The saying that good things come in small packages is certainly true of Davis Square, Somerville. Small in terms of square area, but large in terms of coffeehouse choices, this neighborhood is guaranteed to give you what you need when you have a hankering for caffeine and sweet stuff.
Diesel CafÃ?Â©. 257 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 629-8717. With a garage storefront window that rolls up in warm weather, transportation memorabilia all over the walls and local artists’ works on display, the independent Diesel CafÃ?Â© certainly has an unusual ambiance. It’s also capacious enough for tables, booths, sofas, not to mention a pool table, so you should be able to find seating that suits you. People tend to linger here, especially since there’s low-cost wireless access for your laptop, but it’s worth the wait. Diesel’s teas and coffees will give you a strong, but not overly sweet, boost when you need it; their beans are reputed to be the best in the square. Diesel’s healthy sandwiches and soups (usually vegetarian/vegan/organic – Diesel doesn’t do meat) cost a little much, but they supply a crisp, fresh meal that doesn’t weigh down your stomach. Diesel usually echoes with music, conversation and laughter, so those looking for quiet should go elsewhere; if you seek good food and good company, though, seek no further.
Dunkin Donuts. 244 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. http://www.dunkindonuts.com. Situated on a particularly smelly intersection between Elm and Chester streets and possessing a small number of poorly lit seats, Davis Square’s Dunkin Donuts doesn’t have much to recommend location-wise. It is, however, very convenient, being literally right in front of the 87 and the 88 bus stops. While most shops in the square don’t open until at least 7:00 AM and close around midnight, Dunkin Donuts opens earlier and closes later, so it will feed you when no one else will. This location combines has a Baskin-Robbins counter in the back, so you can buy the cheapest ice cream in the square. It may not taste that great, but at least it’s sweet, which is the final verdict on most food and drink served here. What else can you expect from the fast-food restaurant of coffeehouses?
Someday CafÃ?Â©. 51 Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-6323. Right next to the Somerville Theatre, the Someday’s combination of small tables and secondhand couches give it a warm, welcoming charm. It’s the smallest cafÃ?Â© in the square, with an awkwardly cluttered floorplan and scads of devoted fans, so good luck finding a seat. Do check out Someday, however; they have the second-best coffee in the square, delicious and wholesome pastries and a mean spiced cider (seasonal). Plus Someday is quieter and funkier than the square’s other indie: Diesel. You’re much more likely to hear someone practicing his latest love song or see an artist putting up her avant-garde multimedia installation. Food for the body and mind.
Starbucks. 260 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-4497. http://www.starbucks.com. Starbucks invites you in during the summer with classy courtyard seating. In the winter, you can curl up with your laptop at a cozily dim table next to a fireplace (if you can find space – students tend to hang around for hours here). With plenty of space for singles, couples or larger groups, the Davis Square Starbucks lets you relax, no matter what size your party is. Unfortunately, they’ll kick you out when the night is still young because, for some strange reason, Starbucks only stays open until 10:00 PM on weeknights, entirely missing the late-night crowd. As for the foodÃ¢Â?Â¦well, either their highly priced, highly customizable coffees are your style, or they aren’t. I personally find them too sweet and rich and the baked goods unexceptional.