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Most-Read Stories of the Year: Naughty Cupcakes, a Bacon Gastropub, Eataly, and More

A gluttonous year in food

Eataly Boston
Eataly Boston
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Take a trip down the memory lane of 2016’s Boston food world through the lens of our most-read features, news stories, maps, and guides of the year. According to our analytics, you were really interested in reading about Eataly this year, not to mention outdoor dining, breakfast/brunch, and some high-profile openings, including Waypoint, Porto, Mamaleh’s, and more.

Also on the most-read list: the opening of an arcade bar in an old jail in Salem; the debut of a bacon-themed gastropub in Worcester; a peek inside the naughtiest bakery in Boston; a profile of a beloved decade-old soul food restaurant in Cambridge; and more.


  1. This Is Eataly Boston: A photo gallery of Back Bay’s giant new Italian food playground.
  2. Say Hello to Waypoint, Your New Absinthe-Filled Seafood Destination in Cambridge: A look inside the much-anticipated Alden & Harlow sequel, which opened in August on the edge of Harvard Square, serving up pizza and pasta, lots of seafood, and a huge selection of absinthe.
  3. Porto Will Be a Mediterranean Seafood Oasis in Back Bay: Speaking of seafood, Porto was another exciting opening in 2016, courtesy of the team behind Trade (Jody Adams, Eric Papachristos, and Sean Griffing). Here’s a peek inside the space.
  4. Bit Bar Debuts This Month in Old Salem Jail With Arcade and Doughssants: A sneak peek inside one of the most fun openings of the year, packed full of arcade games and cheerful snacks.
  5. Tim Maslow Laments the Food Industry’s Paradigm Shift: The former chef/owner of Ribelle, now working at Tiger Mama, discusses his thoughts on the food world, touching on tipping, customer expectations, and more.
  6. The Coast Cafe: Cambridge’s Home for Soul Food for More Than a Decade: Step inside this cozy Cambridgeport restaurant and eat the best fried chicken around.
  7. Look Inside Mamaleh’s, Where You’ll Nosh on Pastrami on Rye: Here’s a peek inside the Kendall Square Jewish-style delicatessen, where you can eat chocolate babka, drink boozy milkshakes, and buy Hebrew Hammer DVDs.
  8. Here’s Oak + Rowan, Ready to Fill You With Caviar and Pasta: The North Shore came to Boston with the Fort Point opening of Nancy Batista-Caswell’s third restaurant; her first two, Ceia and Brine, are in Newburyport. Here’s a look inside.
  9. The Blue Room Is Reborn Today: A year after The Blue Room was shuttered by fire, it returned with a fresh look and menu.
  10. Welcome to Sweet-N-Nasty, the Naughtiest Bakery in Boston: Take a look inside Back Bay’s longtime erotic bakery, your one-stop shop for bachelorette party baked goods and tchotchkes, XXX Valentine’s Day presents, and more. (Note: You may want to refrain from opening this link at work as it features large photographs of naughty cupcakes, chocolates, and more.)


  1. Eataly Boston Grandly Opens November 29: One of the most anticipated openings of the year, Eataly announced its post-Thanksgiving opening date in late October and shared a few details about what to expect at the massive Italian food emporium. (A few weeks after this story, we took an in-depth look inside Eataly and described what you can find there.)
  2. Capo Opens Tonight in South Boston With Pasta and Vino: This mid-February opening, featuring rustic Italian food, came from the group behind South Boston’s popular Lincoln Tavern and Loco Taqueria.
  3. Hawaiian-Style Poke Will Descend Upon Davis Square: A Hawaiian staple, a raw fish dish called poke, has morphed into a fast-casual trend in numerous cities around the country. Late this year, Boston started catching on. An independent restaurant called Manoa will open any day now in Cambridge, but the first news of poke’s arrival in the area came back in June with this news of the Pokéworks chain’s planned Somerville shop. (It’s now open.) See also: Boston Poke Watch.
  4. The Hangover Pub Opens Today in Worcester to Fulfill All of Your Bacon Fantasies: So much bacon.
  5. Kerri Lynch-Delaney Opens 16C in Quincy: Steak tips, pizza, and more from the former owner of the popular Babycakes bakery in Quincy. You might also be familiar with her name because noted Boston restaurateur Barbara Lynch is Kerri’s aunt. Barbara provided some menu development assistance for 16C.
  6. Dave Cagle and Chris Schlesinger Will Combine Forces to Open The Automatic in Cambridge: Two Cambridge food-and-drink legends getting together to open a neighborhood bar together? Yeah, that’s gonna be good. (It ended up opening in November, and yes, it’s very good.)
  7. There Are 10 Things You Need to Know About Little Donkey: More than an excuse to slip a Hamilton reference into a headline, this story outlined 10 facts about Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s highly anticipated opening, Little Donkey. (It has since opened to much fanfare.) “We can finally cook food without any rules,” said Oringer at the time. Indeed, the restaurant features cuisine that really jumps around the globe, but it jumps around in a truly successful way, not an “oh boy, another fusion restaurant” way.
  8. Harvest Alum Josh Foley to Open Wood-Fired Restaurant in Medfield: Avenue, as it’s called, ended up opening in May. In addition to his time at Harvest, Foley also worked at Grill 23 in Boston and the acclaimed Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.
  9. East Coast Grill Will Shutter, and Cambridge Will Get a Lot Less Spicy: The sad news came out in January 2016, but in April our tears dried when we learned that it’d return under the same ownership as Highland Kitchen. As of early December, the new East Coast Grill was on track to open pretty imminently, so keep an eye out this winter.
  10. Sorry, Massachusetts: Old Country Buffet Has Left the Building: Its parent company declared bankruptcy and shuttered 90 locations, including the final Massachusetts one, which was in Watertown.


