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April 2017 in Review, From Sticky Buns to Sushirittos

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

Beef is wrapped in a flaky scallion pancake, sitting on a white plate on a black tabletop
Scallion pancake wrap at Bess’s Cafe, one of this month’s new openings
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

April 2017 was a busy month for restaurant openings around the Boston area, from the Island Creek Oyster Bar team’s new Cambridge restaurant to a new Flour location in Back Bay, from Matthew Gaudet’s new Cambridge project to a Mission Hill Thai-and-sushi spot with an O Ya alum as sushi chef. Read on for the full list.

It was a relatively quiet month for closures, fortunately, but there were long-timers amongst the few that did happen. In Chinatown, for example, we said goodbye to the decades-old Chau Chow City and East Ocean City. Meanwhile, a few classic spots have announced that they are closing but haven’t yet closed: Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger will close in Wellesley on June 3, Lanes & Games will shutter in Cambridge after the summer bowling leagues have ended, and Tufts’ Brown & Brew Coffee House will close on August 11 after 20 years.

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

  1. Les Sablons Debuts in Harvard Square: Look inside Island Creek Oyster Bar’s brand new Cambridge sibling.
  2. Shaking Crab Bursts Into Quincy With Bags Full of Cajun-Style Seafood: Peek inside the new location of the Newton-based restaurant.
  3. Local 02045 Opens in Hull: Water views, Italian cuisine, and New England seafood.
  4. Affordable Ways to Experience Boston’s Priciest Restaurants: These high-end restaurants have some options that are easier on the wallet.
  5. Ming Tsai Is Closing Down Blue Ginger in Wellesley: And opening a fast-casual restaurant at an undisclosed location.
  6. ReelHouse Opens in East Boston: With seafood platters and boat access.
  7. Lanes & Games Will Close This Summer in Cambridge: A new residential development will take its place.
  8. The Friendly Toast Heads for Burlington, MA and Bedford, NH: In addition to the previously reported forthcoming Brookline expansion.
  9. Hallelujah, Spoke Wine Bar Will Return This Spring: The Davis Square gem is reopening.
  10. Chicken & Rice Guys Temporarily Closed for E. Coli Outbreak: The restaurants have since reopened, but the trucks are still off the road.

  1. The 38 Essential Boston Restaurants, Spring 2017: Presenting Boston's updated Eater 38, your answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" The spring 2017 edition welcomed Haley.Henry, Saltie Girl, and Waypoint to the mix.
  2. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, April 2017: More often than not, tipsters, readers, and friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? The April Heatmap update included Kaki Lima at Wink & Nod, Publico Street Bistro & Garden, and Chilacates.
  3. These 150+ Patios Are Officially Open for 2017: Go forth and dine al fresco. This map will continue to be updated periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  4. Where to Eat at Fenway Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox: And around the Fenway neighborhood, which is packed full of great restaurants.
  5. The Eater Boston Patio Database for 2017: Another way to find the patio of your dreams. Search this database by a number of variables, including whether a patio is heated, if dogs are welcome, and more.

