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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in September 2018: From Chowder to Chicken

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

legal sea foods clam chowder
Clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods
Legal Sea Foods/Facebook

September has come and gone: The students are back, the heatwave is over, and lots of new restaurants are debuting as fall takes hold in Boston, serving everything from North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches to Japanese-meets-Peruvian seafood dishes.

There have been some recent closures, too, including a meatball-themed restaurant in Southie and a classic sushi spot in Brookline.

Read on for a summary of September 2018, including the most-read news stories and maps, the openings, and the closings.

A whole fish dish at Nahita
A whole fish dish at Nahita, which opened in Back Bay in September
  1. Flour Bakery & Cafe Is Suing Its Fort Point Landlord: New Tower Trust Co. allegedly leased space in building to a competing eatery.
  2. Certified Meatball Company Is Certified Closed: The group behind the meatball-themed South Boston restaurant will open something new in the space.
  3. Fine French Food Arrives in the South End: Bar Lyon showcases Lyonnaise cuisine
  4. Pizza and Pasta Spots to Fill Century-Old Fish Market’s Void in the South End: And the space left by the decades-old pizzeria next door, too.
  5. Kendall Square Is Becoming Quite the Fried Chicken Spot: Chris Parsons plans to open Lily P’s in 2019.
  6. At Long Last, Backlash Beer Co. Unveils Its Taproom This Week: This is just the first stage of the taproom’s opening process, but you can get beer and bring food there.
  7. O Ya’s Tim and Nancy Cushman Have Something Brewing in Chestnut Hill: They will open a “neighborhood restaurant” in 2019.
  8. A Palatial Restaurant Filled With Latin-Asian Cuisine Debuts Tonight in Back Bay: The former Liquid Art House space is now home to Nahita.
  9. Suburban Boston Dining News, Updated Weekly: A round-up of restaurant openings, closings, and other news outside of the immediate Boston vicinity.
  10. Downtown Crossing Scores an Arcade Bar This Fall: Versus, from Big Night Entertainment Group, will debut at 42 Province St.

Glamour shot of a multi-tier seafood tower, garnished with plenty of crab claws and dry ice
The seafood tower at Mastro’s
Mastro’s/Official Site
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, September 2018: Boston’s newest hotspots, updated monthly.
  2. How to Eat Your Way Through Boston in 24 Hours: This walkable itinerary — the first in a series — stays near South Station and includes a taste of lobster rolls, cannoli, history, and more.
  3. 20 Seafood Towers Worth the Splurge: Go all out with a huge feast of shellfish.
  4. Where to Eat New England Clam Chowder in Boston: Yes, you’ll probably hear it called “chowda,” but you don’t have to follow suit.
  5. Boston’s Best After-Work Dining Deals: Boozy happy hour specials are a no-go in Massachusetts, but there are food specials aplenty.
  6. Eat So Much Korean Fried Chicken in Allston: And do so with a lot of friends.
  7. It’s Cider Doughnut Season: Where to Eat Them Not Too Far From Boston: Go for the doughnuts, stay for the cider and pies.
  8. The Food Events Guide: All the local food and drink events you’ll actually want to attend, updated weekly.
  9. Food and Drink Crawls Through Boston and Beyond: Multi-stop feasts for every occasion.
  10. Five Dishes to Try This Weekend: A Friday column with restaurant or dish recommendations for the weekend.

