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January 2017 in Review, From Poke to Grilled Cheese

The month in openings, closings, top news, and more

Overhead shot of a bowl of ramen with a creamy pale yellow broth, chile oil, soft boiled egg, seaweed, scallions, and crispy pork
Guchi’s midnight ramen at Pagu, now open in Central Square.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

2017 got off to a fast-paced start in the Boston-area restaurant scene with more than 30 restaurant openings in January, including several poke restaurants, a bar/arcade, an oatmeal cafe, and lots more. There were lots of expansions: Roxy’s Grilled Cheese opened two new brick-and-mortar locations; second locations appeared for restaurants such as Saloniki, Fat Biscuit, Pho Countryside, Pho Pasteur, The Brook Kitchen & Tap, Union Square Donuts, Phinix Grill, and The Painted Burro (Burro Bar); and other larger groups continued to expand, such as B.good, Fuji, and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. East Coast Grill was reborn, Paolo’s Trattoria was revamped into Monument Restaurant & Tavern, and My Diner relocated from Southie to Melrose.

On the flip side, there were a few closings; we said goodbye, for example, to one location of The Elephant Walk, Amsterdam Falafelshop, and Grass Fed. (One location of each remains.)

Read on for a summary of January 2017, including the most-read news stories and maps, the openings, the closings, and the month in photos.

  1. Cowabunga! A4cade and Roxy’s Central Are Here to Fill Your Life With Joy: A photo sneak peek inside one of the most fun debuts of the year, now open on the MIT side of Cambridge’s Central Square.
  2. Roxy’s Central/A4cade Takes Over Cambridge This Month: Fried Chicken, Foosball, More: This was an early look at the Roxy’s menu for the aforementioned ultra-fun opening.
  3. T’ahpas 529 Opens in Melrose With So Much Spanish Food and Wine: Small plates, Spanish wines, and more from the owners of two other Melrose businesses, La Qchara and Coffee Tea and Me.
  4. Frenchie Opens Tomorrow in the South End: Now open in the former Kitchen space on Tremont Street, Frenchie is a Parisian-style wine bar from some of the people behind restaurants like Petit Robert Bistro and Josephine.
  5. There’s No Crying in Skee-Ball: Sneak a Peek at A4cade’s Boozy Offerings: You were really excited for A4cade and Roxy’s Central this month. This piece previewed the cocktail menu and the creative glassware at the now-open bar/arcade/restaurant.
  6. Look Inside Pagu, Now Officially Open in Cambridge: It was a good month for that MIT edge of Central, because in addition to Roxy’s/A4cade, Pagu officially opened as well. Here’s a peek inside.
  7. Somerville May Get a Boozy Taco Bell Cantina: The company couldn’t confirm any concrete plans, but Taco Bell is reportedly eyeing a Davis Square space for its booze-serving “cantina” concept.
  8. Have a Loukoumades Feast at, Opening Imminently in Back Bay: Take a sneak peek inside the newest fast-casual Greek restaurant to hit Boston. It’ll open any day now on Newbury Street.
  9. East Coast Grill Makes Its Triumphant Return January 2: The devastating closure of East Coast Grill has been reversed. The team behind Highland Kitchen bought it, revamped it, and reopened it at the start of the year.
  10. Intercontinental Hotel Boston Opens High-End Scotch Lounge: Featuring Glenmorangie scotches and more.

  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, January 2017: In the monthly Heatmap update, we welcomed East Coast Grill, Pagu, Ruka, Mida, and Benedetto.
  2. The 38 Essential Boston Restaurants, Winter 2017: In the quarterly 38 update, we welcomed Bar Mezzana, SRV, and The Table at Season to Taste.
  3. The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now: In the seasonal Cocktail Heatmap update, we welcomed The Automatic, East Coast Grill, Pagu, Ruka, and Oak + Rowan.
  4. These Restaurants Opened Around Boston in Winter 2017: Updated every few weeks, this map tracks all restaurant openings in the Boston area for the season.
  5. The Most Comforting New Pasta Dishes in Boston: This map highlights new restaurants that are crushing it in the pasta department. Eat all these dishes this winter.

