After seven years, one restaurant in Somerville’s Union Square will hit the end of the line: Journeyman closes its doors for good on June 3, according to Boston Magazine, just about a year after the last in a series of evolutions the restaurant has experienced since its opening in 2010. (Its sibling and neighbor, acclaimed cocktail destination Backbar, will remain in operation.)
Owners Diana Kudayarova and Tse Wei Lim shared the news of the forthcoming closure in a newsletter message that was tinged with nostalgia and expressed a degree of uncertainty about diners’ expectations and a changing social climate.
The message read, in part:
In 2010, there were 3 places to get dinner in Union Square. The average price of a home in Somerville was half of what it is today, immigration reform and a new health bill were still on the horizon, and we were still celebrating the election of Barack Obama.
It was against this backdrop that we opened Journeyman, and we look out on a very different world today as we announce its closing.
It went on to note the large volume of restaurants in the region, while stating “perhaps there is less desire now to think about what it is that we are eating and drinking, and why.”
Journeyman went through a few different evolutions over the course of its tenure in Union Square. Most recently, in 2016, the restaurant underwent some renovations and returned with wood-fired cooking, which has been a hot-button issue north of the Charles River of late. Journeyman has long been known for its high-end tasting menu (and later, just high-end dining, after completely doing away with a menu) and was an early adopter of Tock, a ticket-based dining system created by Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas.
In late 2014, the Journeyman team opened another pair of establishments, again a high-end restaurant (Study) focused on tasting menus, located next to a cocktail bar (Ames Street Deli), which also served as a daytime cafe with pastries and fancy sandwiches. The Kendall Square duo merged into one concept, Study at Ames, in mid-2016, moving away from tasting menus — and then closed a few weeks later.
Service at Journeyman will continue as usual until Saturday, June 3. There will be a farewell event later in the month, with details to come, before the restaurant’s new owners take over and bring a new concept to life within 9 Sanborn Ct. Journeyman’s sibling restaurant, Backbar, will remain open and “will continue to be its creative, welcoming, goofy self,” the announcement from Journeyman read. “Yes, there will continue to be food. There will probably be more food.”