The Boston Phoenix
February 5 - 12, 1998

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Common Ground

Taking to the woods in Dorchester

On the Cheap by Rachel O'Malley

The Common Ground, in Dorchester's Lower Mills, feels a lot like the tree house you always wanted. The interior, dark and rustic, could have been hollowed out from a giant trunk; each of the cozy wooden booths is covered by a thatched roof. The fires in the stone hearth and the hanging bushel-basket lamps emanate a warm glow. You can almost imagine Robin Hood sitting at the next table.

Run by a messianic group that advocates finding a "common ground" for all types of people, the place attracts a solid local crowd. In true medieval-hippie fashion, almost all the food is made from scratch, with honey used instead of sugar, and whole grains rather than refined flour. Beef lovers beware: there's no red meat on the menu. But there are salads, Mexican dishes, and traditional sandwiches, such as tuna melts and turkey Reubens, most of which cost about $5 (though the peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich served on whole wheat bread is only $2). The dinner special costs around $8 to $10 and changes daily; on recent nights the menu has offered pasta primavera, salmon, and spicy chicken in a peanut sauce. Fresh-baked bagels and muffins are good choices, as are the taco salad ($4.65) and the cheese deluxe sandwich ($3.90).

The Common Ground Café, located at 2243 Dorchester Avenue, is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (617) 298-1020.

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