Hispanic eateries and pizza shops have long dominated the eats scene in Jackson Square, so it was a welcome change when Gail’s Café and Grill opened its doors in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood last spring. The bright, airy and attractive eatery offers Greek-inspired, home-style classics and enjoys a prime location on Centre Street, just steps from the Jackson Square T station.
Owner and JP native Lakis Vlahoulis curates an expansive, reasonably-priced collection of comfort foods prepared by his brigade of mostly Greek cooks. Spinach pie, lemon-roasted potatoes, kabobs and gyros are signature dishes on the café’s quasi-Greek menu, but hearty American fare like barbecued ribs, Angus burgers and fried chicken are equally popular picks. Subs, wraps and substantially-sized salads are lunch crowd favorites. Mac and cheese, a seemingly tiresome fad on menus of late, is the real deal at Gail’s—it’s at once cheesy, creamy and crunchy-topped. It may just be be the café’s most perfected offering.
Gail’s is named for the owner’s wife, Gail Callahan, whose original artwork punctuates the welcoming and tidy dining area. Free wifi and affable service are bonus offerings, and manager Daniel Lee has reasonable confidence in the café’s likely staying power in the Jackson Square neighborhood.
“Our business model is pretty simple,” says Lee. “We’re offering excellent food at a prime and convenient location. The local lunch rush has been our busiest time, but we’re pleased with our ability to appeal to homeward-bound commuters as well. And we’re very excited to be a part of the rejuvenation of this unique JP neighborhood.”
While new construction and affordable housing are slowly revitalizing Jackson Square, the neighborhood’s ho-hum dining options can sorely use a refreshing lift as well. Here’s hoping Gail’s commences a trend.
Gail’s Café and Grill
268 Centre Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10:30am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday: 10:30am to 9pm, Sunday: Closed