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February 2017 in Review, From Vegan Lobster Rolls to Vietnamese Desserts

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

Three tacos in an aluminum takeout container on a picnic table.
Tacos at Chilacates, which opened a second location this month.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

February 2017 featured nearly 20 new restaurant openings — not quite as many as last month, but still substantial — and about half were fast-casual, such as Gre.Co, Coco Leaf, and more. Almost every February opening was part of an established restaurant group, either local or not. Chilacates and Aceituna Grill, for example, both expanded to second locations this month, while Catalyst Restaurant spawned Catalyst Cafe nearby. From out of town, By Chloe came in from New York with its first of at least two Boston locations, while London-based Caffe Nero continued its massive Boston-area expansion.

Fortunately, most of this month’s goodbyes aren’t forever. A few chains closed area locations but still remain elsewhere; Troquet closed to relocate to a bigger space downtown; and T.W. Food closed to be turned into a new concept from the same owners. We did have to bid farewell to Southie’s Boston Beer Garden, though.

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

  1. Boston Restaurants Standing in Solidarity With ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ Strike: On February 16, immigrants went on strike nationwide, protesting in response to United States immigration policies. A number of restaurants in the Boston area either closed in solidarity or expressed their support in other ways.
  2. Lookout Rooftop & Bar at Seaport’s Envoy Hotel Will Become an Igloo Wonderland: Drink cocktails on a rooftop in heated “igloos” this winter.
  3. By Chloe Arrives in Boston Next Week With So Much Vegan Food: This 100% vegan fast-casual chain out of New York arrived in Boston’s Seaport District this month and will expand to Fenway a little bit later this year.
  4. The Boston Beer Garden in Southie Closes This Sunday: End of an era. A new restaurant will take over the space; details haven’t yet been announced.
  5. The Eater Boston Winter 2017 Dining Headquarters: What's #OpenInBOS?: Here’s hoping we won’t need to update this again this winter, but this round-up tracks openings and closing during severe storms, as well as seasonal specials all winter long.
  6. Eat Vegan ‘Clam’ Chowder and ‘Lobster’ Rolls at By Chloe, Opening This Week: Take a peek at the opening menu for the aforementioned By Chloe, which is serving up a few Boston-exclusive dishes, such as vegan takes on lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Boston cream pie ice cream.
  7. A Scottish-Themed ‘Breastaurant’ Unleashes Itself on Fenway This Month: Tilted Kilt is now open with pub fare and scantily clad waitresses.
  8. You Can Eat and Drink on These Patios Today: If another span of weirdly warm days pops up this winter, reference this list to find restaurants that tend to open their patios up as soon as possible.
  9. Here Are the Local James Beard Foundation Semifinalists for 2017: Congratulations to all. The narrowed-down nominee list will be announced March 15.
  10. West Bridge’s Matthew Gaudet Makes Triumphant Return to Cambridge With Freepoint Kitchen & Cocktails: And he’s expanding SuperFine from Manchester-by-the-Sea to Marblehead.

  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, February 2017: In the monthly Heatmap update, we welcomed Roxy’s Central / A4cade, Manoa Poke Shop, and Frenchie.
  2. Visit These 15 Ramen Destinations Before Winter Ends: And after, too, because let’s be honest: Ramen is always in season.
  3. A Guide to Boston’s Non-Local Coffee Chains: Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, Philz, and more are coming to town.
  4. 50+ Restaurants Have 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 Boston Breakfast and Brunch Guide: It’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t mess it up.

