Make no mistake: Josh Lewin is excited to serve all three meals at his forthcoming Juliet in Somerville’s Union Square. But he’s thrilled about breakfast. And who can blame him with the cafe’s opening menu slated to include tacos, six types of tartines, three egg dishes and a choice of two dine-in prix fixe options, one inspired by France and the other by Japan. “We’re particularly excited to be involved in a high-quality breakfast service, which we feel is very lacking for the neighborhood,” co-owner/chef Lewin says. “Everything is super-focused on dinner. So while we’re ready for that, we’re excited to do something different.”
The concept for Juliet started taking shape a few years ago when co-owner Katrina Jazayeri and Lewin were experimenting with pop-ups on his days off from Beacon Hill Bistro. That led to a 7-month residency at Wink & Nod, followed by 9 months of work on a permanent home, with Jazayeri taking the lead on design. The result is a clean aesthetic with white walls, refinished hardwood floors, a redwood bar with six stools for full-service meals and 13 additional seats for diners ordering from the counter.
“Breakfast becomes lunch, and lunch becomes dinner, but during all three of those periods you’ll have the walk-up counter, where food will be suitable to stay or to go, or you’ll have the service counter, which only serves prix fixe menus,” Lewin explains.
The open kitchen will turn out a variety of fare Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm. The breakfast prix fixe will rotate global influences, and local roaster Speedwell will provide the coffee. Lunch and dinner customers can choose from charcuterie, salads, soups and sandwiches, including a French dip with housemade condiments and a lobster roll that Lewin says was a hit at preopening events. Plates available solely for dinner (4-7 pm) include tagliatelle Bolognese, a half-chicken and a cauliflower roti. “We’re selecting our favorite things for the menu, whether they’re from our friends and family or from restaurants that we’ve worked in or our favorite things from far-flung places,” he says. “We’re applying our training and our cooking and service expertise to those things to show you the things we love.”
They hope you’ll also love their compensation approach, which eliminates tipping and has workers benefitting from a profit-sharing setup. “It was important to us to get away from the tips model and to pay our staff not just minimum wage, but a more living wage,” Jazayeri says. “At our full-service dining counter, the cooks will actually be serving and taking your order. Our approach was to create one Juliet staff rather than front of the house or back of the house.”
Juliet 257 Washington St., Somerville (617-781-0958) julietsomerville.com