The Porch Wakefield, Mass

(Peter Sward) #1

The Porch in Wakefield opened in February this year and I can’t rave enough about them. They started out with sandwiches, platters and fried chicken. The BBQ items were cooked on a Weber kettle outside the restaurant. Jonathan and the staff are VERY friendly and approachable and will listen to suggestions. Their Mac & Cheese is outstandingly good and the Collard Greens are cooked well with a nice tang. The buttermilk brined Fried Chicken has a very nice crust and remains moist and tender on the inside. Ask if they have the Dark Meat Platter ($10) available, best deal ever and it comes with two sides. I haven’t tried the ribs but the brisket was out of this world, maybe because they have now migrated to a real smoker. The website isn’t really up to date, the Sunday Brunch is also missing but they usually announce the specials on their FB page. Everything is cooked to order, apart from the BBQ, of course. They now have a full liquor license and mixed drinks are $8. There is also craft beers available. All listed prices include the sales tax.

Address 41 Tuttle Street Wakefield, MA 01880
Phone number (781) 245-4445
http://www.theporchsouthern.com/

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(Peter Sward) #2

They have changed their menu a bit last week, with interesting stuff added.

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(Peter Sward) #3

Today was the last day that The Porch was open. Jonathan will open a much bigger venue in Medford later this year.

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#4

The Porch in Medford is apparently now open.

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#5

Actually, I can’t totally tell based on their web and FB page if they’re open, soft open, or not really open. As an aside, I hate the use of a facebook page by a restaurant. It frequently seems to lead into a hole of clicking with no actual information. Maybe someone more handy than I can add actual useful info.

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(Adina Adler) #6

The Boston Magazine article said that they’d be open for dinner starting July 15.

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#7

The newly updated (apparently) website says they are open now for dinner, lunch coming soon, in Medford.

https://www.theporchsouthern.com/

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#8

Thanks- yup, website looks totally different from a couple of days ago. Nice progress being made there!

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#9

We went tonight, 3 of us. Its a nice big space but LOUD with high ceilings and not much to absorb the music and talking.
Comfortable seating, the tables are a little tight. Patio space available too.
We did hush puppies with bacon onion jam and the wings with Alabama white sauce to start.
The puppies were OK, a good vehicle to try the different sauces. The bacon onion jam-yum!
The wings were great, big, juicy, well cooked. About 8 in the order. The sauce was also good and used sparingly. I don’t know what it is suppose to be like but it was easy to eat with a little late heat.
I did the Nashville fried chicken, cole slaw and potato salad. Son had a rib and brisket combo with biscuit and fries and DH went with the head on shrimp and grits.
The chicken was pretty good, really well cooked and the Nashville had a sweet spice to it. Cole slaw was good, not too much mayo, liked the potato salad, with egg and it wasn’t sweet, which I was concerned it might be. Came home with 2 pieces of chicken for tomorrow. I hope it heats up well.
I only had a bite of the grits which were salty cheesey good, bacon and oyster mushrooms on top.
Did snag a rib and a bite of brisket. I would order the brisket again, nice smokey taste.
Four sauces on the table, I liked the yellow the best, the tangy one a close second.
Service was fine, if there were opening week jitters we did not see any tonight.
Not sure it will become a frequent flyer for us, its a little bit of a hike and there are other options that we like. Maybe for lunch when that becomes available. Less traffic.

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#10

Have to say the evolution of this place always sounded enigmatic, to put it politely, but the new web site and menu give a hint at something destination-worthy. Worth a 40 minute drive?

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#11

It was for us to try it. We really liked the Wakefield location and missed it when they closed down. I amhappy that they re-opened.
I think the food is good at the new spot but a little more ambitious now that they can cook on site. I liked the sauces on the table and there are some interesting items on the menu that I would try were they closer to us.
I think I mentioned that the new place is loud and on a night with live music it will be very loud. It has a very young vibe. And surrounded by all the apartments at Riverside it would be foolish not to cater to the residents.

It is a hike for us to get to Wellington/Riverside so The Porch won’t be a regular stop for us but I’m glad we went and I think it will be pretty successful. If we found our selves in the area looking for lunch or dinner The Porch would be a contender. But so would the The Smoke Shop at Assembly Row.
If you like barbecue and southern cooking definitely check them out at least once.
You can make reservations through Resy and there is free parking in the attached garage.
Let us know what you think.

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#12

How hot was the Nashville fried chicken? I’ve heard sometimes it is made scorchingly hot, other times just mild. Do they ask for a heat level?

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#13

It was not scorching hot, it had a little sweetness to it. If we go back I would get the chicken straight up and sauce it at the table.
The coating was really crunch and on the thick side. It reheated well the next day.
We were not asked about a heat level.

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#14

We ate at the Porch last night and are pleased to report their Q is top notch! We sat outside (was indeed loud inside even early in the evening) and although they were full for reservations said they’d be able to seat walk ins on the early side with no problem, so we arrived at 5:30. My cocktail- a milk punch gin drink- was very nice, although the glass seemed a bit under-filled at $12.

