Some of you know that I am having the Summer of No Cook meals…the idea is to not heat up the kitchen, use the gorgeous produce from my CSA and make meal times easier (more time outside for me). So when Joe’s American Bar & Grill invited some local bloggers for dinner, I happily accepted the invitation. After all, what is more No Cook than someone else cooking? I was on board.

I put the event on my calendar and pulled up Google maps. The directions involved a crazy U turn on some road I had never heard of…sometimes Google Maps kills me…but wait…This Joe’s (there are 12 in New England) is in Shopper’s World in Framingham.

Yes, (ahem) I am familiar with the area. I hadn’t immediately registered that Joe’s was there, possibly because my focus is usually A.C. Moore (craft supplies), Old Navy (t-shirts) with a peek into the Nordstrom (the rack, of course) and DSW (if I have time ; for a little shoe therapy – start at the back of the store for the great sale shoes). So, a happy location for me.

On to Joe’s. I was warmly greeted by some of the lovely staff and a group of Boston Parent Bloggers (some I had met before, some I had just seen on Twitter or Facebook – it was great to connect in real life). We chatted and enjoyed lovely house sangria then were seated at a long table in a private dining area. Great for family events (note to self – my family is huge).

The dinner was intended to showcase the summer menu and the family friendliness of the restaurant – maybe the next event (blatant hint for an invite to another event) should be with kids to really underscore that message and it would be nice to test drive the children’s menu, too. My kids are old enough now that we can take them anywhere but that wasn’t always the case, so I do appreciate a family friendly approach. You know, good, healthy food for kids, nice high chairs, crayons and coloring sheets, a friendly and patient staff and a place that everyone is happy with the menu. A tall order but one that Joe’s can fill.

As we sampled and took numerous food photos, we chatted, exchanged stories and got to know each other a little better. We also learned that there are no microwaves in any of their kitchens (and only a small freezer for ice cream). Good to know! So, everything is super fresh, made from scratch and delicious. The kid’s menu has great healthy choices (all made fresh – no frozen chicken nuggets here) and all kid’s dinners are only $6.

spinach and artichoke dip joes american capabilitymom blog
If you see this at a potluck, I did not make it, I bought it at Joe’s…

American Joe's Baby back ribs capability mom blog

We shared appetizers family style and were happily digging in, sharing amazing crab cakes, skillet mussels and this lovely rib dish when someone thought of passing off the Spinach and Artichoke Dip as homemade for the next potluck – What a good idea! I ; had left my family with only a huge bowl of cut up watermelon to bring to an impromptu block party… Next time, Neighbors!

On to entrees and there were so many options – How to choose? The shrimp and watermelon salad which looked like summer on a plate, and the fish and chips also looked heavenly. Since Joe’s is known for their burgers (The All American BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger was a finalist in Boston Magazine’s Battle of the Burgers), ; I (going light after all the apps and anticipating dessert) ordered a turkey burger – it was delicious.

Chef Sean McDonald (charming and clearly passionate about food) noticed that we had a slight problem making choices from his wonderful menu, so he ordered one of everything from the dessert menu for us to try – Nice idea! Luckily we were a group with experience at sharing and we all passed these generously portion desserts around (after the photos were taken). I tried a bit of each dessert – fave was the Charles River Pie but I loved them all!

So, my recommendation? Check out Joe’s – here is a link to find the one closest to you.

Find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out this Summer at Joe’s Sweepstakes where you can win tickets to Six Flags, gift cards and more…

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