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 summer 2018 archive here.)
December 18, 2018
ARLINGTON — Adventure awaits at a new pub in Arlington, opening Wednesday, December 18. The Adventure Pub (190 Massachusetts Ave.) debuts at 2 p.m. with food and games, though it still awaits its liquor license. The pub takes over for Bistro Duet on Mass. Ave., featuring gastropub-style dishes.
BROOKLINE — Rani Indian Bistro (1353 Beacon St.) closes December 19 after 15 years in business in Coolidge Corner. It will be replaced by a hot pot restaurant: 6 Po Hot Pot could open in April 2019.
MEDFORD — Margaritas (75 Station Lndg.) has closed down its Medford location as its lease was expiring. There are remaining locations of the Mexican chain around Greater Boston and elsewhere in the Northeast.
ROWLEY — Briar Barn Inn (101 Main St.) opens in January in Rowley, providing a place for travelers to stay, along with a 100-seat restaurant called Grove, built out within a barn on the property. Chef Ben Lightbody will oversee the menu, which will feature produce from local farms and vendors.
SHARON — The Square (1 Pond St.) opened last week in the longtime Pizzigando space, serving a menu of assorted pub fare from chef Rachel Klein (Mandarin Oriental, Liquid Art House), including burgers, steak frites, tofu rice bowls, raw bar items, tacos, and more. The restaurant also serves beer and wine.
Also in Sharon, chef Avi Shemtov is preparing to take his recurring Israeli food pop-up permanent: This winter, Shemtov will open Simcha at 370 South Main St. (Heights Plaza), with seating for 38 (plus an eight-seat bar). Expect pitas from a wood-fired oven, lots of local produce (especially from Sharon’s own Ward’s Berry Farm), and dishes like shakshuka, Yemenite fried chicken, and sous vide duck breast with saffron risotto. The restaurant will operate seven days a week for dinner, plus brunch on Sundays.
WATERTOWN — A replacement for the beloved Strip-T’s in Watertown is in the works: Avenue Delicatessen (95 School St.) was granted a license to operate Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and it will not serve alcohol. A sign on the door indicates that it could open as early as this month.
Additionally, a restaurant called Sichuan Cuisine will likely take over for Tiki In at 30 Mt. Auburn St., after receiving approval for its proposal. The restaurant will have seating for 30 and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.
WELLESLEY — Another classic tale of food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar takes hold in Wellesley next year, as Rice Burg prepares to take over for a closed frozen yogurt shop at 552 Washington St., possibly opening by March. The restaurant will serve burgers with rice buns, rice bowls, and salad bowls, all with assorted filings, from crispy chicken to shiitake mushrooms. Stay tuned for an opening date.
December 12, 2018
ANDOVER — Theory: Wine Bar + Listening Room (10 Main St.) is on track to open just after Christmas but will hold a preview on Saturday, December 22, from 4 to 11 p.m., including live jazz for patrons to listen to with a glass of wine. The bar will donate a portion of sales from the day to the Andover Community Trust. When it opens for good, Theory will emphasize small-production wines, including natural and organic varieties, with taps for by-the-glass pours. There will also be beer, plus a lineup of live jazz musicians playing in the evenings.
ARLINGTON — Abbott’s Frozen Custard (311 Broadway) will expand locally with a new shop in Arlington Center. The Rochester, New York-based chain — which is over a century old — has locations scattered up and down the East Coast, with three others in Massachusetts, in Brighton, Lexington, and Needham.
MASSACHUSETTS — A dozen locations of beloved ice cream and restaurant chain Friendly’s have been sold to a real estate arm of the chain’s parent company: Florida-based Sun Capital (which also owns Johnny Rockets and other restaurant entities) purchased 12 Friendly’s locations across Massachusetts for a collective $12.2 million, but details on the company’s plans for the restaurant were not announced. The retail ice cream and manufacturing side of Friendly’s sold to Texas-based Dean Foods Co. in 2016.
REVERE — John and Michael Aldi — investors and operators of the Reelhouse in East Boston (and eventually Quincy and maybe beyond), Pier 6 in Charlestown, and Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar in Faneuil Hall — have signed on to open a new restaurant at a forthcoming residential development on Revere Beach. The restaurant and bar at 500 Ocean Ave. will span 5,000 square feet with indoor and outdoor seating and “a creative menu and cocktail program,” according to a press release.
SALEM — Stella’s Restaurant & Wine Bar (94 Lafayette St.) opens on December 18 in the former Smokin’ Betty’s space. The restaurant will have raw bar items, plus salads, soups, pasta dishes, seafood, and more, along with more than 200 wines from around the world.
WALTHAM — Naked Fish (455 Totten Pond Rd.) will close for good on December 22. The seafood restaurant serves a broad selection of entrees, including, salads, pasta dishes, Cuban sandwiches, paella, tacos, and much more, with an assortment of cocktails and beverages.
WAYLAND — Giacomo’s Ristorante (14 Elissa Ave.) is now open in Wayland, adding to existing locations in Boston’s North End and South End, as well as Melrose. The restaurant serves a lineup of pasta dishes, along with chicken and eggplant parm, grilled fish, and more.
WORCESTER — Kummerspeck, a restaurant and butchery in Worcester that closed earlier this fall, had its business sign stolen from the front of the restaurant at 118 Water St. Though the restaurant is preparing for a clear-out sale of equipment and decor on December 16, the sign was not part of the equation, and the owners have asked for any information on who took the sign or where it might be.
December 5, 2018
BROOKLINE VILLAGE — Best Burger Bar (6 Station St.) closed down on Monday. The restaurant, which took over the former Middle Gray space, opened in late summer 2017 with a wide selection of burgers, boozy milkshakes, and a cocktail list from noted Boston bartender Brother Cleve. Owner John Mascia told Patch that the “numbers just weren’t doing it for us.” He’s considering transferring ownership, so stay tuned for potential developments.
In other Brookline Village news, poke shop Poke Garden is now open at 10 Harvard St., the former Clover space, and is apparently a sibling of Cambridge’s Poke City. Poke Garden serves poke bowls, “makirittos,” and more.
CHESTNUT HILL — Brio Tuscan Grille (200 Boylston St.) at Chestnut Hill Square has closed down after the restaurant’s parent company was acquired by a private equity firm.
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA — A longtime North Shore restaurant, 7 Central, will shut down at the end of the year as its owner, Paul Barclay, retires. Italian restaurant Antique Table, which has locations in Lynn, Winthrop, and Salem, will take over the space, aiming to open early next year.
PLYMOUTH — Su Casa (30 Main St.) is now open in Plymouth Center, serving Baja cuisine and Mexican dishes. Patrick Gilmartin (River Bar, the Independent, Park) serves as executive chef, churning out dishes like oxtail pozole, lobster tostadas, and duck empanadas.
WATERTOWN — Arsenal Yards has signed on another restaurant to its ranks: Condesa Restaurante Mexicano from Rhode Island will expand to Massachusetts in 2019, featuring a menu of Mexican dishes, cocktails, and more. It will join future locations of Shake Shack, Pokeworks, and City Works Eatery & Pour House at the development.
WORCESTER — The Citizen Wine Bar (1 Exchange St.) will close down at the end of the year, along with its adjoining spaces the People’s Kitchen and Still & Stir. The Citizen first opened in 2008 and will close out a decade in business on New Year’s Eve. Until then, the restaurant will offer a special four-course holiday menu and will play host, as planned, to the Christmas-themed Miracle pop-up bar.
November 28, 2018
STONEHAM — A mobile taco cart has just added a permanent location north of Boston. Aaron’s Taco Cart’el (8 Central St.) is now open in the former Mystical Cafe space. Founder Aaron Lamb trained at the New England Culinary Institute and worked in restaurants for several years before opening the taco cart, which provides catering and service at various events and locations around Greater Boston.
TAUNTON — Kinfolks Barbecue (289 Winthrop St.) is now open in Taunton. Founder Sylvester English carried over his award-winning barbecue menu from the Kinfolks truck operation, and the restaurant is open seven days a week, serving sandwiches, assorted barbecue meats, and sides.
