Welcome to the Eater Boston restaurant openings roundup; this page is updated weekly, with the most recent updates at the top, highlighting all the restaurants that have opened in the Boston area in recent weeks. (Here’s last season’s archive.)
March 6, 2020: Pretty Baked Goods, Egyptian Food, Chicken and Waffle Cones, and More
The Back Bay location of King’s Dining & Entertainment (50 Dalton St.) is ready to solve the age-old dilemma: What do you do if half of your friend group wants to bowl but the other half wants to sing? The bowling-centric entertainment venue has just added a karaoke section — Back Stage Karaoke Bar — thanks to a recent renovation. Open Wednesday through Saturday night starting at 8 p.m., the karaoke bar has a live DJ, cocktails, and plenty of costumes and props available.
A very lobster-filled restaurant called Blue Yama is now open at 418 Market St. (the former Asahi space), serving lobster rolls, spicy lobster and tofu soup, lobster rice bowls, lobster and garlic noodles, lobster ramen, and more. (And a few non-lobster things.)
Doughnut grilled cheese sandwiches. Adult Lunchables. Chicken and waffle cones. Maine’s Food for Thought expands to East Boston today, March 6, taking up nighttime residence inside Sammy Carlo’s deli at 567 Bennington St. Read more.
Boston’s tiny Egyptian food scene gets a little bigger today, March 6, with the launch of Mr. Kushari, an Egyptian food truck parked at 1250 Boylston St. from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Delivery and catering are also available. On the menu: the namesake kushari (which also happens to be featured at a vegan Egyptian pop-up in Somerville, Koshari Mama), kabobs, falafel, and more.
There’s a new candy store in the North End — Happy Pills, a franchise of a Barcelona-based chain — and it’s pharmacy-themed. Read more.
Massachusetts-and-Maine pizzeria chain Otto celebrated its grand opening in Southie on March 2. Located at 416 W Broadway, this Otto — the eighth outpost in Massachusetts — features a mobile pickup option; skip the line. There are slices and whole pizzas available, as well as salads, appetizers, and more, and there’s indoor seating. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily (1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights).
What was once Intrepid Cafe (150 First St.) is now Gracenote Coffee and Wine Bar — a boozier and more relaxing sequel to downtown Boston’s Gracenote Coffee, which has neither wine nor seats. (Gracenote will also join the forthcoming downtown Boston food hall High Street Place this spring, serving coffee, tea, and the like. There’ll be coffee cocktails and wine, too.) The new Cambridge location has a cordials license and will eventually be adding amari and other spirits to the selection. For now, there’s wine, beer, cider, and a single barrel-aged gin available.
Tatte’s unstoppable wave of expansion continues: The local bakery and cafe chain has opened in Coolidge Corner at 420 Harvard Street, serving its usual array of gorgeous pastries, shakshuka, and more. It’s the 15th location. Next up? Two for Washington, D.C.
Also new to Wayside Commons is the Treasury, serving Indian food and Mediterranean food. Find it at 4 Wayside Rd.
February 28, 2020: Cheap Hot Dogs, Ready-to-Eat Cookie Dough, Jambalaya, and More
It’s been a busy few weeks of Mexican restaurants opening (see also: Barra, Cósmica, Yellow Door Taqueria, Mi Corazón de Frida), and now there’s another one in the mix: Dora’s Taqueria (112 Stoughton St.), located in the former Borinquen space. Owner Kelmyn Mejia, who also owns a Dominican restaurant in Lawrence and is of Dominican origin himself, hired a Mexican chef to oversee the menu at Dora’s. It includes tacos with fillings such as carnitas, al pastor, cauliflower, and more, as well as burritos, quesadillas, and desserts such as flan and churros.
Jambalaya, etoufee, beignets, and more — French Quarter, from the Back Deck and Fajitas & ‘Ritas team, is now open at 545 Washington St., serving a whole lot of New Orleans-inspired foods and drinks. Read more.
Spring is around the corner: It’s time for the seasonal reopening of fast-casual Castle Island icon Sullivan’s (2080 William J Day Blvd.), home of cheap burgers and hot dogs, fried seafood, and waterfront views. The doors reopen on Saturday, February 29, for Sullivan’s 69th year, and for the month of March, Sullivan’s will operate 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. From opening day through March 6, hot dogs are half off (so, just $1.15 for a basic dog).
In other South Boston news, Purple Shell (11 W Broadway) is now open, from the team behind Chinese and Japanese restaurant Sushi Joy in Plymouth. Purple Shell is serving sushi as well as small plates inspired by East Asia and Southeast Asia. Read more.
