IN THE KITCHEN General manager Mike Tallon’s hosting skill makes Oscar’s feel welcoming, like somebody’s home. And although Tallon doesn’t own this terrific little pub in Dedham Square (it’s owned by an investment group headed by Boston’s John Gibbons), Oscar’s was his idea and he’s its face.
His enthusiasm for creating a “third place” pub experience — not work, not home, but a third place where people can hang out — extends beyond the 20 craft beers on tap, to what’s on your plate. Tallon works with his cooks and consultant Frank van Overbeeke to create dishes that are both affordable and good. The team is continually tweaking the menu, both with the seasons and to cater to Dedham’s changing demographic. “The concept is to see you two, three times a week,” said Tallon. “We want quality food with a price point that’s affordable.”
THE LOCALE Since the 2012 Dedham Square Improvement Project kicked in, this it’s-not-Legacy-Place spot has become a cool little destination with three cafes; a vintage movie theater; several new restaurants and stores; and now, Oscar’s. Working with architect Jonathan Cavanaugh, Tallon and company completely rebuilt an abandoned storefront from the ground up. The pretty 39-seat space has windows, plenty of wood and stone, banquettes, a big bar and, best of all, a working fireplace. If you’re curious about the picture of the dog behind the bar, ask Tallon to tell you the story of how Oscar the mutt was buried in Tanzania. (It involves elephants, poachers, sanctuaries, and bars.
ON THE MENU Oscar’s offers a good assortment of lunch and dinner dishes with appetizers, small plates, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. You can stop in and eat any time: The menus change over at 4 p.m. and many items appear on both.