  • A4cade (292 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): A bar and arcade from the Area Four team, opened in collaboration with Roxy’s Central.
  • Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza (180 Needham St., Newton): Crispy pizzas from a Florida-based chain that counts NFL Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino among its partners.
  • Battle Road Brew House (5 Clock Tower Pl., Maynard): After years as a contract brewer, Battle Road now has its own space, complete with a large restaurant and bar.
  • B.good (359 Huntington Ave.): The newest location for the locally based burger-and-more chain. This is one of several that have opened in former Boloco spaces.
  • The Brook Kitchen & Tap (51 Main St., Maynard): Just a couple months after opening in Holbrook, The Brook Kitchen & Tap also opened in Maynard. Both locations are in former Halfway Cafe spaces.
  • Burro Bar (1665 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline): Tacos and more from the Painted Burro team.
  • Churrascaria Vulcão (203 Adams St., Dorchester, Boston): A blend of Cape Verdean and Portuguese cuisines in Fields Corner.
  • East Coast Grill (1271 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge): A classic reborn, thanks to the Highland Kitchen team.
  • Fat Biscuit Southern Table & Taps (335 Market St., Lynnfield): With a focus on sandwiches served on “fat” biscuits, this restaurant has a slightly older seasonal sibling in North Conway, New Hampshire. The Lynnfield location is part of the MarketStreet development.
  • Finesse Pastries (100 Hanover St., Downtown Boston, Boston): A new vendor at Boston Public Market, serving up macarons and more. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, but production will eventually move to Boston.
  • Frenchie (560 Tremont St., South End, Boston): Wine, cheese, charcuterie, and more in the former Kitchen space.
  • Fuji at West of Chestnut (1420 Hancock St., Quincy Center, Quincy): The newest addition to the JP Fuji Group. This Fuji location includes a private dining room where diners can get a high-end omakase (chef’s tasting menu).
  • Love Art Sushi (1 Haviland St., Back Bay, Boston): Poke-style sushi bowls and “makirittos” from a Connecticut-based restaurant.
  • Luna’s Restaurant (945 Saratoga St., East Boston, Boston): A mix of Italian and Latin cuisines (and a coffee bar) in Eastie.
  • Manoa Poke Shop (300 Beacon St., Porter Square, Somerville): Hawaiian-style poke in an adorable little space (formerly Mixtura, next to Zoe’s) on the Somerville edge of Porter Square.
  • Monument Restaurant & Tavern (251 Main St., Charlestown, Boston): Paolo’s Trattoria, revamped, with Paolo’s wood-fired pizzas and lots more.
  • My Diner (399 Main St., Melrose): After losing its space in Southie due to a new development, My Diner relocated to Melrose, where it continues to serve up classic diner dishes.
  • Oat Shop (22A College Ave., Davis Square, Somerville): A cafe that focuses on oatmeal with a variety of toppings.
  • Pagu (310 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): A restaurant that draws inspiration from Spain, Japan, and beyond — one of several Central Square/MIT additions this month.
  • Philly Pretzel Factory (4 Squire Rd., Revere): Philly-based pretzel purveyor.
  • Phinix Grill (245 First St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): A second location for a Belmont-based Mediterranean fusion restaurant.
  • Pho Countryside (468 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston): A new location in Boston for a Quincy-based Vietnamese restaurant.
  • Pho Pasteur (1462 Hancock St., Quincy Center, Quincy): A new location in Quincy for a Boston-based Vietnamese restaurant.
  • Poke City (1722 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge): One of several recent openings focusing on Hawaiian-inspired poke dishes (raw seafood and rice bowls).
  • Roadies Diner (Mobile, but cooking out of Stock Pot Malden): A food truck that began in New York’s Hudson Valley last year before moving to Boston to vend Cuban sandwiches, choripan, and other Latin American-inspired cuisine.
  • Roxy’s Central (292 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): A new brick-and-mortar location for Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, opened in collaboration with A4cade.
  • Roxy’s Lynnfield (1205 Market St., Lynnfield): Another new brick-and-mortar location for Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. It was a busy couple of weeks for the Roxy’s team.
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House (500 Totten Pond Rd., Waltham): The second Massachusetts location (and the 150th overall) for the high-end steak chain.
  • Saloniki (181 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): One of several January openings in the MIT area of Central Square, this is a second location for a Fenway-based fast-casual Greek restaurant.
  • The Scotch Room at the Intercontinental (510 Atlantic Ave., Waterfront, Boston): A sexy lounge area at the Intercontinental, serving up Glenmorangie scotches, Belvedere cocktails, and more.
  • T’ahpas 529 (529 Franklin St., Melrose): A Spanish restaurant and wine bar from the people behind La Qchara and Coffee Tea and Me, both also in Melrose.
  • Union Square Donuts (409 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline): A new brick-and-mortar location for Somerville’s popular doughnut shop.
  • Zef Cicchetti & Raw Bar (1472 Hancock St., Quincy Center, Quincy): One of several recent Quincy Center openings, this Venice-inspired restaurant is a sibling and neighbor of Alba.

  • Amsterdam Falafelshop (642 Beacon St., Kenmore Square, Boston): The fast-casual falafel shop is now closed, but its older sibling in Somerville’s Davis Square remains open. The small chain is based in DC.
  • Bee’s Knees Supply Co. (12 Farnsworth St., Fort Point, Boston): Seized by the state for nonpayment of taxes. Meanwhile, its newer Allston sibling closed a few months back, reportedly temporarily for renovations, but there has been no news of a reopening yet.
  • Crumbs Bake Shop (176 Federal St., Financial District, Boston): All locations have closed; the company lives on online.
  • The Elephant Walk (2067 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge): A new concept from the same team will reportedly open in the space soon. The South End location of the French-Cambodian restaurant remains open.
  • Grass Fed (3698A Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): The newer Forest Hills location of this burger-and-boozy-milkshake joint closed this month, but the older Centre Street location remains open.
  • Phillips Old Colony House/Freeport Tavern (780 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester, Boston): The restaurant and event space closed after nearly three decades; the family behind it may sell or redevelop the property.
  • Soulfire (737 Huntington Ave., Mission Hill, Boston and 182 Harvard Ave., Allston, Boston): The newer Mission Hill location of this barbecue restaurant closed this month, followed later in the month by the original Allston location, which had been around for over a decade.
  • Tequila Rain (3 Lansdowne St., Fenway, Boston): After more than a decade, the Fenway nightclub has closed its doors, to be replaced by a new concept in the spring.