Fired Up

A coffeehouse/restaurant with oven-baked food and '90s nostalgia

areaPhoto: Melissa Ostrow



t’s hard to find a casual yet chic place that serves all three meals plus local beers and wine and great coffee. But we’ve found one. (Hey, it’s what we do.) Area Four is both a coffeehouse/bakery and bar/restaurant, open all day. The comfortable vibe and communal tables make it an ideal place for studying or catching up with friends. Mornings are quiet, while lunchtime merges into dinner with oven-cooked food—90 percent of the menu comes out of the wood-fired ovens—and a bar menu that includes local and organic drinks. The food is the work of six-time James Beard Award nominee Michael Leviton of Lumiere fame: thin-crust pizzas, shared plates, and sizzling casseroles. And in addition to unique flavor combinations such as clam and bacon, white anchovy, and soprassata, you’ll find hidden touches in the Union Square location sure to awaken your inner ’90s self: You can play Nintendo while you dine, for instance, re-experiencing old school favorites like Tetris and Donkey Kong with your own game controller, and finish your trip down memory lane with a classic Hoodsie cup for dessert. Thornton and Zarowin



Area 4 (the restaurant spells it out) was named that by city planners when the neighborhood was reclaimed from the Charles River. Elias Howe Jr. invented the sewing machine there in 1846 and Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, held the first two-way telephone conversation between Watson in Area 4 and Bell at his lab near what is now Boston City Hall.