  1. The 38 Essential Boston Restaurants: Updated quarterly, this map features precisely 38 of the most important restaurants in the Boston area, spanning a variety of neighborhoods, cuisines, and price points.
  2. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now: Updated monthly, the Eater Boston Heatmap highlights 12 of the most exciting new openings in town.
  3. The Hottest Brunches in Boston Right Now: This map highlights brunches at new restaurants as well as newly launched brunch service at older restaurants. Stay tuned for an update in January 2017.
  4. The Ultimate $1 Oyster Guide: So many Boston-area restaurants offer dollar oyster deals, and we keep track of them here. We’ll update again in the early spring.
  5. The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now: Updated seasonally, the Eater Boston Cocktail Heatmap tracks the most intriguing new spots around Boston to drink cocktails.
  6. These Patios Are Officially Open for 2016: Bookmark this one for next year — here are the vital details on more than 120 patios in the Boston area.
  7. Essential Boston Late-Night Food, According to Bartenders: Who knows late-night food better than the people who get out of work late at night? This map features Alden & Harlow, Bova’s Bakery, Peach Farm, Eastern Standard, and more.
  8. Boston’s Best Boozy Brunches, According to Restaurant Industry Folks: Spoiler alert: Everyone loves Trina’s Starlite Lounge. But there are a variety of other options mentioned here too, so use this map to plan your next few weekends.
  9. 30 Essential Boston Coffee Shops: Highlighting the city’s best homegrown cafes (no non-local chains are featured in this round-up.)
  10. Eight Essential Boston Sushi Restaurants: Cafe Sushi, O Ya, Oishii, and more.


  1. Where to Eat at Boston Logan International Airport: And where to eat near the airport, including top picks in East Boston and beyond.
  2. The Eater Boston Guide to Eataly Boston: How to eat your way through Back Bay’s giant Italian food emporium, from pizza to boozy espresso to rotisserie meats and way beyond.
  3. Boston Restaurant Opening Guide, Spring 2016: It was a season of lots of exciting openings. Find out about them all here.
  4. What to Eat at Fenway Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox: What you’ll find in various parts of the park (Fenway franks and more) — and your best bets in the neighborhood, including Hojoko, Tiger Mama, Tasty Burger, Mei Mei, and lots more.
  5. The Boston Breakfast and Brunch Guide: An index of all of our breakfast- and brunch-themed features, maps, and more. Use this to locate your best options for breakfast pizza, doughnuts, egg sandwiches, dim sum, and more. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all.
  6. Boston Restaurant Opening Preview, Fall 2016: A peek at some of the restaurant openings that were most anticipated in fall 2016. (Catch up on all the openings from that season here.)
  7. Boston Restaurant Opening Guide, Summer 2016: Yep, it was a pretty good year for restaurant openings. All seasons were exciting.
  8. The Boston Outdoor Dining Guide: Not so helpful at the moment, but return to this one in the spring for details on the best patios in town, great shack food around New England, picnic location ideas, and other warm-weather maps, guides, and stories.
  9. Boston Dining 101: A Guide for Students and Visitors: Geared at tourists and newbies — or just a curious local who wants to explore the food scene a bit more — this guide rounds up some of our most popular maps and other pertinent Boston dining information.
  10. A Guide to Dining and Drinking in Salem, Massachusetts: It’s not just a Halloween spot! Enjoy Salem at any time of the year. Here’s where to find French pastries, hard cider, ice cream, old-fashioned candy, and more.