A Cambridge restaurant known for its French- and Italian-inspired cooking and, at first, its wood-fired oven and grill, will close down at the end of the year, while a new restaurant stands poised to take over. Shepard (1 Shepard St.), which was awarded a best new restaurant honor from both Eater and Bon Appetit in 2016, will run its final service on December 31.
The restaurant posted a message on its website informing diners of the closure on New Year’s Eve.
“We will be celebrating a great run with all the delicious food and drink we’ve enjoyed serving and you’ve enjoyed eating — the deviled eggs, the burgers, the cassoulet, the tagliatelle with duck ragu, the steak frites, and especially the French fries,” the message read. “There will be plenty of Champagne at the usual ridiculously low prices and amazing cocktails.”
There will be a new restaurant taking over the space next month, apparently run by the same team from Shepard, and the new spot will honor all Shepard gift cards.
In its few years operating in Cambridge, Shepard made a name for itself serving French- and Italian-inspired dishes, including seafood, porchetta with polenta, pasta, risotto, and wood-fired items; the latter became the restaurant’s signature. However, change came: The city of Cambridge swooped in to shut down Shepard’s wood-fired operation as neighbors complained about the smoke. (Opening chef Peter McKenzie departed while this was going on, at least partially due to the smoke problems.)
Shepard switched to gas cooking in 2017, and by the end of the year, co-founder Susan Regis departed the restaurant, with remaining founder René Becker enlisting the help of Asta chef and owner Alex Crabb to come into the kitchen for a while. In early 2018, Barbara Lynch Gruppo alum Scott L. Jones joined the team as executive chef.
Eater has reached out to Becker about the future plans for the space and will provide any updates as they are available. For now, bid farewell to Shepard on or before December 31. And it won’t be the only sad closure that night: That’s when Boston mainstays Erbaluce and L’Espalier will also hold their final services.