Public Lounge now taking dinner orders

Roxbury — The Public Lounge of Roxbury has expanded both its space and its menu and is now serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday evenings. The Public is also working on customized private party packages and will close for its first private party this Friday, Nov. 21. 
“The refrain from our friends when we bought the Public Lounge was ‘more food! more food!’” said one of the Public’s proprietors, Trish Adams. “And that was exactly what Jill hoped to do in her new life here: try to give us all some dining choices that weren’t available before.” 
Jill would be Jill Healy, the Public’s principal partner and the newest influence on the local restaurant scene. “I’ve always loved to cook, and now that we have the new kitchen in Public, I couldn’t wait to start putting into practice all the varied cooking techniques and ingredients I’ve become enamored with over the years. I’ve spent more than 30 years learning about different cultures by trying out their characteristic dishes and flavors,” said Healy, adding, “I had a hunch people here might welcome a taste of the same diversity that some of us used to enjoy in urban settings.” The Public also maintains its popular Latin-influenced pizzas and quesadillas, with unusual ingredients like arugala, olive tapenade and portabello mushrooms, prepared by Hope Tone-Pah-Hote, who also lends support to Healy in the new kitchen.
Healy’s new rotating “starters” include a spicy rendition of West Indian Pumpkin Soup, featuring butternut squash from Cindy Whitney’s farmstand, a mushroom barley soup that’s hearty but completely vegetarian, a comfort-food chili that gets even better as the week goes on and some cultural twists like a N’Awlins style Gumbo, or Indian-influenced chicken kebabs with a delicately flavored cilantro and yogurt chutney or shrimp with a creamy chipotle sauce.
On the entree menu, there’s an eight-ounce cut of flatiron steak, charbroiled to order, that is proving immensely popular. Healy serves it with rotating sides and a mesclun salad. Public will be adding some Asian stir-fry dishes as authentic ingredients, like Thai basil and fresh curry leaves are available
The Public features a mellow mix of jazz, blues or contemporary vocalists on the sound system, with old film classics or fun retro specials on the video wall. You can get a feel for the Public and see regular food menus and cocktails at www.publiclounge.net.
Public will be closed this Friday, Nov. 21, but usually opens Thursday through Sunday at 5 p.m. Wednesday hours are 4 to 8 p.m. The Public’s kitchen stays open until at least 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and sometimes later. Feel free to call 607 326-4026 to ask about what’s cooking in Public that day!