A family-owned restaurant in Kendall Square that has been around for nearly 13 years will open a second location in the Seaport District some time this fall. Aceituna Grill will be expanding into the new PwC building, bringing with it plenty of fine Mediterranean fare and a fast-casual feel.
Gina Kurban and her son, AJ, are leading the charge towards Seaport half a year after making some updates to their Kendall Square restaurant. Aceituna did a change-up in December, implementing new items and practices and giving the restaurant an overall refresh.
"We’re a family-owned business and just trying to basically change fast-casual, make it healthier. We’re all about fresh, clean, healthy, sustainable — that kind of stuff," Gina says. During the refresh, they streamlined the restaurant’s processes and made it easier to order, and it paid off — there’s a line out the door every day, according to Gina.
They had been looking to expand for a while, says AJ. "Finally we found this location, and we couldn’t turn this down."
The Kurbans are working with McMahon Architects to design the Seaport space, and they’re planning to add a separate pick-up line for call-ahead orders that will help streamline service. There will also be additional shawarma machines in Seaport so Aceituna can serve a larger number of people and provide catering options as well.
The daily specials from Kendall will not make the jump to Seaport, but the refreshed menu features the popular new fattoush salad, as well as the classic Greek and tabbouleh options. Also on the menu: pita roll-ups, rice plates, a new falafel recipe, and other delightful scratch-made options.
Aceituna also switched over to 100-percent compostable products, which will carry into the Seaport location.
"We actually lowered our prices to become more competitive, and the cost of sustainable products is more expensive, but we felt like it’s what we believe in, and we don’t want to serve things and do things that we don’t personally believe in," Gina says. "We’ve got a couple things that really make us stand out, and we think that just making it as fresh as possible for fast-casual is just so important."
The Kurbans are looking forward to getting to know their new neighbors in Seaport: By Chole and Yoki Sushi will also open in the PwC building, and Watertown’s La Casa de Pedro will open nearby, adding to the growing number of dining options in the neighborhood.