Change is sweeping through Allston-Brighton, for better or worse. Out with the dive bars; in with the Trader Joe’s and cafes and doughnut shops and pop-up pizzerias. Out with the dingy Days Hotel and its Chinese restaurant, Joyful Garden; in with the artsy Studio Allston hotel and its Latin restaurant and rum bar, Casa Caña.
Casa Caña debuted this week (1234 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston), serving Cuban sandwiches, grilled street corn, frozen daiquiris, flan, and more in a colorful space that includes a bar, a small section for private dining, and a twinkling light-bedecked courtyard that’ll open a little bit later in the summer, more than doubling the restaurant’s space and adding a second bar and fire pits.
Keep an eye out for that, because this crew knows courtyards. The team behind Casa Caña includes Jairo Dominguez, Teodora Bakardzhieva, and Theo Bougas, who are also behind Publico Street Bistro in South Boston — a restaurant that features a stunning courtyard. (Also in Southie, they recently opened Backyard Betty’s, a backyard cookout-inspired restaurant.)
While Dominguez, Bakardzhieva, and Bougas — together the Trio Restaurant Group — collaborated on Casa Caña, it’s officially a Lyons Group project (see also: Back Bay Social Club, Bleacher Bar, Sonsie, Loretta’s Last Call, and many more). One key piece of the Casa Caña decor is a collection of photography that Lyons Group founder Patrick Lyons’ daughter, Lucy Sargent Lyons, shot in Cuba.
Boston-based architectural firm Dyer Brown worked on the space, which is meant to have a Cuban vibe: tropical murals, wicker light fixtures, a green-blue color scheme with dark wood and bricks, and details like decorative floor tiles and Romeo y Julieta cigar boxes. The restaurant is colorful and fun, and it would have to be, located just off of a hotel lobby that looks like this.
Babbo alum Tim Hixson is executive chef, serving a menu that draws from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. There are snacks, such as carnitas empanadas, chicharrones, and a classic Cuban ham pate; small plates, such as prawns a la plancha, ceviche, and sardines escabeche; and larger plates, such as a whole grilled black sea bass, short rib ropa vieja, and bistec con yuca. (See the full menu below.)
To drink? Plenty of rum and rum-based cocktails, South American beers and wines, punch bowls for groups, and more.
For now, Casa Caña is open to the public starting at 3 p.m. each day, serving bar snacks until dinner begins at 5 p.m. (It also serves breakfast, but only to those staying at the hotel.) Keep an eye out for the start of weekend brunch — and the opening of the courtyard — later this month.
• Here Comes a Cuban-Leaning Rum Bar and Restaurant for Allston [EBOS]
• Check Out the Menu at Allston’s New Casa Caña Rum Bar [BM]
• Casa Caña [Official Site]