Public Eat + Drink is the kind of place that has purple potato chips on the menu, and homemade ice cream sandwiches — and local hamburgers so thick they can last for two meals. It’s the kind of place that will be crowded to spilling over at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday in a soaking rain. The word has gotten out.
I first discovered Public on a sleety late winter night, when a friend and I decided we needed a lift of spirits. I had P.E.I. mussels in a savory tomato sauce with Italian sweet sausage and sourdough bread for dipping up the juices. She got an individual peach cobbler that came baked in a half-cup mason jar.
The place is warm and bright, with oil lamps on the tables and local art on the walls. The menu is playful, comforting and at the same time unique. They lean toward locally sourced, seasonal, inventive. And yet they’re as comforting as fish and chips.
The plates come in small, medium and large, easy to swap and share, and my friends praise the ingenuity of the drinks menu. And the waiters quietly pay attention. They are friendly and ready with answers. All together it’s a friendly place with a tangible sense of creativity and skill in the air.