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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in May 2018: From Dollar Oysters to Taquerias

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

A spread of dishes at Burro Bar South End
A spread of dishes at Burro Bar South End
Burro Bar/Facebook

May 2018 included a number of interesting restaurant openings, from a South Boston spot specializing in “cookout cuisine” (with a boozy rainbow sherbet drink, too) to a casual Downtown Crossing restaurant where robots do most of the meal preparation. A couple non-local cafes expanded their Boston footprints (Blue Bottle and Caffè Nero), while several local restaurants expanded elsewhere in the area (Boston Chops to Downtown Crossing, Burro Bar to the South End). Plus, a full-service Mexican restaurant and tequila bar opened inside of a suburban grocery store.

But on the closure side, a Watertown staple announced the sad news that it would close later this year, a Greek restaurant in Back Bay shuttered, an Allston dive served its last pint, and some other restaurants said goodbye as well.

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

The “mother and daughter” sandwich at Strip-T’s
The “mother and daughter” sandwich at Strip-T’s
Brian Samuels/Strip-T’s
  1. 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.
  2. Night Shift’s Huge New Boston Brewery Will Be Filled With Coffee and Food: Here are more details on the forthcoming Lovejoy Wharf expansion for the popular Everett brewery.
  3. A Japanese Snack Wonderland Arrives in Provincetown This Summer: Tanuki will open in the former Happy Camper space on July 1.
  4. Strip-T’s Will Close, Leaving a Sad Hole in the Restaurant Scene: The decades-old Watertown restaurant is both a classic staple and a food nerd destination.
  5. Drink Boozy Rainbow Sherbet Shakes and Eat Cookout Cuisine at Southie’s Newest Restaurant: Take a look inside Backyard Betty’s.
  6. Boston’s Second Blue Bottle Coffee Opens This Weekend: In the heart of downtown.
  7. Boston Chops Expands to Downtown Crossing in a Flurry of Leather and Marble: Look inside the new steakhouse, opening this week on Temple Place.
  8. One of Boston’s Best Restaurants Is in the Suburbs, Says One Critic: And another critic finds “a bit of heaven” in a tiny new Peruvian restaurant in Somerville.
  9. Downtown Crossing Loses a Longtime French Restaurant: Central Bistro, previously Petit Robert, closes down this week.
  10. Casual West Coast Vegan Chain Will Expand to Harvard Square and Probably Beyond: It will be Veggie Grill’s first East Coast location — and probably not the last.

Oysters at Tapestry
Oysters at Tapestry
Tapestry [Official Photo]
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, May 2018: Updated monthly, the Eater Boston Heatmap tracks a dozen hot new spots to check out.
  2. The Hottest New Brunches in Boston Right Now, Spring 2018: Tired of your usual brunching routine?
  3. The Ultimate $1 Oyster Guide, Spring 2018: Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline: Where to find dollar oyster deals in and around Boston.
  4. Take Your Dining to New Heights on These Boston-Area Rooftops: Don’t just get outside — get up high and take in all the views Boston has to offer.
  5. The Spring 2018 Restaurant Opening Guide: Boston Proper: Boston cream pie banana pudding, champagne from a vending machine, steak at a table designed for Instagrammers, and more.
  6. 20 Outstanding Boston-Area Sushi Restaurants: From simple perfection to mountains of gold flakes and truffles.
  7. The Boston Outdoor Dining Guide: Start your al fresco adventure here.
  8. 50 of the Boston Area’s Most Essential Bars: Cocktail destinations, beer bars, wine bars, sports bars, and dives.
  9. 30 Essential Boston Coffee Shops: Start your caffeine adventure here.
  10. 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.

