There’s plenty more to Massachusetts dining than just restaurants in Boston proper. We’re keeping tabs on developments in the Greater Boston area and beyond, including openings, closures, and more. With a focus on Greater Boston suburbs but occasionally reaching out further around the state, this piece is updated weekly, with the most recent news appearing at the top. (Check out the spring 2018 archive here.)
September 19, 2018
DEDHAM — El Centro (350 Washington St.) has finally opened in Dedham. The restaurant joins other locations in Boston’s South End, Brookline, and Belmont. The menu features molcajetes (“lava stone dishes”), tacos, enchiladas, margaritas in a variety of flavors, and more.
WATERTOWN — Ginger Exchange (98 Main St.) expanded to Watertown last week, joining two other locations in Cambridge’s Inman Square and Boston’s Symphony Hall neighborhoods. The restaurants touch on the cuisine from multiple Asian countries, serving everything from Japanese sushi to Korean bibimbap to a variety of Thai noodle dishes.
WELLESLEY — You can’t eat it, but there’s a massive ice cream cone in Wellesley. It’s made of Legos, built by brick artist Nick Tatar, and on display at Truly Yogurt (35 Grove St.). The ice cream store just celebrated 26 years in business, and the massive cone in the window marked the occasion.
WAYLAND — A popular Italian restaurant with locations in Boston’s North End and South End, as well as in Melrose, will soon add a fourth to the mix, this time in Wayland. Giacomo’s plans to open at 14 Elissa Ave., across the street from Takara Japanese and near the Local.
September 12, 2018
ARLINGTON — Town Tavern (193 Massachusetts Ave.) opened this week for dinner and lunch service in the space that was previously home to Ristorante Olivio. The restaurant serves wings, taquitos, burgers, sandwiches, and assorted entrees.
CHESTNUT HILL — Aquitaine (11 Boylston St.) reopened on September 11 after undergoing lengthy renovations. The restaurant, one of three locations, originally closed mid-2017 and made its return withextensive updates to the interior.
SHARON — Avi Shemtov’s pop-up Simcha will get a permanent location in Sharon at 370 South Main St. The menu will feature Israeli dishes, including pitas baked in-house, and will bear resemblance to the menus for Shemtov’s past pop-up events. He’s previously served Turkish eggplant salad, whole roasted cauliflower, fried chicken brined in house zhoug, and spicy shakshuka. Simcha could open in December with 38 seats and an eight-seat bar, operating for dinner, plus brunch on Sundays. Shemtov is also behind the Chubby Chickpea.
WORCESTER — Weintraub’s Jewish Delicatessen (126 Water St.), the last of the city’s Jewish delis, will remain open, with previous owner Dariush “David” Mizrahi still behind the counter despite a previous intention to step away. Developer Ed Murphy recently bought the property and the business and had been looking for someone to keep the deli open after Mizrahi’s planned departure, but now Mizrahi is staying onboard, hopeful that the impending arrival of the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester would benefit the business. The deli will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2020.
August 29, 2018
LYNN — Brew on the Grid and Revolution Pie + Pint are now both open at 23 Central Ave. in Lynn. Revolution joined the mix just last week, and it serves pizza, sandwiches, salads, calzones, and drinks, including beer, wine, and cocktails.
NEWTON — The Bagel Place (300 Needham St.) is searching for new owners. First opened in Burlington, Vermont, the Bagel Place expanded to Newton in early 2016, and now it’s looking to sell. “From the moment we opened our doors you have always been the primary focus of our business, and this transfer will not change that,” a message posted to Facebook read. “Thank you for all of your loyalty and support as we work to find partners that will carry on the Bagel Place brand.”
NEWTON HIGHLANDS — A New York-based coffee shop will open a new location, this time in Massachusetts. Stacks Espresso Bar will take over the space at 1169 Walnut St. from Fleck Coffee, which will close down in two weeks.
