Boston's 18 Most Anticipated Spring Restaurant Openings
Spring is (about to be) in bloom, and with it comes a slew of new restaurants budding around Boston. Here are a few of the most exciting.
Mike Diskin/Fool's Errand
We know we're mixing sports references, but Top Chef runner-up Tiffani Faison (pictured) is about to score a hat trick by Fenway. Her ballpark-side restaurants, barbecue joint Sweet Cheeks Q and Southeast Asian–inspired Tiger Mama, will soon be joined by this super-intimate, 12-seat outfit that will operate on a ticketed reservation system. It will transform into a cocktail den at 10 PM, though some late-night bites will still be available.
ETA: TBD spring
The massive Back Bay outpost of the Mario Batali–steered brand of Eataly food emporiums is about to welcome its fourth full-service restaurant: Terra, a third-floor eatery, will emphasize dishes prepared on a wood-fired grill by chef de cuisine Dan Bazzinotti (pictured), who recently relocated to Eataly from BISq. Expect an earthy, rustic-chic ambiance with plenty of greenery, herb-infused cocktails, a 300-label wine list and a 15-strong selection of wood barrel–aged beers displayed in a floor-to-ceiling showcase. Shareable plates like grilled quail will coexist with pastas and a selection of skewers bearing everything from tuna to lamb meatball.
ETA: April 4
North Square Oyster
Nicholas Frattaroli, owner of North End gastropub Ward 8, is taking over another nook in the same neighborhood. Under Frattaroli, the space that formerly housed Gennaro’s 5 North Square will be reborn as a seafood-focused affair with plates like lobster pie and sea urchin pasta prepared by chef Douglas Rodrigues (pictured), previously of Liquid Art House and Ken Oringer's late great Clio. Freshly shucked oysters will be served alongside inventive mignonettes, and beverage manager Mike Wyatt, one of our former 30 Under 30 stars, will revolve his cocktail menu around a classic martini service with various spirit and garnish options. The two-floor restaurant will have high tin-tiled ceilings with large windows overlooking the historic cobblestone square, one-time home to Paul Revere.
ETA: Mid April
It's always exciting when an established restaurateur adds to an empire — and so it is with Cunard Tavern, heading to the Jeffries Point section of East Boston. Owner Phil Frattoroli is behind the Italian North End restaurants Ducali, Filippo and Lucia, but this Eastie venture will have an international pub vibe under chef Anthony Pino, plus an oyster bar and extensive burger menu. It'll be spread over two floors, replete with a patio overlooking Boston Harbor. Waterfront dining is a surprising rarity here, so save us a seat.
ETA: Late April
The team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 will take over a historic building in Harvard Square this spring. Acclaimed local restaurateur Garrett Harker is preparing to open Les Sablons with chef co-owner Jeremy Sewall (pictured), who recently closed his acclaimed Brookline spot Lineage. Les Sablons will be a two-floor affair at the iconic Conductor's Building. The first floor will host a "neighborhood cocktail party" courtesy of the group's famed mixology master Jackson Cannon, while the modern upstairs dining room will highlight European-inspired cuisine from chefs Sewall and Brian Rae, who moves here from Centre Street Cafe.
Freepoint Kitchen & Cocktails
Chef Matthew Gaudet is coming back to Cambridge. Gaudet closed his acclaimed Kendall Square restaurant West Bridge at the end of 2015 to move to the quaint ocean-side enclave Manchester-by-the-Sea and open SuperFine, a casual counter-service spot, last year. Now he'll set up shop inside the lobby of the forthcoming Freepoint Hotel in Cambridge, serving eclectic global plates inspired by his travels: think shakshuka for breakfast and green harissa-braised chicken for dinner. The bar will emphasize bourbon and brown liquors, with an eight-variation menu of Manhattans included on the larger cocktail list. Decor-wise, you'll find custom art pieces and wall projections of video art, cartoons and cult movies, plus a glass-enclosed atrium with greenery and fire pits.
ETA: April 1
Courtesy of Anoush'ella: Saj Kitchen
Anoush'ella: Saj Kitchen
The inundation of Eastern Mediterranean eats continues with this elevated fast-casual entry in the South End, which will emphasize wraps called man'oush, thin flatbread cooked on a metal griddle. The flavor-packed sandwich variations will be served in an intimate space.
La Bodega by Salts
It's been nearly three years since Salts shuttered due to flooding — and the subsequent news that its MIT-owned setting would be repurposed. But now the restaurant's married team, chef Gabriel Bremer and Analia Verolo, are about to launch a follow-up: La Bodega by Salts, which will focus on wood-fired, farm-to-table Uruguayan food with a smattering of Spanish and French-Basque influences (and that means the return of Salts' beloved whole roasted duck for two). The 90-seat space will have the vibe of a Latin American wine bar, with a thoughtful selection of bottles and a refurbished 1950s diner car.