The Boston area’s never-ending poke obsession continues with a new poke bar in Cambridge, Ono Poke Bar, located at 1923 Massachusetts Ave., underneath ramen destination Yume Wo Katare. In addition to poke bowls and a couple basic sides, Ono also serves fruit teas and smoothies.
Somerville’s new Mexico City-inspired bar, Barra (23A Bow St.), is now open, serving drinks, small plates, and Sunday brunch in an intimate space. Read more.
Mahaniyom is now open in the former El Centro space in Brookline Village (236 Washington St.), serving Thai small plates — and not the dishes usually seen at Thai restaurants around the Boston area — and creative cocktails. Read more.
In other Brookline news, Japanese grocery store and deli Maruichi is now up and running in Coolidge Corner (299 Harvard St.). Within, there are some food and beverage options (as well as some seating): Brooklyn Ramen, Hachiroku Okonomiyaki, and M’s Cafe, serving Ogawa Coffee, Gen Sou En tea, and pastries.
Liv’s Juice & Acai Bar is now open in Medford (56 Station Landing), and the name gives a pretty good idea of the menu: There are colorful bowls of acai, dragonfruit, and more; smoothies and juices; fancy toasts; ready-to-eat cookie dough; and the like.
February 21, 2020: Birthday Cake, Chicken Pot Pie Dumplings, Meat Skewers, and More
Lucie Drink and Dine is now open inside the Colonnade Hotel, taking over the longtime Brasserie Jo space (120 Huntington Ave.). The restaurant comes from Howard Wein Hospitality, which is behind the Alvah Stone in Montague.
With chef de cuisine Michael Chandler (Oak Long Bar & Kitchen, Grill 23 & Bar) overseeing the kitchen, Lucie is serving a wide-ranging menu with dishes such as clam pizza, bucatini alla vodka, lobster pie, steaks, mussels Dijonnaise, and more. There are a substantial number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, including gluten-free pizzas and pastas. Dessert’s all about classic comfort, with birthday cake, soft-serve ice cream (including vegan options), ice cream floats, and sundaes.
Given its location in a hotel, Lucie naturally keeps long hours, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, along with Sunday brunch and options late at night and between meals.
Bubor Cha Cha (45 Beach St., Boston), which closed in late 2019, is back, but now it’s serving Hunan cuisine. The restaurant was Cantonese at the time of its closure but initially served Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai food when it first opened in 2009.
Side note: Go eat in Chinatown.
There’s a new restaurant in the North End, and it’s not Italian. Libertine is open in the former La Galleria 33 space (125 Salem St.) with gastropub vibes and a menu that jumps from chicken pot pie dumplings to lobster thermidor to “pimped out” strawberry shortcake.
Per a description posted by the business owner on the restaurant’s Yelp page, Libertine aims to serve “bar-centric” and “comfortable” food with lots of options for diners, including gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. “Home cooking to higher end, no parameters.”
Alma Gaúcha Prime Brazilian Steakhouse is now open at 401 D St. (in the former Social Register space across from the Lawn on D), serving copious amounts of meat — sliced tableside from skewers — in a gigantic dining room. Diners can also help themselves to a buffet station of vegetables, fruit, cheeses, and more.
February 14, 2020: Tableside Tzatziki, Cali-Mex Cuisine, Tortas, and More
A Greek wine bar featuring tableside tzatziki service debuts just in time for Valentine’s Day. Krasi (48 Gloucester St.) opens its doors to the public at 5 p.m. on February 14, featuring a menu filled with meze, charcuterie, cheese, various dips, and — of course — Greek wine.
“Krasi is the Greek word for wine, but to us it means much more than that,” Krasi owner Demetri Tsolakis (Committee, Greco) told Eater. “Krasi means love and life and a way to express yourself. In Greece, you’ll see a lot of people use wine to celebrate the better moments of life and also the not-so-great moments. ‘Here, let’s calm down with some wine, and let’s start talking.’”
Eaters can expect meze such as butter beans with oven-roasted tomatoes and feta; seasonal salata made with radicchio, winter squash, blood orange, tangerine, hazelnuts, and a dressing made from diktamo, a pungent herb found on the island of Crete; and fricassee (baked chicken with spinach and avgolemono).
Of the fricassee, Tsolakis told Eater, “You won’t find this in restaurants anywhere in Greece. You’ll find this in grandma’s kitchen — this is your Sunday food.”