PEABODY — The Northshore Mall has overhauled its dining setup, with some new additions coming this fall. The newly dubbed “dining pavilion” is already home to Big Fin Poké, Charleys Philly Steaks,Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill’s Dugout, McDonald’s, Master Wok, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick Fil A, and a new Caffe Nero. This fall, it will see the addition of Hop + Grind (a restaurant for beer and burgers), and Amigo’s Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar.
Elsewhere in Peabody, the NexMex Thing will relocate from 14 Lowell St. to 77 Main St. taking over a former vacuum store and building out 1,800 square feet of space. The owners plan to expand the menu and will have a full liquor license.
QUINCY — The site of the former Beachcomber will soon be home to a new high-end Chinese restaurant. The old building at 797 Quincy Shore Dr. will reportedly be demolished, and it will be replaced with a new restaurant, retail space, and potentially condos as well.
SPRINGFIELD — Another big name joins the MGM Springfield casino complex: Wahlburgers will open a location within the resort, potentially in late 2019. It will be located on the corner of Main and Union streets and will serve the familiar menu of burgers, sandwiches, fries, frappes, and salads.
WALTHAM — The Local Kitchen & Drinks will expand to Waltham this fall, per a rep from the Wellesley Restaurant Group. It will open in the former Bonefish Grill space at 99 3rd Ave. The first location opened in West Newton in 2008, and there are others in Wayland, Wellesley, and Woburn.
August 22, 2018
BEVERLY — Ellis Square Social (252 Cabot St.) is now open, with chef Jay Murray joining forces with bartender Todd Maul (Café ArtScience, Clio) and owners Nikita Paras and Anesti Lazarides. The menu includes charcuterie and cheese, plus oysters, falafel, burrata, pasta, roasted chicken, swordfish, and steak.
CHESTNUT HILL — Bon Me (210 Boylston St.) will close down its suburban location on Sunday, August 26. The Chestnut Hill restaurant is farthest from the local chain’s central operation, and reports indicate this may have posed certain challenges for the brand. “The finances at this restaurant just weren’t making sense,” a note from the CEO reads.
DEDHAM — Providence’s Massimo will expand to Dedham (400 Legacy Pl.), where it will be dubbed Il Massimo, bringing Italian brunch, lunch, and dinner to the shopping development. The Providence restaurant serves items like spaghettoni carbonara, rib-eye, and assorted seafood dishes, and it has won awards. It will take over the Met Bar & Grill space.
QUINCY — A new cocktail bar, Idle Hour (1464 Hancock St.), opens this week in Quincy, with a few familiar faces involved: Owner Mathew Freid — formerly of Capo, JM Curley, and the Beehive — pulled in Drink alum Ashley Gaboriault to serve as chef, alongside sous chef Emile Mankin. There are cocktails for $11, plus wine and beer, while food options include rock shrimp sliders, pork dumplings, skirt steak tacos, and summer corn pasta.
SAUGUS — A replacement for Saugus’s Hilltop Steak House could be close to opening by the end of the year. A new 110 Grill (855 Broadway) received approval for a liquor license transfer, and when it opens, it will join more than a dozen other locations in Massachusetts and Albany, New York.
SPRINGFIELD — The MGM Springfield casino opens on Friday, August 24. The two-million-square-foot complex is chock full of restaurants and bars. The lineup includes the Chandler Steakhouse (with Hell’s Kitchen winner Meghan Gill at the helm), Cal Mare from Michael Mina, and a sports bar. There’s also Lobby Bar, the Knox Bar, and Commonwealth Bar and Lounge, which will serves as the casino’s nightlife entities.
WELLESLEY — Fiorella’s Express will expand its reach to Wellesley, opening at 575 Washington St. The restaurant joins several others in the Greater Boston area, and it will serve a familiar menu of pasta, pizza, calzones, and more.
August 15, 2018
DEDHAM — Met Bar & Grill at Legacy Place has closed down, following the temporary closure of the Natick location. Met Restaurant Group and Stephanie’s Restaurant Group merged earlier this year to create Sidell Hospitality, and the brand has been reworking its entities. Post-merger, Stephi’s in Southie has also closed.
