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An ornate glass goose sits on a table, surrounded by food and garnishes. The goose doubles as a bowl and is filled with goose intestines.
An elaborate presentation of goose intestines from Chinese hot pot chain Shu Daxia, which is coming to Boston this year
Shu DaXia/Official Website

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The Ultimate Guide to 2020 Restaurant Openings Around Boston

Japanese food, so much chicken, food halls, plenty of booze, lots of Dorchester openings, and more

2020 is here, and it looks poised to keep pace with 2019 in terms of rapid-fire restaurant openings in and around Boston, spanning a number of cuisines — but, in particular, zeroing in on Japanese food, pizza, a weirdly large amount of chicken, plenty of booze, and a strong showing in Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood. 2019’s promise of food halls galore will carry over into 2020 as well.

The new year will likely see an invasion of more giant non-local chains (looking at you, Seaport District) as well as some non-local television and internet celebrities (Iron Chef Morimoto, Salt Bae?), and while signs point to it getting harder and harder for local, independent operators to open up restaurants, there are fortunately still a number of those on the horizon.

This guide tracks some of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2020; keep in mind, though, that projected timelines can and often do change as a result of construction and permitting delays and other factors. In fact, many of the restaurants mentioned in this guide were supposed to open around fall 2019. As such, take timeline projections with the necessary grain of salt.

For weekly updates on what’s coming, check Eater Boston’s coming attractions news roundup; for weekly updates on what’s actually open, check the openings roundup. For a quick list of features published on several of the restaurants in this guide, check this storystream.

Know about something not mentioned in this guide that should be on our radar? Send tips via email. Want to discuss the Boston restaurant scene in general, along with fellow Eater Boston readers and staff? Join our Facebook group.

And for weekday afternoon compilations of the day’s stories, you can sign up for the Eater Boston newsletter:

Without further ado, here’s what’s on deck for 2020.

This guide was originally published on January 8, 2020; it is updated periodically to add additional exciting coming attractions, pertinent details, opening dates, and more.


Boozy Boston

Rendering of a glassy two-part building with two floors and a central courtyard-like area between the two buildings
The Shed at Cambridge Crossing, shown in this rendering, will include several boozy options from existing Cambridge business owners
Steelblue

Drinkers may find a lot to love in the new year with cocktail bars, breweries, and more on the horizon. Here’s what’s coming:

Cocktails and spirits

Barra [NOW OPEN]

From owners Paola Ibarra — who developed the bar program at Peruvian restaurant Celeste a couple doors down — and Yhadira Guzmán comes Barra, an intimate bar in a space that previously housed a juice shop. While Barra’s focus is on drinks, especially Latin American liquors (including sotol and mezcal), there are tacos and other snacks to eat. The menu was created by Mexico City-based chef Sofía García Osorio. (Also see the Latin American Food section below.) 23A Bow St., Union Square, Somerville. Opened: Mid-February 2020.

Daiquiris & Daisies at High Street Place

One of 20 food and beverage vendors slated for downtown Boston’s forthcoming High Street Place food hall (see 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two below), Daiquiris & Daisies will feature “creative and classic cocktails with seasonal twists” from Boston bar stars Daren Swisher and Joseph Cammarata, Hojoko alums (where they were co-winners of the 2015 Eater Boston Bartenders of the Year award). 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Dead Rabbit

Acclaimed New York City Irish pub Dead Rabbit — especially notable for its cocktails — is eyeing expansion to several cities, including Boston, “over the next few years.” No details to share yet, but the Dead Rabbit team has confirmed that this is happening. Unknown address. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown, but not necessarily in 2020.

Ivory Pearl

Ran Duan and his team — of the acclaimed Baldwin Bar and Blossom Bar — will open Ivory Pearl in Washington Square, serving a seafood-focused menu and cocktails that pair well with it. “The cocktail program will be nothing like our current programs,” Duan previously told Eater. “No tiki or tropical influence. All I can say is it’s a style of cocktail that doesn’t exist in Boston.” Bar Mezzana and Eventide Fenway alum Ian Maschal will be at the helm of the kitchen, serving crudos, whole grilled fish, a burger, a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, and more. 1704 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline. Anticipated opening timeline: Late spring/early summer 2020.

Krasi and Hecate [KRASI NOW OPEN]

This two-for-one deal includes a connected pair of venues with connections to the Greco and Committee teams. Hecate will be a European-style cocktail bar with a focus on cordials and aperitifs. Krasi, meanwhile, is a wine bar with an exclusively Greek wine list and a food menu of Greek meze dishes, touching on some regional specialties. 48 Gloucester St., Back Bay, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Krasi opened in mid-February 2020, and Hecate will follow a bit later in the year.

