2019 is already looking to be a particularly active time in Boston’s restaurant scene, for better or worse — the early weeks of the year, and the final days of 2018, saw what felt like an unusually high number of restaurant closures, including a number of mainstays. But there have been lots of openings, too, with many more on the horizon: The bubble keeps growing.
Below, take a look at some of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019, a year that’s looking good for French food, Italian food, and beer, in particular. There will also be glimpses of Cuban, Filipino, and Mexican food — and lots more.
2019 is all about new projects from familiar faces — expansions of local brands as well as brand new concepts from big-name chefs. And don’t forget about food halls. It’s arguably just a fancy term for a food court, but whatever you call them, several are coming this year and next.
In terms of geography, perhaps unsurprisingly, the rapidly developing Seaport District is poised to welcome quite a few new spots this year; more surprisingly, they’re actually from local owners, an exciting development in a neighborhood that has seemed more like a magnet for big out-of-town chains lately. Outside of the Seaport, diners in Dorchester and Cambridge’s Porter Square may have a pretty good year, and farther out, Medford’s also looking lucky in 2019.
Read on to learn more about many of the upcoming restaurant openings within Boston and nearby. (Note: As always, opening timelines are rough estimates and often change. Stay tuned for updates as the year progresses.)
This piece was first published on February 13, 2019; it will be updated occasionally over the course of the year. The most recent update (March 5, 2019) includes a few timeline updates throughout, some reorganization to highlight upcoming spring openings, and new details on forthcoming restaurants the Oyster Club, Peregrine, and Shy Bird.
New Projects From Familiar Faces
First, the rundown on a few spots that already opened within the first few weeks of the year:
- Karen Akunowicz is already a familiar face in the Boston restaurant scene (and beyond), even though her brand new restaurant, Fox & the Knife (28 W. Broadway, South Boston), is her first time as a founder/owner. Previously the longtime executive chef at Myers + Chang (where she eventually became a partner, too), she is also a James Beard winner, a Top Chef alum, and a cookbook author. Her new spot, which opened in early February, is an Italian-inspired enoteca, located in the former Maiden space in Southie, where she draws on the skills she learned studying pasta-making during a year in Modena, Italy.
- Michael Scelfo has opened his attractive follow-up to Alden & Harlow and Waypoint: the Longfellow Bar (40 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge), located in the former Cafe Algiers space above Alden & Harlow. There are fancy finger foods and bar snacks, such as cotechino pigs in a blanket, crab rangoon “nachos,” and burgers, as well as creative cocktails. Diners are encouraged to forego utensils and get messy.
- Loic Le Garrec and Sandrine Rossi are behind South End hit Frenchie (Le Garrec also owns Petit Robert Bistro), and in early February, they opened a French restaurant on the other side of the river — Colette, located on the ground floor of the Porter Square Hotel (1924 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge). Cyrille Couet, an alum of Miel and co-owner of the now-shuttered Bistro Duet, is opening chef.
- René Becker closed his Cambridge restaurant Shepard (1 Shepard St.) on New Year’s Eve and quickly reopened it as Luce, an Italian restaurant with more of a casual vibe and a menu of pizza, pasta, and more. Other members of the Shepard team are still onboard, including chef Scott Jones, beverage director Nic Mansur, and general manager Ben Weisberger.
- Nick Frattaroli has added to his North End empire (Ward 8, North Square Oyster, Bodega Canal) with Tony & Elaine’s (111 N. Washington St., Boston), located in the former Amici space. The name refers to Frattaroli’s parents, who both spent years working at restaurants in the neighborhood, and the restaurant pays homage to classic red-sauce Italian joints while still having the young, modern vibe of Frattaroli’s other restaurants.
- In other North End news, the spirit of the popular Carmen Trattoria, which closed in the neighborhood in mid-2016, lives on at Jeff Malloy’s new restaurant, La Cucina, at Somerville’s Assembly Row (400 Assembly Row). The restaurant serves pasta, flatbreads, and more, and the decor nods to the neighborhood’s automative history.
Potential spring 2019 highlights:
- Bronwyn and Tim Wiechmann — of Bronwyn in Somerville’s Union Square, as well as the now-defunct T.W. Food and Playska — will open a 50-seat cocktail bar and wood-fired pizzeria steps from Bronwyn around May or June 2019. T and B Pizza will be located at 251 Washington St. in the heart of Union Square.
- Another Union Square duo, Katrina Jazayeri and Josh Lewin of Juliet, will open a new restaurant over in Boston proper: Peregrine, at the Whitney Hotel at 170 Charles St., Beacon Hill, as soon as May 2019. The coastal Mediterranean restaurant will focus on flavors from places like Sardinia (especially Sardinia), Sicily, Corsica, and Catalonia. While the restaurant will be Italian in style, the duo is not considering it an Italian restaurant, per Lewin. Expect pastas, sandwiches, natural wines, cocktails, and more.