Jamaica Plain has a new cafe, and this one doubles as a record store. Monumental Market debuted this week with limited hours in the former Monumental Cupcakes space (36 South St.). The cafe and record shop is the brainchild of three local farmers market veterans: Kelsey Munger of Lavender Bee Baking Co., Javier Amador-Peña of coffee company El Colombiano, and Chris Antonowich of Light of Day Records.
Monumental Market features a selection of vinyl curated by Antonowich; Lavender Bee’s allergy-accommodating baked goods (the entire space is nut-free), including gluten-free and vegan options; and brewed coffee, espresso drinks, and various specials from El Colombiano.
A beloved Dorchester taqueria expanded to the South End this week, and its tacos are served on masa tortillas made in-house. Yellow Door Taqueria (354 Harrison Ave.) opened in the space formerly occupied by Lion’s Tail.
The team behind the South End outpost of Yellow Door includes co-owners of the original location in Dorchester’s Lower Mills (2297 Dorchester Ave.) Brian O’Donnell and Ken Casey, as well as Lion’s Tail co-owner Jarek Mountain. Mountain is the new restaurant’s general manager and beverage director.
Yellow Door’s menu features 12 seasonal tacos, including meat, seafood, and vegetable options, as well as some gluten-free selections. There are empanadas sourced from Buenas in Somerville; other menu items include pupusas, elote, crudo, and salads. Yellow Door also sells its house-made tortillas to go.
Yellow Door’s drinks menu leans heavily into tequila and mezcal. Two of its cocktails are exclusive to the South End location: the Road to Jalisco (made with blanco tequila infused with strawberry and vanilla beans, mezcal washed with olive oil, amontillado sherry, banana, black pepper, and cinnamon tincture) and Mucho Guapo (reposado tequila with green chartreuse, pistachio, lime cordial, lemon juice, egg white, apple bitters, and sea salt tincture). Yellow Door also offers mocktails, sangria, beer, wine, and margaritas.
Mi Corazón de Frida Mexican Cantina is now open in the former Ginger Exchange location (1287 Cambridge St., Cambridge). Open for lunch and dinner, plus weekend brunch, the restaurant serves a menu of Mexican dishes, including tortas and assorted entrees loaded with carne asada, grilled chicken, pork belly, beans, and vegetables. Named after famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the Cambridge restaurant also has a full liquor license and serves a variety of tequila and mezcal, plus margaritas, martinis, and other cocktails. Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic options are also available.
February 7, 2020: Halal Food, Boozy Slushies, Chinese Barbecue, and More
An ice cream sundae shop based in Arlington and known for its delivery service opened a second location in Allston this week. Scoop N Scootery, which specializes in delivery and takeout, is now open at 75 Linden St. The Allston shop extends Scoop N Scootery’s delivery radius to Boston, Newton, and Brookline. The Linden Street outpost functions as a delivery hub, a commercial space, and a takeout business with standing room for customers who wish to eat their sundaes inside the shop. The new Scoop N Scootery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
A restaurant specializing in Asian-Latin fusion opened at 296 Washington St. in Brighton this week. Little Pecan Bistro’s menu features items such as kimchi french fries topped with black bean and tomato salsa; fried avocado tacos; pad thai made with candied pecans; various salads; and more. Little Pecan Bistro is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
A Chinese barbecue restaurant with origins in Flushing, Queens, New York, opened an outpost in Boston’s Chinatown in January. Friendship BBQ, which specializes in Chinese skewers, or chuan’er in Mandarin, is open at 42 Beach St. The Boston menu features various skewers, including meat (wagyu, lamb, chicken, etc.), offal (pork kidney, chicken heart, beef tripe, etc.), seafood (squid, shrimp, mackerel, etc.), vegetables (lotus root, kelp knots, garlicky eggplant, etc.); seafood boils; hot pot; and grilled fish. Friendship BBQ is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dorchester’s Savin Hill neighborhood recently got a new market: The Daily Market opened on January 30. While the Daily Market functions as a grocery store and deli, it also offers prepared foods such as salads, smoothies, and various take-out meals. The market also features a cafe element, which serves coffee, donuts, and house-made pop tarts. The Daily Market is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A New York City-based halal restaurant chain opened an outpost at 1124 Boylston St. on February 7, in a space formerly occupied by Crazy Dough’s Pizza. Shah’s Halal began life as a food truck in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, in 2005. The business opened its first restaurant in 2016 and has since grown to include more than a dozen restaurants in the United States, as well as one in London. Each location is certified halal by the Halal Food Council U.S.A. Bostonians can expect gyros; rice dishes featuring chicken, falafel, kofta, fish, and lamb; hummus; and Philly cheesesteaks.