Steak at Boston Chops
Steak at Boston Chops
Boston Chops/Facebook
  • Backyard Betty’s (172 West Broadway, South Boston): Cookout cuisine, boozy shakes, and vintage decor from the team behind Publico Street Bistro & Garden.
  • Bikeeny Caffe (62 Summer St., Malden): This cafe serves mini puff pastries (aka “bikeenies”) as well as sandwiches, cakes, coffee, tea, and more.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee (100 Federal St., Downtown Boston): This is the second area location for the California-based coffee chain, which arrived in Harvard Square a few months ago and will expand to the Prudential Center next. The Federal Street location is inside the new atrium at the “pregnant building.”
  • Blue Dalia Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar (1245 Worcester St., Wegmans, Natick): This full-service Mexican restaurant (and tequila bar) is inside a Wegmans grocery store. Culinary director Roberto Santibañez is also behind Fonda in New York City.
  • Boston Chops (52 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston): The second location of Boston Chops is, like its older South End sibling, located in a former bank space. The new outpost features a table designed specially for “influencers,” with adjustable lighting for that perfect Instagram post.
  • Burro Bar (1357 Washington St., South End, Boston): The Painted Burro’s little sibling in Brookline, Burro Bar, now has a South End sibling in the former La Motta’s space, serving tacos, tequila, and more.
  • Caffè Nero (114 New Edgerly Rd., Symphony/Fenway, Boston): Yet another location of the London-based cafe chain has opened.
  • Deag’s Local Diner (1261 Park St., Stoughton): This breakfast and lunch spot serves eggs Benedict, pancakes, salads, burgers, and more.
  • Dos Diablos Taco Bar / Two Saints Tavern (52 Gainsborough St., Fenway, Boston): This duo of adjacent restaurants opened in the former Our House East space, serving as a taqueria on one side and a beer hall on the other. It’s in the same family as Yellow Door Taqueria, McGreevy’s, Lion’s Tail, and Lower Mills Tavern.
  • El Rincón de Moody’s (458 Moody St., Waltham): This casual sibling and neighbor of Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions focuses on tacos and barbecue. Plus, there are margaritas and other cocktails, beer, and wine.
  • Fusion Taste (303 Broadway, Arlington): After a temporary closure earlier this year, Fusion Taste has reopened, serving Japanese, Chinese, and Polynesian cuisine.
  • Hamilton Restaurant & Bar (1366 Beacon St., Brookline): Located in the former Yasu space, Hamilton (named after the suddenly very popular historical figure) serves “good, simple, seasonal food, rooted in classic cooking” from an alum of West Bridge, Salts, and 80 Thoreau.
  • The Island Caribbean Cuisine and Drinks (118 Ferry St., Malden): Caribbean food in the former Ferry Street Food & Drinks space, including jerk chicken, fried goat, and more.
  • Juicygreens (61 South St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): Located in the former Harvest Co-op space, this juice bar also serves toasts, salads, and more.
  • Kimchipapi Kitchen (81 Harvard Ave., Allston): This casual Korean-Japanese restaurant focuses on “glory bowls” (protein, sauce, banchan, toppings). The owner used to own a sneaker shop in the same location.
  • Minigrow (565 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): A more pared-down version of its big sibling, Honeygrow, which has also recently expanded to Boston, Minigrow serves fast-casual noodle bowls. The company is based out of Philly.
  • Pavement Coffeehouse (415 Western Ave., Brighton, Boston): This is the seventh location for the local cafe chain, and this one includes cafe space as well as a roasting facility and commissary kitchen.
  • Smith & Wollensky (583 Washington St., Wellesley): The upscale steakhouse chain has expanded to the former Blue Ginger space in Wellesley but will close its longtime Back Bay castle location this summer.
  • Spyce (241 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston): Robots make the food at this fast-casual restaurant that counts acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud as an advisor.
  • Superfine Food (126 Washington St., Marblehead): With a sibling in Manchester-by-the-Sea and another coming to Newburyport later this year, Superfine Food is a casual, family-friendly spot with pizza, burgers, and more from a team with loads of fine-dining experience.
  • Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill (210 Andover St., Northshore Mall, Peabody): The newest location of the growing local sports bar chain features plenty of space, plenty of televisions, comfort food, and beer.
  • Wild Pops (3213 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): A popsicle shop with flavors like spicy pineapple, tamarind Thai chili, and dark Belgian chocolate.
  • Windy City Pizza (195 Newport Ave., Quincy): With an older location in Dorchester, Windy City Quincy serves pizza, wings, and other standard delivery fare, with delivery available as late as 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday.

