On the Cheap: Gail's Café & Grill

Home-style classics in Jackson Square
By ARIEL SHEARER  |  August 8, 2012


Back in October, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation brought affordable apartments to Jackson Square with new construction at 270 Centre Street. The building's ground floor is now home to locally owned businesses, including a modernized home-style eatery called Gail's Café & Grill.

Aiming to please the variegated tastes of their bustling neighborhood community, Gail's offers an extensive menu of fast-casual classics, ranging from spinach pie to barbecue, rice and beans to fresh haddock. The humble diner opened in April with a prime storefront location, just steps outside Jackson Square's MBTA station.

Gail's assortment of dinner options are bait for hungry homebound commuters, and a case full of cakes could catch your eye through a window even if you bypass the door. I recommend choosing a meal after you've decided on dessert — because cake like Tres Leches ($2.95/slice) deserves advanced planning.

The truth is I rarely consume cake, don't ever drink milk, and almost never eat myself into a stomachache. But the day I tried Gail's Tres Leches — a dense yellow cake traditionally soaked in three kinds of milk and topped with rich whipped frosting — I left wishing I'd completely skipped the pulled-pork sandwich ($6.95) and steamed vegetables ($3.95), and saved room for another slice.

When I stopped by Gail's last month, on the first day they started serving breakfast, my egg-and-cheese on croissant ($2.95) came perfectly over-medium — an unexpected, praise-worthy surprise. I overcook an egg almost every morning while trying for this yolk consistency ideal for breakfast sandwiches, and most greasy spoons just default to over-hard. Gail's even did justice to New England iced coffee ($1.85), making this the best $5 breakfast I've found in months.

Later in the day, Gail's serves hearty meals like barbecue ribs ($11.95/four ribs) and rotisserie chicken ($10.95/half chicken), plus seafood plates like fresh native haddock ($12.95) and comfort-food sides like rice pilaf ($2.25) and roasted lemon potatoes ($3.95).

Adorning the dining-room walls is the winter-themed artwork of Gail Callahan, a tribute to the local artist and restaurant owner's wife who inspired the café's name — and an emblem of small business proud to be a part of neighborhood revitalization.

GAIL'S CAFÉ & GRILL, located at 268 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, is open Monday–Thursday, 7:30am–8pm, and Friday-Saturday, 7:30am–9pm. Closed Sundays. Call 617.942.2096 or visit gailscafeandgrill.com.

Related: Review: Sweet Cheeks, On the Cheap: East Ocean City, Review: Artisan Bistro, More more >
  Topics: On The Cheap , Small Business, food and dining
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    By using the vocabulary of Washington power brokers, NCIA appeals to lawmakers in terms they can understand.
  •   GAY NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM  |  February 26, 2013
    Last week, with help from local LGBT activists the Welcoming Committee, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum bridged the gap between "historical landmark" and "sexy party."
  •   LISTENING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA  |  February 20, 2013
    The Department of Public Health is moving forward with the development of Massachusetts's medical-marijuana regulations, despite efforts by state legislators to rewrite the law.
  •   NOT-SO-SECRET GARDENS: DIY MMJ  |  February 05, 2013
    Cannabis cultivation is an art as much as it is a craft — and urban living in our New England climate presents a gamut of indoor-gardening challenges for novices and pro growers alike.
  •   HOME-GROWN CANNABIS CAREERS  |  January 24, 2013
    The Cannabis Career Institute held its first-ever East Coast seminar in Boston on Saturday, offering local cannabusiness hopefuls a daylong crash course in Cali-style marijuana commerce.

 See all articles by: ARIEL SHEARER