space in Boston’s South End.
Not everyone has heard about this place, right? Though reading the name, one already would guess the roots of this Cambridge-based Armenian restaurant. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, inside the Sheraton Commander Hotel in the heart of Harvard Square, Nubar is an Armenian-owned restaurant preserving national Armenian family recipes yet combining them with the most delicious modern and international cuisines.
Are you thinking of Noubar Afeyan, when reading the name of this place? Well, we would assure you that the founder of the place is no one else but Edward Nubar Guleserian, the president of the Sheraton Commander Hotel in Cambridge, who unfortunately passed away in 2013.
Michael Guleserian shares that Nubar restaurant was established in 2011 and recently renovated in 2019 to meet the seamless melding of the timeless elegance of the Sheraton Commander with a modern look and feel, and it stays consistent with what our guests appreciate about Nubar.
The restaurant has a wide selection of drinks. In addition, the bar consists of a rotating selection of local and regional craft beer of anyone’s choice.
The combination of Noor (Նուռ) in a name and a logo has brought us to another Armenian owned restaurant in the Boston area. The Noor Mediterranean Grill is located in the student-centric Sommerville, MA. Accessible from all locations, very close to Boston Noor Mediterranean Grill is one of the locals’ favorites. Tired from school or work and do not want to come out of your cozy house? The Noor offers a delivery option to surrounding residents as well. Luckily, stats co-owner Hilda Darian, Noor has already been offering takeout and delivery prior to COVID -19 so they already had those services in place when the pandemic sparked. Unfortunately, the dining room has been closed since the start of COVID-19.
Noor’s menu offers variety of Armenian and Mediterranean cuisine. Having a wide selection of options, the owners, Hilda and Arsen, didn’t forget about the vegans and vegetarians. Some of their menu items like falafel, tabouleh, or hummus will satisfy the picky vegan diet keepers.
The restaurant is perfect for college students looking for a quick bite or for those who want to sit down and watch a sports game with friends and enjoy their Armenian/ Mediterranean meal.
Noor Mediterranean Grill is known for its philanthropic activities as well. Noor is one of the Armenian restaurants that actively supported the front-line healthcare workers when the COVID 19 pandemic sparked. The owners of Noor Mediterranean Grill believe that home-cooked meals can heal the soul. (Like any Armenian mother would say to the sick kid, right?)
Another Armenian-owned restaurant (diner) originating from Cambridge, MA. After operating in the Cambridge, MA area for nearly 30 years, Leo’s Place Diner moved to Waltham, MA, and sparked its new beginning.
The brothers Richie and Raffi Bezhian took over this diner from the original owner Charlie Lambros of Charlie’s Kitchen when he decided to retire. Quite a long period, right? During their Harvard Square years, brothers Bezhian served local Armenians and many students, professors, and people who happen to be famous nowadays.
Ben Affleck – whose family moved to Massachusetts when he was three, used to visit Leo’s Place Diner in Harvard Square (currently in Waltham) since he was 12 years old.
“If you go all over the United States of America, you can travel far and wide, and there are many, many hamburgers you could get, but none would be so good as the one you can get at Leo’s Place,” promises Ben. They make me feel at home. They’re comforting and welcoming and warm men, and they cook good food.
Currently, you can find them located in Waltham, opposite the City Hall. But this doesn’t stop their loyal customers from driving during the busy rush hours in the morning to have their breakfast before work. The mix of the Armenian cuisine with the American and local cultures is being brought to you by the Bezhian brothers at Leo’s Place Diner, who are welcome to all customers.
The first few years of business were the hardest, says Aram, the owner of Aram’s Cafe in Belmont, MA. In the beginning, Aram’s Café was a doughnut shop, and coming up with a new concept and new prices was really hard.
Aram’s cafe was established on June 15, 1987, after ten years since Aram moved to the United States with his family. During those ten years, he learned the English language (not forgetting his own Armenian language), opened his own Armenian business in the United States, got citizenship, and helped his parents and sisters come to the United States from Aleppo. Aside from being the most American diner that you can only imagine, Aram’s cafe is unique with its owners’ presence. In addition, he always makes conversation with the diner’s customers at the counter. In the end Aram shares.
“The best part of this job process is to cope with all kinds of people. I don’t care who you are, how much money you have, what’s your background, your religion, your education, what I care about is you. That’s what I like about it.”
Visit the following Armenian restaurants in Boston when traveling there.
We would love to know what was your favorite childhood meal that the taste of what you can’t forget? Let us know in the comments below.
In one of our previous articles, we’ve found Armenian-Owned restaurants and businesses in Philadelphia. Check them out and share with us your location, we will explore all the tasty Armenian places for you.