The beloved former Patriots player has a new cocktail at the Encore Casino’s Rare Steakhouse.
Many Bostonians today are nostalgic for the Patriots of about seven years ago, when we had a dream team and couldn’t lose. So it was a welcome sight to see Julian Edelman the other day mixing up the JE11 cocktail at Encore Casino’s Rare Lounge. His namesake elixir, an elevated Manhattan with tequila, will grace the steakhouse’s bar menu from now on. While he shook and didn’t stir, we caught up on what life looks like for him in retirement.
For starters, he’s a pretty busy retired guy. Although football consumed his life for most of his life, when he finally did step away from the game, he had many other shoes to fill. There were the literal ones—he worked on collabs with Puma—as well as the figurative ones. “The platform that I’ve built has given me so many different avenues to go and explore my other interests,” he says. Any good Edelman fan knows these range from fashion to burgers to comedy.
In addition to the Puma collab, he’s done collections with Joe’s Jeans, Mackage and has a line of JE11 apparel. He also routinely works with stylist Ilaria Urbinati, famous for her clientele of leading men like Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “I’ve always been super interested in clothes and fashion. I’m not great with knowing name brands, I just know what looks cool,” he says.
It’s this lack of posturing that has endeared Edelman to his fans. He’s approachable, down-to-earth, just a regular guy who happens to be extremely talented. And he’s funny. His love of comedy inspired him to create his talk show spoof Burgertyme, where he interviews an athlete and eats a burger. Edelman also partnered with comedian Sam Morril for the first season of his podcast Names and Games, which he continues to host solo now but still brings the laughs. And on the other side of the camera, Edelman is working to produce scripted comedies with his production company Coast Productions which he co-founded with Boston-born Assaf Swissa. “We started doing short form content on Instagram and YouTube. I learned so much from that and when I was done with football, a lot of doors opened up for me. I like putting my own flair on projects. We’re getting into more scripted shows because that’s where my heart is,” Edelman says.
His heart is also partly in Los Angeles, where his daughter lives and where he also owns a house, in addition to his Boston abode. His retirement has given him the much wanted chance to spend more time with her, as well as set up his west coast home. He’s really taken to design, both interior and exterior, taking cues from Duncan Hughes who designed his Back Bay townhouse. “It takes up a lot of time, but it’s fun. When I do it on my own, I love it more,” Edelman says. “It’s an extension of myself. I have a story for every single thing I picked out,” he says. He describes his aesthetic as mid-century modern “like Joseph Eichler.” And like any good Boston athlete, he has a rec room where paraphernalia from the Patriots, the Celtics and the Bruins decorates the walls.
And although he’s only part time in Boston, to Edelman, this city still feels the most like home. He loves the burger at Hojoko, which he describes as a “makeshift Big Mac with wagyu beef, a sesame bun and a great sauce.” In general, he enjoys the more low-key restaurant scenes in town like Little Donkey, spots in the North End, and of course the Encore. “I like to throw a little cash on the table,” he says with his signature smile. We’re just glad he’s still betting on Boston.
Photography by: Photo credit Robin Winchell