- Chris Parsons — who was behind now-closed Winchester restaurants Catch and Parsons Table and was later a partner and opening chef at Steel & Rye in Milton (he’s no longer involved) — is opening the Oyster Club around May or June 2019 in the former Doretta Taverna space at 79 Park Plaza in Boston, serving “regional American seafood,” including plenty of raw bar items and lobster-of-the-day specials. There will be a 70-seat patio. Later in the year (probably in the summer), Parsons is also opening a fried chicken restaurant, Lily P’s, inside the Genzyme headquarters in Kendall Square (50 Binney St., Cambridge). The fairly large restaurant (close to 200 seats) will also host live music, and there will be a patio.
- Over in Chelsea, Ciao Pizza & Pasta owners Edson Coimbra and Marvin Posada have been working on a new project in a nearby space for quite some time: Winnisimmet Lounge (73 Winnisimmet St.), where they’ll serve piattini (small plates), with a full bar. Construction is well underway, and it could open around late March.
And here’s what’s on deck for the rest of the year:
- Tiffani Faison and Kelly Walsh will continue to build a Fenway empire in 2019. They’re already behind a Boylston Street trio — barbecue joint Sweet Cheeks, Southeast Asia-inspired Tiger Mama, and standing-room-only “adult snack bar” Fool’s Errand — and will add a fourth restaurant steps away. Orfano, an Italian restaurant, will join Nathálie Wine Bar in the Pierce Boston building (188 Brookline Ave., Boston) in summer 2019.
- Nancy and Tim Cushman — the wife-and-husband duo behind acclaimed sushi destination O Ya, as well as Fenway’s fun izakaya Hojoko and several New York City restaurants — have a mystery project brewing at the Street in Chestnut Hill. They’ve referred to it as a “neighborhood” restaurant and said that it will open in 2019, but they haven’t shared any additional details yet. They’re also opening two spots at forthcoming Fenway food hall Time Out Market; jump to the “food halls” section below for more on that. (Tony Maws, Michael Schlow, Peter Ungár, and more will also be opening restaurants at the market.) Beyond the Boston area, the Cushmans are opening an O Ya location down in Mexico City this spring.
- Michael Serpa, the longtime Neptune Oyster alum who left to open Select Oyster Bar in Back Bay a few years ago, is working on a Select sequel with his team. Grand Tour, named for European cycling races, will be a Parisian bistro located at 314 Newbury St., Boston, right around the corner from Select. Opening around fall 2019, it’ll be a two-story space with 50 seats and a seasonal patio. “I really just wanted to open a place that has a legit steak frites,” Serpa said. “It’s one of my favorite things to eat — simple, delicious, not fancy. I love a good steak frites.”
- Andrew Holden, partner in Eastern Standard and Branch Line, will open Shy Bird in Cambridge this summer (390 Third St., Kendall Square), featuring rotisserie chicken (like Branch Line), wine, coffee, and more.
- Chef and occasional Eater Boston contributor Steve “Nookie” Postal (Commonwealth) and Liza Shirazi (Crema Cafe) have recently opened two locations of their new cafe, Revival (Alewife and Davis). But keep an eye out for more from them in 2019: They’re also opening a lobby kiosk version of Revival at One Post Office Square in downtown Boston (and an employees-only cafeteria in the building), and they have other plans percolating as well. Mothership is still in the works in Alewife, for example. The early word was that it’d be a beer hall, but as of December 2018, the team “still need[s] to work out exactly what it is first, and then it will happen,” per Postal’s most recent Eater dispatch.
- Brothers Alvaro and Andres Sandoval, who are behind the popular Tenoch food trucks and fast-casual Mexican restaurants, will open a full-service restaurant and tequila bar at some point this year, El Tacuba, right in Medford Square (35 Salem St.)
New Locations for Familiar Projects
- 2019 is a big year for popular Jamaica Plain taqueria Chilacates, which opened new locations in Chestnut Hill, Mission Hill, and the South End in February. Another outpost is eventually coming to Roslindale.
- A&B Burgers, a full-service restaurant up in Beverly that focuses on burgers and has a full bar, expanded to Boston’s West End in February, located at the Beverly, 101 Beverly St.
Here’s a look at some of the upcoming expansions of existing Boston-area restaurants:
- Gustazo, a Cuban restaurant in Waltham, will expand to the sizable former Elephant Walk space in Cambridge’s Porter Square (2067 Massachusetts Ave.). Backbar’s Sam Treadway is designing the cocktail menu. Hiring is underway; the restaurant will likely open early this year.
