When you go into Union square, take a left onto Bow Street, and you will find this gem of a restaurant which offers unique Portuguese inspired breakfasts and lunches.
When I first looked up at the Neighborhood restaurant, I could tell that it had been a family run place. The blue and white awning states to the customer that “the Borges Family Welcomes You”. Once you open the doors, and look inside, the restaurant feels homely, with its small wooden tables and green walls. The windows are decorated with traditional bread cabinets, and while they are a sign of a Portuguese heritage, the restaurant itself does not really show off it’s Portuguese culture. The wait staff is kind, and relaxed, and made me feel very comfortable while being served. It seems to be a place where regulars love to eat, with families eating with their kids during the weekends. Many customers are used to eating here, with many having casual conversations with the wait staff. Overall, The Neighborhood it is a great restaurant, with a down to earth atmosphere where American and Portuguese foods culminate offering a diverse menu at affordable prices.
The Neighborhood restaurant was opened in 1983 by Mario Borges. As the son of Portuguese Immigrants from the Azores, Mario had a background with baking Portuguese bread, and began making bread for the community. After trying to sell bread, with little reception from the community, he decided to start serving eggs with toast. People went crazy about the food, and have since embraced the restaurant as part of the Union Square community. Since then, the restaurant has been serving breakfast and lunch to the hungry residents of Somerville, keeping its Portuguese origins alive with interesting menu options like linguica (a type of sausage), and Portuguese style pork. Sheila also mentioned that her restaurant does tons of take out orders for people on the go.
Their famous cream of wheat with cinnamon is a must have with breakfast (Photo Credit: Evan Winter)
Since Mario’s death 7 years ago, his sister Sheila has taken over the business. Her passion for serving the community is apparent in the approach she takes to serving them. Sheila, in our interview, told me that her passion came from wanting to serve the people with affordable, homemade food, so that people could keep their wallets full as well as their stomachs. Her menu consists of both traditional American breakfast food, and Portuguese dishes like shrimp croquets. Either way you look at it, the restaurant offers a wide variety of food for the customer, and is a great place for people in the mood for a bit more than the typical American brunch.
“We just want people, with us its volume, you know? It’s getting 80 dollars from 80 people, you know what I mean? Which is ok, because this is the Neighborhood Restaurant. Just come in here and hang out, have fun, and eat all you can eat. Try something new. I’ve seen people come in here, and then I watch their kids come here so, if we can do that for another 30, we would be happy” (Sheila Borges).