WATERTOWN — Country Mile (136 Belmont St.) opened over Thanksgiving weekend in Watertown. The new venture from wife-and-husband team Nancy and Matt Sargent (previously of Brewer’s Tap & Table) serves a rotating seasonal menu that includes dishes like black bass crudo, burnt wheat spaetzle, monkfish sliders, and roasted Brussels sprouts.
November 21, 2018
ARLINGTON — Butternut Bakehouse (789 Massachusetts Ave.) will take over the former Bagels by Us space in Arlington. The cafe will have 14 seats and a menu of cakes, pastries, salads, and beverages.
BURLINGTON — Feng Shui (2200 District Ave.) completed its expansion to Burlington last week, bringing its total to six locations in the area. The restaurant serves a selection of sushi rolls, teppanyaki, bao, and more, with all-you-can-eat specials and private dining options.
MEDFORD — Grounder Cafe (394 B Main St.) is now open, serving breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are panini options for both meals, plus coffee beverages, smoothies, juices, muffins, omelets, acai bowls, and more.
WATERTOWN — Brighton’s Joyful Garden has successfully completed its relocation to Watertown and is now in full dim sum mode, serving a vast menu of steamed dumplings and buns, congee, and more. The restaurant is located within the Watertown Mall at 550 Arsenal St.
Elsewhere in Watertown, Hafez House of Kebab has taken over the Jasmine Taste of Persia space at 580 Mount Auburn St. The restaurant offers both eat-in and takeout options, including a wide variety of Persian dishes. Menu options range from salads to beef stews, skewered meats, lamb shanks, shawarma plates, falafel roll-ups, and toasted almond cake for dessert.
November 14, 2018
BROOKLINE — Shaking Crab (250 Harvard St.) extends its reach to a new neighborhood this weekend, opening in the former Khao Sarn space in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner. The restaurant’s main menu item is boiled seafood with Cajun seasoning, and there are sides like mac and cheese, fried corn, gumbo, and more. Brookline’s restaurant joins several others in the Boston area (at Boston Common, in Cambridge’s Porter Square, in Quincy, and in Newton) and a few in New York.
CLINTON — The Old Timer (155 Church St.) has reopened under new ownership following renovations. The restaurant had closed in 2016 after more than 80 years in business, but it made its grand return this week to much delight from the community.
LOWELL — The poke wave continues to roll through Massachusetts: Big Poke (96 Merrimack St.) landed in Lowell late last month with a great many options. Aside from standard poke bowls with marinated raw fish, diners can opt for the three-choice, which includes three scoops of rice (or brown rice with quinoa and spring salad), three protein options (from spicy tuna to salmon shoyu), and three sides (like kimchi salad, macaroni, and noodles), all topped with avocado, furikake, and dressing. It’s open for lunch and dinner six days a week and closed on Sundays.
November 7, 2018
BELMONT — A bakery that had been around for more than 100 years will not reopen as planned. Ohlin’s Bakery (456 Common St.) opened in 1915 and served its local communities up until 2016, when an oven explosion caused major damage to its structure, forcing the business to close. A GoFundMe campaign aimed to raise funds to help Ohlin’s find a new home, but the owners have now announced that they will not be reopening at the same or any other location. Those who contributed to the campaign will be refunded. Ohlin’s was well known for its baked goods, earning a “best doughnut in Boston” award from The Boston Globe.
BROOKLINE — Gen Sou En Tea House (299 Harvard St.) has made some changes. The Japanese tea house opened earlier this year with a casual cafe format, but, following brief renovations, it has now transitioned to focus more on full-service dining. The restaurant serves sake cocktails, plus beer and wine, in addition to coffee and tea. Breakfast will still be counter-service, with some casual lunch and dinner options along with the new full-service format.
In other Brookline news, Poke Garden (6 Harvard St.) will open in Brookline Village, taking over the former Clover space and expanding Greater Boston’s options for the Hawaiian raw fish dish. The restaurant will reportedly serve poke bowls and sushi.
WALTHAM — The Federal (1265 Main St.) is set to replace Flank in Waltham soon. The restaurant will be under the management of David Alphonse and Richard Brackett of AB Hospitality Group. Chef Diego Mota will oversee the menu in Waltham, which will retain its steakhouse focus.
October 31, 2018
ARLINGTON — Usushi Cafe (474 Massachusetts Ave.) will take over the former Yummys Frozen Yogurt space in Arlington Center. Owner Ping Zheng has reportedly been approved for a license for the business.
BRAINTREE — Tiki Palace (1177 Washington St.) has closed down, making way for a new Chinese restaurant, Lychee Bistro and Lounge. There will be renovations to the space to create a new lounge area, and the menu will include fusion and Chinese dishes.
EAST ARLINGTON — Boston’s options for gaming and dining continue to grow: A restaurant called Adventure Pub is getting closer to opening in the former Bistro Duet space (190 Massachusetts Ave.). The menu will reportedly include seasonal dishes, cocktails, wine, and beer, and there will be an assortment of games and other entertainment. The restaurant was approved for its common victualler license and awaits state approval for the bar, along with inspections. Stay tuned to its Facebook page for updates on the opening.
FOXBOROUGH — Union Straw (8 Mechanic St.) will open soon in Foxborough. The restaurant will serve a menu of meat and seafood entrees, along with sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more. There will also be craft beer, wine, and cocktails.
LYNN — Popular North Shore pop-up Nightshade is crowdfunding a restaurant, seeking investors through MainVest. (This is different from a donation-based campaign site like Kickstarter; on MainVest, people invest rather than donate and can expect a return on their investment based on the terms of the campaign.) Chef and owner Rachel Miller plans to make her series permanent as a noodle bar that also serves Vietnamese-influenced small plates and Viet-Cajun crawfish dinners, which have been getting increasingly popular in the Boston area, along with natural wines, seasonal cocktails, and Asian craft beers. Nightshade will continue popping up around Massachusetts until the restaurant opening, including at three different locations in November.
WEBSTER — Samuel Slater’s Restaurant has opened at Indian Ranch in Central Massachusetts. Its menu includes American dishes with hints of French and Italian influence, with items ranging from steaks and seafood to duck breast, veal osso bucco, and sweet potato gnocchi. The restaurant also overlooks the lake with one of the longest names in the world: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, also known as Lake Chaubunagungamaug or simply Webster Lake. Michael Winslett serves as executive chef, with Marilyn Ouellette as chef de cuisine.
WORCESTER — Lock 50 (50 Water St.) is jumping on the outdoor winter dining train. The restaurant has heated igloos (similar to the ones seen at the Lookout Rooftop & Bar in Boston) for the winter, providing a neon-lit space for people to make use of the patio during colder months.
October 24, 2018
ASHLAND — The Bagel Table (21 Main St.) has expanded from Chestnut Hill to Ashland, where it’s open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, serving OMG! Bagels with assorted schmears and toppings, plus pastries, coffee, and a few other beverages.
Noodle City (1 West Union St.) is also now open in Ashland. Its menu includes several varieties each of ramen, pho, and Thai noodles, plus an assortment of appetizers and beverages.
FRAMINGHAM — C’mondz Restaurant (795 Concord St.) has opened in Framingham, serving a wide selection of dishes, from ribs to vegan entrees. There are grab-and-go items like salads and burgers, along with a dine-in option with a full menu.
HOPKINTON — Central Public House (42 Main St.), which sits just steps away from the Boston Marathon start line, opened earlier this month. Chef Dennis Wilson — an alum of the Briar Group’s District Hall, City Table, Solas, and more — leads the charge in the kitchen, and the menu includes sandwiches, tacos, burgers, steak, and more.
LYNN — One Mighty Mill (68 Exchange St.) — from B. Good co-founders Jon Olinto and Tony Rosenfeld — has opened in Lynn, and it emphasizes locally grown, organic wheat, which is stone-ground onsite and used for the shop’s baked goods. The flour goes into bagels (which come with assorted spreads), pretzels (with mustard), and tortillas (with assorted fillings). One Mighty Mill also sells its milled flour along with pancake mix, tortillas, cookie dough, and pizza dough in its market.
