Jason Owens—you know and love him from ventures like Local 149 and The Biltmore—tells Grub Street that M3, his tribute to the "meat and three" Southern tradition (meat plus three sides), prepares for a soft opening
over the weekend next week. He'll formally open at 382 Highland Ave., as we told you last month. Expect: oyster po'boys, smoked mullet dip, chicken n' waffles, charcuterie imported from Virginia, layer cakes, and the occasional head cheese or pig's ear sandwich thrown in for good measure. Oh, and lots of canned beer!
Davis Square has always been special to Owens: "My wife and I had our first date at the Burren," he says. Now he's taken over the old Al Fresco space and transformed it into an upscale Southern bistro that reminds him of the pared-down cafes where he grew up in Nashville. There's counter seating, chalkboards (no art), 25 selections of canned beers, plus wine and cordials—perfect for soothing down-home punches. A handful of taps showcase Southern beers.
Just one thing: no barbecue. "We're not trying to compete with Redbones," he says. Hence the smoked mullet dip, pecan-crusted pork chops, and that chicken 'n-waffles dish. Temptingly, M3 will also be open for weekend brunch—a welcome alternative to Highland Kitchen down the road. Chicken with biscuits & gravy, quail egg flatbread, and a medley of hashes will surely lure bleary-eyed Tufts students down the hill.
Coming up next for Owens: an expansion of his American Provisions large-market concept next to Joanne Chang's Flour in Fort Point. In the meantime, pull up a seat at his counter and ask about the blue plate special, y'all.
Update: Look for the restaurant to open next week as finishing touches are completed this weekend.
M3, 382 Highland Ave., Somerville.