The Art of Pairing: Berklee Partners with B3 Restaurant

By 
Bryan Parys
June 29, 2017
Maro playing jazz at B3
A bartender at B3 making martinis
Maro performing at B3
Kyle Thornton performing at B3
Entrance to B3
New restaurant B3 is located in Berklee's 160 Massachusetts Avenue building and features Berklee musicians every night. Here, the band Maro plays its blend of folk and jazz.
A B3 bartender mixes up some drinks. The menu features Southern-inspired fusion dishes and imaginative craft cocktails.
Maro, featuring Mariana Secca (middle), Michael Decena (left), and Tommaso Taddonio (right), was among the first bands to perform at B3.
On any given night, patrons can hear a variety of music genres. Here, Kyle Thornton (left) brings his brand of R&B to the B3 crowd.
"The B3 team is excited to offer the rare opportunity to showcase Berklee's next generation of world class headliners at the center of our guests' experience," says Richard Enderlin, B3's general manager.
Image by Dave Green
Image by Dave Green
Image by Dave Green
Image by Dave Green
Image by Dave Green

Boston's Back Bay area has long been a foodie's paradise, from specialty food trucks to swanky haute cuisine. One of the newest additions to the culinary scene, B3 ("Back Bay Beats"), has found a home inside Berklee's 160 Massachusetts Avenue building, where it serves up its own brand of inventive, Southern-inspired dishes and slings craft cocktails.

But the unique dining experience doesn’t end with the house-made gravlax or lavender and chamomile-infused gin. B3 takes full advantage of being housed in the same building as the below-street-level recording studios and the hundreds of students that live on the upper floors: every night of the week (and at brunch on Sundays), patrons can hear Berklee musicians perform live.

A Venue on the Menu

For Richard Enderlin, general manager for B3, location really is everything. As he says, “Given that we're located in the heart of the music world at Berklee, the B3 team is excited to offer the rare opportunity to showcase Berklee's next generation of world-class headliners at the center of our guests' experience.” From folk to jazz, Latin to indie, the Berklee performers bring their own flavors to the table each night, ensuring that the B3 experience can never be described as typical.

More Than a Gig

Mariana Secca, a seventh semester professional music major, and her folk/jazz band, Maro, was one of the first crop of performers to play at B3. “There's something special about that space,” she says. “The stage is cozy and the atmosphere makes every little detail seem connected. It's an opportunity to play with your best friends while getting more comfortable with performing in front of people.”

Providing that kind of extracurricular opportunity has been part of the design since the partnership was struck. “Berklee is constantly looking for ways our students can professionally engage in the community,” says Michael Borgida, director of marketing and external affairs at Berklee. And that engagement doesn’t end with the performers, as Berklee students are involved in every step of the process, from booking the gigs to running the soundboard. As Borgida says, “This is an amazing opportunity for our students to put their studies into practice performing, engineering, and booking on a daily basis.”

Creating Unforgettable Experiences

While most great restaurants are masters of pairing flavors, B3 extends the pairings on the menu to musical offerings, all housed in an airy, minimalist environment. For example, who could’ve predicted that Maro's jazz would work so well with grilled pineapple ice cream and a cup of coffee, and that the description "smooth, deep, with a hint of smoke" could work for the music and the food at that moment? The combinations are surprising and seem endless. “It’s an unforgettable experience,” Enderlin says, “that occurs when honest food, craft cocktails, live music, and genuine, simple hospitality come together."

Watch Mariana Secca, whose band Maro recently performed at B3, perform "Wonderful" with Fates, another of her musical projects: