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December 2017 in Review, From Sushi Burritos to Sake Sangria

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

Sushi Kappo sushi burrito
Sushi burrito from Sushi Kappo, now open in Fenway

2017 did not end with a whimper. December was jam-packed with openings, including a number of highly anticipated spots, such as Jewish delicatessen Our Fathers in Allston; a sushi-focused sibling to Loco Taqueria, Fat Baby; and a Back Bay sequel to the acclaimed Moody’s Delicatessen out in Waltham. And neighborhoods that are generally pretty quiet on the restaurant opening front got some new spots as well, such as a sushi burrito joint called Sunny Cafe in Eastie and a seasonal beer hall from Trillium in the old Roslindale substation.

But there were some sad goodbyes as well. Mainstays like East Coast Kitchen and Sunset Grill & Tap are now closed. And increasing rent forced ramen destination Pikaichi out of its Allston space (although it’ll try to relocate), while financial struggles ended the run of Dudley Dough, a fair-wage pizza shop in Roxbury that is tied to the Haley House.

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

fat baby steak bao
Steak bao at Fat Baby, which opened this month in Southie
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
  1. Sunset Grill & Tap and Patron’s Have Closed: But Sunset Cantina remains open for business.
  2. Boston’s Eater Awards Winners 2017: The restaurants, chefs, and taprooms that made the city run wild this year.
  3. Fat Baby Is Born in Southie Tomorrow With Sake Sangria and Sushi: From Mike Shaw of Loco Taqueria.
  4. You Can Once Again Drink Booze in a Rooftop Igloo: Lookout Rooftop & Bar is at it again.
  5. East Coast Grill Is Gone for Real: The beloved Cambridge restaurant will reopen as Highland Fried on December 15.
  6. Moody’s Delicatessen Now Open in Back Bay: Acclaimed Waltham charcuterie shop expands to Boston proper.
  7. South Boston Is Getting a Salad Joint: Shredded plans to open sometime this winter.
  8. Café du Pays Serves French-Canadian Food in an Iconic Kendall Square Space: On opening a new restaurant where a beloved old restaurant once stood and highlighting New England’s French-Canadian roots.
  9. Boston’s Top Restaurant Standbys of 2017: Waypoint, Chilacates, and More: Local food writers discuss their regular haunts of this past year.
  10. Giacomo’s South End Location Is Closed for Now: It will hopefully reopen in the new year.

Two hands, wearing black gloves, hold a piece of barbecue meat above a wooden counter
Smoke Shop’s new Fort Point location was one of this month’s hot openings
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, December 2017: The Eater Boston Heatmap is updated monthly, and the December update included the addition of Citrus & Salt, Smoke Shop, and Fat Baby.
  2. The Fall 2017 Restaurant Opening Guide: Boston Proper: It was a delicious season.
  3. The Winter 2017-2018 Restaurant Opening Guide: Boston Proper: Tacos, Thai ice cream rolls, Tiki drinks.
  4. Where to Eat on New Year’s Eve in Boston: Celebratory meals worth the ticket price.
  5. Where to Drink (Relatively) Cheaply on New Year’s Eve in Boston: Skip ticketed events and celebrate at these places instead — no reservations, no tickets, no fuss.
  6. November 2017 in Review, From Dumplings to Doughnuts: The month in openings, closings, top news, and more.
  7. One 2017 Restaurant Opening to Know in Every Boston Neighborhood: Catch up on the year’s new restaurants one neighborhood at a time.
  8. 40 Things You Should Eat Today: Recommended eating (and drinking) around Boston.
  9. The Eater Boston Food Events Guide: Updated weekly with recommended events around town.
  10. The Fall 2017 Boston-Area Restaurant Opening Guide: From Camberville to the North Shore, these are the new restaurants that opened this season.