The team behind South End favorite the Beehive and its Harvard Square sibling the Beat Brew Hall just debuted a new Mexican restaurant inside the Revolution Hotel (40 Berkeley St.). Cósmica — which has Yellow Door Taqueria alum Colton Coburn-Wood leading its kitchen — features dishes such as duck carnitas with mole verde and fried plantains; chicken chorizo with cheesy ancho yucca mash; and cauliflower al pastor with chipotle pineapple yogurt. Diners can also sip on boozy slushies, Mexican beers, mezcal margaritas, and seasonal agua frescas (with and without alcohol). Cósmica is open daily for dinner and will begin serving weekend brunch at a later date.
Newtowne Grille owner Michael Toulopoulos just opened a bagel joint in Burlington. According to a post on its Facebook page, the Bagel Bar (282 Cambridge St.) opened on February 4. Head that way for toasted bagels, bagel sandwiches, and coffee during breakfast and lunch hours.
Burlington also recently got an outpost of a chain of taverns specializing in craft beer. The Yard House just opened in a former Chili’s (108 Middlesex Turnpike) and boasts more than 350 seats and 130 draft lines (which is so, so much beer). The Burlington Yard House is the Boston area’s fourth — there are locations in Boston (near Fenway Park), Dedham, and Lynnfield.
January 31, 2020: Vegan Middle Eastern Food, Escargot Pie, Udon, and More
Michael Serpa’s Parisian bistro-inspired Grand Tour is now open at 314 Newbury St., steps from its older sibling, Select Oyster Bar. Leaving most of the seafood to Select, Grand Tour’s menu runs the gamut from bistro classics like chicken liver mousse and duck rillettes to twists like butternut squash “crudo” and escargot pie. And there’s steak frites, of course. Serpa is especially excited about the veggie-centric dishes, such as the aforementioned squash. Learn more and get a peek inside the space here.
Bagel alert: The Bagel Table, which has locations in Chestnut Hill and Ashland, has opened its third location; this one’s at 80 Guest St. at the Boston Landing development in Brighton. The trio of cafes feature bagels sourced from local company OMG! Bagels and also serve English muffins, deli sandwiches, cheesecake, black and white cookies, and more.
50Kitchen is now partially open in Dorchester (1450 Dorchester Ave.), albeit with limited hours and menu for the moment. Anthony Caldwell intends for his restaurant to represent second chances and serve the community, and he hopes to launch a youth mentoring partnership with a middle school in the community and to help feed people experiencing homelessness in Boston as well.
As Caldwell previously told Eater, the menu (once it’s fully up and running) is a fusion of Southern American and Asian influences, with dishes such as banh mi with smoked brisket; chicken and waffles with rosemary-infused maple syrup; vegetarian “fusion bowls”; and more. Keep an eye on Instagram for updates leading to more of an official opening.
Japanese udon chain Tsurutontan has touched down in Boston, opening at 500 Commonwealth Ave. and joining Boston’s small but mighty set of udon-focused restaurants (See also: Yume Ga Arukara, Futago, and Love Art Udon.) In addition to udon, Tsurutontan also serves some sushi and sashimi, dumplings, and more, along with beer, wine, sake, soju, and cocktails. Learn more and view the menu here.
LONGWOOD MEDICAL AREA
Boston’s frenzied foray into fast-casual, Hawaiian-inspired poke shops has slowed down a bit, but the Pokeworks chain has just opened another location in the area (425 Brookline Ave.), with a grand opening celebration planned for February 7, complete with deals and giveaways. Pokeworks also has nearby locations in Davis Square, Somerville, and in Harvard Square, Cambridge, with a Watertown outpost in the works.
There’s a brand new addition to Boston’s vegan dining scene: Lulu Green, which opened on January 30 in the former Shredded space at 246 West Broadway. The fast-casual, entirely vegan restaurant, owned by sisters Mary and Nada Lattouf, serves a menu inspired by Middle Eastern cuisines, especially Lebanese, and includes sweets, juices, smoothies, coffee, and tea, alongside a number of entrees. Accordingly, it’s open all the time, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all-day weekend brunch. It can seat about 25 diners.
Executive chef Brian Corbley worked in recipe development for Whole Foods and has also spent time in a number of restaurants, including the Sherborn Inn and CBS Scene. He and the Lattouf sisters are serving dishes such as coconut yogurt parfait with strawberry-rose jam and almond-date olive oil granola; shakshuka with local tofu, avocado, pistachios, and zhoug; a barbecue cauliflower sandwich with pickled broccoli rabe, muhammara, and saj bread made in-house; and marinated olives with Beirut spices and preserved lemon.