FRAMINGHAM — Temazcal Tequila Cantina (155 Worcester Rd.) opens Labor Day weekend near the Natick Mall. The sprawling 7,100-square-foot space seats more than 250 and carries on the chain’s tradition of serving a wide selection of tequila, margaritas, and more. The food menu features Mexican dishes, and the restaurant will have a take-out door for easy carryout.
SAUGUS — Longhorn Steakhouse will open at the Saugus Auto Center along Route 1.
WESTBOROUGH — Rocco’s Doughnut Company will expand from its Millbury origins, opening a shop at 3 Colonial Dr. in late 2018. The shop is known for its massive doughnuts, which come in a variety of flavors and sell out quickly.
WILMINGTON — Pancho’s Cantina (206 Ballardvale St.) opened this week, starting out operations from 4 to 10 p.m. The restaurant serves California-Mexican cuisine, including tacos, burritos, and tortas, along with cocktails.
WORCESTER — A massive expansion plan for a Worcester coffee shop, Brew on the Grid, has hit some road blocks, and it’s caused a split in management. The presiding company, Grid Hospitality Group, still plans to bring the Brew Beer Garden to 64-66 Franklin St. It also operates Craft Table & Bar restaurant in East Boston and has plans to open a second in Worcester, along with Revolution Pie & Pint.
August 8, 2018
ABINGTON — Giardino’s Italian Steak House and Sushi Bar has opened at 497 Bedford St. with exactly what the name suggests, and more: pizza, parmigiana, pasta, steak, and seafood, including sushi. Note: There are all-you-can-eat sushi options for both lunch and dinner.
ARLINGTON — Popular Watertown restaurant Home Taste (58 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown) has expanded to Arlington (1312 Mass. Ave., Arlington), serving a menu of Sichuan dishes, including Chinese burgers, dumplings, and its crowd favorite hand-pulled noodles.
BURLINGTON — Millis-based Twist Bakery & Cafe will expand to Burlington, opening at 62 Second Ave., taking over the former Paul Bakery space. Twist is known for its gluten-free baked goods, and it also serves soup, salad, sandwiches, and other items.
NEEDHAM — Capella Restaurant opens Wednesday, August 8, in the former Petit Robert space at 45 Chapel St., under the direction of Rob Picardi of the North End’s Prezza. The restaurant will serve dinner seven days a week from 4 to 10 p.m., with dishes including ricotta gnocchi all’ amatriciana, squid ink spaghetti, veal saltimbocca, grilled hangar steak, and assorted seafood, salads, and appetizers, plus wine.
SALEM — There’s a replacement lined up for the Naumkeag Ordinary space at 118 Washington St. in Salem: Blue Fez comes to the neighborhood from Nasser Belghiti of Kasbah Restaurant in Winthrop, and the menu is still under development.
SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield has announced some details on three of its bars ahead of its August 24 opening: Lobby Bar, the Knox Bar, and Commonwealth Bar and Lounge will fill the casino resort with cocktails and nightlife, according to a press release. Lobby Bar has been dubbed a “mixology hub,” while the Knox Bar will be a “high-limit lounge.”
Customers at the various bars will find gin fizzes and tequila drinks in “quirky glassware,” along with a gimmicky “$25,000 cocktail” called the Indian Sidecar. No, of course the drink itself isn’t quite worth $25,000 — it’s a combination of a 1901 single vintage Croizet cognac, Grand Marnier Quintessence, and fresh lemon, served with a gold sugar rim, but the order comes with an actual Indian Motorcycle, a brand produced in Springfield beginning in 1901. Plus, there’s a bottle of that 1901 cognac thrown in to sweeten the, um, deal.
August 1, 2018
COHASSET — Lenny’s Hideaway will take over the Perch 143 space at 8 Stagecoach Wy. New owners Derek and Stephanie Burke bring restaurant experience in San Francisco to the area and plan to serve family-style Mexican cuisine, with entrees priced at $23 or below. The restaurant could open in September.
DEDHAM — Horse Thieves’ Tavern will soon open in Dedham Square, with a 105-person capacity, seating for 85, and a semi-private event space. The project comes from Chris Lutes (Miracle of Science, Middlesex Lounge) and Laurence Wintersteen. The new restaurant will open in the fall.
