11 Most Anticipated Summer Openings in Boston

Want to steam up your season? These spots have you covered.
May 31, 2016
by Scott Kearnan

After a relatively quiet spring, expect restaurant openings to kick into high gear. Last week Coppa alum Meghann Ward unfurled Tapestry in the former Fenway-side home of Church, while this week sees the debut of Lowcountry concept Southern Kin in Somerville and contemporary Italian Bar Mezzana in the South End; Saltie Girl, a seafood-focused newcomer from MET Back Bay restaurateur Kathy Sidell, is also slated to open within weeks. [Update: Saltie Girl will open June 1, per a rep.]  Then comes summer, when a spate of hot spots will roll out. Here's a list of some of the most important to keep your eye on — and remember, debut dates are always moving targets. 

Mamaleh’s Delicatessen
Opening: June
Members of the team behind State Park will help fill a void of Jewish delis in the Boston area. They're about to roll out this Kendall Square spot, which will serve classics — from blintzes to knishes — from breakfast through dinner. It will inhabit the space previously occupied by the just-closed West Bridge. 

1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge

The Smoke Shop
Opening: Mid-June
It's about time for something new from Andy Husbands, the Hell's Kitchen alum and South End staple behind Tremont 647. Smoke Shop, pictured in a rendering above, will boast a hip Americana vibe swathed in rustic woods, exposed brick and metal accents. There will be 150 seats in total: 70 in the dining room, 40 at the flat-screen TV–equipped bar and 40 on an outside patio. Look for a more polished, upscale take on barbecue, and expect one section of the menu aimed at more adventurous diners (highlighting, say, some less oft-used cuts). There will also be chef-driven spins on standards, like six-minute deviled eggs drizzled in green goddess dressing, house-fermented chiles and asparagus. 

1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge

Opening: Late June
Out with the old, in with the new: At the end of June, star chef Jody Adams will officially depart Rialto, the legendary Harvard Square restaurant she opened over 20 years ago, and debut Porto in the Back Bay. Adams is working again with her Trade partners Eric Papachristos and Sean Griffing (the trio is pictured at page top) to launch this Mediterranean seafood spot with inspiration from Italian, Portuguese, Greek and Moroccan cuisines. Expect harissa-spiked steamed mussels, whole fish roasted with herbs and olives, and a "Mediterranean twist on the New England lobster roll," according to a release.

Ring Rd.

Photo courtesy Dig Inn

Dig Inn
Opening: Late June
A small-but-expanding chain of NYC-based farm-to-table restaurants is coming to the Back Bay. Dig Inn, which focuses on build-your-own "marketplates" and bowls (pictured above), will debut breakfast and brunch service (jazzed with Counter Culture coffee) at its Boston location. It will also be the chain's largest at 3,000 sq. ft. and 40 seats, plus a patio.  

557 Boylston St.

Article 24
Opening: TBD Summer [Update: Early June, per a rep]
Given Brighton's limited dining and entertainment options, we're excited to see this venture from the team behind Local 149 and Biltmore Bar & Grille come to fruition. Article will be a "garage-inspired, vintage rock bar with a big focus on music," says a rep for the restaurant. It will be open until 2 AM nightly. Expect live DJs and local bands booked on the regular and a New American menu by chef Mark Allen during lunch, dinner, a Saturday "reggae brunch" and a Sunday "EDM brunch." Bar manager Gary Janes will preside over the program of creative cocktails and rotating craft beers. 

