Cambridge, MA 02139
East Coast Grill has a pretty straightforward philosophy: wicked fresh, local seafood; slow and low BBQ; and big bold flavors, in a professional yet casual environment. And it seems to be working for them. The casual Inman Square eatery has been bustling since 1985.
Brightly colored walls, whimsical light fixtures and tirelessly friendly staff give nightly dinner service and Sunday brunch a relaxed, upbeat vibe. But the lighthearted approach to the dining experience belies the seriousness with which they approach their cooking.
Despite an ownership change in early 2012, the restaurant upholds the standards of its original owner, James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author Chris Schlesinger, whose southern upbringing, beach bum days and pyromaniacal tendencies lay the culinary groundwork for the menu.
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Chef Jason Heard started cooking as a young boy during summer vacations in his Grandmother Clarice's kitchen in College Park, Georgia. It was a rule in her house that if you were in her kitchen you had to be working, and his daily chores included prepping biscuit dough, and picking and cleaning okra, tomatoes, squash, peppers, peaches, melons and any other vegetable or fruit available in the family garden.
As the son of an US Army officer, Heard spent his school years in military bases all over the world, which led to his exposure to a variety of different foods, cooking styles and a taste for incorporating new ingredients and techniques into some of his favorite family recipes.
After a brief time with the US Navy, Heard moved back to Georgia and worked at local restaurants around Savannah and Atlanta before settling in Key West for an 11-year stint cooking at several Caribbean influenced restaurants.
In 2003, Heard made his first move north of the Mason Dixon line to Boston, where he got married and started a family. After three years of cooking in the city, he found his ideal opportunity at East Coast Grill, which combines his passion for BBQ and respect for Southern-based recipes and ingredients with creative incorporation of other cuisines and cooking styles from around the world.