On the eve of 2019, a Cambridge restaurant shut down with plans to quickly reopen under the same management, but with a new focus and a new name. Sure enough, after just a couple weeks, the former Shepard (1 Shepard St.) reopens Tuesday, January 15, as Luce (pronounced “loose” or “loo-chay” — the team “likes both pronunciations”), an Italian restaurant. It’s located just off of Massachusetts Ave., partway between Harvard and Porter squares.
Owner René Becker and his team worked the first two weeks of the year to remake the Shepard space, implementing some cosmetic changes to create “a cozy, comfortable dining room and bar.” Becker and his wife Cynthia decided to rename the restaurant for their daughter, Lucie, whose nickname is “Luce.” As a bonus, the word “luce” (when pronounced “loo-chay”) means “light” in Italian — fitting, given the restaurant’s new focus on Italian cooking.
Chef Scott Jones, a Menton alum who joined the Shepard team a year ago, will oversee the menu at Luce, which will make use of an Italian brick oven carried over from Shepard. Also carried over: a focus on seasonal and local ingredients.
There will be a few brick-oven pizzas, such as a fried calamari pizza with pickled peppers, watercress, and tomato sauce. Also on the menu, there are starters such as a chilled lobster salad and a fava bean puree that is served with Hi-Rise bread (from the Cambridge bakery Becker also owns), plus pastas made in-house, along with a few New England-style dishes featuring meat and seafood.
Becker selected the wine list, which features selections from Italy and elsewhere in Europe. There are also classic cocktails, beer, and a selection of amari and grappa.
“All of us at Luce are very excited about the opening,” Becker told Eater in an email.
Along with Becker and Scott, Shepard alums Ben Weisberger and Nic Mansur return to Luce as general manager and bar manager, respectively. The restaurant will operate Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., taking reservations through Open Table.
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Happy Grand Opening Eve to us! Final touches, last polish, tasting all the food, and the wine... We might not sleep tonight we’re so excited. See everyone tomorrow! . . . #Food #instafood #igfood #cambridge #boston #bostonfoodies #cambridgeeats #harvardsquare #bostoneats #bostoneater #localfood #beantown_bites #buzzfeedfood #thekitchn #tastespotting #foodgawker #bosfeed #bostonbloggers #foodinsta #foodofinstagram #bestbarprogram #nicandryan #italian #italianfood !