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Brontë Bistro

You might think of Brontë Bistro as a lunch-only spot where you can nosh on a chicken salad sandwich after browsing next door at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. But a recent renovation makes this Norwood eatery feel welcoming after work, too. The reno added a separate entrance with outdoor seating, updated the dining room, and enhanced the bar. Also expanded: the dinner menu, with entrées beyond the rotating soup and quiche roster that’s popular at noon. Fried chicken? Check. Quesadillas and other starters? Yep. An assortment of burgers? Present, including turkey and veggie versions. The refreshed menu name-drops celeb chefs whose recipes are now being used in the kitchen: pasta from Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York, an herb blend cribbed from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten, to perk up the house-special turkey meatloaf—which, on a recent evening, was moist and flavorful and came with real mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus in an unfussy presentation.

Casual food rules the day but the surprise is Brontë Bistro’s lineup of adult beverages, which elevates the place above a basic bookstore coffeeshop. On our visit, the cocktail specials came from local bar-star Molly Wellmann, who’d recently signed her new book Handcrafted Cocktails next door. The regular drinks menu includes such mainstays as Hemingway’s Daiquiri, a tribute to the author who drank them (often to excess). Even if you prefer to leave the drinks to Papa, you’ll find plenty of good reading material on this menu.

Brontë Bistro, 2692 Madison Rd., Norwood, (513) 396-8970

Originally published in the December 2013 issue.