ETA: TBD spring
Courtesy of Better Bagels
This cult favorite pop-up is finally landing its own permanent brick-and-mortar space in the Watermark Seaport building. Business partners James Grimes and Sam Harden have been baking out of a Malden commissary kitchen and distributing their delicious carb wheels through appearances at spots like Coppa, offering up boiled-then-baked bagels with fancy toppings like oysters Rockefeller cream cheese. Expect more of that, plus some breakfast eats and deli-style sandwiches too.
ETA: TBD spring
How perfect: A new place to carb load, just steps from the Boston Marathon finish line. Piattini owner Jo Megwa, who reopened that Italian restaurant last month following a full-scale renovation, is about to debut Ora Trattorizza, a Back Bay destination stressing pizza and house pastas. Other details are being held close to the chest, but expect a sophisticated interior style swathed in white and gold.
ETA: Late spring
Courtesy of Big Night Entertainment Group
Big Night Entertainment Group, the hospitality team behind restaurants including Red Lantern and Empire, is opening Explorateur inside Downtown's Masonic Temple (the Western Hemisphere's third oldest), and they're going for the comfy feel of European cafe-bakery-bar. Info is scarce right now, but Big Night chef Kevin Long (pictured) will be at the helm of the French kitchen.
ETA: TBD spring
Courtesy of Certified Meatball Company
Certified Meatball Company
Boston Nightlife Ventures, the team behind Griddler's Burgers & Dogs, The Tap Trailhouse, Southern Kin and Wink & Nod, branches out with a fast-casual spot in South Boston dedicated to — take a wild guess? — meatballs. The menu will offer six different types of meatballs that can be paired with six different sauces, plus a half-dozen specialties like the turkey mole poblano or cashew-curried vegetable. Another section of the menu will be devoted to bao balls, which lets guests slather different sauces on steamed buns, and there will also be some sweet dessert options. A few panini, salads and sides will also be available.
ETA: TBD spring
Fans of Nantucket's Lola 41, prepare yourself: The upcoming sibling in Boston's Seaport is upping the attitude along with the latitude. The swanky space covers 3,700 square feet at Twenty Two Liberty, a luxury residential building on Fan Pier, and is roughly double the size of the ACK original, designed with lots of oak and wide walls of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the harbor. The cooking will still draw from global traditions — Mediterranean to Japanese — but the Seaport location will add a yakitori grill and sushi bar.
ETA: Early spring
Courtesy of Cultivar
Longtime Harvest chef Mary Dumont (pictured) departed the Harvard Square locale last year to begin prepping her first venture as an owner: Cultivar, set to inhabit the ground floor of Downtown's Ames Hotel. Dumont promises that the restaurant (sporting a patio) will serve "modern American garden cuisine" using ingredients from the restaurant’s hydroponic garden, as well as her personal one-acre plot.
ETA: Late spring
OK, from a food perspective, there will be more compelling openings in 2017. But from a purr-ely entertaining standpoint, we're pumped to welcome this "cat cafe" to Chestnut Hill, a spot to bring your laptop, kick back with coffee and tea, and spend some time petting adorable feline friends: About 25 adoptable shelter cats will roam the premises at any given time. The cafe will partner with local restaurants to bring in some snacks, since sanitation reasons preclude preparation inside, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to local shelters.
Courtesy of The Blue Ox
Looking briefly beyond Boston to Salem, which has recently become a hub of new restaurant openings, we're already bewitched by this upcoming New American from chef Matt O'Neil (pictured) of Lynn's The Blue Ox. Inside a bank built in 1818, The Ledger will serve food inspired by classic Yankee cookery, much of it prepared on a wood-fired custom grill, in a setting that makes use of still-standing elements like exposed brick, safety deposit boxes and an old vault (now a walk-in refrigerator). There will also be an open kitchen with a raw bar and charcuterie counter, so some guests can cash in on a front-row view of the culinary magic.
ETA: Late spring/early summer
Chef Marc Orfaly, previously of The Beehive, has partnered with the hospitality group behind Pier 6 to open this East Boston locale (previously billed as The Eddy) on the ground floor of a high-rise apartment building. The seafood-oriented endeavor will span 5,000 square feet, complete with an open kitchen and waterfront patio with bar. One of the coolest amenities: boat service provided to and from Pier 6 in Charlestown, just a hop across the harbor.
ETA: TBD spring
The Franklin Restaurant Group (Franklin Cafe, Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar) has focused largely on expanding its Tasty Burger brand over the last six years, so Our Fathers, a nod to its three chef-owners' dads, will be the team's first non-Tasty venture since Citizen opened in 2010. The Jewish-style deli, set inside the Continuum building in Lower Allston, is inspired by owner Dave DuBois' childhood visits to similar spots, so look for familiar fare like pastrami, brisket and smoked fish, plus make-your-own sodas, a full bar and a patio. DuBois adds that the housemade bagels will be based on synthesizing the best elements of bagel cultures in NYC, Montreal and London.