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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in February 2018: From Fried Chicken to Champagne Vending Machines

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

A plate of fried chicken from Southern Proper, a restaurant in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The chicken is adorned with sprigs of thyme and lemon wedges, and is served in a pie tin.
Southern Proper fried chicken
Sarah Storrer/Eater

2018 is getting into the swing of things, with a number of exciting new restaurants popping up in February, from a Southern spot in the South End to a Japanese tea house in Brookline. A couple of delivery-only “ghost restaurants” also opened in February.

On the closure side, there weren’t too many goodbyes, although a couple of high-profile future shutters were announced: Ryles Jazz Club will close, potentially in the summer, and Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel will both close on April 1 after pajama brunch.

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

Gen Sou En Tea House
Gen Sou En Tea House, now open in Brookline
Sarah Storrer/Eater
  1. Southern Proper Will Feel Like North Carolina, Right Down to the Scent of Pine: The fried chicken and pulled pork don’t hurt, either.
  2. Brookline’s New Tea House Will Be a Matcha Paradise: Gen Sou En Tea House arrived in Coolidge Corner in February.
  3. New Delivery-Only Restaurant Will Bring Crispy Chicken Sandwiches to Your Door Tonight: Puritan & Co.’s “ghost restaurant” sibling, Puritan Trading Co., debuts.
  4. A Cocktail Lounge With a Champagne Vending Machine Is Coming to Boston’s Theater District: The Ghost Walks struts into town this March, underneath Bijou.
  5. Dining News From Boston’s Suburbs and Beyond: This round-up is updated weekly with restaurant openings, closings, and more from the Greater Boston region.
  6. This Forthcoming Cambridge Dumpling Joint Has Some Serious Legacy: Dumpling Daughter — related to 1980s waterfront mainstay Sally Ling’s — is expanding from Weston to Kendall Square.
  7. Here Are the Local James Beard Foundation Semifinalists for 2018: The nominee list will be announced on March 14.
  8. Tim Maslow Is Coming Back to Boston: He’s opening a South End Japanese brasserie in June, reportedly replacing two adjacent neighborhood staples.
  9. The South End Gets in on Boston’s Growing Seafood Boil Obsession This Week: Bootleg Special made its debut on Tremont Street in February.
  10. Boston-Area Beer and Liquor News: This round-up is updated weekly with booze news from around the region, including the openings of new taprooms and more.

Cajun-style seafood at Bootleg Special
Cajun-style seafood at Bootleg Special, one of February’s hot new openings
Mike Diskin/Assembly Design Studio
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now: Updated monthly, the Eater Boston Heatmap tracks a dozen hot new spots to check out.
  2. The Winter 2017-2018 Restaurant Opening Guide: Boston Proper: Tacos, Thai ice cream rolls, Tiki drinks.
  3. Eater Boston’s Food Events Guide: Updated weekly, this guide features all the local food and drink events you’ll actually want to attend.
  4. The Winter 2017-2018 Restaurant Opening Guide: Cambridge and Somerville: Just across the river from Boston, there will be poke, burgers, and coffee.
  5. Where to Eat Mussels in Boston: From Spanish tapas to traditional Belgian, Boston’s got bivalves.
  6. Where to Drink in Boston While Watching the Winter Olympics: Well, they’re over, but these are still solid spots to grab a beer and watch some sports.
  7. Where to Drink the Best Beer in Worcester: Head to Central Massachusetts and find the perfect pint.
  8. Jamaica Plain’s Centre Street Is a Caribbean Feast: Get ready to drink lots of fresh juices and eat lots of pig ears on this food crawl.
  9. Where to Eat Hearts and Blood in Boston: For Valentine’s Day or any day.
  10. Take a Boozy, Guinness-Filled Crawl Through Brighton: This booze crawl’s not all about Irish bars, but there will be some Irish bars.

