Named after the owners' beloved golden retriever, Homer—Beacon Hill's much-buzzed-about new restaurant—has an intoxicating, gluttonous aroma of charred bread and cooking pita that spills out the door and lures in expectant diners. You can smell it from a block away. And if that's not enough to convince you to hightail it over, I have two words that will: cocktail window.
Chef Logan Cox and wife Sara Knowles have been planning the logistics for Homer for more than nine months and are excited to bring it to their neighborhood. "We shopped around but knew we wanted to be close to home," said Knowles. "We live two blocks from here and love local spots like Bar Del Corso. It's been a journey, and we're happy to finally be able to serve the community."
Cox, formerly head chef at Sitka & Spruce, is cooking up Mediterranean-inspired dishes in an open kitchen so you can see where the magic happens. He's always loved using spices prevalent to that cuisine, and also the fact that Mediterranean dishes are conducive to sharing. "I love bread and love dipping bread in things," he said. "I always knew I wanted to serve good food and drinks in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. And when you eat here, you're literally breaking bread with someone and eating with your hands."
Cox has been in the restaurant industry since he was 15, and after working in high-end and fresh-produce-driven kitchens like Sitka, he knew he wanted to serve high-quality food that everyone could enjoy. "People can't always afford to eat in the best restaurants in town," he said. "Our goal is to serve high-quality food with fresh ingredients and make it affordable."
Starters like hummus with chickpeas swimming in a little pool of olive oil, or labneh with roasted tomato and mint are offered with a side of warmed pita straight out of the giant stone oven, the kitchen's focal point. Don't come here without trying an order or two of charred carrots (dressed in a light sauce with turmeric, mustard seeds, and chilies), or grilled beets with pumpkin seeds, dulce peppers, and cilantro.
Nearly everything on the menu is wood-fired, including unique entrées you don't often see, like juicy, fall-off-the-bone lamb ribs served with local plums and topped with a light sprinkle of pistachios. The menu is focused on quality over quantity, and Cox and Knowles wouldn't have it any other way. "This isn't the Cheesecake Factory," said Knowles. "We're serving a short menu of simple dishes with sophisticated flavors."
Homer's drink menu features five house cocktails that include the Brownsteine (bourbon with sweet vermouth and cardamom bitters), as well as draft and bottled beer, local cider, and a short wine list. While the restaurant can seat up to 50 patrons (there are several communal style tables for larger groups and ample bar seating), it's already gained a steady following. "It's been rewarding to hear people say they've been following our journey from before we opened," Knowles said.
If you do have to wait, take solace in that walk-up cocktail window—order a drink (or some Homer-made soft-serve ice cream), and nurse it on the patio until a table opens up.