A North End restaurant that quickly became known for its raw bar, lobster roll, and natural wine list is getting a facelift and a menu overhaul. North Square Oyster, which opened in mid-2017 and has been closed for renovations since late winter 2019, will soon become Ciao Bella, which will focus on Italian cuisine and feature house-made pasta dishes like amatriciana and carbonara, along with steaks and chops. North Square Oyster owner Nick Frattaroli will remain at the helm.
A representative from the restaurant told Eater via email that the move is being made to align the space more closely with one of Frattaroli’s other restaurants, Tony & Elaine’s, which opened early this year and pays homage to classic red-sauce Italian-American cuisine.
“Following on the success of Tony & Elaine’s, owner Nick Frattaroli has announced that while making updates to their sister restaurant, North Square Oyster, they are going to re-concept to be more aligned with Tony & Elaine’s while still keeping some of the North Square Oyster charm,” said the representative.
Ciao Bella plans to open sometime in early June.
While the change will be significant in its scope, North Square Oyster won’t disappear entirely: The new restaurant will feature a 10-seat bar called the North Square Oyster Bar, where diners will be able to continue snacking on oysters, lobster rolls, and crudo while sipping on natural wine. Frattaroli said the change was inspired by a feeling that the space could fit the neighborhood better.
“When we opened our most recent restaurant, Tony & Elaine’s, we were inspired by working within the notion of what an Italian-American restaurant could be,” Frattaroli said in a press release. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and having a lot of fun with it. With North Square, we knew we weren’t maximizing the opportunity provided by being a restaurant in Boston’s Little Italy. Ciao Bella will be an elevated alternative to the old-school, casual vibe of Tony & Elaine’s, and North Square Oyster Bar allows us to continue on with a great restaurant that we’re very proud of. It’s the best of both worlds.”
The space will be redesigned by Justin Power of All Day Hospitality. Power also designed Bodega Canal and Tony & Elaine’s and oversaw the renovations at Ward 8 (all restaurants of Frattaroli).
Once open, Ciao Bella (and North Square Oyster Bar) will operate seven days a week for dinner. Lunch service will debut later.
• North Square Oyster in Boston’s North End to Become Ciao Bella [BRT]
• North Square Oyster Coverage on Eater [EBOS]