WAKEFIELD — Gloucester-based Tonno, a seafood restaurant from Anthony Caturano of Prezza in Boston’s North End, has expanded to Wakefield, serving a menu of seafood, house-made pasta, and Italian desserts.
WORCESTER — The Hangover Pub (102 Green St.) made its grand return last week after being closed for nearly four months. The bacon-centric restaurant reopened on July 27, under the direction of chef Michael Arrastia, who also serves as president of the new Hangover Corporation, which includes both the Hangover Pub and sibling ramen restaurant Broth.
July 25, 2018
BURLINGTON — Besito at the Burlington Mall has closed down. The Mexican restaurant first opened in June 2014, and a counterpart in Chestnut Hill remains open.
Elsewhere in Burlington, Yard House could take over the former Chili’s space on the Middlesex Turnpike. The restaurant chain already operates locations in Fenway, Dedham, and Lynnfield, and it’s known for its vast beer selection and menu of comfort food, with substantial accommodations for vegetarian and gluten-sensitive diners.
FOXBOROUGH — CBS Sporting Club is now open at Patriot Place in Foxborough, a revamp of the longtime CBS Scene. The restaurant is now under the direction of Big Night Entertainment Group, which also operates Scorpion Bar at Patriot Place and other restaurants in the Boston area, including Explorateur, the Grand, Empire, and Red Lantern. CBS Sporting Club serves items like New England clam chowder, meatball spring rolls, chicken wings, salads, roasted half chicken, steak frites, lobster mac and cheese, and the ever-trendy poke bowls.
NEEDHAM — L&K Lounge and Kitchen (30 Dedham Ave.) has closed, at least for now. The restaurant — which first opened as RFK Kitchen by Liquid Art House alum Rachel Klein — transitioned to L&K last December, with new managers and a new menu from executive chef Matthew Kovach. (Klein moved on to Red Strip in Rhode Island.) Now, the restaurant’s website displays a message that says “closed until further notice.”
PLYMOUTH — A restaurant near Plymouth’s waterfront opened recently, serving up a mix of small plates, from spiced scallops and fried mac and cheese balls to panzanella salad. Thirty-Nine Court (39 Court St.) serves dinner seven days a week, from 5 to 10 p.m.
SALEM — A space that previously housed a barbecue restaurant in Salem will soon be home to Stella’s Restaurant and Wine Bar (94 Lafayette St.), a member of a newly formed restaurant group. The restaurant is hiring staff members, though it still has little presence online.
WORCESTER — Weintraub’s Jewish Delicatessen (126 Water St.) has been a staple of Worcester’s Canal District since 1920, but the last Jewish deli in the city may close at the end of August. The restaurant has reportedly struggled with health inspections and upkeep in recent years, and owner Dariush “David” Mizrahi is “tired” and “done,” longtime employee Thomas Smith told MassLive. But it’s not definitely the end of the line: The building’s new owner, Ed Murphy, is trying to find someone to keep the deli open and usher it beyond the 100-year mark. Stay tuned. (Or reach out to Murphy if you’ve got deli dreams.)
July 18, 2018
BRAINTREE — The Casual Cup Cafe (911 Washington St.) has opened in South Braintree Square, taking over a former Jimmy John’s location. It will serve coffee and tea plus breakfast sandwiches, salads, bagels, and pastries.
CHESTNUT HILL — The Cottage (47 Boylston St.) closed down after seven years in business in Chestnut Hill. The restaurant was one of several locations and specialized in a mix of California- and New England-style dishes. Owners John and Laura Wolfe posted a message about the closure on Facebook, referring guests to another location in Wellesley and suggesting folks “stay tuned for what’s next.”
NEWBURYPORT — Black Cow (40 Merrimac St.) opened its new location in Newburyport last month. The North Shore restaurant joins another in Hamilton, and it serves a mix of seafood, steaks, fish sandwiches, burgers, and more.
