Located off Massachusetts Avenue and flanked by Somerville Avenue, Porter Square might not be as famous as its neighbor, Harvard Square, a mile south. But this Cambridge neighborhood has at least one claim to fame: It’s named for the Victorian-era Porter Hotel, where the Porterhouse steak cut was created.
Since then a shopping center was added in the 1950s and the Red Line extension in 1984, commemorated by Susumu Shingu’s kinetic sculpture, Gift of the Wind. Over the last decade, a street-level redesign left it with its current rocky eco-modern landscape.
New Orleans native Dan Winkler has lived in Boston for 18 years, and Porter for six. The software engineer says access to the Red Line means city living, “without the city annoyances — traffic, sky-high house prices and lack of parking. Also, it’s nice to be on the Minuteman Trail for a good run or bike ride.”
Alongside practical stores like CVS and Shaw’s, there are eclectic boutiques like Sudo Shoes for vegan footwear (1771 Mass Ave.) and Abodeon (1731 Mass Ave.), which celebrates vintage style for the home. “I’ve become very dedicated to our little neighborhood here on Massachusetts Ave.,” says Emily Anderson, who works at Abodeon, which her family has owned for 14 years.
Modern American and ethnic restaurants keep Porter buzzing, too. If you visit, don’t miss Salvadoran cafe Tacos Lupita (13 Elm St.), tiny bar Toad’s late-night roots-rock jamborees (1912 Mass Ave.) or French-Latin restaurant Chez Henri (1 Shepard St.), which hooked up mojitos and Cubanos long before they were trendy staples.
In 2010, Porter Square home sales ranged from $295,000 (1 bed, 1 bath) to $840,000 (3 beds, 1 bath). The average price was $475,638 with a median price of $451,850.
Information furnished by Greg Maund, Coldwell Banker Residential.