Overhead view of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw, and dipping sauce on a red-and-white checkered paper on a white plate.
Fried chicken from Highland Fried, which replaced East Coast Grill in Inman Square this month
Highland Fried
  • Allium Market & Cafe (1330 Beacon St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline): A specialty food market, cheese shop, and cafe inspired by Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Michigan.
  • American Fresh Brewhouse (490 Foley St., Assembly Row): The latest project from Somerville Brewing Company, aka Slumbrew, is an Assembly Row brewpub with a full kitchen and tons of beer. Find it among the never-ending construction right by the Assembly T station.
  • Chick Chick Boom (80 River St., Cambridgeport): A chicken wing joint from the Thelonious Monkfish team.
  • Fat Baby (118 Dorchester St., South Boston): This Loco Taqueria sibling serves up sushi, cocktails, and more in a loud, energetic space in Southie.
  • Highland Fried (1217 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge): Earlier this year, the Highland Kitchen team took over East Coast Grill; now, they’ve revamped it into Highland Fried, zeroing in on fried chicken, barbecue, and Tiki drinks.
  • Kaju Tofu House (636 Beacon St., Kenmore Square, Boston): With one location in Allston and one recently defunct one in Harvard Square, Kaju Tofu House is back up to two locations with this new one in Kenmore, serving a range of Korean food.
  • Kor Tor Mor (24 College Ave., Davis Square, Somerville): Thai food with a focus on Bangkok street foods in the former Golden Light space.
  • La Bodega (21 Nichols Ave., Watertown): It’s not exactly fully open yet, but La Bodega — from the duo behind the dearly departed Salts in Cambridge — is partially up and running, previewing its Uruguayan-meets-Spanish-meets-French-Basque cuisine and wine cellar.
  • La Colombe (29 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston): Boston’s second location of the Philadelphia-based coffee roaster and cafe chain. It’s also coming to Back Bay.
  • L&K (30 Dedham Ave., Needham): A rebranding of RFK Kitchen, which lost its namesake chef-owner Rachel Klein months ago. L&K stands for “lounge and kitchen.”
  • Moody’s Delicatessen (500 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): Waltham’s acclaimed delicatessen and charcuterie destination now has a Boston proper sibling serving up deli sandwiches and more. Note: Only open on weekdays.
  • Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes (140 Tremont St., Downtown Boston; 48 Highland Commons East, Berlin): There were several Mass. locations for the Texas-based burger chain, and now there are two more. The Boston one is right by the Common.
  • The Okipoké (8 Cornerstone Sq., Unit B, Westford): More poke and sushi burritos.
  • Our Fathers (197 N. Harvard St., Lower Allston): A twofer from the Tasty Burger/Citizen Public House/Franklin Cafe team — a Jewish delicatessen on one side (takeout) and a full-service modern Israeli restaurant and bar on the other side. The bar’s got a strong gin focus.
  • Shaking Crab (1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge): This local, fast-growing restaurant group serves up Cajun-inspired spicy boiled seafood, and the latest opening is in the former Tavern in the Square location in Porter, which means Shaking Crab has around 50 draft lines.
  • Snappy Kitchen (234 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville): Snappy Ramen hopped across Davis into a larger space and expanded its menu to include sushi, gyoza, and more — changing its name in the process. There’s still ramen, though.
  • Sunny Cafe (1000 Bennington St., East Boston): Sushi burritos, poke, bubble tea, and more.
  • Sushi Kappo (86 Peterborough St., Fenway, Boston): A casual spot from the team behind Ebi Sushi in Union Square. The new place serves sushi burritos, poke bowls, ramen, and more.
  • Sweetgreen (225 Franklin St., Downtown Boston): DC’s salad chain keeps expanding its leafy Boston-area reach. The newest location is in Post Office Square and is optimized for mobile and online order pick-up.
  • Temazcal Tequila Cantina (680 Legacy Pl., Dedham): This new addition to Legacy Place is part of a small local chain that serves Mexican food and lots of tequila.
  • Trillium Garden at the Substation (4228 Washington St., Roslindale, Boston): Ever-popular Fort Point brewery Trillium has opened another seasonal “beer garden,” albeit indoors, in the old Roslindale substation. It’s expected to stay open into the spring.
  • Tsukiji Bistro (505 Main St., Melrose): Sushi and more from the Stearns & Hill’s Bistro team — and located in the same building.

Pikaichi Ramen
Ramen from Pikaichi, which is now closed in Allston and seeking a new location
  • 16 Handles (1309 Beacon St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline): Another nail in the coffin of the froyo era.
  • British Beer Company (85 Providence Hwy., East Walpole): There are around a dozen other locations of this local chain around the area, but the longtime Walpole one is now gone. British Beer Company features an extensive beer list.
  • Dudley Dough (2302 Washington St., Roxbury, Boston): The Haley House’s fair-wage pizzeria closed due to financial struggles.
  • East Coast Grill (1271 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge): It’s really gone this time, sort of. The Highland Kitchen owners had taken it over at the start of the year, and now they’ve rebranded it into Highland Fried, which still feels enough like East Coast Grill that its ghost lives on in barbecue and Tiki drinks.
  • Emerald Lounge (200 Stuart St., Theatre District, Boston): The Revere Hotel’s nightclub closed in December, and the hotel plans to replace it with a new restaurant in spring 2018.
  • Fairsted Kitchen (1704 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline): Saying farewell on New Year’s Eve, Fairsted Kitchen will be reborn in the new year (under the same ownership) as Grassona’s Italian, serving Italian comfort food.
  • Globe Bar & Cafe (565 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): It’s not gone for good; it’s just relocating down the street to the former Rattlesnake space. It plans to reopen around January 2018.
  • Grande Kitchen & Bar (118 Needham St., Newton): Open for only half a year, this replaced Mick Morgan’s. Bastille Kitchen alum Adam Kube was chef.
  • Kamado Super Fusion (779 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, Boston): This sushi spot was open for a few years. It’ll be replaced by an Asian noodle soup spot called Asian Noodle Soup.
  • La Motta’s (1357 Washington St., South End, Boston): This Italian restaurant opened in late 2015 under the same ownership of the longtime previous occupant of the space, Union Bar & Grill. Now, it’ll be taken over by the Alpine Restaurant Group, reportedly opening a new Burro Bar there.
  • Maurizio’s (634 Hanover St., North End, Boston): This Sardinian restaurant had been around since the early ‘90s and bid farewell to the neighborhood on Christmas Eve.
  • Pikaichi (1 Brighton Ave., Allston, Boston): This Allston ramen destination closed due to a rent hike but will try to relocate soon.
  • Stacia’s Place (97 Bridge St., Salem): Longtime purveyor of subs, hot dogs, and more.
  • Sunset Grill & Tap and Patron’s (130 Brighton Ave., Allston): End of an era for this longtime comfort food spot with a massive beer list (and its upstairs pool hall, Patron’s). Sibling spot Sunset Cantina remains open on Comm. Ave.
  • Yangtze River (25 Depot Sq., Lexington): The longtime Chinese-American restaurant will be replaced by a new spot called Sanyo.