2014 Preview: Boston's Most Anticipated Openings

By Scott Kearnan  |  January 2, 2014

From big openings to outstanding plates, there was much to celebrate in Boston's dining scene in 2013. But with a new year upon us, we're eager to see what's in store - highly anticipated new restaurants, the return of some favorite local chefs and a few new changes for the city that should spell good things for the local food industry. Here's a list of what we're most excited about for 2014. 

  • Fort Point Pizza Palace

    Wood-fired pizzas will be coming to Fort Point at Pastoral, the upcoming venture from former Metropolitan restaurants chef Todd Winer. In fact, when it opens in February, Pastoral will be only the second Massachusetts restaurant currently certified by the U.S. and Canadian branch of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the international board governing authentic Neapolitan pizza-making.

  • A Harvard Square Icon Reborn

    Since leaving Russell House Tavern, chef Michael Scelfo has been hard at work prepping Alden & Harlow, his new venture moving into the space that formerly housed Harvard Square's Casablanca. He's chatted a bit about the concept with Boston magazine, suggesting un-fussy, vegetable- and produce-heavy plates for sharing. It will be akin to some of Scelfo's home cooking - and if the "test kitchen" teaser photos he posts often to his Instagram account (@mscelfo) are any indication, we will be very pleased to be his dinner guest. 

  • A Taste of Spain-via-Connecticut

    Connecticut-based tapas chain Barcelona has already scored a big reputation for its small plates since opening in Brookline at the very start of 2013. It's expected to join the South End dining scene in 2014, opening a location in the space that used to belong to Sibling Rivalry. Tapas, paella and one big suckling pig - all on the way.

  • Chopped Winner Branches Out

    Chopped winner Daniel Bojorquez is about to have a bit more free time - though not for long. Sel de la Terre, where Bojorquez has been chef de cuisine, closes on January 1, but reps for owner Frank McClelland's New France LLC have already told us that the company "is currently developing new concepts." And that includes the Bojorquez-helmed La Brasa, a Peruvian chicken restaurant slated to open in East Somerville in March, according to a rep. Renderings, like the sign seen here, are hosted on the website of RODE Architects. 

  • Credit: John Stephen Dwyer

    Late-Night MBTA Service

    In what can only be good news for bars, restaurants and those of us whose lives revolve around bars and restaurants, the MBTA recently announced that it will (finally!) launch a pilot program to keep the subway running until 3 AM on weekends. That means it will be a lot easier to stay out until last call, then get home without paying for a pricey cab. We're also excited to see if it encourages more Boston kitchens to stay open late; here's a recent list we compiled of those that already serve until wee hours. 

  • South End Speakeasy

    In case you missed it, the speakeasy-inspired lounge and restaurant that industry watchers were calling Blind Tiger has a new name: Wink & Nod. We're still just as eager to see what the spot has in store - Boston Nightlife Ventures, the team behind restaurants like Forum, promises craft cocktails and an opulent interior (a rendering seen here) when it opens in early 2014 in the South End. 

  • More Liquor Licenses (Maybe)

    Don't pop the champagne yet. But we're excited to know that Boston's famously stringent liquor regulations may just get relaxed in 2014. In December, the City Council voted to lift the cap on the number of available liquor licenses in the city, a response to petitioners concerned that the concentration of (very expensive) licenses in tourist-y parts of town was preventing up-and-coming neighborhoods from expanding their hospitality sectors and economic development. The new rules still need to be approved by the mayor and legislature in January, but we're optimistic that we'll soon see more neighborhood restaurants with full bars. Get the bottles on ice.  

  • Delicious Mash-Up Cuisine

    Around the World in 80 Plates star Steve "Nookie" Postal was plenty busy this year; his Commonwealth was one of the biggest openings of 2013. But we're happy to hear he has no intention of slowing down. Next summer he's expected to open a second Cambridge restaurant, the Jewish barbecue joint Steinbones.  

  • Merrill & Co.

    We're excited to see what the future holds for each of the honorees on our recent Boston 30 Under 30 list. But we already know what's next for Kevin Mabry (pictured). In 2014 the jm Curley beverage manager will also oversee the program at Merrill & Co., a fellow BiNA Hospitality Group restaurant opening in the South End space that formerly housed 28 Degrees. Expect a raw bar and casual New England seafood from chef Jason Cheek (a KO Prime alum), plus Mabry overseeing a cocktail program that includes punches, slushies, rotating draft lines and an extensive selection of sherry.

  • The TV Diner Team's New Show

    Though New England Cable News (NECN) canceled its food show TV Diner in September, it wasn't long before co-hosts Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson - two of town's most recognizable media personalities - were snatched up by the New England Sports Network (NESN). In February the duo will return with a different food-and-sports-themed show. No word yet on the title, but one thing we do know: we'll be watching.