The Shed at Cambridge Crossing: Luminati Spirits x Lamplighter (From Lamplighter Brewing) and Unnamed Project From the Puritan & Co. Team

Cambridge Crossing — a new development in the works in East Cambridge, steps from Lechmere — is filling up one of its buildings, the Shed, with some interesting dining and drinking options. Cambridge’s Lamplighter Brewing Co. will open a distillery, nanobrewery, and taproom there called Luminati Spirits x Lamplighter, while Cambridge’s Puritan & Co. team is opening a cafe, restaurant, and cocktail bar, complete with rooftop terrace. (Also see the Rejoice: More Rooftop Dining Is Coming section below.) The cafe portion of Puritan’s project will be Cafe Beatrice, an evolution of the group’s now-closed six-month pop-up by the same name in Allston; names for the forthcoming restaurant and bar haven’t yet been announced. Cambridge Crossing, 100 and 110 N. First St., East Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring/summer 2020.

Wine

Dear Annie

In a collaboration that’s sure to produce exciting results, Somerville’s Rebel Rebel and Field & Vine teams are getting together to open Dear Annie in Cambridge: a pub-style neighborhood bar that showcases natural wines and pescatarian dining. The team is currently fundraising to help with the opening. 1741 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Summer 2020.

Krasi and Hecate [KRASI NOW OPEN]

See “Cocktails and spirits” subsection above.

Beer

Faces Brewing Co.

Malden’s got a few things in the works this year; see the Malden Fun section below. One is a brewpub, Faces, which has ties to now-defunct Faces nightclub and Lanes & Games. As a brewpub, Faces will be able to sell its own beer, brewed onsite, as well as wine, liquor, and other breweries’ beers, co-founder Bob Martignetti tells Eater. It will also have a full kitchen and restaurant, serving “American fare, in line with gastropub offerings,” he says, and there will be room for approximately 300 people. There will be a variety of beer styles available, including New England IPAs, stouts, sours, and more. The space is an old bank — and not just any old bank but the bank that was the site of the first armed bank robbery in the United States. The building’s old vaults will serve as private dining rooms. Faces is a family affair: Martignetti and his three brothers are opening it together with the help of childhood friend Eddie Ducharme, who is serving as head brewer, and the name of the business is an homage to the aforementioned nightclub, which the Martignettis’ father and his brothers opened in the 1970s and operated until its closure in 1990. “Working in this business must run in our blood,” says Martignetti, “as our great grandfather founded Martignetti Liquors, which started as a market, expanded to six liquor stores, and then transitioned into the wine and spirits distributor that exists today.” 50 Pleasant St., Malden. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Lord Hobo

Woburn-based brewery Lord Hobo (which also has an older sibling by the same name, a Cambridge beer bar) is plotting a mega-brewery in Boston’s Seaport District, at the Two Drydock office building. Founder Daniel Lanigan has described it as “the Taj Mahal of breweries,” and it will include 9,000 square feet of indoor brewery and restaurant space, a “coffee concept,” and a 10,000-square-foot patio. 2 Dry Dock Ave., Seaport District, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

Notch Brewing at the Speedway

If it feels like there’s a food hall popping up in every neighborhood in Boston, that’s because there’s essentially a food hall popping up in every neighborhood in Boston. (Also see the 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section below.) This forthcoming Brighton food hall/shopping center plans to open in the summer in the former Charles River Speedway Headquarters administration buildings. The first announced food and/or drink establishment that will be part of it is the excellent Salem-based brewery Notch Brewing, which will expand to Brighton’s Speedway with a taproom and brewery space. 525 Western Ave., Brighton, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Summer 2020.

Sam Adams Taproom [NOW OPEN]

Probably Boston’s most ubiquitous name in beer, Sam Adams’ days as a small craft brewery are certainly behind it, with many local drinkers opting to throw most of their support behind lesser-known, newer brands. Still, there’s something to be said for Sam Adams’ longevity and growth, and its new downtown Boston taproom by Faneuil Hall — steps from a Sam Adams statue, conveniently — is sure to attract locals and tourists alike. The multi-story space is full of multiple bars, patio space, exclusive brews, and snacks such as pretzels and sausages. 60 State St., downtown Boston. Opened: January 30, 2020.


There Are Still a Lot of Chicken Restaurants on the Way

A bucket of fried chicken from Bucktown Chicken & Fish sits on the ground, which is covered with fallen leaves. There are also waffle fries and other sides.
A spread of Bucktown foods
Bucktown Chicken & Fish [Official Photo]

Fall 2019 was supposed to see the debut of a strangely high number of chicken-focused restaurants; a few did open, but most are still in the works, along with a couple newcomers to this category. Stay tuned for:

Bucktown Chicken & Fish

When this Providence-based spot arrives in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood, it’ll feature Southern-inspired comfort food, from fried fish sandwiches to chicken and waffles. The Boston location will be larger than the Providence one and could have an expanded menu (and possibly alcohol) to match. 1522 Tremont St., Mission Hill, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Late spring/early summer 2020.