Chef Brendan Pelley’s 100-layer spinach pie at Doretta
Chef Brendan Pelley’s 100-layer spinach pie at Doretta
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

May 2018 Closures

  • British Beer Company (29 Andover St., Danvers): This is the third location of the local pub chain to shutter in recent months, following Framingham and Walpole locations. Nearly a dozen remain open in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  • Bus Stop Pub (252 Western Ave., Allston, Boston): This dive bar closed after nearly 40 years, making way for new development in a rapidly changing neighborhood.
  • Central Bistro (34 Summer St., Downtown Boston): Previously known as Petit Robert Central, this French restaurant had been around for close to a decade.
  • Chilli Duck (829 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): Increasing Back Bay rents have claimed another longtime restaurant, this one a Thai spot near the Prudential.
  • Cristo’s Pizzeria (233 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville): A longtime pizzeria and sub shop.
  • Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar (79 Park Plaza, Boston): Chef and restaurateur Michael Schlow opened this Greek restaurant in the space that previously housed his Italian restaurant, Via Matta. He has declined to renew the lease. One of his other restaurants, Tico, remains open nearby.
  • Harry O’s (1405 Washington St., South End, Boston): Like Cristo’s above, a longtime pizzeria and sub shop.
  • Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine (1710 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington): This Thai restaurant is now under new ownership, set to reopen as another Thai restaurant, this time called Love at First Bite, in August.
  • The Maiden (28 West Broadway, South Boston): After almost three years, this cheese, charcuterie, and oyster spot from the team behind the now-defunct Sam’s at Louis said goodbye to Southie.
  • Mogogo Ethiopian Cuisine (1 Highland Ave., Malden): This Ethiopian restaurant had only been open since September 2017.
  • Paul Bakery (201 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston): Part of a large international chain, this French bakery and cafe was one of three Massachusetts locations. It remains open in Somerville’s Assembly Row and at the Natick Mall.
  • Tsukiji Bistro (505 Main St., Melrose): This Asian restaurant had only been open since December 2017.

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

  • Intermission Tavern (228 Tremont St., Theater District, Boston): This pre- and post-show drinking spot will close around late June 2018, to be replaced by a place called Fourth Wall.
  • Smith & Wollensky (101 Arlington St., Back Bay, Boston): The steakhouse chain will give up its coveted historical castle location this summer, where it’s been for 15 years, focusing instead on the Atlantic Wharf location and the just-opened Wellesley one.
  • Strip-T’s (93 School St., Watertown): Fans are already mourning the loss of this Watertown staple, which has been through a number of evolutions since opening in 1986, but it’s sticking around at least through June, albeit with a shrinking menu and hours. (Check for updates on Facebook, where owner Paul Maslow has been making pertinent announcements.)

North Square Oyster
A North Square Oyster seafood tower
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Looking back at May 2017, it was a pretty busy month for restaurant openings, including North Square Oyster in the North End, Puro Ceviche Bar in Back Bay, Spoke Wine Bar (under new ownership) in Davis Square, a new Blackbird Doughnuts in Fenway, and more. It was fortunately a light month for closures, with only a few goodbyes — Bondir Concord, Prince Postale, and the BU location of Panera.

In other news that month, Boston’s Hong Kong-style dessert scene expanded with puffle cones galore, a few early details emerged on Trillium Brewing’s forthcoming new Fort Point location, and news solidified that two chains from New York — the Halal Guys and Magnolia — would indeed come to Boston after ages of eyeing expansion here.