MARSHFIELD — Major League Pizzeria (1289 Ocean St.) is open in Marshfield, serving pizzas as well as tacos and burritos.
NATICK — The recently opened Wild Thyme Cafe (6A Wethersfield Rd.) serves breakfast and lunch, including sandwiches, salads, breakfast wraps, coffee, and tea.
WORCESTER — A Cajun seafood boil franchise with a handful of locations in Florida, South Carolina, and one in Springfield, Massachusetts, has added a new location in Worcester. Juicy Seafood is now open at 1269 Main St., serving fried and boiled seafood at various spice levels.
October 17, 2018
ARLINGTON — Rangla Punjab (444 Massachusetts Ave.) will reportedly replace Singh Saab in Arlington. Local board members approved the restaurant’s common victualler and all alcohol licenses earlier this month, despite worries that the name might cause confusion — there’s an unrelated restaurant named Punjab right across the street.
EVERETT — Big Night Entertainment Group will extend its local reach to the new casino in Everett. The group behind Empire, the newly opened Versus, Explorateur, and more will open Mystique and Mémoire at Encore Boston Harbor in summer 2019. Mystique will span 16,400 square feet with room to accommodate more than 530 people. There will be a main dining area, three private events spaces, and a lounge, which will feature music and small plates. Mémoire will be a nightclub spanning 8,000 square feet.
MEDFORD — Bistro 489 opened to the public on October 3. The restaurant is staffed by students from Medford Vocational Technical High School, where it is located. It offers breakfast on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, and the menu includes pastries, pancakes, eggs, salads, and a soup of the day.
NATICK — The Met (1245 Worcester St.) has opened at the Natick Mall. The restaurant, which has a sibling in Boston’s Back Bay, serves steak, sandwiches, burgers, salads, some pasta dishes, soups, and more.
WAKEFIELD — The Remedy Exchange (41 Tuttle St.) has replaced the Porch Southern Fare in Wakefield; the latter is opening a bigger location in Medford. The new restaurant serves cafe and juice bar fare ranging from salads to acai bowls, chia seed pudding, and toast with assorted vegan spreads. There are also smoothies, juices, and iced tea.
WORCESTER — A gloriously named restaurant and butcher shop in Worcester (118 Water St.) has closed but will open again for one final weekend to say goodbye to the neighborhood. Matt Mahoney and Rachel Coit, alums of the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, have decided to close their acclaimed Kummerspeck (which means “grief bacon” in German — or, more idiomatically, emotional eating). The duo will open the restaurant one more time from October 26 to 28, with the door left open for a potential final installment of fried chicken Monday on October 29.
Elsewhere in Worcester, Bull Mansion (55 Pearl St.) will eliminate its public service angle in favor of private events and catering. The bistro had opened in 2016, but the owners have decided to focus on using the historic space for events only.
October 10, 2018
BEVERLY — Maria’s Pizza (273 Cabot St.) closes for good on October 13, but the neighborhood won’t be left high and dry without pizza for long: Amazing Pizza from Salem will expand into the space, and the new owner will be on hand on October 14 to meet patrons.
MAYNARD — The Brook Kitchen and Tap (51 Main St.) closed down one of its two locations. While the Holbrook restaurant remains open, Maynard’s — which opened in early 2017 — is no more.
NEWTON — No. 1 Noodle House (51 Langley Rd.) in Newton Centre closed down last month, but Allston’s Pho Viet’s — home of one of Boston’s best banh mis — will move in and take its place. The forthcoming Pho Viet’s II could open sometime in November. Its older sibling, located in Allston’s Super 88 market, serves assorted fresh and spring rolls, noodle soups, rice dishes, and more Vietnamese fare.
PEABODY — Big Pig Barbecue finally settles down: The catering company has been on the hunt for a permanent home for a few years now, and it’s finally secured a home in Peabody. Big Pig will open at 108 Newbury St. along Route 1, with founders Christopher LaBella and Jonathan Hambrecht aiming for a spring 2019 opening.
