Perhaps it’s New England’s puritanical work ethic that often makes the midday meal an afterthought. It doesn’t get the same “most important meal of the day” endorsement as breakfast, nor is it paid the same attention as dinner. It’s not even as cool as its culinary hybrid, brunch. While many consider lunch the “middle child” on the food spectrum, it doesn’t have to be—especially in Hingham. Here are some of our favorite local spots and standout dishes guaranteed to be worthy of your lunch hour. Is it noon yet?By Colby Radomski / Photography by Kjeld Mahoney
2 Otis St., Hingham
OPEN SINCE 1989, Stars on Hingham Harbor is to Hingham what Cheers is to Boston. Thanks in part to Chef Richie Daniels, who has been at the helm for more than 21 years, Stars has upheld its reputation for serving delicious scratch-made, American-style grub given a fresh spin. One of the few restaurants in town to serve all three meals, Stars captured our attention with its lunch dishes. The colorful fish tacos taste just as good as they look: fresh local cod is smothered in a homemade seasoned batter and fried to golden perfection, then piled atop crunchy slaw in a soft tortilla and garnished with homemade salsa and chipotle aioli. In addition to their food, Stars is known for its bar program that features a number of local brews, including Eat Well Inc.’s own Entitled IPA. Go ahead and have a pop, we won’t tell.
21 Main St., Hingham
THE AROMAS PULL YOU IN AND THE FOOD GETS YOU HOOKED. The Bloomy Rind is known far and wide as a foodie’s paradise, offering an extensive selection of artisanal cheeses and meats, hard-to-find gourmet pantry foods and lunch items available à la carte. Their signature Cubano sandwich is a favorite on the South Shore, made with slow roasted pork, smoked ham, Gouda, sliced pickles, harissa aioli and mustard that comes pressed between two slices of sourdough bread. While their regular menu stays much the same, Bloomy mixes things up daily with a rotating smorgasbord of creative salads (think shaved Brussels sprouts Caesar salad), dips, flatbreads, crêpes, petite sandwiches and specialty items. Be sure to end your meal with one of their chewy quarter-pound chocolate chip cookies. They’re to die for.
150 North St., Hingham
IT’S NAME MAY SAY “SQUARE” but the cuisine at Square Cafe is anything but boring. Owned by Patti Libby, this sophisticated bistro has been a fixture on Hingham’s upscale dining scene since it opened in 2001, recognized for its kitchen creativity and menu filled with modern American fare given a French-Asian twist. Consistency is key here, and with talent overflowing from the kitchen, there’s nothing on the menu that isn’t exceptional. A fan favorite and lighter, summertime dish is the Thai spicy shrimp salad: baby spinach mixed with shredded crunchy vegetables and mango that comes dressed in a spicy Thai peanut and red curry dressing, then topped with Thai-seasoned grilled shrimp. Can’t decide what to order? How about a three-in-one meal? Their popular café trio comes with homemade soup, quiche and a small salad that’s sure to satisfy whatever you’re craving.
73 South St., Hingham
OWNED BY BRENDAN HIGGINS, this downtown pizza joint is anything but average, serving up rustic, thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza that’s made entirely from scratch. With so many flavor combinations, there’s something for every palate. “I didn’t want to go the traditional Italian route,” Higgins says. We love the roasted veggie, which comes loaded with fresh mozzarella, portobello mushrooms, roasted eggplant, basil and zucchini. For those looking to kick it up a notch, try “The Braveheart”: grilled chicken, jalapeño, sweet corn niblets and a drizzling of spicy Sriracha sauce. The generous portions (their “slice” is the equivalent of two at a typical shop) are sure to stave off hunger until dinnertime. Not in the mood for a pizza? No problem. Peel offers plenty of other items, including their famous skillet-baked chicken wings. Did we mention they even serve beer?
116 North St., Hingham
IT’S HAILED AS THE “HOME OF THE PERFECT PINT,” but The Snug is also home to some of the tastiest Irish pub food south of Boston. As cozy as its name suggests, the eatery features only a dozen or so tables, a small, 14-seat bar and a crowd of regulars who know each other by name. If you’re looking to feast on comfort food in a no-frills atmosphere, this is your spot. Aside from their award-winning marinated steak tips and fish and chips, the shepherd’s pie is a standout in our book, reflecting the Irish roots of its owners. A County Mayo family recipe of co-owner Ellen Brown, the dish is made with a mixture of ground beef, carrots and corn that comes topped with creamy mashed potatoes. No luck needed here for this winning plate!
60 South St., Hingham
FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A HEALTHY FOOD FIX, Lido Juice has got you covered. From nutrient dense juices made on the spot, to protein packed superfood smoothie bowls, chia seed pudding cups and savory dehydrated kale and garlic chips, the all-organic juice cafe’s offerings promise to keep your energy levels high and your belly full, sans the unwanted guilt. New to the menu this summer are hearty homemade rice bowls filled with wild rice and fresh veggies. Our pick is a spicy and sweet flavor combination: wild rice cooked in sesame oil that’s topped with homemade kimchi, and tamarind and Sriracha marinated broccoli. Take your meal to go or dine al fresco at one of the cafe’s bright red sidewalk tables.
19 Shipyard Dr., Hingham
SOME DAYS YOU’RE JUST IN THE MOOD FOR A BURGER, we get it. One place famously dedicated to the patty sandwich is, you guessed it, Wahlburgers. With a variety of flavor combinations and vegetarian-friendly options for non-carnivores, there’s something for just about everyone on the menu. Those looking to keep it simple, try Paul’s favorite, the “Our Burger,” which comes with a 1/3-pound burger, government cheese, LTO, Paul’s signature Wahl sauce and homemade pickles. Not in the mood for a sandwich? Check out their new lineup, which includes items like mac ‘n cheese with bacon as well as lighter options like chopped salad bowls. Pair your meal with a frosty local brew straight from the tap or one of their sinfully good spiked adult frappes, and you’re sure to beat the afternoon doldrums!