A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
Junior beef (three-way) at Hot Box
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater
  • The 4th Wall (228 Tremont St., Theater District, Downtown Boston): This theater-themed replacement for the theater-themed Intermission Tavern has ties to Union Street Restaurant in Newton Centre. Chowder, grilled cheese, burgers, cocktails, and more.
  • Aquitaine (11 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill): This longtime French restaurant reopened after lengthy renovations.
  • Backlash Beer Co. (152 Hampden St., Roxbury, Boston): Longtime local contract brewer Backlash has finally opened its own taproom and brewery in Roxbury. Stay tuned for more of a grand opening in October, but the doors are open now. Customers can bring in their own food or order from nearby spots, such as the recently opened Mario’s Pizza.
  • Bar Lyon (1750 Washington St., South End, Boston): Lyonnaise cuisine from the team behind Mistral, Ostra, and more.
  • Beat Brew Hall (13 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): The Beehive’s sibling spot has reopened after a quick bit of renovations and rebranding — Beat Brasserie is now Beat Brew Hall, with a focus on beer, served alongside food inspired by beer halls and barbecue.
  • Blackbird Doughnuts (Smith Campus Center at Harvard University, 30 Dunster St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): The first batch of Smith Campus Center food options have begun to debut, including a new location of local doughnut shop Blackbird, which also serves seasonal slushies and soft serve ice cream.
  • Bon Me (Smith Campus Center at Harvard University, 30 Dunster St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): Local restaurant and food truck group Bon Me has also opened at the Smith Campus Center, serving salads, noodle bowls, and sandwiches.
  • Boom Crispy Chicken (22 Kneeland St., Chinatown, Boston): Small, takeout-focused fried chicken joint that also serves takoyaki, curry rice, fish ball skewers, and more.
  • Caffè Nero (Center Plaza, Downtown Boston): Yep, another one.
  • Dragon Pizza (233 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville): From Charlie Redd (Redd’s in Rozzie) and Keenan Langlois (The Sinclair, Publico Street Bistro), Dragon Pizza is a casual pizza shop with salads, gelato, and more, located in the former Cristo’s Pizzeria space.
  • El Centro (350 Washington St., Dedham): This Mexican restaurant also has locations in Boston’s South End, Brookline, and Belmont.
  • Feng Shui Sushi & Dumplings (1924 Beacon St., Cleveland Circle, Brighton, Boston): The newest addition to a small local restaurant group. Each location differs slightly; this one focuses — as the name suggests — on sushi and dumplings.
  • Finesse Pastries (594 Somerville Ave., between Union and Porter squares, Somerville): Founded in New Hampshire six years ago, Finesse also has a location at the Boston Public Market. The pastry shop specializes in macarons and other sweet treats.
  • Ginger Exchange (98 Main St., Watertown): This is the third location for Ginger Exchange — it’s also in Cambridge and Boston — serving a menu that touches on the cuisines of Japan, Korean, Thailand, and other Asian countries.
  • Hooked Fish Shop (Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville): Showcasing products from local companies Red’s Best and Boston Smoked Fish Co. — and dishes made from those products — this seafood shop is one of the latest additions to Bow Market. Poke, moqueca, chowder, seafood sliders, and more.
  • Hot Box (Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville): Another new addition to Bow Market comes from the team behind Bay Village sandwich shop Mike & Patty’s. Hot Box features North Shore-inspired roast beef sandwiches and South Shore-inspired bar pizza.
  • Jaho Coffee & Tea (116 Huntington Ave., Back Bay, Boston): This is the third Boston proper location for Salem-based Jaho, and this one follows in the footsteps of the Downtown Crossing location in serving wine, beer, and cocktails. There’s also soft serve ice cream.
  • Law of Pasta (Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Downtown Boston): A former member of the Nella Pasta team has taken over Nella’s former space at the market with a new pasta counter, serving fresh pastas as well as grab-and-go lunch and dinner options.
  • Nahita (100 Arlington St., Back Bay, Boston): A Latin-Asian restaurant with a focus on nikkei cuisine (Peruvian meets Japanese), from a Turkish restaurant group that is also behind the restaurants of Instagram star “Salt Bae.”
  • New City Microcreamery (403 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): This popular ice cream shop from Hudson has expanded to Cambridge, opening in the former Cafe Luna space.
  • Pavement Coffeehouse (Smith Campus Center at Harvard University, 30 Dunster St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): The local cafe chain has a new location open at the newly renovated Smith Campus Center.
  • Ripasso (Wink & Nod, 3 Appleton St., South End, Boston): The latest long-term pop-up to appear at Wink & Nod comes from industry vet Tony Susi, serving Italian food reminiscent of his now-shuttered spot Sage.
  • Royaltea (23B Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston): This China-based bubble tea chain specializes in the increasingly trendy cheese tea.
  • Swissbakers (Smith Campus Center at Harvard University, 30 Dunster St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): This is the fourth location for the local Swiss bakery, which specializes in soft pretzels, breads, and lots more.
  • Tatte Bakery & Cafe (Pier 4, 200 Pier 4 Blvd., Seaport District, Boston): The 10th location for the growing local cafe chain. (It’ll expand to Downtown Boston next.)
  • Town Tavern (193 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington): Burgers, sandwiches, and more in the former Ristorante Olivio space.
  • Variety Bar (Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville): The Comedy Studio opened on the second floor of Bow Market in September, and it has its own bar, Variety Bar, serving a variety of fun cocktails and mocktails. (You don’t have to be going to a show at the Comedy Studio to drink at the bar.)
  • Zing Bowl (Cambridgeside, 100 Cambridgeside Pl., East Cambridge): This new addition to the mall is a kiosk that serves tapioca-based tacos, quinoa bowls, smoothies, Brazilian cheese rolls, and more.

