South Boston’s 11 On The Dot development (11 Dorchester Ave.) and its ground-floor restaurant have been a long time coming. Back in mid-2015, the building was going to be called Allure, and its restaurant was going to be called Republic, boasting 240 seats, an atrium lounge, and a sidewalk patio. The proposal quickly got worked down to 130 seats, no patio, and an agreement to close accordion windows by 8 p.m. in an effort to limit noise. Now, the restaurant has evolved into a 150-seat spot called Publico Street Bistro & Garden, and it opens tomorrow, February 28. The atrium lounge is still part of the plan.
Publico’s motto is “for the good of the people” or pro bono public in Latin (hence “Publico”). The team is aiming for a neighborhood vibe with a casual menu that includes snacks, small plates, pizzettas, and some larger entrees, including a few that ring in under $20. The “adult bevys” list is equally approachable, with beers such as Bud Light and Tecate alongside easy-drinking cocktails, aperitifs, and wines.
The Publico team involves husband-and-wife duo Jairo Dominguez and Teodora Bakardzhieva, along with Theo Bougas, as owners, plus Keenan Langlois as executive chef. Dominguez, Bakardzhieva, and Bougas are first-time owners but longtime industry vets; Bakardzhieva, for example, holds the distinction of being the first woman to have worked as a bartender at the now-shuttered Locke-Ober. She has also worked as bar manager at the Emerald Lounge. Dominguez and Bougas met back in the day at Seth Greenberg’s M-80, and Langlois’ resume includes stints at The Sinclair, Lumière, Hamersley's Bistro, and more.
When Publico opens tomorrow, diners will find that the restaurant is separated into three main parts — a dining room, a bar, and the aforementioned open-air atrium, which gives Publico the “garden” part of its name. The atrium includes its own bar and lounge seating, a heated floor, fire pits, and televisions. Publico also has a 16-seat private dining room.
Starting tomorrow, Publico is open 5 p.m. to midnight every day except Monday, when it is closed. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.