Puritan Trading Company’s crispy chicken sandwich
Puritan Trading Company’s crispy chicken sandwich
Puritan Trading Company/Official Site
  • The Angry Donut (38 Washington St., Newburyport): This doughnut pop-up has found a permanent home on the North Shore.
  • Anna’s Taqueria (800 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): Finally, the local burrito chain has opened its long-awaited Prudential Center location, serving up its usual menu of tacos and more.
  • Apm Coffee (99 Kneeland St., Chinatown, Boston): Located in the One Greenway apartment building, this coffee shop serves Intelligentsia coffee and swooped in shortly after Beantowne Coffee closed its shop at this address.
  • Blue Ribbon BBQ (350 Washington St., Dedham): This is the third location for the popular barbecue joint, which has been around West Newton and Arlington for years.
  • Bootleg Special (400 Tremont St., South End, Boston): Put on a bib and gloves to eat a spicy seafood boil in this fun new South End addition.
  • Caffe Nero (1375 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston): This European cafe chain continues its Boston takeover with a Fenway location.
  • Craft Table & Bar (107 Porter St., East Boston): Located in the former Ecco space, this restaurant comes from a group that is opening several different restaurants around the Worcester area and beyond (including a Worcester location of Craft Table & Bar).
  • Exodus Bagels (3346 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): This farmers market staple has opened a permanent storefront in the former Canto 6 space. Exodus’ long-promised Roslindale space is still in the works; meanwhile, it serves as the company’s commissary.
  • Gen Sou En (299 Harvard St., Brookline): At this beautifully designed Coolidge Corner space, there is matcha, Japanese pastries, soft serve, bento box-style lunches, and lots more.
  • The James Pub & Provisions (1027 Great Plain Ave., Needham): A family-friendly “modern pub” serving “elevated comfort food.”
  • Mr. Crepe (83 Washington St., Salem): Somerville’s longtime crepe shop has expanded to the North Shore.
  • My Diner (455 E 1st St.): After more than a decade on A Street, My Diner had to leave Southie due to development and opened a location in Melrose. Now, Melrose remains open, and My Diner has a second location back in Southie, this time on First Street.
  • Public Kitchen (397 Main St., Wakefield): Burgers, flatbread, and other pub food from a team that has connections to Giacomo’s.
  • Puritan Trading Co. (Cambridge and beyond): This “ghost restaurant” is Puritan & Co.’s delivery-only sibling; meals are prepped in the Puritan & Co. kitchen and delivered to area residents hungry for crispy chicken sandwiches, seared udon noodles, and more.
  • Stix Noodle Bar (72 Franklin St., Worcester): This ramen shop from the team behind Craft Table & Bar will expand to Cambridge, taking over the former Brew on the Grid space. (Brew on the Grid is also part of the same group.)
  • Sweetgreen (244 Legacy Pl., Dedham; 180 Linden St., Wellesley): The DC-based salad chain expanded to Wellesley and Dedham’s Legacy Place in February.
  • When Pigs Fly (241 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville): The Somerville outpost for this bread company moved to a larger space on the other side of the square, right by McKinnon’s.
  • Wow Wings (Boston and beyond): Another delivery-only restaurant, this one tied to Mission Sushi and Ginger Exchange. It features Korean fried chicken, bibimbap, and more.
  • Xiang Yu China Bistro (1223 Beacon St., Brookline): This Chinese restaurant replaced Takusan Sushi. It’s open already, but it’ll host a grand opening celebration in mid-March.

Beef brisket and beef tripe at the Hot Spot
Beef brisket and beef tripe at the Hot Spot
The Hot Spot/Facebook
  • Agoro’s Pizza Bar & Grill (356 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton, Boston): This Cleveland Circle pizzeria and bar was not a great fit for the college neighborhood, a co-owner told Boston College’s student newspaper. The original location is in Somerset, and another might be on the way somewhere in southern Massachusetts.
  • BeanTowne Coffee House (99 Kneeland St., Chinatown, Boston): This location closed after a year, quickly replaced with another coffee shop, but two other BeanTownes remain in operation in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and in Hampstead, New Hampshire.
  • Brew on the Grid (93 Windsor St., Cambridge): This was the second location of a Worcester-based coffee shop that has several more locations planned for the North Shore and Central Massachusetts. The group plans to put one of its other concepts, Stix Noodle Bar, in the Cambridge space.
  • CBS Scene Restaurant & Bar (200 Patriot Pl., Foxboro): It’s not closed forever, but it is currently closed for some major renovations. It could reopen over the summer, and it’s now part of the Big Night Entertainment Group (Red Lantern, Empire, Explorateur, etc.)
  • Fusion Taste (303 Broadway, Arlington): This Japanese and Chinese restaurant may later reopen at the same location; stay tuned.
  • The Hot Spot (154 Harvard Ave., Allston, Boston): This Cantonese restaurant is apparently closed — at least for vacation, possibly permanently — after only a few months in business.
  • Takusan Sushi (1223 Beacon St., Brookline): This Japanese restaurant has been replaced by Xiang Yu China Bistro.

Meatballs sit in a glossy hot dog-style roll on a metal tray that’s covered with a white placemat with a lot of text on it in a modern font. There’s plasticware on the tray, which sits on a white table.
Pesto “meatball” sub at By Chloe, which opened its first Boston location in February 2017
Mikey Pozarik

Rewinding back to February 2017, it was a month filled with fast-casual openings and expansions: another Caffe Nero, another Aceituna Grill, another Chilacates, and more. Boston got its first By Chloe, a New York-based vegan chain that has since opened another Boston spot and has one more on the way.

February 2017 was also the month that Tilted Kilt, aka “Scottish Hooters,” invaded Fenway. (It has since closed.)

A year ago, we were saying goodbye to Troquet’s original location (it’s now open in the Leather District), T.W. Food (it was revamped into Self Portrait, under the same ownership, but it has since closed), and Boston Beer Garden (it was reborn as The Broadway, under the same ownership.)

Also in February 2017, many Boston restaurants expressed solidarity with immigrants on “A Day Without Immigrants,” a strike meant to draw attention to United States immigration policies deemed unjust.