Grendel’s Den



Redefining the Green “Bar and Restaurant”

A good deal and green initiatives are what attract customers to Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, Mass. Named after the man-devouring beast from the old English tale Beowulf, the bar and restaurant, situated in the hip Harvard Square area, redefines what it means to be a hangout: no televisions, no live music, and no pool tables.

But that doesn’t hamper its appeal. Just ask hometown-favorite Ben Affleck. The bar is a favorite of his, and part of his 2010 film, The Town, was shot at the Harvard haunt.

Opened in 1971 by Herbert and Sue Kuelzer, Grendel’s is known as a “comfortable, down-to-earth place to have food and drinks at fabulous prices,” according to the restaurant’s official website. Kari Kuelzer, daughter of Herbert and Sue, took over in 2003, transforming the restaurant into the popular stomping ground, for students and professors alike, that it is today.

“Since you forgo the Red Sox when you come here,” said owner Kari Kuelzer to the Boston Globe, “we wanted to provide an incentive to choose our bar to get a beer.” Along with extra cheap dining and drink options, the establishment provides a checklist of green options for customers wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.

According to the restaurant’s website, Grendel’s ensures that it provides customers with ocean-friendly seafood that conforms to Monterey Bay Aquarium marine sustainability standards. This ensures that New England staples, such as Haddock and Rainbow Trout, are responsibly farmed, caught without trawlers, and bought locally.

The dive also takes waste reduction seriously too, creating all its dishes from fresh, whole ingredients that come in minimal packaging. Furthermore, the restaurant composts all its waste, and recycles all the packaging, saving an estimated 300 pounds of garbage, per day, going to landfills.

Though first impressions most definitely count, Grendel’s Den, once again, justifies the old adage that “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Combining an ambition to create an eco-friendly enterprise with a unique feel and peculiarity, Grendel’s Den could, very well, be blazing the path toward an overhaul of the definition of the local joint.

– Kane Carpenter