Branch Line

By Eric Twardzik · 12/19/2016    Suburbs · New American · $$$

Leave it to Garrett Harker to make Boston envious of Watertown; the restaurateur behind Eastern Standard opened this sister restaurant of sorts in the suburban Arsenal on the Charles complex. It lacks Eastern Standard’s cocktail focus (the drink menu is relegated to wine and beer only), but the joint features an impressive rotisserie setup grilling everything from chickens to whole heads of cauliflower. Rotisserie drippings even garnish a number of menu options.

Branch Line’s interior recalls the grand scope and vintage splendor of Eastern Standard: a towering, open ceiling, white brick walls, and a tremendous marble slab affixed with 27 tap handles. An open kitchen proudly puts its roasting chickens on display, hinting at the grand feast to follow.

A menu broken down into “smalls,” “starters,” “plates,” and “sides” lets you choose between a traditional appetizer-plus-entree experience or family-style sharing (we prefer the latter). The signature rotisserie chicken is the perfect centerpiece to any meal, and sides ranging from smoky Broccolini to cheese-smothered Fried Potatoes are an easy way to round it out.

On the impressive wine and beer list you’ll find an extensive supply of Burgundys, yet oft overlooked Corsicans are also given the same amount of menu real estate. A diverse range of American craft brews characterizes the draft list, while trendy sours dominate by-the-bottle offerings. When it comes to drinks, Branch Line clearly wants us to try something new—and we won’t disagree with that.

In fair weather, a 50-seat patio complete with a bocce ball court makes this one of the most attractive outdoor dining experiences in Boston.

A rotisserie chicken is the kind of bird you want to take home, and Branch Line knows it; takeout is offered, as well as delivery via Caviar.


The dipping oil served with the bread is delicious, but you can also request a cup of rotisserie drippings and roasted garlic for $5.

Must Haves

  • The cooling mint, ricotta and bright citrus tang of this crunchy salad perfectly complement the menu’s heartier meat options.

  • Branch Line’s signature dish is available by the half or whole bird. There’s no wrong choice—either delivers a juiciness contrasted with perfectly roasted skin, served in a pan filled with house gravy (don’t forget to save some bread to soak it up).

  • These freeform wedges of spuds are fried to a crisp for textural perfection and served sprinkled with parmesan and rosemary.

Fun Fact

Branch Line is located in the Arsenal on the Charles, formerly known as the Watertown Arsenal. Built in 1816, it supplied the US military with ordnance for over 150 years.

Tastes of Branch Line

So good we can't stop writing about it. Read more about Branch Line!

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for our weekly newsletters for curated guides, can't-miss dishes, restaurant recommendations, and more.

Enter Email