Jerk Chicken Sandwich from Armsby Abbey on Main Street in Worcester, MA

Jerk Chicken Sandwich – House Smoked Chicken with our Fiery Jamaican Jerk Sauce topped with Vermont Cheddar, Celery Root & Green Apple Slaw and a fried Local organic Egg served on our Housemade Sesame-Ale Roll with a side of fresh dressed local Greens.

It is pretty rare when you actually get something worth waiting for, but in the case of my brunch at the Armsby Abbey on Sunday – It was well worth it! The food may take a bit long to arrive after ordering, but it is simply because almost everything is made to order. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the many fantastic beers or cocktails offered while you wait.  While I only partook in some excellent green tea that morning, I ooohed and ahhhed over all the interesting drinks that were served to my dining companions. Try something new and be adventurous, there is a beer or craft liquor for anyone willing to experiment a bit. Our wait staff was very knowledgeable about the drink menu and offered great suggestions to us. I was torn between the Bacon Hash and the Jerk Chicken Sandwich, but I finally decided on later when I overheard the waitress mention the jerk chicken was very spicy. I love me some spice! She was definitely not wrong about it being spicy – I thought it was perfect and left my lips with just a slight tingle. The celery root and green apple slaw helped give it nice texture and cut some of the heat while the perfectly cooked 145 degree sunny side up egg I broke over the top made it decadent and savory. The house made sesame toasted roll was also quite yummy – having an almost sweet taste to it which also helped cut some of  the jerk heat. I don’t mind saying there was not much left on my plate when I was done.

Armsby Abbey is a foodie’s heaven. If you aren’t a foodie, Armsby Abbey will make you one. This is a whole new pub experience.  This establishment is firmly dedicated to the locavore movement and the food here is locally grown and locally produced to the extent possible.  Sandwiches, pizza, and salad are all given the gourmet treatment.  Everything was just spot-on amazing, loaded with flavor, and perfectly prepared – well worth the wait! -SB

Armsby Abbey has one of the more popular Sunday brunches in Worcester.  I have been a few times and I know I can go back many more times especially since their brunch menu changes weekly.  I admit I am more of a lunch food bruncher than breakfast food bruncher but Armsby Abbey appeals to both through a varied menu.

Looking for some heat in my meal I went with the “jerk chicken sandwich”. If you love hot and spicy this is a meal for you.  The chicken had a great smoked flavor with a spicy Jamaican jerk flavor throughout.  It was topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and a fried local organic egg with a soft yolk; egg helped to soften the spiciness of the chicken. It was served on a very fresh house made sesame ale roll. While the chicken sandwich itself was enough it also came with a side salad of local greens with a light vinaigrette dressing and a side of celery root and green apple slaw. Great combination to balance out the jerk chicken. When Armsby Abbey says fiery believe them…. I have never been disappointed on that.

Even though I was quite full with the sandwich and sides I could not pass up on getting another side of bacon. Their bacon is well worth it – its three slices of house cured and smoked very meat bacon. Think extra cut/thick, smokey flavor and served crispy but  not over crispy. “Yum,” is all I need to say.

To round out my brunch and to take the chill from the cold weather I had to go with the “apple toddy.”  Hit the spot with the slight taste of lemon and apple cider but with just a little kick. Be sure to check out their brunch but be prepared to wait as it’s a very popular and yummy brunch. -MM

The house smoked pulled chicken was sandwiched between a dark brown sesame seed bun and was as fiery as the waitress warned. I can’t claim to have known that it was an ‘ale’ roll by the flavor, but just knowing that made it extra special. The roll was probably my favorite part of the meal; golden dark brown and super shiny on the outside yet soft throughout. The celery root and green apple slaw was a refreshing addition to the spicy Jamaican jerk chicken, both in flavor and texture. The runny fried egg on top of it all was indiscernible among the other flavors and merely a reminder that this was indeed breakfast. A no fuss green salad with a simple lemon oil dressing made me feel a little better about my side of bacon. This is the only restaurant that could get away with such a naked salad, no tomato, no cucumber, reminds me that the salad is truly there not to compete with the main course, but to add some light flavors and textures between bites. Now, lets talk bacon. I never thought I’d pay $2 per slice of bacon, but after having tried it, I would easily pay twice that. I suspect it was caramelized because somehow even the fatty parts were crispy. If the bacon itself hadn’t warmed my mood, my apple toddy sure did.  If you could even order an apple toddy at most restaurants it’d be warm apple cider with a splash of whiskey. The Armsby Abbey was a nice potent drink with brandy, apple whiskey, lemon and cider syrup with only enough hot water to make it palatable; my kind of drink. While the Armsby Abbey certainly walks the line of pretentiousness, I felt like I got what I paid for and look forward to my next visit. MO

Located at the north end of Main St, Armsby Abbey is a fairly small pub with a fantastic beer selection and really great food. Any given day, there are 18 or so different craft beers on tap, as well as a wide variety of mixed drinks. On weekends, they do a brunch that starts at 10, with people lining up as early as 20 minutes before that as it gets full quickly.

I went there recently for the brunch and showed up about 9:45. While I was one of the first people there, but the time the door opened, there was a good 20 people waiting, and by about 10:15 the place was full. I started with a mimosa (Orange Juice and Champagne) which was a little heavy on the champagne and served with fresh squeezed OJ, Quite delicious actually. For a meal, I had the Jerk Chicken Sandwich, which I have to say is not for the faint of heart. They describe it as “House smoked chicken with our fiery Jamaican jerk sauce topped with Vermont Cheddar and a celery root/green apple slaw on a house made Sesame-Ale roll” The waitress also tended a warning that this was indeed quite spicy and verified that was what I wanted. I can say that they really mean it when they say fiery. Although the spice level was even greater than expected, it was also tremendously flavorful and a very enjoyable sandwich. If spicy food is your thing, this is well worth a try and will be on my permanent short list for this place. I also had a side of bacon, which came out with 3 slices of thick and crispy bacon with a smoky flavor. Some of the best bacon I’ve ever had, I’d have to say.

The service, while pleasant and attentive, is a little on the slow side. If you’re in a rush, this is not the place for you, but if you don’t mind a leisurely weekend brunch with excellent food and a great drink selection, this is a keeper. -DL

Christmas shopping for fine art collectibles and inspiration at Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton, MA