TEWKSBURY — Bobby & Jack’s Memphis Barbecue (1777 Main St.) will open in the former Mehfil Indian Cuisine space in Tewksbury. It will specialize in Memphis-style barbecue, with emphasis on pork dishes, including pulled pork, rib racks, and more. There will also be beef, sausage, and chicken wings.
WELLESLEY — White’s Bakery & Cafe (999 Worcester St.) will expand to Wellesley soon, building upon its traditions set in Brockton, Hingham, and Mansfield. The bakeries serve meticulously made pastries and treats, from fruit tarts, cannoli, and turnovers to cakes, danishes, and croissants.
July 11, 2018
ARLINGTON — The Roasted Granola Café (1346 Massachusetts Ave.) opens Tuesday, July 17, sharing space with Artlounge Arlington. Sisters Emily Patel and Sarah Short co-founded the company in 2013 and with this brick-and-mortar expand their farmers market-based business. Expect to see menu items like slow-roasted granolas, pastries, granola bars, Counter Culture Coffee beverages, and MEM teas.
BROOKLINE — Drive-By Pies (248 Cypress St.) is now open in Brookline, with fruit and cream pies, plus non-dessert options like chicken pot pies, quiche, and soups. The shop is run by Fran Kolenik, formerly of West Roxbury’s BakerBaker.
CHELSEA — El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill (170 Everett Ave.) has a new location in Chelsea, which joins El Potro locations in Somerville, Malden, and Lowell. The restaurant replaced Dockside and serves an array of Mexican dishes, including chimichangas, quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, and more. There are also margaritas.
CHESTNUT HILL — La Rotisserie (17 Boylston St.) has closed. It had been around for about 30 years, serving rotisserie-cooked dishes.
LYNNFIELD — Zinneken’s will shower Lynnfield’s MarketStreet complex in waffles soon. The Cambridge-based Belgian waffle shop plans to complete the expansion sometime in October.
MALDEN — A hot pot restaurant in Malden has changed from Ibasaw Seafood Buffet to 5 Spices (95 Middlesex St.). Its menu still features sushi and hot pot, plus assorted cocktails.
NEWBURYPORT — Superfine Food (17 State St.) has expanded its reach on the North Shore, opening its newest location in Newburyport. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Chef-owner Matt Gaudet and partners Chris Robins and Paul Emmett operate the original location in Manchester-by-the-Sea and a second in Marblehead, too. Now, with Newburport’s Superfine in the mix, they’re reaching more people with pizza, kimchi rice bowls, ribs, burgers, boozy shakes, and more.
QUINCY — Cafe Maddie (895 Quincy Shore Dr.) is now open, serving Peet’s Coffee, Emack & Bolio’s ice cream, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, stuffed smoked salmon bagels, French toast, pizzas, and more.
WINCHESTER — Frannie’s Restaurant (32 Swanton St.) will close down on July 15 after 25 years in business. Owner Francis DiMambro, who will soon turn 80, said he was tired and sad to close the restaurant.
June 27, 2018
BURLINGTON — Black & Blue Steak and Crab, which operates locations in Rochester, Buffalo, and Albany, NY, will soon add a fourth in Burlington, within the District development near the Burlington Mall. The restaurant could open in July, serving a mix of meat and seafood dishes like filet mignon, scallops, and Alaskan king crab legs.
Feng Shui will also join Black & Blue at the District, serving hibachi and sushi items. The restaurant already operates four locations in Cohasset, Chelmsford, Tyngsboro, and Waltham. It’s adding a Brighton location as well.
NORTH SCITUATE — Jamie’s Grille & Pub will soon rebuild, bouncing back from a devastating fire late last year. The 50-year-old restaurant has reportedly submitted plans for its reconstruction.
WEST MEDFORD — Depot Square Grille (478 High St.) shuttered earlier this year, with Chimichurris taking over. The new restaurant is now open, serving a menu of tortas, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and more.
WEYMOUTH — Hajjar’s (969 Washington St.) closed down on June 15, bidding farewell to its customers with a closing party and a message on Facebook. The restaurant had been around for decades, and a nearby breakfast restaurant, the Mad Hatter, will reportedly take its place.