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All the Boston Food News That Mattered in December 2019: From Irresistible Pancakes to Iron Chef

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

A stack of dark brown pancakes - made with hot chocolate - is topped with marshmallows. A person whose face isn’t visible in the photo pours a metal container of chocolate sauce over the stack.
Hot chocolate pancakes at Lincoln Tavern
Lincoln Tavern [Official Photo]

As the year draws to a close, the Boston restaurant scene has kept churning, with plenty of restaurant openings and closings, news of forthcoming Boston restaurants from television and internet personalities, and more. The Boston area said hello to a darts-focused venue and board game bar this month, as well as a Cambridge restaurant that features fried chicken alongside oysters. On the closure side, Cambridge lost a five-year-old fine-dining restaurant (which will be reinvented under the same ownership), and Chinatown lost a decades-old restaurant that was revamped and modernized a few years ago.

Read on for a summary of December 2019, including the most-read news stories and maps, the openings, and the closings.

A bowl of ramen, a small bowl of kimchi, and a plate of tuna poke on a wooden tray
A spread of food from Momosan Ramen, Masaharu Morimoto’s forthcoming Boston restaurant
Momosan Ramen
  1. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Will Open a Ramen Restaurant in Boston: It will join Guy Fieri’s only Boston restaurant at the Hub on Causeway development by North Station and TD Garden.
  2. Boston’s 2019 Eater Award Winners: The best chefs and new restaurants of the year.
  3. Boston’s Late 2019 Restaurant Closings, Updated Weekly: A roundup of pertinent updates on Boston-area restaurant closings (and announced closings that will take place later).
  4. Salt Bae Was Creeping Around an Empty Boston Restaurant Space at 2 a.m.: Is the Turkish butcher/internet meme opening a restaurant in the former Nahita space? Signs point to yes.
  5. How to Eat and Drink in Portland, Maine, Like a Restaurant Industry Pro: Croque-monsieur croissants, late-night lobster grilled cheese, platters of barbecue, omakase, and more.
  6. A New Fried Chicken Restaurant Is Open in Cambridge: Lily P’s is now open on Binney Street in the Genzyme building.
  7. Boston’s Late 2019 Restaurant Openings, Updated Weekly: A roundup of pertinent updates on Boston-area restaurant openings.
  8. The Beehive Crew Is About to Bring Tacos and Boozy Slushies to the South End: Here’s a sneak peek at the menu and design of Cósmica, opening imminently at the Revolution Hotel.
  9. A 15-Year-Old Somerville Cafe Has to Move Due to an ‘Unreasonable Landlord’: Plus, a Waffle Cabin will appear in the Seaport District, and more news.
  10. Boston’s Top Restaurant Standbys of 2019: Chilacates, Bow Market, and More: Local food writers discuss their regular haunts of this past year.

A black plastic bowl of thick hand-pulled noodles, heavily dusted with chile powder and topped with greens and a generous dollop of garlic. A wooden skewer of lamb pieces sits across the rim of the bowl, which is on a Chinese Zodiac placemat on a red tray.
Hand-pulled noodles with a lamb skewer at Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston
  1. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now, Updated Monthly: Boston’s best new hot spots.
  2. The Best Dishes the Eater Boston Team Ate This Week: We’re sharing some of our current favorite dishes with you every Friday.
  3. One 2019 Restaurant Opening to Know in Every Boston Neighborhood: Catch up on the year’s new restaurants one neighborhood at a time.
  4. Where to Eat Chinese Food in Boston: From Sichuan to dim sum to Cantonese to Chinese-American.
  5. The Hottest New Brunches in Boston Right Now, December 2019: Tired of your usual brunching routine?
  6. 18 Irresistible Pancakes Around Boston: Stacks upon stacks of syrup-drenched, elaborate pancakes.
  7. 25 Restaurants to Try in Cambridge’s Porter Square: There’s a high concentration of excellent dining options in the neighborhood.
  8. Where to Eat at Assembly Row in Somerville: After a long day of shopping, go to these places to eat and drink.
  9. The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now, December 2019: Hot new cocktail destinations to try this month.
  10. Where to Eat Vietnamese Food in Dorchester: Go to Fields Corner and snack on pho, fried sea bass, and duck salad, and sip on fruit shakes and Vietnamese coffee.

Red leather high-top seats are lined up at a bar with a carnival vibe. On the ceiling, lines of light bulbs are radiating out from the center of the bar.
Flight Club’s new Boston location
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

For a comprehensive list of December openings, check this weekly updated roundup. Here are a few highlights from the month:

  • Flight Club, a darts-focused venue with roots in the UK, opened in Boston’s Seaport District (its second United States location) with a fun, carnival-like vibe
  • In other news of venues with food and drinks but also amusements, enhanced board game bar Tavern of Tales — featuring sound effects and other immersive additions to the gaming — is open in Boston’s Mission Hill, and there are plenty of milkshakes and totchos to consume while playing
  • In Kendall Square, Lily P’s is now open, featuring fried chicken as well as oysters — and, along the lines of the other two venues in this section, it’s got some games (shuffleboard, Giant Jenga, and such)

A whole trout sits on a plate, topped with a green sauce and accompanied by a half a grilled lemon
Whole trout from BLR by Shōjō
Andrea Merrill

For a comprehensive list of December closings, check this weekly updated roundup for details. A few sad farewells from the month:

  • Cafe Artscience, open in various forms for the past five years in Kendall Square, will be reinvented under the same ownership — and with some consultation by chef and restaurateur Jody Adams — as Senses, opening next year
  • Chinatown’s BLR by Shōjō — which opened as Best Little Restaurant nearly 40 years ago — is now closed as the restaurant group behind it shifts focus to their existing and forthcoming projects
  • In Fenway, the Baseball Tavern, open since 1963 in a distinctive space with a roof deck, will close for now, although it will eventually reopen in the new building that will be built on its current site (the new location won’t have a roof deck)