Meatballs from Certified Meatball Co.
Meatballs from Certified Meatball Co.
Certified Meatball Co./Facebook

September 2018 Closures

  • 5 Napkin Burger (Prudential Center, 105 Huntington Ave., Back Bay, Boston): The only Boston location of the small New York burger chain had been open for seven years.
  • Beat Brasserie (13 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): The Beehive sibling shuttered early in September for renovations and rebranding, reopening later in the month as Beat Brew Hall.
  • Bruegger’s Bagels (1876 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge): This longtime location of the bagel chain was preceded by the closure of the Kenmore Square location a few weeks earlier.
  • Certified Meatball Company (429 W. Broadway, South Boston): This meatball-themed member of the Boston Nightlife Ventures group had been open about a year.
  • KO Catering & Pies (87 A St., South Boston): The original Southie location of this Australian meat pie shop is now closed, but the East Boston waterfront location remains open.
  • Oishii Sushi Bar (612 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill): The original Oishii location closed after 20 years in operation. Spinoffs in Boston’s South End and Sudbury remain open.
  • Paradise Cambridge (180 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge): Part of the shrinking Boston-area LGBTQ nightlife scene, Paradise closed in September. (No relation to Paradise Rock Club, a music venue in Allston.)
  • Vanderbilt Kitchen & Bar (105 Water St., Downtown Boston): The downtown bar — know as the Vault prior to a 2015 rebranding — came under the ownership of the Stoddard’s team in mid-2017.
  • Van Shabu & Bar (1156 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Boston): Although recently renovated, this hot pot and sushi spot is now closed as the owners pursue other opportunities, including opening several noodle-themed restaurants in shopping malls.
  • The Whiskey Priest (150 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston): The owners of Whiskey Priest, an eight-year-old bar, as well as its now-defunct neighbor Atlantic Beer Garden, is replacing the two venues with a 22-story residential tower.
  • Wow Barbecue (184 Salem St., Malden): This food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar closed in Malden but remains open in Providence and Brookline, serving Chinese barbecue.

Forthcoming Closures Announced in September 2018 That Haven’t Happened Yet

  • Brasserie Jo (Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Back Bay, Boston): The French restaurant will close on October 7, after 20 years in business.

A black bowl that has an artistic, handmade look is full of udon and thinly sliced beef in a thin brown broth. The udon is topped with chopped scallions, slivers of seaweed, and a lemon wedge. The bowl sits on a light wooden table.
Udon at Yume Ga Arukara, one of September 2017’s openings
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Looking back at September 2017, openings included a duo of new breweries in Amesbury, a Caddyshack-themed bar in downtown Boston, a French patisserie in Somerville, an udon shop in Cambridge, and lots more.

There were very few closures that month, but the Boston area did say goodbye to a Caribbean restaurant in Somerville, a pizzeria in Allston, and a couple other venues.

In other news in September 2017, the meatless “Impossible Burger” started showing up around Boston; DC-based fast-casual Mediterranean chain Cava announced a four-location Boston expansion plan; news started trickling out about the planned vendors for Somerville’s Bow Market, including a pierogi shop; and more.