  • Beacon Street Locale (495 Beacon St., Back Bay, Boston): A more food-focused replacement for Crossroads Irish Pub.
  • Bess’s Cafe (224 Cypress St., Brookline): A cozy, counter-service spot with a menu that focuses on Jiang Nan-style noodles and small bites.
  • Bully Boy Distillers (44 Cedric St., Roxbury, Boston): A new tasting room and cocktail bar from a local distiller.
  • Casa B’s rum bar (253 Washington St., Union Square, Somerville): The Union Square tapas spot has completely redone its upstairs section (located at the ground level), turning it into a rum-filled cocktail bar with extended hours.
  • Cookie Monstah Bake Shop (75 Newbury St., Danvers): Cookies and ice cream sandwiches. You’ve probably seen the truck around Boston; now visit the brick-and-mortar shop on the North Shore.
  • Dairy Joy (331 North Ave., Weston): The classic ice cream stand has opened for its 57th season. Hello, JavaBerry.
  • District Kitchen (2 Florence St., Malden): Sushirittos, ramen, and more from the owners of the nearby All Seasons Table.
  • DooWee’s at Revel (79 Parkingway, Quincy): Chef Duy “DooWee” Tran (DooWee & Rice) has taken over the kitchen at the Revel nightclub in Quincy, where he’s serving up bao and lots more.
  • Flour Bakery + Cafe (30 Dalton St., Back Bay, Boston): The seventh location of Joanne Chang’s bakery, full of sticky buns galore.
  • Freepoint Kitchen & Cocktails (220 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Fresh Pond, Cambridge): Located at the new Freepoint Hotel, this restaurant is a collaboration with chef Matthew Gaudet (West Bridge, Superfine) and features a snack-friendly menu and a cozy courtyard with a fire pit.
  • Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery + Grill (1614 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan, Boston): Beef patties, bulla cakes, jerk chicken sandwiches, and more.
  • Laughing Monk Cafe (737 Huntington Ave., Mission Hill, Boston): “Thai by day, sushi by night” with an O Ya alum as sushi chef.
  • Legal Fish Bowl (355 Main St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): A counter-service, seafood bowl concept within Legal Sea Foods. If it works out, it could eventually have its own standalone locations.
  • Les Sablons (2 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): French-ish cuisine in an exceptionally skinny building from the Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 team.
  • Local 02045 (2 A St., Hull): Three floors of water views at the Sunset Bay Marina. The first floor is a members-only lounge and restaurant, but the second and third are open to the public.
  • Oath Craft Pizza (276 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline): This Nantucket-based pizzeria keeps expanding.
  • Mercy Tavern (148 Derby St., Salem): A gastropub-style replacement for In a Pig’s Eye.
  • Mike’s Pastry (445 Revolution Dr., Assembly Row, Somerville): A third location for the iconic North End bakery.
  • Pressed Juicery (1380 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge): A froyo spot (Pinkberry) has been replaced by a juice shop out of California.
  • ReelHouse (6 New St., East Boston): This new sibling to Pier 6 in Charlestown and Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar at Faneuil Hall features plenty of seafood and water views. Marc Orfaly (Pigalle, The Beehive) is executive chef.
  • Self Portrait (377 Walden St., Cambridge): The reinvention of T.W. Food. The new French bistro includes tasting menus, Tuesday wine dinners, and world music Sunday brunch.
  • Shaking Crab (22 Cottage Ave., Quincy): This Cajun-style seafood restaurant also has locations in Newton and New York City (Flushing and the Upper West Side); Boston and Cambridge may be on the way next.
  • Short Stop Cafe (54 Loomis St., Bedford): Belgian waffles and more, just off the Minuteman bike path.
  • Sofá Café (181 Concord St., Framingham): This Brazil-based coffee shop closed its Back Bay location and opened a much bigger spot in Framingham.
  • Sorelle (1400 Bedford St., Abington): Modern Italian in the former Vin & Eddie’s space — and some Vin & Eddie’s classics are on the menu, too.
  • Swissbäkers (1 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge): This pop-up location for the local bakery group debuted on April 27 and is expected to last four to six weeks.
  • Terra at Eataly (800 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): Wood-fired, Italian-inspired food and barrel-aged beers on the greenery-filled third floor of Eataly at the Prudential Center. Bisq alum Dan Bazzinotti is chef de cuisine.

April 2017 closures:

  • Chau Chow City (83 Essex St., Chinatown, Boston): Located on Essex Street for the last 20 years and on Beach Street for 12 years before that, Chau Chow City specialized in dim sum and closed at the end of its lease in April 2017. A second location remains open, however, on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester.
  • East Ocean City (27 Beach St., Chinatown, Boston): Open for more than 25 years, this restaurant specialized in Cantonese and Hong Kong-style seafood and was related to Fugakyu in Brookline and Sudbury and Kaze Shabu Shabu in downtown Boston.
  • Inna’s Kitchen (19 Pelham St., Newton): It’s not goodbye entirely; Inna’s original Newton location has closed, but its Boston Public Market stall remains open, serving up a variety of Jewish cuisine.
  • Lulu’s Kitchen (120 Blackstone St., Haymarket, Boston): This Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe sibling served Southern-inspired comfort food and closed after only five months in business, reportedly so that owner Sandy Russo could return her focus to the North End sweet shop.
  • PizzaRev (CambridgeSide Galleria, 100 CambridgeSide Pl., East Cambridge): Fast-casual food court pizza from a California-based chain. This was the only Massachusetts location.

Closures announced in April 2017 that haven’t happened yet:

  • Blue Ginger (583 Washington St., Wellesley): It’s the end of an era — Ming Tsai’s flagship restaurant will close on June 3 (with a celebratory yard sale in the parking lot the following day). Newer sibling restaurant Blue Dragon remains open in Boston’s Fort Point, and Tsai also plans to launch a fast-casual stir-fry concept called ChowStirs in early 2018.
  • Brown & Brew Coffee House (474 Boston Ave., Medford): The 20-year-old Tufts coffee shop will have its last day on August 11. A replacement of sorts, Kindlevan Café, will eventually open inside a new building, the school’s near-complete Science and Engineering Complex.
  • Lanes & Games (195 Concord Tpke., Cambridge): The decades-old bowling alley/restaurant/bar will shutter after the summer leagues end, to be replaced by a 320-unit apartment building.