  • Aceituna Grill (57 Boston Wharf Rd., Seaport District, Boston): This Kendall Square lunchtime favorite has expanded to the Seaport with fast-casual Mediterranean.
  • B.Good (102 Central St., Wellesley): One of several locations of B.Good (fast-casual burgers, salads, and more) to recently open in former Boloco spaces.
  • Buttermilk & Bourbon (160 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston): New Orleans-inspired cuisine from Hell’s Kitchen alum Jason Santos (Back Bay Harry’s, Abby Lane).
  • By Chloe (107 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston): This fast-growing vegan chain from New York City is now serving up vegan takes on lobster rolls, clam chowder, and more at its first Boston location. There’ll also be one in Fenway soon.
  • Caffe Nero (1633 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline): This European coffee chain has been expanding like crazy around the Boston area.
  • Catalyst Cafe (75 Binney St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): From the team behind Catalyst Restaurant comes a European-style weekday breakfast and lunch spot with salads, sandwiches, and more.
  • Chilacates (658 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): This tiny, popular JP taco shop now has two locations. The new Centre Street one (formerly Pink Samurai) is larger than the original on Amory Street.
  • Coco Leaf (1480 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester): Vietnamese-style desserts, bubble tea, and more. Chef/co-owner Pete Om is an O Ya alum.
  • Gre.Co (225 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston): Fast-casual Greek food, including gyros and loukoumades, in a cozy, bright space on Newbury Street.
  • La Fábrica Central (450 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): From the team behind Vejigantes, Merengue, and Doña Habana comes a new restaurant, lounge, and function room in the former Monroe space, featuring Latin-Caribbean food and Latin jazz.
  • Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar (271 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, Boston): After being closed for several months for structural renovations, Lolita is back and serving up some new food and drinks, including tequila shots poured tableside.
  • Loui Loui (160 Brighton Ave., Allston): Cajun-style boiled and fried seafood. The original location is in Stoneham, MA, and there’s also one in Fort Lee, NJ.
  • Molly’s Farmhouse Coffee (16 Preble St., Andrew, South Boston): Sibling to Molly Moo’s, which is also in Southie. Breakfast sandwiches, flavored coffees, and eventually ice cream.
  • New Sushi, Inc. (106 Cambridge St., Downtown Boston): Right on trend with sushi burritos and poke bowls.
  • Publico Street Bistro & Garden (11 Dorchester Ave., South Boston): A neighborhood spot with an approachable food and drink menu — and it’s got an open-air atrium lounge with a heated floor and fire pits.
  • The Simple Greek (290 Turnpike Rd., Westborough): A fast-casual Greek restaurant with a few locations scattered around the country and lots more on the way.
  • Sulmona (608 Main St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): An Italian restaurant from Delio Susi, who’s also behind Amelia’s Trattoria nearby.
  • Tikkaway Grill (55 Boston Wharf Rd., Seaport District, Boston): Fast-casual Indian food. The original location is in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Tilted Kilt (98 Brookline Ave., Fenway, Boston): AKA “Scottish Hooters.”

  • Aurum Pies (377 Centre St., Jamaica Plain): The restaurant is closed, but the purveyor of hand pies will continue on as a caterer and wholesaler.
  • Bonefish Grill (174 University Ave., Westwood): Westwood closed this month, and Burlington closed last month. The chain’s only remaining New England location is in Waltham.
  • Boston Beer Garden (732 E. Broadway, South Boston): This Southie staple will be replaced by a new restaurant.
  • Joe’s American Bar & Grill (250 Granite St., Braintree): The local chain still has six Massachusetts locations, plus one in Connecticut.
  • Pedro’s Tacos (55 Bromfield St., Downtown Crossing, Boston): Goodbye, fish tacos. The team behind this franchise of a California brand will open a new place called Bueno Malo this summer, somewhere north of the city.
  • Macaroni Grill (50 South Ave., Burlington): This was the final Massachusetts location of the chain.
  • Pinkberry (1380 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge): One trend in, another out. A juice bar (Pressed Juicery) will replace this location of the froyo chain.
  • Squeeze Juice Co. (225 Franklin St., Downtown Boston): Squeeze’s partnership with Equinox gyms has ended; the Franklin Street juice bar closed this month. More locations are on the way, though, at South Station, at Somerville’s Assembly Row, and in Beverly.
  • Troquet (140 Boylston St., Theatre District): After 15 years on Boylston, Troquet closed this month to relocate to a bigger space in Boston’s Leather District — the former Bel Ari space at 107 South St. The new Troquet, AKA Troquet on South, will open in March.
  • T.W. Food (377 Walden St., Cambridge): Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann closed down their decade-old, French-inspired restaurant to replace it with something a little more internationally focused. Stay tuned for more details on the forthcoming new concept.