2nd Story may not have a crackling fire, but the space above Cellar Door Coffee seems perfect to settle into on one of those cold, rainy nights we'll have in spades. You can belly up at the bar custom-made from 18th-century hutch, grab one of the two- or four-tops in the main room, or pack into the smaller alcove surrounded by wraparound booth seating.

While a few of the items on 2nd Story's small-plates menu work pretty well as full entrees, the place is better suited for a light meal, snack, or dessert to go along with a cocktail or a glass of wine.

Chef Erin McBride, formerly of Higgins, is allowing the menu to fluctuate based on what's fresh and available locally, but there are some patterns. There always seems to be some kind of sandwich (which the menu calls, simply, "sandwich").

Maybe the most compelling reason to visit 2nd Story is dessert—it's a pretty solid date spot for such a thing. With Higgins' pastry chef credentials to her name, its not surprising that McBride excels in this area. -TONY PEREZ (full review here)

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