- Paris Creperie, a casual crepe mainstay in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner, is opening up an enhanced location — complete with a cordial-based cocktail list designed by local cocktail personality Brother Cleve — in Boston’s Seaport District in 2019 (60 Seaport Blvd.). It’ll be in the same building as Tuscan Kitchen and the Grand.
- Also expanding to the Seaport is Back Bay’s Greco, a fast-casual Greek spot with ties to Committee. Like the original location, Greco Seaport (which will be located in the Pier 4 office building) will serve gyros, loukoumades, and more; unlike its older sibling, it will also serve wines and imported Greek beers.
- And that’s not all for Pier 4: Woods Hill Table out in Concord is coming to the Seaport District as well. Kristin Canty’s farm-to-table restaurant is currently slated for a late 2019 opening, likely around October or November.
- One of several pieces of good news for Medford in 2019: The Porch, previously located in Wakefield, will open in a large space at 100 Rivers Edge Dr., featuring Southern food, live music, a retail section, and a patio. It’ll likely open in the second half of the year; as of January, construction was scheduled to be completed in early June.
- See the “food halls” section below for more details on the forthcoming Fenway food hall Time Out Market, but Anoush’ella and Union Square Donuts are both expanding there.
- Another magnet for new outposts of local restaurants: Logan Airport. The airport is getting satellite locations of tons of Boston-area classics this year, including Shōjō, Santarpio’s Pizza, Sullivan’s, Saloniki, Alta Strada, Monument Restaurant & Tavern, Trade, Tico, Not Your Average Joe’s, B. Good, Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar, Tasty Burger, Monica’s Mercato, Temazcal Tequila Cantina, and (Portland-based) Otto Pizza.
First, the existing breweries that are expanding to new locations:
- Popular Everett brewery Night Shift, which has also operated seasonal beer gardens (dubbed the Owl’s Nest) in Cambridge and Allston, is opening a huge new brewery at Lovejoy Wharf in Boston’s West End (1 Lovejoy Wharf, Suite 101) in early 2019. It will feature a taproom, an all-day coffee bar, season outdoor space (which will be dog-friendly), a full kitchen, and more.
- Boston Beer Company is building a new taproom for its historically named Samuel Adams brand, right in one of Boston’s most history-filled areas, the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. It will take over the former Hillstone space at 60 State St. The original brewery (and fairly new taproom) will remain in operation in Jamaica Plain as well.
- Framingham favorite Jack’s Abby is opening a taproom, Track Zero, inside Boston’s North Station, transforming an existing bar. As such, it’s a gradual transition, but stay tuned for a full official debut. Ultimately there were will be 10 taps of beers from Jack’s Abby and its offshoot, Springdale.
- Chelsea’s Mystic Brewery is expanding to Malden (11 Charles St.), allowing the growing brewery to increase its output from 3,000 barrels a year up to as many as 20,000. The new space will be both a brewery and a taproom, with indoor and outdoor seating, room for food trucks, and potentially a cheese counter (think cheese plates, charcuterie, and grilled cheese.) Once the Malden facility is open, the Chelsea one will remain in operation in some capacity — it may continue to be a public-facing taproom, or it may just be production space.
And keep an eye out for these brand new breweries as well. (Note: For weekly beer-related updates, bookmark this page.)
- Mystic Brewery isn’t the only forthcoming beer development in Malden: A brewpub called Faces — with ties to the defunct Lanes & Games as well as Faces nightclub — will open at 50 Pleasant St. Construction began in late January.
- Plans for Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen have long been in the works; while the brewery and restaurant are being constructed in Brighton, near Boston Landing, the team continues to pop up frequently at events and locations around the Boston area, serving sausages, grilled cheese, and more.
- Construction is underway for Distraction Brewing Company, opening in Roslindale at 2 Belgrade Ave. A few of its early beers will include Hoppily Distracted, “a smooth, hazy citrus explosion with hints of peach and tropical fruit”; Bank on Brown, “a malty, subtly sweet brown ale”; and RoslinPale, an “easy-drinking but full-flavored pale ale with a crisp, clean finish.”
- Brothers Ralph and Vito Bruno, behind Boston Winery in Dorchester, are working on opening a brewery right next door, Bruno’s Brewery. The plan is to start with seven or eight beers, only available onsite, although the Brunos may explore distribution at some point. There will be a New England IPA, a porter, a stout, and more.
- BearMoose Brewing Company is under construction in Everett (1934 Revere Beach Pkwy.) — and it’ll include Deep Cuts Deli, a sandwich-and-music-loving business that has been popping up around the Boston area since summer 2018.
- And further outside of the city, there are quite a few more breweries and taprooms in the works for 2019.
