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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in August 2018: From Fried Chicken to Food Halls

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

Overhead view of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw, and dipping sauce on a red-and-white checkered paper on a white plate.
Fried chicken at Highland Fried
Highland Fried/Facebook

August was a hot, slow month in Boston — many restaurants took summer breaks, and locals escaped for weekends on the Cape or enjoyed their final days in a city not full of students. But a few restaurants did manage to debut over the course of the month, including a couple highly anticipated spots from well-known local chefs, a dueling piano bar, a casual dumpling shop, some cafes, and more.

On the closure side, we had to say goodbye to Les Sablons, Lala Rokh, and a handful of other restaurants.

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

Butter and Gruyère finger sandwiches at Fool’s Errand
Butter and Gruyère finger sandwiches at Fool’s Errand
Emily Kan/Fool’s Errand
  1. Will Anyone Stand Up for Boston?: A local chef speaks out on the relationship among Boston restaurants, the media, and awards.
  2. Tiffani Faison’s New Fenway ‘Adult Snack Bar’ Serves Small Bites to a Standing Crowd: Take a sneak peek at the food at Fool’s Errand.
  3. Suburban Boston Dining News, Updated Weekly: A round-up of restaurant openings, closings, and other news outside of the immediate Boston vicinity.
  4. Les Sablons Closes Today in Harvard Square: The sibling to Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 opened a little over a year ago.
  5. Bill Murray Allegedly Part of ‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ Fight at Vineyard Restaurant: Plus, stream Julia Child’s The French Chef online, and more news.
  6. Logan Airport Steps Up Food Game With More Than a Dozen Local Favorites: Places like Boston Public Market, Santarpio’s, and Kelly’s Roast Beef are confirmed tenants.
  7. James Beard Winner Taps Southie for Italian Solo Venture: Karen Akunowicz plans to open Fox and the Knife this fall.
  8. Seven-Month-Old Seaport Restaurant Closes: Despite initial reports of a temporary closure, 75 on Courthouse Square is closed for good.
  9. Tim Maslow Opens a ‘Modern American Brasserie’ With a Japanese Flourish: Whaling in Oklahoma debuts in the South End, and there will be karaoke.
  10. Dunkin’ Donuts Doubles Down on Name Change: Plus, Trident Booksellers and Cafe reopens following a fire, and more news.

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.
Fried chicken at Southern Proper
Sarah Storrer/Eater
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, August 2018: Boston’s newest hotspots, updated monthly.
  2. Boston’s Tourist Trap Restaurants That Are Actually Good: If you’re going to be obvious, do so in the best way possible.
  3. The Most Anticipated Fall 2018 Restaurant Openings in Boston and Beyond: From dumplings to deli sandwiches, from fried chicken to Filipino food, here’s what’s coming.
  4. 20 Outstanding Boston-Area Sushi Restaurants: From simple perfection to mountains of gold flakes and truffles.
  5. Boston’s Essential Fried Chicken: Crispy, juicy, sometimes spicy.
  6. The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now, Summer 2018: Spend summer with a cocktail (or several) in hand — here are some hot new cocktail destinations to try this season.
  7. The Food Events Guide: All the local food and drink events you’ll actually want to attend, updated weekly.
  8. One Day Boston Will Have a Food Hall on Every Corner: Here’s a rundown on all the Boston-area food halls set to open in the next year or so.
  9. Food and Drink Crawls Through Boston and Beyond: Multi-stop feasts for every occasion.
  10. Visit These Boston Bars and Restaurants for Cheap Live Music: From jazz to punk to mariachi, the city offers something for every musical taste.

