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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in November 2018: From Tiki to Kaiseki

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

A shareable cocktail is served in a tiki volcano vessel with a flame coming out of the top and a giant sprig of mint leaves
Takes Two to Mango cocktail at Shore Leave
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Like it or not, December is here, and winter is coming. While digging out the old sweaters and snow pants, take a moment to look back at everything that happened in November, from the debut of a Tiki bar from a popular Boston restaurant team to the opening of a high-end Japanese restaurant downtown.

Unfortunately the month brought some closures as well, including the Seaport District location of a favorite Italian restaurant, a restaurant on Berklee property that provided a place for students to perform, and more.

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

A spread of food from Bartaco, which opened this month in Boston’s Seaport District
  1. Suburban Boston Dining News, Updated Weekly: A round-up of restaurant openings, closings, and other news outside of the immediate Boston vicinity.
  2. A Tiki Paradise Debuts in the South End: Shore Leave is open, steps from sibling Bar Mezzana.
  3. Papa Gino’s Suddenly Shutters Dozens of Restaurants Across the State: The chain went from around 150 locations to 97.
  4. New England Dining Updates Beyond Massachusetts: This round-up is updated weekly with restaurant openings, closings, and more throughout New England.
  5. Peek at the Menu for Kamakura, Boston’s New Source for Kaiseki Cuisine: From chef Youji Iwakura of Snappy Ramen and Uni.
  6. Boston Loses Two Burger Restaurants: UBurger on BU’s campus and Mooyah in JP have shut down.
  7. Workers Are Suing Happy Lamb Hot Pot, Alleging Wage Theft and Other Violations: The popular Cambridge restaurant’s owners allegedly pocketed tips and retaliated against employees who complained.
  8. Devour Dozens of Tacos at Seaport’s Newest Restaurant: Bartaco is officially open in Boston.
  9. A New Pizzeria Opens in a Storied South End Building: A pasta place is on the way to the building as well.
  10. Chick-fil-A Could Win Long-Fought Battle to Open First Restaurant in Boston Proper: It aims to take over for a Boloco in Back Bay’s Copley Square.

A tiki drink is served in a Christmas-themed cup shaped like a barrel with “fa la la” written on it. The drink is set on a Christmas backdrop with fake snow, trees, and other festive knick-knacks.
Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar Miracle is back, along with other wintery events
Melissa Hom
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, November 2018: Boston’s best new hotspots, updated monthly.
  2. Where to Eat at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS): The best meal of your life probably wasn’t in an airport, but if that’s where you need to be, here’s where to eat.
  3. 22 Outstanding Boston-Area Sushi Restaurants: From simple perfection to mountains of gold flakes and truffles.
  4. The Ultimate Holiday Dining Guide for Boston: Find all of Eater Boston’s holiday stories right here, all year long.
  5. Feel Festive This Season at Christmas Pop-Up Bars and Other Wintery Spaces: Heated rooftop igloos, a ski lodge-inspired restaurant courtyard, and more.
  6. Celebrate the Holiday Season With Weekday Lunches and Afternoon Teas: December afternoons never looked so good.
  7. Where to Eat and Drink in Brookline: Spicy ramen in Coolidge Corner, beer and mussels in Washington Square, sherry and tapas on Beacon Street.
  8. Boston’s Essential Fried Chicken: Crispy, juicy, sometimes spicy.
  9. Where to Eat in Allston: The best of the best in one of the city’s most diverse food neighborhoods.
  10. Where to Eat Burritos in and Around Boston: Sorry: Chipotle didn’t make the cut.

