The "Lunch in Harvard Square" Blog - Restaurant Reviews

Since starting to work in the Square in mid-August, I'm trying to eat lunch at a new restaurant every day until I can't find any more. Here's my list of the Top Ten Lunch Restaurants in Harvard Square (Food Only). Got a suggestion on a new lunch spot for me? New Restaurants to Try in Harvard Square.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grendel's Den

64. 11-30 Grendel's Den, Winthrop Street. Summary: Excellent history, nice "bar" setting, good value, OK food.

Grendel's has a lot of history, more than most restaurants in the Square. It used to have a dining room upstairs, where Upstairs at the Square now is, and a bar downstairs. A few of us reminisced about the upstairs eating - a lovely, two-story grand room, but it was always run-down, and we remembered cockroaches scampering about even with many diners nearby. "Atmosphere."

Grendel's also is well-known for its successful Supreme Court case. Before the decision in 1982, churches could legally object to nearby (within 500 feet) businesses selling liquor. At that point there was an Armenian church but 10 feet away, and it objected to Grendel's being granted a liquor license. So the restaurant sued to get the law stricken, and it eventually made it to the Supreme Court. Lawrence Tribe of Harvard Law School argued the case; Chief Justice Burger delivered the decision for the majority (Rehnquist dissented). The law was indeed struck from the books, and similar ones from other states, and Grendel's happily serves booze. A nice example of our Constitution at work.

Enough history. The four of us ordered basics, including grilled cheese, pasta, soup, burgers, fries. It was all cheap and decent tasting. Apparently the prices plummet come happy hour time, as long as you start drinking. The menu isn't extensive but you don't expect that given you're in a bar.

About $8 per person.


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