It's a new year — which means a whole new slew of restaurants are ready to start sprouting up. Though there will inevitably be many more exciting new ventures to present themselves over the next few months, as 2015 gets underway here are a few impending openings we're already excited to see.
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca
In 2014, the opening of Bar Boulud ushered its eponymous chef into Boston. In 2015, Mario Batali will be the marquee name moving into the market. The Boston permutation of his Babbo brand will occupy 8,700 sq. ft. on Fan Pier and "feature wood-burning brick oven Italian-style pizza as well as a variety of pasta, antipasti and gelati," according to an earlier release. When: TBD. That same statement offered a "Winter 2014" opening, and a rep has not yet responded to a request for an update. Updated: A rep says the restaurant is currently gunning for a "mid-April" opening.
Union Square's Bergamot is about to spawn Inman Square's BISq. The 49-seat eatery, full of reclaimed wood and boasting a chandelier made of wine bottles, will honor Bergamot's refined American vibe while focusing on unique charcuterie and smaller, shareable plates like fried and pickled pig ears and "N'awlins BBQ shrimp toast." Check out our sneak peek at the menu here. When: January.
This donut and coffee spot is almost ready to take flight. Coming from the team behind South End gastropub The Gallows, Blackbird has nested at 492 Tremont Street — and if its social media accounts are any indication, some chocolate-covered treats (pictured below, via Blackbird's Facebook) are among those that await. When: January. A rep tells Zagat the spot is slated to open "by the end of" the month.
The Brewer's Fork
The craft-beer and wood-fired-American-cuisine scene receives a new entry. Its masterminds: Michael Cooney of Brookline's The Publick House, and chef John Paine of Les Zygomates. Expect to find 30 draft craft beers, plus a basement full of barrel-aged styles and rarities. An emphasis on locally sourced ingredients will inform the small plates and charcuterie, while a wood-fired oven will churn out pizzas inspired by the flavors — and farms — of New England. When: TBD.
Opening soon in South Boston, Coppersmith (which seems to have changed a previously reported name, Coppersmith Hall) is slated to offer affordable farm-to-table American cuisine using many ingredients grown from a rooftop garden. That it will be housed in a former machine shop with 30-foot high ceilings and room for 250 seats (plus a patio) is cool. Cooler: that it will also house a couple of fixed food trucks inside, used to supplement the main menu with rotating global cuisines, as well as demos and cooking competitions. Coolest: "Coppersmith Works" is an in-house program that will offer hospitality-industry training for young adults. When: Spring 2015, according to a recent update by Eater.
Moving in to the new music-themed Verb Hotel is Hojoko, a "high-energy izakaya," according to a release. The Japanese pub will be the latest from O Ya owners chef Tim Cushman and his wife, sake sommelier Nancy Cushman. O Ya, of course, is consistently rated among the top restaurants in Boston. It's also among the priciest. So the combination of a Japanese pub in a young, trendy hotel, armed with an irreverent name (we suspect the "Hojo" is a nod to the Howard Johnson that once occupied the site), might suggest we'll soon have the opportunity to get some moderately priced Cushman cuisine. When: Spring 2015, according to a restaurant rep.
This upcoming East Cambridge restaurant has a team that involves alums from two food-geek-favorite pop-ups: Hand Taste Collective and Brass Tacks. It will offer "East Coast Revival" cookery and a coffee program (it's hiring for baristas) served in handcrafted dinnerware. When: TBD.
Michael Scelfo (pictured) had a good 2014, with his Harvard Square newcomer Alden & Harlow winning over hearts, minds and, most importantly, stomachs. (If pressed, we'd call it the year's biggest opening.) 2015 is shaping up to be another big year: he's slated to open the irreverantly named Naco, an inventive taqueria at 297 Massachusetts Avenue near Central Square. When: TBD.
SELECT Oyster Bar
Neptune Oyster's longtime executive chef Michael Serpa, one of our past 30 Under 30 honorees, has stepped out to open his own restaurant. Serpa and his wife Lina Velez are behind SELECT at 50 Gloucester Street in the Back Bay, "a neighborhood seafood joint" that has "good tunes and a very personal feel," according to Serpa in Boston magazine. He adds that he doesn't expect to import former Neptune dishes ("I think that would be in bad taste and not really challenging myself...") and alludes to an atmosphere that will be "cozy" and unpretentious. When: "Early 2015," according to a rep for the restaurant.
New details have been scarce on the state of chef Steve "Nookie" Postal's Jewish (...ish) barbecue concept. But we have hope that this may be the year the long-buzzed-about restaurant comes to fruition. (After all, it recently whet appetites through a special dinner with Kitchen Kibitz.) Until then, there's still Nookie's Commonwealth. When: TBD.
Restaurants like Menton, Asta, Journeyman and the just-opened Study have proven that there's a place for tasting-menu-focused dining in Boston. Next up: this experiential, awesome-sounding concept from chef Peter Ungár, previously of Boston's late, esteemed Aujourd'hui and the Michelin-starred Paris restaurant Le Grand Véfour. Ungar's restaurant, housed in the same Somerville building as Aeronaut Brewing Company, will offer a three-course tasting menu for lunch and a nine-course tasting menu for dinner. (Think scallop with pomelo, preserved lemon and avocado cream, pictured at top, or miso-cured hake with grapefruit and roe, pictured above.) There will be just 20 ticketed seats available per meal. Prices will range $150-$180, inclusive of tax, gratuity and beverages, which will include sake, all-natural wines, and beers from Aeronaut. The intimate dining area will face an open kitchen, so guests can see the meal prepared from start to finish, and returning guests can create online profiles with information on dietary restrictions and preferences to help shape future menus. When: April.
Matt and Kate Jennings closed their beloved farm-to-table restaurant in Providence, Farmstead Inc., back in June. But it was only to open this highly anticipated Downtown restaurant, where Matt will be joined by chef Brian Young, one of our past 30 Under 30 honorees. Jennings is a three-time finalist for James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: Northeast" award and three-time Cochon 555 winner, so expect housemade charcuterie and rustic American dishes like Vermont quail schnitzel with Bercy sauce and heirloom apple salad, and a smoked almond Caesar with with brassicas, cider and buttermilk dressing. When: February, according to the latest update we've received.