October 3, 2018
BURLINGTON — A mini burger paradise is headed for the Middlesex Marketplace (90 Middlesex Tpke.) Burgerim, an Israel-based chain that specializes in three-ounce hamburgers (sometimes served in boxes like doughnuts), is in the midst of a large-scale, nationwide expansion. This is the only planned Massachusetts location (so far). In addition to burgers, the chain sells chicken wings and strips, salads, french fries, and assorted desserts.
MALDEN — District Kitchen (2 Florence St.) celebrated a grand re-opening following a revamping of its menu in September. Amid the changes to the menu, the restaurant added a giant soup dumpling filled with pork and designed to be consumed with a straw — possibly the only giant soup dumpling available in the Boston area. (Most local restaurants just serve the traditional smaller sized soup dumplings.) The overhauled District Kitchen mainly focuses on Chinese cuisine, particularly Sichuan. Missing the Asian fusion menu and sushi? Head to District Kitchen’s sibling restaurant, All Seasons Table, nearby (64 Pleasant St.).
PROVINCETOWN — A charming cafe in an iconic space in Provincetown closed down over the weekend after a summer season serving cafe fare. Tanuki — which temporarily opened in the Happy Camper space at 227 Commercial St. over the summer — is the work of Drink alum Bekah Powers, who filled her cafe with assorted pastries, onigiri, and more fare that she hopes will one day be part of the menu at a more permanent Japanese izakaya. Stay tuned for details on where the next evolution of Tanuki lands.
QUINCY — Mac and cheese destination Fat Cat Restaurant (24 Chestnut St.) will temporarily relocate during construction of a new development in Quincy. East of Chestnut will rise on the lot that’s currently home to Fat Cat. During construction, the restaurant will operate out of the former Iron Furnace space at 1495 Hancock St. When construction wraps on the new development, Fat Cat will return to new digs at its old location.
Elsewhere in Quincy, a vegan beer hall in the making opens this weekend. Rewild debuts on October 6 at 1546 Hancock St., but this will be a temporary home amid widespread development projects within the city. Owner Pat McAuley told Boston Magazine he plans to find a permanent space within the next few years, at which point it will have a more expansive alcohol license. Until then, Rewild will operate as a vegan cafe and restaurant during the week, pouring beer and wine on weekends only.
SALEM — PZA Gourmet Pizza (331 Lafayette St.) opened September 27 in Salem, bringing a menu of pizza, salads, subs, and stromboli to a new building that also has office and retail space.
TEWKSBURY — Bobby & Jack’s Memphis Barbecue (1777 Main St.) will open up along Route 28 in Tewksbury, taking over the space from Mehfil Indian Cuisine. The owners will focus on Memphis-style barbecue, which features pork, smoked meats, and “lots of spice and a sweet, tomatoey sauce.” Construction is underway, and the restaurant will reportedly serve alcohol as well as barbecue.
September 26, 2018
HINGHAM — Sapa (25 Shipyard Dr.) will replace Zendo Asian Bistro & Lounge at the Launch at Hingham Shipyard. The restaurant will reportedly serve modern Asian cuisine, and the proprietors have applied for a liquor license. Despite the name, it does not appear to be connected to Sa Pa Vietnamese Kitchen in Boston.
MALDEN — Wow Barbecue (184 Salem St.) closed one of its three locations. It still operates in Brookline (as Wu Er) and Providence, Rhode Island, but the Malden restaurant, which was the first for the food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar, has shuttered.
MEDFORD — Neighborhood favorite Bocelli’s (374 Main St.) will not close as expected. Owner Nick Catricala planned to sell the restaurant, but after several months of delays, he decided against the move.
WELLESLEY — A pizza and sandwich shop in Wellesley might make a comeback: Mark’s Pizza & Subs will take over the space Alfredo’s Hair Salon vacated at 10 Washington St. Mark’s was previously located at 12c Washington St. on the same block, but the building was torn down over the summer.