City Landing closed recently, with chef/owner Bill Brodsky moving over to the Boston Nightlife Ventures group to become "chief culinary officer" of their restaurants, which include Wink & Nod, Forum, and more. Now, a restaurant using the placeholder name "Old Atlantic Tavern" is in the works to take over the space, reports Boston Restaurant Talk, wondering if the Grafton Group is behind it due to the fact that someone named Patrick Lee appears in the licensing commission information.
Indeed, it is the Grafton Group. The corporation listed there, Atlantic Shore Restaurant Corporation, also includes the other Grafton partners — Peter Lee, Sean Kennedy, and Gerry Sheerin — according to paperwork filed with the state.
The Grafton Group is behind a handful of lively Cambridge restaurants that fall somewhere in the upscale gastropub realm: Russell House Tavern, PARK, Grafton Street, and Temple Bar (the only one outside Harvard Square — but it's right down the street).
The Grafton Group was founded in 1996, first opening up Grafton Street Pub and Grill that year, according to The Harvard Crimson. "The initial vision…was to have that pub atmosphere combined with a full service restaurant," Patrick Lee told the Crimson last year. "Back then there weren't a lot of places that had that comfort factor that a neighborhood pub would give you and combine that with really great food."
The City Landing space, which was Sel de la Terre before that, is located right by the Aquarium. According to the information on the licensing commission agenda for a hearing that took place yesterday, "Old Atlantic Tavern" will include a lounge and bar area, a dining room, and seasonal outdoor seating.
UPDATE: Grafton Group confirms that it is "actively involved in securing a space for a new restaurant concept at 255 State Street." Via a press release, Patrick Lee says: "The project, with the temporary placeholder name 'Old Atlantic Tavern' would be our first venture in Boston following 20 years and four successful restaurants in Cambridge. We are excited about the possibility of bringing Grafton Group's neighborhood-focused hospitality and dedication to quality offerings to the other side of the river. For us, having grown up in Boston, this would be a return home."