Daily Digestif

Todd English May Have Thrown a Coke Bottle at Barbara Lynch, Precinct Opens

By Scott Kearnan  |  March 31, 2014

Barbara Lynch and Kristen Kish get the New York Times treatment. In an insightful New York Times feature that ran Friday, "A Woman's Place is Running the Kitchen," Boston powerhouse (and current James Beard nominee for Best Restaurateur) Barbara Lynch shared the spotlight with her former Menton chef de cuisine Kristen Kish. The piece, which brushes on the difficulties female chefs face, details the mentor-like relationship between Lynch and Kish: who like former No. 9 Park sous Stephanie Cmar, was strongly encouraged by Lynch to take the TV plunge on Top Chef. (Happy ending: She won.) The feature chats with Lynch about what is important to her (encouraging a new generation of female chefs) and what is not (expanding her $20 million hospitality group beyond Boston). And while exploring the bootstrapping biography of Lynch, who went from hardscrabble South Boston bookie (then apparently known as "Knuckles Lynch"), the story also drops some pretty epic tales about her experiences working for Todd English at his (now-closed) Olives; they include stories of English upturning a bowl of pasta on her, and flinging a Coke bottle at her head. (He denied both acts to the Times.)

Todd English facing more woes.  “I learned how not to run a restaurant group from Todd English," Lynch told the New York Times. (Ouch.) Her words coincide with word from The Boston Globe that his Beacon Hill bakery, Isabelle's Curly Cakes, which has been closed since January for renovations, is indeed permanently closed - and that English is again under fire for unpaid rent. (Which would seem to contradict his earlier suggestion to Zagat that he has "something new and exciting" planned for the space.) The location's landlord told the Globe that he was owed months' worth of rent by English, who has faced similar situations in the past. Two years ago, amid eviction proceedings, English was slapped with a $1 million lawsuit over unpaid rent by the landlord of his late restaurant Kingfish Hall; last year Olives' landlord obtain court approval to close that restaurant "as he battled with English to recoup $723,000 in back rent," the Globe reports. 

Precinct opens in Back Bay. Precinct Kitchen + Bar officially opens today at the Loews Boston Hotel. The name nods to the building's former use as Boston Police Headquarters, but today you'll instead find a 70-seat restaurant (a 36-seat patio with fire pits opens in late April) with a seafood-centric menu that includes grilled branzino, seared scallops, and a "Boston Clam Bake" of Wellfleet clams, PEI mussels, shrimp, corn, red potato and local kielbasa. The 20-seat bar hosts a cocktail program featuring specialty drinks like the Harvard (cognac, vermouth and bitters), the Nor’Easter (bourbon, maple and ginger), and Remember the Maine (rye, cherry, blueberry and absinthe). 

Eastern Standard wins Munch Madness. Today Boston.com announced the winner of its popular, annual reader-driven bracket, "Munch Madness." Eastern Standard trumped more than 60 other restaurants for the honors. In the final end, it faced off against its younger sibling, the recently-opened Row 34, but the established elder nudged out the upstart.