"He's a true Bostonian," restaurant owner Paul Barker tells PEOPLE of Ben Affleck
Credit: Courtesy Pauli's North End

Ben Affleck is back on his home turf.

The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actor, who recently split from wife Jennifer Garner, returned to Boston on Thursday, where he was spotted strolling through the North End, Boston’s historic Italian neighborhood.

The Cambridge-bred Affleck and a large group of friends headed down Salem Street and stopped in front of local favorite Pauli’s North End, where he chatted for a bit with the restaurant’s owner, Paul Barker. Sporting a furry beard with a touch of gray, Affleck was hardly incognito (He wasn’t wearing sunglasses, nor even his trademark Red Sox hat!) while he chatted with Barker.

“We invited him in for some lobster rolls, but they had a meeting or something. He said he’d definitely be back,” said Barker.

“He was very friendly,” Barker continued. “He was taking pictures with a bunch of people. He’s just a really friendly, nice guy. He seemed like he was out having fun.”

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Despite his recent split from Garner, Affleck seemed upbeat during his visit. Clad in a T-shirt, black jeans and sneakers, he stopped to take pictures with every fan who asked.

“He’s a true Bostonian. He wasn’t trying to duck anybody,” said Barker. “He was very, very, very nice. It was a great experience. We get a lot of celebs that come in, and he’s just so down to earth. When I took a picture with him, and then people started to notice, he didn’t say no to anybody. He’s just a class act.”

Affleck was also spotted walking around South Boston on Thursday with his group, checking out locations. He’s expected to start filming his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s book Live by Night in Boston this fall. Affleck is writing, directing and starring in the film which costars Sienna Miller and Zoé Saldana.