With 2015 drawing to a close, today we're looking back at the year's interviews and sharing some of the most-read ones, from owners reflecting on their restaurants' milestone anniversaries to chefs talking about their upcoming openings.
Kenmore Square's centerpiece of hospitality celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and owner Garrett Harker and opening bar manager Jackson Cannon (now beverage director for the restaurant and its siblings as well as co-owner of The Hawthorne) reflected on the past and talked about future expansion of the group. "This is the least sentimental or nostalgic group, and I know it comes down from me; I know I'm not that person," said Harker. "This is weird for me to be sitting and talking about the past, so to anyone reading this: Don't think our glory days have already come and gone. Don't come here just to pay your respects to the past."
Image credit: Eastern Standard/Meg Jones Wall for Eater
The team behind Five Horses Tavern opened Worden Hall in Southie in late August 2015. Earlier in the month, they spoke of their plans for the restaurant and their eagerness to be a neighborhood spot. "I like neighborhoods that are diverse and have all walks of life," said owner Dylan Welsh. "We cater to young professionals all the way up to my grandparents coming in at 5 o’clock." Located at 22 West Broadway, Worden Hall takes comfort food seriously, serving up deep-dish pies, spuckies, and more.
Image credit: Bill Nurse, Dan Henn, Tim McQuinn, Dylan Welsh/Jacqueline Cain for Eater
In May, Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri announced that they'd open their first permanent restaurant, Juliet, in the former Sherman Cafe space in Somerville's Union Square. Their company, Bread & Salt Hospitality, had previously spent seven months in residence at Wink & Nod in the South End, which has been acting as an incubator for long-term pop-ups since opening. In this interview, the duo went into detail about the plans for Juliet, a European-style cafe with multiple dining experiences, including serious breakfasts, full-service dining, and commuter-friendly takeout options. "Community is super important," said Lewin, "and people say that a lot, and they often mean it, but what we mean by that is that we really want to observe how people interact with us at Juliet and how they enjoy it and adjust to it. It’s very important to us that we’re not just dropping a cookie-cutter concept on a neighborhood." Juliet is almost ready to open.
Image credit: Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
The owner of cult favorite local burrito chain Anna's Taqueria discussed memories from the early years, the factors that go into expanding to new locations (a Newton Highlands one is currently almost ready to open), and more. What does Kamio think gives Anna's its staying power? "We're reasonably priced, we're fresh, and we have quick service," he said. "Sometimes it's so quick it's almost rude. But we're working on that." The growing chain celebrated the two-decade milestone this fall.
Image credit: Mike Kamio/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
As part of former associate editor Jacqueline Cain's beer-focused column, The Pour, she caught up with Deep Ellum and Lone Star Taco Bar co-owner Max Toste in April, leading up to the long-anticipated opening of the East Cambridge location of Lone Star. (The doors finally opened in early July, and it's been packed ever since.) Toste discussed his love of roses and sherries and his intention to offer drinks that would pair well with the food, like beers that have dry, mineral flavors. "I really don’t think a Belgian quadruple makes any sense with the food we’re serving," he said, explaining that the beer list wouldn't look like the one at Lone Star's big sibling, Deep Ellum.
Image credit: Co-owners Aaron Sanders (left) and Max Toste/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
Shortly before Neptune Oyster alum Michael Serpa opened his own place, SELECT Oyster Bar, in early April, he talked all about it what to expect — and how while it's still seafood, it wouldn't be at all like what he had been doing previously. "I obviously cook seafood — that's what I like to do — so I wanted to do a seafood concept," Serpa said, "but I wanted to stay away from the clam shack stuff. I don't want to make any more clam chowder ever. Not that there's anything wrong with clam chowder, but after you make, like, a million clam chowders, you never want to fucking see clam chowder again in your life." In addition to its spectacular seafood, SELECT has become known for being one of the first restaurants in the area to implement an included service charge, 20%, on all bills in order for the staff to "focus on delivering great hospitality to our guests and not focus on how much they will be making in gratuity."
Image credit: Michael Serpa/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
For Cocktail Week 2015, Yvonne's beverage director Will Thompson wondered about how the cocktail industry could do a better job of maximizing both hospitality and business, especially when it comes down to things like how menus are designed and what's on them. "It's insane, because what we say we all do for a living is hospitality," Thompson said, explaining that the industry as whole could do a lot better coding menus. "We should be about the dispelling of anxiety, right? You go out, and you don't want to feel like a dickhead."
Image credit: Will Thompson/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
UpStairs on the Square alum Susan Regis and Hi-Rise Bread Company's Rene Becker opened a "French-ish" restaurant in the Chez Henri space in June. A few weeks before, they discussed their plans and philosophy. "Keep it simple, keep it fresh, keep it really seasonal, and keep it casual, but in a professional way," said Becker, paraphrasing the Julia Child ethos and how they'll interpret it at Shepard. "We have been quoted as saying that it's a 'French-ish' restaurant, but French in the sense that as Julia Child would say, it's about seasonal cooking, regional, local, and not over-handled. And that's really all we want to do."
Image credit: Shepard/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
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