Andrew Platt of the Biscuit in Somerville — currently moving to a new location — is consulting on Lulu Green’s baked goods selection, which includes Turkish coffee cardamom cherry muffins, spiced carrot cupcakes, olive jalapeno scones, and more.
Lulu Green is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
HARVARD SQUARE, CAMBRIDGE
Yet another location of bubble tea chain Kung Fu Tea has arrived, opening at 1160 Massachusetts Ave. in Harvard Square. This location is not a hybrid with Taiwanese chain TKK Fried Chicken, unlike the Quincy location and a forthcoming Allston one.
January 24, 2020: Racks of Ribs, Honey Cornbread Ice Cream, Ice Cream Doughnut Sandwiches, and More
Taiwanese bubble tea chain Vivi Bubble Tea has added a new Boston location at 182 Massachusetts Ave., not far from Berklee and Symphony Hall, joining several other Massachusetts locations (Quincy, Brighton, Amherst).
In addition to a long list of bubble teas, slushes, and other drinks, Vivi also serves egg puffs, popcorn chicken, sausage, curry fish balls, rice bowls topped with eel, and more.
After decades as a mobile and catering operation, M & M Ribs — now known as M & M BBQ — has landed a permanent home inside the newly expanded Dorchester Brewing Company space (1250 Massachusetts Ave.). While the expansion debuted on New Year’s Eve with a preview of M & M BBQ, the brewery’s barbecue joint is now officially, fully open as of January 20. (Note to Dorchester Brewing Company customers: This means that you can’t bring in outside food anymore, aside from manager-approved, limited exceptions. Give the brewery a call regarding birthday cakes, for example.)
M & M’s menu includes bar bites such as pretzel and wings; sandwiches packed with fried chicken, bratwurst, and more; a couple salads (add smoked or fried chicken or smoked jackfruit); barbecue platters featuring ribs, pulled pork, and other options; and sides such as mac and cheese, grilled corn with smoked aioli, and barbecue baked beans.
M & M opens at 11:30 a.m. daily, closing at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Logan Airport’s massively expanding set of dining options has grown again with the addition of Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar to Terminal C, post-security, open from 4 a.m. until 30 minutes before the final flight and serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and booze. The Mexican restaurant’s original location is at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. Stay tuned: Airport locations of Santarpio’s and Alta Strada should be opening soon as well.
In Nubian Square (formerly known as Dudley Square), Haley House Bakery Cafe has reopened after a yearlong hiatus at 12 Dade St.; it’s the nonprofit bakery/cafe arm of the nonprofit community organization Haley House, which has been providing the local community food and housing support in various ways for over 50 years. The cafe is currently operating with limited hours (weekdays only, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) but will expand its schedule starting February 1. Read more on Haley House Bakery Cafe’s reopening here.
UNION SQUARE, SOMERVILLE
Gracie’s Ice Cream (22 Union Sq.) has reopened following a short winter break. For now, the ice cream shop is only open Thursday through Sunday, but hours will expand as the weather improves. Delivery is available via several third-party companies.
Current flavors (subject to run out and change) include mint chip, salty whiskey, honey cornbread, salty two cookie, and more. There are always 12 flavors available, one of which is always a non-dairy sorbet.
Growing local doughnut chain Blackbird Doughnuts has made its first suburban expansion, opening a new location in Newton Centre (55F Union St.). This is its first location to have an espresso machine, so doughnut lovers can order a variety of hot and iced coffee and tea drinks, too. (Blackbird Doughnuts is featuring local company Fazenda Coffee.) It doesn’t have a soft-serve machine like several of its siblings but does carry pre-made ice cream doughnut sandwiches and ice cream ice cubes for coffee floats.
This location is open daily, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Blackbird Doughnuts also has locations in the South End, Fenway, Brighton, and Harvard Square, with a Watertown hybrid location on the way in conjunction with one of its siblings, the Gallows.
January 17, 2020: Poke, Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream, Toast Box Ice Cream Mountain, and More
A new gluten-free poke shop debuts today, January 17, at 103 Beverly St. (by North Station and TD Garden). Poke by Love Art — part of the restaurant group that also includes Love Art Udon and Love Art Sushi — is serving a Hawaiian-inspired menu of poke meals, mac salad, and more, and it’s completely free of gluten (including the macaroni, and tamari is being used instead of soy sauce throughout the menu).
The casual, counter-service shop is mostly geared toward takeout, although there’s a bit of standing room to dine in, and customers can choose from preset combinations or choose their own rice, sides, poke options, and sauces. Delivery will be added at a later date.