Love Art Udon bowls
Udon at Love Art Udon, now open in Packard’s Corner
Love Art Udon/Official Site
  • Aaron’s Taco Cart’el (8 Central St., Stoneham): A brick-and-mortar location of a taco cart, located in the former Mystical Cafe space.
  • Bartaco (25 Thomson Pl., Seaport District, Boston): This taqueria chain is a sibling to Barcelona Wine Bar (which has two local locations); as of last year, both chains are owned by the Del Frisco’s group. The restaurant features a full bar with plenty of margaritas.
  • Cava (82 Ames St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): This D.C.-based fast-casual chain serves Mediterranean-inspired grain bowls and more. This is the fifth Massachusetts location to open, and no additional ones have been announced yet.
  • Country Mile (136 Belmont St., Watertown): Locally sourced meats and seafood on a rotating menu that features dishes like monkfish sliders, burnt wheat spaetzle, and more. Owners Matt and Nancy Sargent previously helped open Brewer’s Tap & Table in Waltham and operated a food truck and pop-up dinner series in Vermont before that.
  • Curry Express (147B Highland Ave., Spring Hill, Somerville): Located in the longtime Pizza King space, this delivery/takeout-focused joint features Indian fare, from biryani to momo.
  • Feng Shui (2200 District Ave., Burlington): This is the sixth location for the local chain, which combines Japanese and Chinese food in various ways, differing slightly from location to location. This outpost specializes in sushi, teppanyaki, bao, and more.
  • Grounder Cafe (394B Main St., Medford): This new cafe serves breakfast and lunch, including panini, smoothies, omelets, and acai bowls.
  • Hafez House of Kebab (580 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown): The former Jasmine Taste of Persia space is home to a new Persian restaurant, serving shawarma plates, falafel roll-ups, beef stews, and more, for takeout or dining in.
  • Joyful Garden (Watertown Mall, 550 Arsenal St., Watertown): Relocated from Brighton, Joyful Garden serves dim sum, from dumplings and buns to congee.
  • Kamakura (150 State St., Downtown Boston): High-end Japanese, including kaiseki-style tasting menus, at a multi-level space downtown. The upper level features a retractable roof with a view.
  • Kinfolks Barbecue (289 Winthrop St., Taunton): A permanent location for a popular barbecue food truck, serving lots of meat, sandwiches, and more.
  • Love Art Udon (1024 Commonwealth Ave., Packard’s Corner, Boston): An udon- and tempura-focused spinoff from the Love Art Sushi team.
  • Mainely Burgers (Boston Landing, 133 Guest St., Brighton, Boston): Burgers and more from a brick-and-mortar expansion of a Maine food truck group. (There’s also a location in Cambridge’s Central Square.)
  • The Old Timer (155 Church St., Clinton): The name is accurate; this restaurant was around for over 80 years before closing in 2016. It’s back under new ownership.
  • Sakana Sushi (983 Massachusetts Ave., between Central and Harvard squares, Cambridge): Sushi, donburi, and more in the former Cafe Anthony space.
  • Saus (Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Wy., Union Square, Somerville): The grand opening is December 8, but downtown fry shop Saus began previewing its all-vegetarian outpost at Bow Market in late November, featuring poutine, grain bowls, vegetarian burgers and dogs, and more.
  • Shaking Crab (250 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline): This is the latest location for the expanding local chain of Cajun seafood boil restaurants. This one is in the former Khao Sarn space.
  • Shore Leave (11 William E. Mullins Wy., South End, Boston): The team behind Italian hit Bar Mezzana has opened a subterranean Tiki bar across the street, with a food menu drawing influence from all around the Pacific Rim.
  • Su Casa (30 Main St., Plymouth): A new Mexican restaurant with a focus on Baja cuisine is open in Plymouth Center, with Patrick Gilmartin (the Independent, River Bar) as executive chef.
  • Union Park Pizza (1405 Washington St., South End, Boston): This new pizzeria is located in the former Harry O’s space and features some local meats for toppings, including Walden sausage and Moody’s pepperoni.

A silver pan is full of steamed mussels
Mussels from the Daily Catch, now closed in Boston’s Seaport District
The Daily Catch/Facebook

November 2018 Closures

  • Back Bay Beats (B3) (160 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston): Located in a Berklee building, this year-and-a-half-old restaurant featured live music, especially by Berklee students, and a Southern-leaning menu. Sibling spots Parsnip and Night Market, both in Harvard Square, remain open.
  • The Daily Catch (2 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston): This location of the small Italian chain had been open for 16 years. Locations remain open in the North End, in Brookline, and in Woodstock, Vermont.
  • Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes (225 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): The Texas-based burger chain has a number of other locations remaining around Massachusetts.
  • Papa Gino’s (Multiple locations): The decades-old pizza chain suddenly shuttered about 50 locations in and around Massachusetts and filed for bankruptcy. About 100 locations are still open.
  • Snappy Sushi (108 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston): Open for 15 years, this Back Bay sushi spot has shuttered. It once had a Davis Square sibling, but that restaurant morphed into Snappy Ramen and later moved across the square to become Snappy Kitchen, serving ramen, sushi, and more.
  • Uburger (1022 Commonwealth Ave., BU West, Boston): With the closure of this location, the local burger chain has three remaining — Kenmore Square, Northeastern University, and Andover.

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

  • 7 Central (7 Central St., Manchester-by-the-Sea): While the restaurant has been around for nearly four decades, longtime restaurateur Paul Barclay took the reins about four years ago and is retiring at the end of the year. A small group of local Italian restaurants, Antique Table, will take over the space early in 2019.
  • The Citizen Wine Bar (1 Exchange St., Worcester): The decade-old Citizen, along with its adjoining spaces the People’s Kitchen and Still & Stir, will close on New Year’s Eve. Until then, it’s hosting the yearly Christmas-themed Miracle pop-up bar and offering a special holiday-season menu.

A bowl of raw seafood, including salmon and salmon roe, on rice, served on a wooden tray with miso soup.
The Tokyo don, plus extra salmon, at Tora Japanese Restaurant in Chinatown
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

Looking back at November 2017, openings included a colorful Back Bay spot with boozy Dole Whips; a big new Brighton location of a bowling venue that features flatbread pizza; a Fort Point location of a Cambridge barbecue destination; a Chinatown hidden gem that focuses on kaisen don (rice bowls topped with sashimi); a Sicilian cafe in Dorchester; and more.

On the closure side, it was a quiet month, but Boston said goodbye to a five-year-old hotel nightclub, while Cambridge lost the revamped version of a 10-year-old French bistro.

In other news in November 2017, a new restaurant in the South End made a splash with its five-foot-long lobster rolls; people continued to be jerks, stealing things from restaurants; and more.