458 Western Ave., Brighton

Opening: TBD Summer
Longtime Harvest chef Mary Dumont (pictured) departed the Harvard Square farm-to-table last year to begin prepping her first venture as an owner: Cultivar, set to inhabit an unannounced space Downtown. Dumont promises that the restaurant (which will have a "spacious outdoor patio") will serve "modern American garden cuisine" using ingredients culled from the restaurant’s proprietary hydroponic garden, as well as her personal 1-acre plot. The name Cultivar is also laden with meaning, says Dumont, who thinks of the project as the amalgamation of all her culinary experience to date — which ranges from time at San Francisco's Michelin-starred Jardinière to the (now-closed) Dunaway Restaurant in her native New Hampshire, where she scored a "Best New Chef" nod from "Food & Wine.""Cultivar refers to any plant, whether vegetable or fruit, that has been cultivated through human intention to have the best characteristics of several plants," explains Dumont. "That’s the way I look at my life at this moment. It’s like I’ve taken cuttings of every part of what I’ve gone through to make one complete thing." 

TBD Downtown

Fat Hen
Opening: TBD Summer
Chef-owner Daniel Bojorquez has partnered with Michael Bergin (the L'Espalier alum most recently of Del Posto and A Voce in NYC) to introduce a "soulful Italian" concept to the space neighboring his La Brasa. Inspired by his fine dining experiences, Bergin launched a Fat Hen Italian dinner series late last year. This will be its permanent home, a 30-seat space that boasts plenty of homemade pastas and braised meats.

124 Broadway, Somerville

Photo courtesy Little Donkey

Little Donkey
Opening: TBD Summer
The dynamic duo of Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette (already teamed on Coppa, Toro and Toro NYC) are bringing their next endeavor to Central Square. Expect internationally minded small plates, charcuterie and raw-bar eats (including a late-night menu). We're still awaiting more details on this donkey, but the names attached have us braying with enthusiasm.

505 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Oak + Rowan
Opening: TBD Summer
She's earned raves for her North Shore gems Ceia Kitchen + Bar and BRINE; now restaurateur Nancy Batista-Caswell will open her first venture in Boston, Oak + Rowan, on the ground floor of a luxury condo building in Fort Point. Longtime BRINE chef Justin Shoults (pictured), one of our most recent 30 Under 30 honorees, is on tap to helm, and so far we know the concept will feature small plates alongside contemporary seafood and homemade pastas, crudos and "an elevated domestic and international caviar program served by sample or by the ounce in classic and untraditional sets," according to the team. Besides a craft beer menu, there'll be a daily rotating boutique wine list and tableside "cocktail carts" that will allow guests to customize their libations. Interior-wise, expect the 5,000-sq.-ft. space to boast exposed brick, "nearly" floor to ceiling windows and a modern-meets-historic blend of oak, marble and glass that conveys the vibe of a home dining environment. “The name was inspired by the feeling conjured up when in the space: lofty and open yet safe, similar to when you’re in a treehouse as a kid,” said Batista-Caswell.​ 

319 A St.

Pink Samurai
Opening: TBD Summer
Chef Matt Cunningham, alum of joints like Strip-T's and The Sinclair, is almost ready to open what he calls a "funky, fast-casual" spot in JP, where the Chinese cuisine will be brushed with some Japanese, Thai and European influences. "We've been viewing the food as if the people from [San Francisco's] Mission Chinese and [Sweden's] Faviken got together, had a few drinks and opened a dumpling house," says Cunningham. Expect everything made in-house, from tofu to fermented veggies, and even plates and bowls personally pottered by neighborhood artist Jeremy Ogusky. On the beverage side, the beer, wine and cordial license will be complemented by teas and homemade sodas. And you can expect a bit of whimsy in the intimate interior, which will have hand-crafted wooden tables set with pink stone and samurai-inspired artwork.  

658 Centre St., Jamaica Plain

Opening: TBD Summer
Though he did take time to help the Naco Team team conceptualize its menu before bowing out, this will be chef Michael Scelfo's first proper follow-up to Alden & Harlow, the Harvard Square hit he opened in 2014. A&H manager Mary Kate Jurek (one of our most recent 30 Under 30 honorees) will run front of house at Cambridge's Waypoint, a "coastal New England–inspired" restaurant. Details are scarce, but the slogan "Swim Good" has already been floated (pun intended) on the upcoming restaurant's social media.

1030 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 

summer openings