To start, Poke by Love Art is closed Mondays and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be an official grand opening at some point in February, followed by an extended schedule (including Mondays).
HURON VILLAGE, CAMBRIDGE
A restaurant called Melting Pot has opened in the former Full Moon space in Cambridge’s Huron Village neighborhood (344 Huron Ave.). Melting Pot is operated by Bhola Pandey, who also operates Mitho Restaurant in Winchester, which serves Nepalese cuisine.
Pandey told Eater that Melting Pot is serving a fusion of the food he grew up learning how to cook and American food; he also noted that he got rid of the restaurant’s fryolator.
”I don’t want to make my customers sick,” he said, noting that he studied nutrition in college and therefore values healthier options over fried and other fatty foods. The menu at Melting Pot includes various stir-fries, grilled meats, and curries, along with desserts such as chia seed pudding and rice pudding.
A couple newcomers in Braintree: Fried chicken chain Popeyes has a new location at the food court inside South Shore Plaza (250 Granite St.), and Belicious Cafe is open at 958 Washington St. in South Braintree Square, serving a wide-ranging menu that includes everything from loaded tots to carbonara prawn risotto to laksa to “toast box ice cream mountain” (think cube toast.)
Newport, Rhode Island-based restaurant Bar ‘Cino expanded to Brookline this week (1032 Beacon St.). Bar ‘Cino is part of an employee-owned restaurant group that’s behind Papa Razzi in Massachusetts and some other restaurants in Rhode Island. Bar ‘Cino’s menu features Italian cuisine, such as piadina (a thin flatbread folded and stuffed with various ingredients), pasta, and bruschetta, but the star of the show is the thin-crust grilled pizza. The pizzas are cut at the table with scissors and are reminiscent of the pizza at Providence’s famous Al Forno.
Bar ‘Cino’s opening menu reportedly includes a margherita made with fresh tomato, basil, and scallions, and another pizza topped with Rhode Island mushrooms, fontina, parmesan, grilled chicories (crunchy greens), herbs, and a grape reduction called saba.
Everett’s extravagant Encore Boston Harbor casino (1 Broadway) is packed with dining options; now there’s a new one, and its prices are a bit lower than most of the casino’s food. The Encore Cantina food truck is now parked on the casino floor, serving tacos, burritos, nachos, and more. Diners can get three tacos for $9 or as a $12 combo with tortilla chips and a drink, and there are a few other options as well. There’s some roped-off seating nearby, and the truck is open from 6 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, noon to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to midnight Sunday.
99 Ranch Market — which the Boston Globe describes as “the Asian Wegmans” — is opening its first (and probably not last) New England store this weekend, with a big celebration planned for January 18 and 19. It’s located in the former Big Y space at 475 Hancock St., part of a California-based chain with over 50 locations, joining quite a few other Asian markets in Quincy, including C-Mart and Kam Man.
99 Ranch Market’s popular “hot deli” section won’t debut at the Quincy location for a while, per the Globe, because it’s complicated to set up, but when it does, there’ll be Chinese barbecue and dim sum.
The market, which has been around since the 1980s, sells plenty of meat and seafood, items like brown sugar boba ice cream, hot pot accoutrements, and much more. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and there are lots of special activities, live performances, and deals going on during opening weekend.
January 10, 2020: Sushi Burritos, Chinese Hot Pot, Short Rib Poutine, and More
Outside of Time Out Market Boston (401 Park Dr., Boston), there’s an ice skating rink dubbed the Rink at 401 Park — and now there are snacks on hand for skaters. Time Out has launched the Time Out Market Truck, a refurbished vintage truck parked alongside the rink and serving hot chocolate, cider, cookies, and more, Thursday through Sunday.
Little Crepe Cafe is now open in the former Oxford Spa space (102 Oxford St., Cambridge), according to local reports on the Nextdoor social network, although neighbors report that it’s a bit of a preview opening at the moment and hours might not be regular yet. The menu includes crepes, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, smoothies, and more, as owner Kamil Sylvain previously told Eater. “We envision the cafe as a communal place where friends, families, and associates can meet and break bread,” Sylvain said at the time.
PORTER SQUARE, CAMBRIDGE
Yoki Express is now open in Cambridge’s Porter Square, taking over the longtime Bruegger’s Bagels space at 1876 Massachusetts Ave. and serving poke bowls and sushi burritos. The doors opened in late December, but it will celebrate a grand opening on January 31. It’s the second Yoki Express location — the first is in Boston’s Seaport — and both are casual offshoots of the sit-down Yoki restaurant and bar at Medford’s Station Landing. The new Yoki Express, like the older one, offers pickup, takeout, and catering.