For apps, the smoked wings with white sauce were our favorite. Really excellent wings- we haven’t enjoyed wings so much since the late Gargoyles duck wings. The sauce does have a real blast of black pepper heat that hits late, which we loved, but which the spring onions found a bit spicy so beware. We also shared a kale salad with grilled zucchini and peaches and candied pecans.

For mains, we had the burnt ends plate special on the recommendation of the waiter. Everyone loved the smokey chewy little meat nuggets. Definitely a winner. We also shared a half chicken with the Nashville hot sauce on the side (thanks @grumpyspatient). I would actually characterize the sauce as not hot at all- flavorful, but basically a mild sweet chili oil. In retrospect, I would have liked to try their hot sauce stirred in, but one flaw in service was a lack of any sauces on the outdoor tables. Only when I went in to wash hands did I realize that all the tables had 4 bottles of sauce inside and then we asked for some. The chicken was thick-crusted and very nicely cooked. I think I prefer it to Highland Fried’s, although I’d turn down neither in a dark alley!

Our sides were mac & cheese (concession to spring onions) which was fine, not amazing. Collards and green beans were both tasty, cooked to mush as is common in southern cooking and which I don’t dislike. I didn’t try a biscuit but everyone who did said it was good.

We finished with two desserts: peach cobbler and banana pudding. Neither are typical picks for me, being sort of a chocoholic, but both were excellent and there may have been some plates licked.

Service was friendly and competent, but it was overall a very long meal. Food took a long time to come out and we were there for over 2 hours which may be pushing it for some families. There is a cornhole set which kept the kids busy during waits, and being outside was lovely, but they need to work on their timing a bit. We ended up bringing our check inside to pay.

I never went to the Wakefield location, but I can see this being a place we might bring out of towners and although it is not on my overall life goal list to eat more fried chicken, I would definitely eat more of this fried chicken!

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#15

There are so many points in your review that resonated with me, but these three stood out (caveat - we haven’t visited yet but based on your and @grumpyspatient reports, we will soon but the food is a bit meat-heavy for us) … First of all, underpoured drinks is such a pet peeve of mine. Secondly, you and my husband should get to know each other so you can eat fried chicken together to your hearts’ content. Lastly, and the most important to me - mentioning the late great Gargoyles…that’s positively Proustian to me.

Thank you.

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#16

yep, gargoyles, with that heavy red velvet curtain they had at the entrance to protect the restaurant and bar from the cold icy blast in the winter.

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#17

We went to Porch for lunch today, arriving about noon, for the second day of their lunch service. We really enjoyed it and will be back.

The lunch menu is scaled back from the dinner menu posted on their web site, but we ordered the four things I knew I wanted to try: hushpuppies (best I’ve had outside of my native North Carolina, jam was a bit too thick and sweet to dip); pimento cheese (I loved it, we didn’t use the saltines but rather the hushpuppies and…); biscuit side to eat it (biscuits tasted fine but we were comped because the staff thought they were sub optimal…not tall and fluffy, but they were fluffy enough inside); pulled pork sandwich with collards side. Both the pork and the collards were the best I’ve had since Chris Schlesinger left the East Coast Grill and Jake and Earl’s closed. Much better than the Smoke Shop and somewhat better than Highland, but what we appreciated the most were the house made sauces. We sat at the bar and asked for the sauces since they weren’t set out on the bar like they were on the inside tables…the NC vinegar sauce is outstanding, best I’ve had in years, spicy and tart. What really surprised us was a sauce with espresso, don’t remember the name; it was really funky, spicy, deeply flavored. Loved them! Both the SC mustard sauce and the Nashville sauces were too sweet for us and the Nashville one wasn’t hot at all. Definitely put the sauces on the hushpuppies if you order them.

I want to try the fried okra and cauliflower. These people are the real thing with southern food and service. Smoke Shop at Assembly is closer for us, but I’m so done with Smoke Shop now that The Porch is here. Actually, we stopped Smoke Shop months ago…

Neither of us are much fond of brown southern liquors; they have an extensive selection. I enjoyed my glass of rosé and the guy liked his beer (from Limerick, Maine, I think).

We will be back. Parking was easy and there is a high scale “Free range” market next store with lots of gourmet items.

Service was friendly and good and informative and they started free live music just before we left somewhat after 1 pm.

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(Peter Sward) #18

I had a discussion with Andy about his collards and that’s how he likes them. We agreed to disagree. The Porch version has always been outstanding.

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#19

A friend of ours went to college in North Carolina, and she has stated that she never found pulled pork anywhere else that could stand up to what she ate in NC. How does the Porch’s pulled pork rate against the real North Carolinainan thing?

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#20

I haven’t had the real thing in NC in about 10 years or so, so I’m going on memory. I can say that for me without doubt, that Porch’s pulled pork is at least as good as my memories of Jake and Earl’s, sadly departed decades ago. But the NC vinegar sauce and that espresso one at Porch were the best I’ve ever had here and meet the standard of my NC memories.

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