Pan-seared pork and cabbage dumplings at Dumpling Daughter in Weston
Pan-seared pork and cabbage dumplings at Dumpling Daughter in Weston
Brian Samuels/Dumpling Daughter
  • Brew on the Grid (23 Central Ave., Lynn): A Worcester coffee shop (that had a short-lived Cambridge location) has expanded to Lynn, sharing space with sister spot Revolution Pie + Pint (see below.)
  • By Chloe (399 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston): This is the third Boston location for the New York City-based casual chain, which is fully vegan. There are also Fenway and Seaport locations.
  • Caffe Pellicano (Mobile): An espresso and biscotti cart from Philip Frattaroli (Cunard Tavern, Ducali).
  • Capella (45 Chapel St., Needham): An Italian restaurant from an alum of Prezza in Boston’s North End.
  • Carrot Flower (703 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): Smoothies, juices, soups, avocado toast, and more.
  • Casa Caña (Studio Allston, 1234 Soldiers Field Rd., Allston, Boston): Latin cuisine, frozen daiquiris, and more from a collaboration between the Lyons Group (Sonsie, Back Bay Social Club, Bleacher Bar, etc.) and the Trio Restaurant Group (Publico Street Bistro, Backyard Betty’s).
  • D’s Keys Dueling Pianos (391 D St., Seaport District, Boston): This dueling piano bar serves booze and hot dogs alongside the music.
  • Dumpling Daughter (73 Ames St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): A second location for Weston’s casual dumpling shop, Dumpling Daughter. Sally Ling — of the eponymous Sally Ling’s on Boston’s waterfront back in the day — consulted on the menu for the restaurant, which is owned by one of her daughters, Nadia Liu Spellman. Spellman’s sister Nicole Liu owns Vester, which is in the adjoining space (see below.)
  • Ellis Square Social (252 Cabot St., Beverly): Chef Jay Murray (Grill 23) joined forces with the team behind Beverly’s Soma and Barrel House to open Ellis Square Social in the former Barrel House space. Acclaimed cocktail guru Todd Maul developed the cocktail list.
  • Fool’s Errand (1377 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston): This is the third Boylston Street restaurant for chef Tiffani Faison (a James Beard award nominee and Top Chef alum) and Kelly Walsh (Faison’s wife and business partner). The Sweet Cheeks and Tiger Mama sibling is a standing-room-only “adult snack bar” that draws inspiration from European tapas spots.
  • Giardino’s Italian Steak House and Sushi Bar (497 Bedford St., Abington): Italian food. And sushi.
  • Home Taste (1312 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington): The popular Chinese restaurant has expanded to Arlington from Watertown, serving hand-pulled noodles, dumplings, and more.
  • Idle Hour (1464 Hancock St., Quincy): Owned by Mathew Freid, an alum of Capo, JM Curley, and the Beehive, this cocktail bar also counts Drink alum Ashley Gaboriault on its staff. Food options include latke poutine, burgers, and more.
  • Intelligentsia (225 Franklin St., Downtown Boston): This is the second area location for the Chicago-based cafe chain; the first opened in Watertown last year.
  • Kala Thai Cookery (151 Hanover St., Downtown Boston): Right by Haymarket, this casual Thai spot is the sibling to Watertown’s popular Cha Yen Thai Cookery.
  • MGM Springfield (1 MGM Way, Springfield): Springfield’s new casino is packed with restaurants, including Michael Mina’s Cal Mare, the Chandler Steakhouse, a sports bar, and more.
  • Mighty Love Food (155 Milk St., Downtown Boston): A casual spot with a mostly-vegetarian menu (diners can add shrimp or chicken to several dishes), focused on “nutrient-dense” dishes and local sourcing (when possible). Open for weekday breakfast and lunch.
  • Pancho’s Cantina (206 Ballardvale St., Wilmington): The Californian-Mexican restaurant serves tacos, burritos, tortas, and more, plus cocktails.
  • Reflections (Row Hotel, 360 Foley St., Assembly Row, Somerville): This hotel restaurant serves a New England-y menu with dishes like a soup “duet” of lobster bisque and clam chowder; a lobster roll; tuna crudo; and more. Plus, there’s a “caipbeerinha” to drink.
  • Revolution Pie + Pint (23 Central Ave., Lynn): Pizza and beer (and more). It shares space with sister cafe Brew on the Grid (see above.)
  • Tatte Bakery & Cafe (369 Huntington Ave., Northeastern U., Boston): The ninth location for the local bakery and cafe chain, which is known for its beautiful pastries and hearty lunches, from shakshuka to sandwiches. (A 10th opened on September 5 in Boston’s Seaport District, and another will open downtown in the fall.)
  • Tavern Allston (161 Brighton Ave., Allston, Boston): The Allston location of Tavern in the Square has been renovated, renamed, and refreshed. It’s covered in murals now, and it features dishes like bacon-wrapped mac and cheese bites, taquitos, and vegan broccoli tempura.
  • Vester (73 Ames St., Kendall Square, Cambridge): A Copenhagen-inspired all-day cafe with salads, sandwiches, and other light fare. Try one of the signature drinks, such as the “camo”: matcha, espresso, white chocolate, and foam.
  • Whaling in Oklahoma (647 Tremont St., South End, Boston): This “modern American brasserie” focuses on Japanese flavors. Tim Maslow (Ribelle, Strip-T’s) is behind it.