Providence’s Lamei Hot Pot has expanded to Brookline, now open at 230 Harvard St. in Coolidge Corner. (The Chinese restaurant first opened in Providence in 2015.) Diners can choose their soup base, such as wild mushroom broth or ChongQuing-style “crazy spicy,” opt in for the unlimited dipping sauce buffet, and choose from a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and other items to cook in the hot pot. (Early reviewers are particularly enthusiastic about the duck blood.)
LongCross Bar and Kitchen (located at Station Landing, 501 Fellsway) is now open; it’s from the same owner, Greg Coughlin, as mac and cheese standby Olde Magoun’s Saloon in Somerville as well as Blackmoor Bar and Kitchen in Charlestown. On the menu at LongCross: short rib poutine, chili, Detroit-inspired deep-dish pizza made in the brick oven, a Reuben, and lots more. Open all day, every day, with brunch on the weekends.
Quincy has a new tea shop, PTea, located at 65 Billings Rd. and serving a variety of bubble teas, fruit teas, and cheese teas. The shop has a very cutesy vibe — a pink, gold, and white color scheme with bow-shaped seats and a giant wall panel of pink and white flowers.
January 3, 2020: Natural Wine, Cornflake-Encrusted Corn Dogs, Cajun Seafood, and More
Note: Due to days off around the holidays, the last update was published on December 16, 2019, so today’s over-stuffed update includes openings from the second half of December into the first few days of January.
The Super 88 food hall (1 Brighton Ave.) has a new vendor: Tonkatsu King is now open in the former Geido Sushi space, and it’s serving a cornflake-encrusted corn dog, among other dishes. Early reviewers particularly liked the cheese tonkatsu and gyudon.
A cafe has replaced a juice shop in Charlestown: Mister Q. Cafe is now open in the former Boston Juicing space (283 Main St.), serving pancakes, panini, coffee, soup, and more.
Cafe Bonjour is open at 55 Temple Pl., operating from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and serving a French cafe-leaning menu of crepes, tartines, breads and pastries baked in-house, and more. (There’s also an Impossible Burger on the menu, along with a variety of other vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options.) The business has a stated focus on ingredients that are “ethically grown” and “local sourced,” organic when possible, free-range (meat and dairy), wild-caught (fish), and sustainable, with options for meat-free diets as well as gluten-free, paleo, and keto.
Popular Charlestown restaurant Monument has expanded over to East Boston, opening inside Logan Airport as part of the airport’s recent impressive increase in good dining options. Located in terminal B, the new Monument serves dishes such as kung pao Brussels sprouts, pizza, short ribs with mac and cheese, and more. And because this is an airport, breakfast begins at 5 a.m. daily.
Bluestone Lane — a New York-based, Australia-inspired cafe chain that expanded to Cambridge’s Harvard Square in late 2019 — is now open in Boston’s Financial District as well (125 High St.). Unlike the full-service Harvard location, High Street is a small grab-and-go location without seating, located in the 125 High Street building lobby. The menu includes several variations on avocado toast and other toasts, including one with divisive Australian condiment Vegemite; a vegan cereal option with oat milk and berries; and flat whites, iced chocolate, cold brew, matcha lattes, and other beverages in the coffee/tea/chocolate realm.
Jamaican restaurant Only One is now open in a former D’Angelo space (1345 Hyde Park Ave.). Despite the name, the restaurant is one of three, with older siblings in Dorchester and Brockton. Only One serves curry shrimp, beef patties, oxtail, and more.
South Boston has a new wine bar focused mostly on natural wines, and it comes from a familiar team: Gray’s Hall (615 E Broadway) opened on December 31, adjacent to its sibling shop American Provisions (which expanded to Dorchester last year, too). The pair of American Provisions shops are known for selling cheese, charcuterie, natural wines, and local beers, so it feels appropriately complementary to open a restaurant that features some of the same themes.
As co-owner Matt Thayer previously told Eater, the team drew inspiration from natural wine bars in Paris and elsewhere around Europe, trying to bring that old-world charm to South Boston. “We have a market that offers that old-world way of grocery shopping,” he said at the time, “and we hope to bring some of that to the space next door.”
Thayer owns the businesses with Andy Fadous; Row 34 alum Mira Stella is general manager and wine director, while Tasting Counter and Tres Gatos alum Marcos Sanchez is chef, serving dishes like fried almonds with Thai spice; rock shrimp with roasted sunchokes, ham broth, and herb oil; grilled lamb skewers with yogurt, chimichurri, and lime; and steak frites with watercress and black garlic.
