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Hit Wicket Is Feeding a Love for Cricket in Cambridge

America is no stranger to sports bars or themed restaurants. Though a marriage of the two may be noticeably less common, it's not the case for Cambridge residents since cricket-themed sports bar Hit Wicket opened its doors in June 2013.

First-time restaurateurs and friends Nada Heredia and Shubha Ramesh Kumar are foodies with a mission. "The restaurant was born for two main reasons: to give people who are already cricket fans a place to come together and watch the sport and also to introduce the sport to people who are not familiar with it," said Heredia, a part-owner who handles community relations.

Sri Lanka fans cheer on their team during the T20 World Cup at Hit Wicket in Cambridge, Mass.
Hit Wicket Cricket Fans in cambridge, MA homes for sale

From the cricket memorabilia to the menu that features foods from different cricket-playing nations, patrons get a unique taste of what the co-owners believe is America's first sports bar and restaurant focused on the sport.

"Cricket has existed for a long time and baseball sort of evolved from cricket. It's a ball and bat game also based on runs, but the pitcher is called the bowler. There are many differences," explains Heredia. "We've had some fun using cricket terminology on our menu - test match being the full entrees; one day international, the shorter games, being the light entrees."

Trinidad Roti Wraps, a popular dish available in vegetarian and meat options at Hit Wicket.
Hit Wicket Trinidad Roti Wraps in cambridge, ma real estate

Many of the South Indian recipes on the menu are home recipes of Kumar's family, which includes items not typically found in a restaurant, such as the yam crepes, home-style taro and the lentil powder that comes with the rice crepes, steamed dumplings and some of the wings.

Originally from the Bangalore, India, Kumar grew up watching cricket and brought her love for the sport with her when she and her husband moved to the Cambridge area in 2003. "She's a vegetarian and because of the idea of going to sports bars and not really having vegetarian options, we wanted to create a menu that's also diverse in terms of having those options," said Heredia. "It's her passion and expertise."

Two of the restaurant's most popular dishes have vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices: the Trinidad roti wrap served with chicken, minced lamb, spiced paneer, scrambled eggs or a combo of any two; and the sliders served with potato, jerk lamb, spiced chicken or a combination. The curry selections rotate, with a different vegetarian and meat curry to choose from daily.

Customers can check out the cricket equipment corner at Hit Wicket.
Cricket equipment corner at hit wicket in cambridge, ma condos for sale

Have a few minutes to explore while your food's being prepared? You can catch the latest local game, or one of the full-day or 5-day cricket matches playing on a nearby TV. If you're new to cricket then you can study the cheat sheet your server brought over, strike up a conversation with an Australian expat who's a die-hard fan, or check out some real-life cricket gear.

"We have a corner that children love, as do grown-up children. They can handle a cricket bat and see the difference in size between a traditional cricket bat and a baseball bat," said Heredia. "They can get a sense of it and feel the ball, knowing that the players in cricket don't use the glove but it's just as hard as a baseball."

Along with NFL Sunday, Patriots games, college sports and trivia night, the 100-seat Inman Square venue recently started hosting Paint Nite on Friday nights. Aspiring artists can sample the street-food inspired menu, a Mockria (mock sangria iced tea), or a specialty cocktail like the Sticky Wicket, Fly Slip or Vodka Puri, which is based on a traditional Indian snack and comes with vodka that's poured into the puri.

The Vodka Puri cocktail puts a unique and modern twist on traditional Indian fare.
Vodka Puri specialty cocktail at hit wicket in cambridge ma

"It was a brand new idea, taking something traditional and putting a spin on it," said Heredia, who could just as easily be talking about the restaurant's menu or its central theme.

"We have those who are passionate about the sport and so excited to have a restaurant that's focused on it, and then we have the folks who want to learn more about the sport. That was the original intent and it's still very much the intent to serve both purposes."

WANTED: Cricket fans. No experience necessary.

Hit Wicket
Inman Square
1172, Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 945-9259 or (617) 945-9319


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