A duo of restaurant veterans is poised to unveil a whole new dining experience in the Fenway neighborhood. Coppa alum Meghann Ward and her husband Kevin Walsh, formerly of Clio, are opening Tapestry at 69 Kilmarnock St. this week, starting with a friends and family event tonight.
"I'm just really excited to get back in the kitchen. I have taken a lot of time off. I left Coppa a year and a half ago, and I just really miss cooking," Ward told Eater.
Tapestry took over the former Church restaurant and music venue space and opted to maintain its dual function. In the front section of the new restaurant, which they're calling the "expo kitchen," Ward and her team created an open kitchen and bar area with a beachy vibe — the seating, walls, and lighting fixtures feature an array of light blue, white, and yellow color accents, wood tabletops, and a touch of exposed brick.
The back section of the restaurant, otherwise known as the "club room," pays homage to the space's former life as a music venue. The stage is gone, and in its place is a private dining room with plush seating and some incredible wallpaper. It's a mid-century Miami-style decor, complete with potted palm trees and orchids, more luxurious chairs, another mural of tropical wallpaper, and a four-sided fireplace.
"Every space I've looked at in the last year and a half, I've had a different concept in mind," Ward said. She had always wanted to do something with a lounge, and that dream is now realized in the back room of Tapestry.
"This really does bring to life two totally different concepts that I would feel sad not doing one of them," she said.
The different concepts come along with different menus. In the lounge section, Ward said they could really get creative with the food and have some complex dishes.
"But we would never be able to do this menu for so many seats," she said. Having the expo kitchen with its own cocktail bar, oyster bar, and high-tops helps out. "Essentially we want it to be a bar, where people are hanging out, playing games — we might get a shuffleboard table, you never know," Ward said.
The expo kitchen menu consists of wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, sweet and savory bites ranging from roasted asparagus to chicken liver mousse and buckwheat lilac fudge, and of course the oyster bar. Meanwhile, the club room menu features dishes like scallop crudo, crispy soft shell crab, green curry served with asparagus and escargot, crispy chicken, and a grilled burger.
After she left Coppa, Ward spent time working as a bartender at Ken Oringer's Clio, where Walsh was a pastry chef. While there, she added knowledge of cocktails, wine, and beer to her repertoire.
"I really wanted to do something front-of-the-house before running a restaurant because I didn't even know how to run a credit card. I had never been a server or something before," she said. The schedule was light enough that she was able to work on Tapestry as well. She credits her co-owner and stepmother Marlena Ward, who was vice president of financial planning at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with bringing the whole project together.
"I basically got really lucky. I showed my stepmother this space, and she was like, 'I'd like to do it with you,' and thank God she did, because this is a huge project, and I never would have been able to do it without her," Ward said. It's a family affair all around — Ward brought in her brother from Los Angeles to create some playlists for the restaurant, and she and Walsh have built a team of personalities to help run the restaurant.
Anne Thompson, formerly of Bisq, will serve as beverage director, and Ward brought in another Coppa alum, Leigha Hayward, to serve as general manager.
"I love being in the kitchen, I love being in the restaurant business," Ward said. "I don't really see myself ever getting sick of it, so I want to surround myself with people I like to hang out with. And hopefully we're going to create a community that's contagious to be around."
Tapestry was set to have its health inspection on Monday, followed by a friends and family event. Ward said they hoped to open the expo kitchen Tuesday, keeping the club room closed to get some practice. "The hope and the goal is that we just open Wednesday to the public," she said.