It’s a measure of Krista Kranyak’s love for Jamaica Plain that she opened Grass Fed in the neighborhood. The casual and sleek burger bar was a concept previously lacking in JP’s growing culinary landscape. When the former Bon Savor space became available last fall, after the owners became locked out of the country in a heavily chronicled visa saga, Kranyak jumped on the opportunity to take over the property, just three doors down from her flagship and much-lauded Ten Tables restaurant on JP's part of Centre Street.
“I was focused for some time on a concept where quality food could be served in a fast food setting,” says Kranyak, who owns and operates three successful Ten Tables franchises with locations in JP, Cambridge and Provincetown. “I wanted my menu to include all the classic burgers that most of us grew up eating but to also offer some specialty burgers.”
Oddly shaped, slightly overcooked and lightly charred, Grass Fed’s burgers are indeed reminiscent of childhood backyard barbecue fare. The ones we had were cooked a little over medium. No pink at all. Even so, they’re pretty phenomenal.
But these aren’t your pop’s burgers; served on a modest white bread bun, Grass Fed’s five-ounce burgers are offered with a host of appealing enhancements. Artisinal bacon? Fried oysters? Cilantro-lime aioli? A fried egg? Stinky Stilton? Yes, please.
A ground chicken burger — a welcome alternative to the oft-seen on menus yet ho-hum turkey burger — comes topped with mozzarella and pesto. The chickpea burger and mushroom burger are necessary vegetarian-friendly options. Tabletop condiments include housemade ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce and A10 sauce (Grass Fed’s version of A1 steak sauce.)
You'll find plenty of attractive options for non-burger eaters: BLTs, shrimp po’boys, fish and chips, pastrami on rye and hot dogs score spots on the menu. Fries come sea-salted, spicy, with truffle and Parmesan or made from beets. Potato chips are housemade, golden onion rings are mammoth, and poutine —fries drenched in cheese with meaty gravy or mushrooms — makes a welcome menu appearance. (Note to restaurateurs: more poutine on menus, please!)
To drink, find milkshakes, traditional or boozed up (seemingly a fad of late — here with vodka, rum, stout beer, tequila, Kahlua or Bailey’s), natural sodas, and an impressive list of local bottled brews and an expansive wine list.
Grass Fed’s food purveyors include Brookline's Allandale Farms and Dighton-based Buckle Farm (owners Jim and Wendy Buckle are JP residents). Grass-fed beef is sourced from family-run East Orange Belties in East Orange, Vermont. Chef Sean Callahan will be overseeing both the JP Ten Tables kitchen as well as Grass Fed line.
As expected of any newly-opened spot, service stumbles at times and has yet to find its stride. Foodie hype and general curiosity finds the 31-seat place packed of late, and it’s entirely possible, having placed your order at the counter, to find yourself with a burger in hand, and no place to sit. But it’s likely Kranyak isn’t sweating this small stuff.
“We plan to continue along with the same tradition that Ten Tables JP has, not only in this community but in all of Boston.” she says. “We’ll earn customer trust by continuing to serve affordable, consistent, quality, tasty food with good service.”
And with Kranyak at the helm, there’s little doubt Grass Fed will soon be another feather in her well-crafted cap.
Grass Fed, 605 Centre Street, JP
Prices: Burgers: $7.50-$12, Sandwiches: $9-$10, Fries & Poutine: $4-$6
Accepts credit cards, not currently offering take-out
Open Daily, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.