There’s nothing like the smell of freshly ground coffee beans on a Saturday morning, and, if you don’t have a coffee pot on hand in your dorm, you can satisfy this caffeine craving at one of Boston’s hidden gems: Curio Coffee and Wine Bar.
Just a few blocks away from the Lechmere T-stop, Curio is an independent cafe which serves specialty coffee in the mornings, then transforms into a natural wine bar at night.
Opened in 2016, Curio is fairly new to the Boston cafe scene, but has quickly gained a loyal following with many regulars and support from local businesses. Their menu consists of a select few coffee and espresso drinks brewed fresh daily with specific small batch and craft coffee beans. The daily brews are displayed on the front board and each one (espresso, drip, and iced) is outlined with the name of the producers and plant location.
Curio is currently serving single origin coffee from local roastery Broadsheet Coffee, which is based nearby in Cambridge, Mass. Broadsheet, named after an old paper from the Harvard Printing Press, is “committed to showcasing the very best in conscientiously sourced coffee,” according to their website.
The current brews on display at Curio are the Bulletin Blend for cold brew and iced coffee, Todos Santos for drip, and Headliner Blend for espresso drinks. The beans are imported from all over the world from places as close as Mexico to as far as Ethiopia. The brews display a wide range of notes from the bitter chocolate and cola of the Bulletin Brew to the lighter nectarine and lime of Todos Santos. No matter your preference—fruity or earthy, bitter or sweet—Curio has a brew for you.
Along with the deluxe brews, Curio is also known for its single food item: the liege waffle. Made from a brioche-type dough, stuffed with pearls of sugar, and crisped with a caramelized sugar shell, Curio’s liege waffle is “quite possibly the best caffeine companion in town,” according to the Improper Bostonian. Yelp recently named Curio as having one of “the best waffles in Massachusetts.”
The waffles are made to order on a griddle that the owner, Justin Pronovost, imported from Belgium and are hand delivered to your table with the dough still warm and sugar still slightly melted. With ever-changing sweet and savory specials such as chocolate gingerbread and the everything waffle, there’s always something new to try to spice up your morning routine.
The waffles are all natural and made with local ingredients such as Taza chocolate and tea leaves from Mem Tea. The current special, which is only available on September weekends, is an apple cider waffle made with cider from Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Mass., then rolled in cinnamon sugar after baking.
As of May 2019, Curio has added extended evening hours on the weekend to become Curio Wine Bar. The wine bar also serves a very select menu limited to ten natural wines.
“[It’s] mostly old world, cooler climate wine regions, especially France and Italy, to showcase the grapes and terroir I enjoy drinking,” said Pronovost.
Like with the coffee, Pronovost is very specific about the wines chosen and looks for natural wines made using a sustainable or organic process. The evening menu includes more meal options such as grilled cheese, hot dogs, and a vegan option, while still holding true to Curio’s goal of using natural and local ingredients such as fresh buns from High Rise Bread Co.
Curio also hosts special events and pop-up shops to support local businesses. Their most recent was a pasta night featuring fresh pasta from Law of Pasta, a company that teaches classes in Boston Public Market; three house-made sauces; cheese plates from Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge; and, of course, Italian natural wines sourced from around Boston. Past events have included succulent making, book readings, and specialty food events such as evening Lobster Rolls and Oysters. You can buy Curio T-shirts and sweatshirts, handmade floral prints from local artists, specialty spice blends from Curio Spice, and bags of fresh ground coffee.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Curio has not resumed indoor dining, however, you can still get your caffeine and wine fix by ordering ahead for pick-up through their new website.
Pick-up ordering is available weekdays 7am-2pm and weekends 8am-3pm. As now allowed by Massachusetts law, Curio has also been offering wine snacks to go along with their pick-up orders. These items change weekly with some of the recent options including mac and cheese, red pepper hummus, mixed olives, cold sesame noodles, and mocha pudding.
Featured Image by Francesca Giangiulio / Heights Staff