Despite its somewhat underground location, the Dogwood Restaurant on Hampden’s The Avenue is not to be overlooked. Located below the bikram yoga studio’s giant “LOVE” sign, the restaurant is a cozy room with murals on its walls. Contrary to the common review that Dogwood’s dining room is like a cave, its enclosed underground environment gives it a warm, comfortable feel.
Dogwood provides a convenient escape from Charles Village, feeling miles away from the Donna’s and Carma’s and Tamber’s that we’re all too familiar with while being a short jaunt from campus, as it’s only a 20 minute walk. Window-shopping in second-hand stores and palm-reading stores as you approach dinner is a great distraction from the workload at Hopkins. For those who become too tired or whose bellies are too full after dinner to imagine walking again, time your restaurant exit to grab the Blue Jay Shuttle’s Pink Line on your way home.
Also take note: Dogwood offers “mid-week community specials,” according to its website, like the TGIF first drink free deal when you eat at the bar.
We had a great Saturday night dinner at Dogwood, despite getting caught in a rainstorm during what we intended to be a scenic walk into Hampden. We had made a reservation on their website (probably not necessary, but a good assurance considering how easy it is to click no more than three buttons on your computer screen), but when we called to push it back no one picked up the phone. Nevertheless, once there we received excellent service from a friendly waitress, who really won us over when she gave us two delicious dessert recommendations. We ordered a slice of pumpkin cheesecake and a slice of key lime pie to share for the table. They were generous portions, but we had no problem cleaning both plates. The pumpkin cheesecake was light and fluffy, not dense, with good flavor and candied walnuts inside. The key lime pie was scrumptious and tangy with a delicious crumbly crust. These slices were the perfect conclusion to our salad and burger meal.
Dogwood has a wide and varied menu, but we elected to order burgers for a good stick-to-your-ribs meal considering our jeans were soaked after our rainy hike to Hampden. We got the “Housemade Dal & Ancient Grains Burger” and the “Galen’s Black and Blue Cheese Burger.” The veggie burger, made of mostly lentils and quinoa was spicy (beware!) but it had good flavor (Moroccan spices and ginger) and was more palatable when paired with the goat cheese, roasted piquillo peppers, veggies and drizzle on the side. It was good, but I wouldn’t order it again. The black and blue burger was huge but got a rave review from my eating partner, who said it was “so good” with grilled onions, mushrooms and of course yummy blue cheese. We also ordered the seasonal “Autumn Salad” to share, which they kindly split in half without us having to ask. It had all sorts of fresh seasonal ingredients including pumpkin seeds — definitely try this!
Dogwood is a cool restaurant to dine at and support because of its social mission. Dogwood aims to “transform lives one plate at a time by providing training opportunity and paid employment to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment,” according to its website.
It’s worth a visit, so check it out!