Out-of-Towners With Expansion Plans
New York’s Milk Bar and DC’s &pizza already arrived, opening together in Harvard Square in early February, but a number of other out-of-town chains are on the verge of opening in the area, including:
- Bucktown Chicken & Fish: Bucktown in Providence is a counter-service operation focusing on Southern comfort food, including fried chicken. The Boston location — 1522 Tremont St., Mission Hill — won’t be exactly the same, with a little more space and an expanded menu, service, and beverage program, plus more seafood.
- Double Zero: A vegan pizzeria from New York. It could open around spring 2019 at 163 Newbury St. in Boston’s Back Bay.
- Falafel Inc.: It’s been taking a while, but DC’s Falafel Inc. is supposed to expand to Kendall Square at some point. The restaurant aims to help feed refugees and help refugees open franchises. Stay tuned for updates.
- Poke Burri: The poke wave continues with an Atlanta-based spot that serves sushi “doughnuts,” sushi “pizza,” sushi “corn dogs,” and more. The company hasn’t yet revealed an address or opening timeline for its forthcoming Boston location.
- Taiyaki NYC: Unicorn soft serve in fish-shaped cones. Taiyaki is slated to open in the Seaport District — 121 Seaport Blvd. — around spring 2019.
- Tsurutontan: With locations in New York and Hawaii but roots in Japan, this growing chain showcases udon. It will be in the Hotel Commonwealth at 500 Commonwealth Ave.
- Veggie Grill: This casual West Coast vegan chain has lots of expansion in mind, starting with a Harvard Square location that should be opening around spring 2019 at 57 JFK St.
- Zuma: The London-based Japanese chain has locations all around the world. The Boston outpost will open at the One Dalton building in Back Bay in the spring.
And a few out-of-towners that already have Boston-area outposts are continuing their local expansion:
- Gyu-Kaku: The California-based Japanese barbecue chain has hundreds of locations, including ones in Brookline and Cambridge. The new one will be at Boston South Bay in Dorchester.
- Midici: This Neapolitan pizza chain, which is based in California, opened its first New England location at Somerville’s Assembly Row in early 2018. Like Gyu-Kaku, it’s expanding to Boston South Bay.
- Totto Ramen: The New York-based ramen chain already has locations in Allston and at Somerville’s Assembly Row; like Gyu-Kaku and Midici, it’s headed for Boston South Bay.
There are multiple food halls slated to open in 2019 and beyond; get the full rundown here. Possibly appearing first: Time Out Market, heading toward a spring opening at 401 Park in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The food hall has already announced some of its vendors, including Tony Maws (Craigie on Main, the Kirkland Tap & Trotter), who will be serving variations on the popular Craigie burger; Tim and Nancy Cushman (O Ya, Hojoko, and a forthcoming Chestnut Hill project), who will have two kitchens at Time Out Market, featuring a blend of Japanese foods inspired by both O Ya and Hojoko; and more.
Bakeries and Cafes
First, the expansions of existing local brands:
- Blackbird Doughnuts: With locations in the South End, Fenway, and Harvard Square, Blackbird is expanding to Brighton next, opening in early March at 100 Holton St. The sizable location will include production space as well as a storefront.
- Tatte Bakery & Cafe: This local cafe chain has experienced explosive growth over the last year or so. Coming up next: a second downtown Boston location, the 12th Tatte. It’ll be at One Boston Place (201 Washington St.) and should open in late March. The first downtown location debuted in January.
- Union Square Donuts: The Somerville-based doughnut shop, which also has locations in Boston Public Market and Brookline, will be part of the forthcoming Time Out Market in Fenway (see the food halls section above.)
And a few newbies:
- Goldilox Bagels: Coming soon to Medford (186 Winthrop St.), Goldilox Bagels will serve bagels on their own and in a variety of embellished forms — pizza bagels, egg and cheese sandwiches, bagel Benedict, and more.
- Popover King: Slated to open at 74 Canal St. in Boston’s West End, Popover King will serve a variety of sweet and savory popovers, as well as breads, pastries, sides, local coffee, and more. The company is currently seeking investors. The buildout is already complete, and Popover King could open in the second quarter of 2019.
- Vinal Bakery: Born as a pop-up inside Bagelsaurus, Vinal Bakery is getting its own space in Somerville’s Union Square this spring (222 Somerville Ave., the former Pizza Palace space near Bantam Cider). Expect to find English muffins and other New England-inspired baked goods.
This is not an exhaustive list of every expected 2019 restaurant opening in the Boston area — just a sampling of exciting spots to watch for. Keep an eye on Eater Boston’s restaurant opening news here; join the Eater Boston Facebook group to chat about all things Boston food; sign up for the newsletter (below) for weekday digests of the day’s top news; and email tips to email@example.com if there’s an upcoming opening that should be on our radar.