Fried chicken is typically thought of as a southern staple. But what if I told you that you could get a little taste of southern sunshine right here in Boston? Lily P’s on 50 Binney St. in Cambridge was created by chef Chris Parsons as an ode to fried chicken and fresh oysters.
The interior of the restaurant has a rustic, barn-like feel—using wood paneling and large barn doors to take its patrons out of the city and into the country. Throughout the restaurant, there are modern touches—the oyster bar has a sleek black finish that uses tile to still give off a southern diner feel. There is a mix between traditional and bar seating, with the upholstery adding black and maroon accents to the restaurant. The feeling in the restaurant is very casual, with a mix of people in business clothes and street wear. The relaxed vibe carries over to the rest of the decor, with shuffleboard, giant Connect 4, Jenga, and multiple dart boards by the bar. Lily P’s is relaxed enough to stop by after work, but fun enough for Friday nights.
The food is the main star here, though, bringing the true southern flair to the restaurant. The menu has a multitude of comfort foods, starting with the appetizers. Everything from popcorn with a cheddar and sea salt seasoning to a jar of pickles makes up this section of the menu. Lily P’s also has larger, shareable options, including cornbread with a delicious sweet jam and queso fundido. The queso fundido contains creamy nacho cheese with jalapeños, chorizo, and black beans, all accompanied by fresh tortilla chips that pair perfectly with the savory dip. The appetizers range from $2 to $11.
Lily P’s fried chicken stands out. All the chicken is pressure cooked with peanut oil, therefore ensuring it is juicy with a delicious crunch on the outside. The restaurant offers regular, hot, or black pepper honey fried chicken trays, which come with sides such as slaw, french fries with ranch, salad, mac ’n’ cheese, grilled broccoli, and Carolina rice grits.
There is also the option to make the chicken into a sandwich. All sandwiches include a boneless chicken thigh on a Hawaiian roll, with coleslaw and bread and butter pickles on the side. The Veracruz sandwich also incorporates avocado, salsa, and cilantro. The creaminess of the avocado blends perfectly with the spicy, peanut-based salsa, creating a refreshing take on the standard chicken sandwich. In addition to the sandwiches, there are fresh Massachusetts oysters at the raw bar, costing only $2 per oyster. There are also roasted oysters with a scampi butter sauce if raw oysters are not to your liking.
Chicken and oysters may be the main focus of the restaurant, but they are not the only option. Lily P’s also offers burgers, shrimp and grits, and—for the truly adventurous (or perhaps truly southern)—fried catfish sandwiches. The main dishes range from $12 to $15 per plate, with sides costing $4 each. The bar section of the restaurant focuses on local drinks, mainly craft beers, ales, and ciders, along with original cocktails.
For the dessert menu, Lily P’s has a relatively limited amount of options, with ice cream and pie taking center stage. Options include pecan pie, Mississippi mud pie, and caramel apple pie. Each pie is served cold, with the choice to make it à la mode. The caramel apple pie is a well-balanced mix between the sweet caramel flavor and the zest of the cinnamon in the apples. The desserts are around $8 per slice.
If the cold gets to be too much in Boston, rather than paying for an expensive Spring Break trip, travel down to Cambridge for the relaxed and warm atmosphere that Lily P’s embraces fully. The chicken itself will make you want to live life a little more southern.
Featured Image by Rebecca Speer/for The Heights