A newly opened Princess Street restaurant and bar provides a portal to the pubs of Northeastern metropolises, replete with cold, “crushable” domestic beers and one of Boston’s most beloved culinary offerings.
Fox’s Hole in the Wall quietly opened late last month following a three-month renovation of the space at 124 Princess St., which previously housed CRUST Kitchen & Cocktails. The space was transformed in those months to recreate the old-school watering holes found in the big cities of the Northeast, the kind of spots owner Brian “Wes” Westlye and partners John Bradley and Travis Weiss of PROOFhospitality frequented as residents and visitors to these places.
“We always loved that old-time charm of Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston style pubs,” Westlye said. “That’s kind of what we wired it for, that old-school pub look.”
While other downtown establishments provide a similar look or feel, Westlye noted that none of them sell food – a key offering from Fox’s Hole in the Wall, which he described as a “passion project.”
Top of the menu is the Boston Beef, recreated in a nod to Bradley’s “all-time favorite”: Boston’s iconic three-way roast beef sandwich from Kelly’s Roast Beef, the eatery that lays claim to inventing the dish. Fox’s Hole in the Wall’s take on the classic starts with beef that’s dry-aged and slow roasted in-house, then held at 140 degrees to ensure each slice is served with the “perfect pink center.”
“Every sandwich is sliced to order. We’re not pre-slicing because you lose the tenderness of the meat,” Westlye said.
Next, a half-pound or full pound of freshly sliced roast beef is tucked inside an onion roll that Westlye described as soft, but “not as soft as a potato bun.” That’s where the sandwich can end or begin. A slathering of cheese sauce is one potential addition. For those who want to go a step further, the beef can be topped with mayonnaise, white American cheese and tangy homemade barbecue sauce reminiscent of the original James River style, known as the three-way along the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Other handheld fare includes an extra cheesy smash burger, an Indianapolis-style fried pork chop sandwich, a BLT stacked with thick slices of bacon weighing in at a pound before cooked, and a pickle brine-marinated fried chicken sandwich created to fulfill a frequent Sunday craving. For each of these choices, Westlye promised a hefty proportion of fillings to bread.
“Every sandwich in here spills outside of the bun,” he said.
CRUST’s beloved Ghostface Fillah, with shaved ribeye on sourdough, also graces the menu.
For drinks, the establishment offers a pared-down cocktail menu, including a Bloody Mary made with a spicy, meaty housemade mixer, plus wine and beer. For the latter, local craft brews are available alongside well-known domestic options priced at an affordable $3 each.
“They’re names that everybody knows, and they’re a little more budget friendly,” Westlye said of the beers labeled as “crushable” on the menu. “Especially with the economy the way that it is, we want to go that way with our beer program.”
Cheaper drinks also encourage guests to stay longer.
“We’re going for more of a crowd that wants to come in, sit down, hang out and be here for a while,” Westlye said.
Another incentive for guests to extend their stay is five TVs with “all the sports packages” scattered throughout the roughly 1,100 square foot space, which seats just 27 people inside. Westlye said he plans to host a big party for the March 30 opening of Major League Baseball’s 2023 season, with all five screens showing various games throughout the day.
Fox’s Hole in the Wall is currently open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. until midnight on weekdays and later on weekends.
Have a tip for Restaurant Roundup? Email us at [email protected].