Gray’s Hall is open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight, with dinner served between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. (and snacks from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.); last call at 11:30 p.m. Some reservations are accepted, but walk-ins are encouraged.
In Boston’s rapidly developing West End neighborhood, cocktail bar Sound Advice is now open at the Hub on Causeway development at TD Garden. It has ties to New York’s acclaimed Death & Co cocktail bar, whose owners, Proprietors LLC, consulted on Sound Advice as well as several other venues around the country. Sound Advice is owned by the hospitality group Decurion, which is also behind ArcLight Cinemas, which as a Hub on Causeway location.
Several of Sound Advice’s cocktails feature local ingredients, such as the Joyride, which mixes Boston-based Bully Boy vodka with Lillet Rose, lemon juice, grapefruit cordial, ginger, seltzer, and rosewater. In addition to cocktails, Sound Advice features a small selection of wines and beers and a basic snack list (olives, nuts, and the like).
Meanwhile, inside TD Garden (100 Legends Way), Wow Bao is now open for hockey season, serving bao and potstickers. The Chicago-based chain is affiliated with massive Chicago restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. (Another location is expected to open at Logan Airport in spring 2020.)
TEELE SQUARE, SOMERVILLE
Over the past few years, the Boston area has developed an affinity for Cajun-style seafood restaurants that invite diners to dig into spicy seafood dishes with their hands. The newest addition: Happy Crab, now open in the former Amelia’s space (1137 Broadway) in Somerville’s Teele Square. The bulk of the menu involves a three-step process in which diners choose seafood (clams, mussels, snow crab, crawfish, and more), flavoring and spice level (garlic butter and more), and sides that go in the bag with the seafood (noodles, potatoes, etc.). There are also appetizers such as crab cakes, edamame, and cocktail shrimp; po’ boys; and cocktails (mai tais, fog cutters, and the like).
The small local Rod Dee Thai chain has sort of disbanded in recent years, with some locations closing altogether while others have rebranded, retaining some ties to their origins. The latest revamp is in Brookline’s Washington Square, where New Rod Dee (1671 Beacon St.) is now Is’ Original Thai Cuisine. (Down the street at 1422 Beacon, another Rod Dee reopened not too long ago as Rod D by Sitti, while the Fenway location is now Rod Thai Family Taste.)
Is’ opened on January 3, named for Is, who opened Rod Dee with a partner in 1995. “Now, I think it is the right time that the next generation of my family to take care of my original recipes,” Is writes on the restaurant’s website. “I sincerely hope that my experience and my original recipes will continue to give happiness to my lovely customers again.”
The menu includes a lot of the usual suspects: chicken satay, tod mun, fried chive dumplings, and other appetizers; tom yum and tom kha soups; choose-your-meat curries; fried rice and noodle dishes; and more. The “Thai specialties” section includes a few dishes that are slightly harder to find around the Boston area — although getting easier by the day as Boston’s Thai scene continues to evolve — like yen ta fo and boat noodles.
Coal-fired pizza mini-chain Max & Leo’s has opened a new location, this time in Chelmsford (20 Boston Rd., formerly a Friendly’s); it also has locations in Newton, Sudbury, and inside Game On in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, as well as a Chicago offshoot inside a Kings location. Aside from Max & Leo’s coal-fired 15-inch pizzas, the restaurants serve salads, roasted wings, coal-fired nachos, calzones, and more.
Quincy Center has a new Irish pub: Tokenfire is now open at 35 Washington St., owned by Breda O’Connor and honoring her late nephew Noel O’Connor, a local restaurant industry vet. Noel O’Connor worked at the Townshend (also in Quincy Center), among other restaurants, and prior to his death, he and the Townshend team had been talking about opening a tavern called Belfry Hall in the 35 Washington St. space that now houses Tokenfire. (The Townshend team is not involved in the new restaurant.) Cinquecento alum Nicola Battistacci is in the kitchen, serving shepherd’s pie, flatbreads, burgers, mussels in an ‘nduja sausage sauce, and more. Tokenfire is open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Another Boston-area location of international burger chain Shake Shack is now open at the Arsenal Yards development (485 Arsenal St.), which has quite a few restaurants in the works. This is Shake Shack’s sixth Massachusetts location, following Chestnut Hill, Cambridge’s Harvard Square, Dedham’s Legacy Place, and two in Boston proper (on Newbury Street in Back Bay and in the Seaport District).