noon mediterranean
A spread of food from Noon Mediterranean, which closed two of its three Boston locations in August
Noon Mediterranean/Facebook

August 2018 Closures

  • 75 on Courthouse Square (60 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston): This sibling to 75 Chestnut and 75 on Liberty Wharf closed after only seven months.
  • Bon Me (210 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill): This was the farthest-away location for the Boston restaurant and food truck group, and the “finances...just weren’t making sense.” After this closure, the group opened a new Harvard Square location, and a Longwood Medical Area one will open in the fall.
  • Bruegger’s Bagels (644 Beacon St., Kenmore Square, Boston): The 35-year-old bakery chain, which is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont, still has a handful of Boston-area locations.
  • Flat Black Coffee Company (1906 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Boston): This local coffee company has closed its cafe by the Ashmont T station (where it will be replaced by another cafe, Ripple) but remains open in Dorchester’s Lower Mills and at three downtown Boston locations.
  • Il Mondo Pizzeria (182 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston): The Berklee location of slice-and-sub shop Il Mondo has closed due to demolition of the building, but Il Mondo remains open at 738 Huntington Ave., which is a recent slight relocation of the original Mission Hill location.
  • Lala Rokh (97 Mt. Vernon St., Beacon Hill, Boston): The Persian restaurant closed after nearly a quarter of a century in business.
  • Les Sablons (2 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge): Perhaps the most shocking closure of the month was the sudden shutter of the Harvard Square fine-dining sibling of Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34. The two-story restaurant was located in a uniquely shaped historic building and served upscale French-ish cuisine upstairs, while the downstairs section was a more casual oyster and cocktail bar.
  • Met Bar & Grill (Legacy Place, 680 Legacy Pl., Dedham): This Met Bar & Grill location is now closed — it’ll be replaced by an expansion of an Italian restaurant from Providence — and the Natick location is currently closed for renovations. Sister Boston restaurant the Met remains open in Back Bay.
  • Noon Mediterranean (545 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston; 267 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston): The Austin-based fast-casual Mediterranean chain, previously known as Verts, closed two of its three Boston locations. It remains open in the Financial District.
  • Parish Cafe (493 Massachusetts Ave., South End, Boston): While the original Parish Cafe in Back Bay remains open, the newer South End location is gone. More locations might be coming, though, with the Financial District as a potential first target. The restaurant is known for its selection of sandwiches designed by notable local chefs.
  • Petsi Pies (594 Cambridge St., East Cambridge): The bakery — a sibling to Inman Square Southern restaurant Tupelo — closed its East Cambridge location but remains open on Beacon Street in Somerville (near Porter Square) and Putnam Avenue in Cambridge (near Harvard Square).
  • Uno Pizzeria (280 Huntington Ave., Symphony, Boston): The deep-dish Chicago chain has closed its Symphony Hall location a couple years after closing in Harvard Square. (There are still over 20 locations in the state.)

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

  • Oishii Sushi Bar (612 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill): The original Oishii location will close in September after 20 years in operation. Spinoffs in Boston’s South End and Sudbury will remain open.
  • Wonder Spice Cafe (697 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston): This Cambodian and Thai restaurant is slated to be replaced by a new location of Charlestown’s Sweet Rice, a Thai and sushi restaurant, but a closing timeline (and opening timeline for Sweet Rice) has not been announced.

Meatballs from Certified Meatball Co.
Meatballs from Certified Meatball Co. in South Boston
Certified Meatball Co./Facebook

Looking back at August 2017, restaurant openings included a meatball-themed restaurant in South Boston, a burger-and-boozy-milkshake spot in Brookline, a meat-filled Worcester restaurant with a German name that idiomatically refers to emotionally overeating bacon, new locations for several ever-expanding Chipotle-style pizza chains, a cutesy dessert shop in Allston selling ice cream in fish-shaped pancake cones, and more.

Notable closures that month included Drinking Fountain, a classic Jamaica Plain dive bar; the Fireplace in Brookline, which had been open 16 years; Cambridge’s old bowling alley and bar, Lanes & Games; Southie’s Playwright, which turned into the Punk & Poet and just recently reverted back to the Playwright; and Tavern Road in Boston’s Fort Point.

In other news that month, food television personality/author/etc. Alton Brown shared some of his Boston favorites with Eater, including Haley.Henry Wine Bar and Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe; Boston restaurants responded in various ways to a planned “free speech” rally organized by several white nationalist groups; and more.