Haley Jane at High Street Place

Yep, more food hall news. (Also see the 2020: Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section below.) One of High Street Place’s vendors, Haley Jane, will feature fried chicken based on popular fried chicken sandwich specials that appear at its big sibling, downtown burger gem Wheelhouse. (Wheelhouse itself will also have a new location at the food hall.) 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Hen Chicken Rice

One of a couple exciting Thai openings coming to the Boston area this year (also see Another Good Year for Thai Food, Perhaps section below), Hen Chicken Rice will do what many restaurants in Thailand do: Focus on a single dish. That one dish is khao man gai, also known as Hainanese chicken, essentially a dish of poached chicken, seasoned rice, and sauce. The Union Square restaurant, from chef Pong Kansab (Blue Ginger, Grill 23, Smoke Shop), will offer several combinations of chicken, rice, and sauce. 24 Union Sq., Union Square, Somerville. Anticipated opening timeline: February 2020.

Hot Chix

This Nashville hot fried chicken pop-up has been ramping up the frequency of its appearances in and around Boston while it gears up to open a permanent location at a yet-to-be-announced address. The fast-casual shop will serve chicken sandwiches as well as appropriate sides, such as mac and cheese and collard greens. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

TKK Fried Chicken at Super 88

Shiny new food halls are popping up all over the city (see the 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section below), but nothing ever could or will beat the food hall at the Super 88 market in Allston, where diners can get ramen and Uyghur-style hand-pulled noodles and pho. And soon enough, diners will also be able to get fried chicken and something called kwa kwa bao, an invention of the Taiwanese chain TKK Fried Chicken — it’s a ball of sticky rice packed with mushrooms, sealed in chicken skin, and fried. Eater NY critic Robert Sietsma loves this fried chicken chain, which also has a Quincy location. Like the Quincy one, the Super 88 location will be a collaboration with bubble tea chain Kung Fu Tea. 1 Brighton Ave., Allston, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Late 2020.

Tori Jiro

Japan-based yakitori chain Tori Jiro — which specializes in Japanese-style chicken skewers, fried chicken, chicken meatballs, and more — will open its first United States location at the burgeoning Arsenal Yards development in Watertown. (See also: Lots of Japanese Food below.) 485 Arsenal St., Watertown. Anticipated opening timeline: Fall 2020.


Pizza? Pizza.

A pizza at Stoked, featuring chopped up pepperoni (not round slices) and drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey
Pepperoni pizza at Stoked
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Like all the aforementioned chicken openings, a number of Boston’s forthcoming pizzerias also missed their late 2019 opening timelines. Several interesting ones are still on deck, as well as a few that are new to this category:

Definitely happening soon-ish

Apizza at Hub Hall at the Hub on Causeway

Opening at Hub Hall, the TD Garden-adjacent food hall (see the 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section below), Apizza comes from Mida’s Douglass Williams and will draw inspiration from New Haven pizza (albeit without a coal oven) as well as Roman pizza. 80 Causeway St., West End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

Bar ‘Cino [NOW OPEN]

This Newport, Rhode Island, import — which is employee-owned and overseen by the same restaurant group as Papa Razzi — features thin-crust, grilled pizza, but there’s more, too, from the casual Italian-inspired spot. The Newport location serves dishes like a whole roasted lemon-scented chicken (meant for two to share), piadini, some pasta dishes, and more (not to mention a molten chocolate-Nutella souffle for dessert). 1032 Beacon St., Brookline. Opened: January 17, 2020.

Bianca

It’s not a pizza restaurant (and not an Italian restaurant), but Bianca — a family-friendly, wood-fired restaurant from O Ya’s Nancy and Tim Cushman — will include a few pizzas, among other things made with wood-fired grills and ovens, a wood rotisserie, and a smoker. (They do quite a good job with pizza at one of their New York restaurants, Covina, so it’s likely to be a must-try here.) The Street, 47 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill. Anticipated opening timeline: Winter 2020.

Da LaPosta (stylized with a lowercase “d,” da LaPosta)

This wood-fired pizza joint is the brainchild of Mario LaPosta, the former pizzaiolo at the now-closed Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca. LaPosta previously told Eater that his pies will cook at temperatures that range from 800 to 1,000 degrees, which is typical of Neapolitan pizzas, but he was quick to note that he doesn’t consider his pizzas Neapolitan. “I prefer the term pizza artigianale, especially with our commitment to local, sustainable ingredients.” Technicalities aside, the addition of a new wood-fired pizzeria is never a bad thing. Finally, an opening in the Seaport area that isn’t a chain steakhouse. 12 Farnsworth St., Fort Point, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring 2020.

Stoked Pizza Co.

A Brookline favorite, Stoked will expand to the Harvard Law campus this year in Cambridge, albeit without the wood-fired aspect of its big sibling. The new location will be about twice the size at the old one and will have a menu that looks mostly the same (minus the wood-firing of the pizzas, which will be cooked in an electric oven). In addition to pizzas, Stoked serves salads, wings, milkshakes, and more, including an extensive vegan menu, and the beer list is solid. 1611 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Summer 2020.

Tenderoni’s at High Street Place

This will be the first non-Fenway restaurant from empire-builder Big Heart Hospitality (chef Tiffani Faison and co.), along with sibling spot Dive Bar, both opening within the High Street Place food hall (see the 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section below.) Expect the vibes of a 1970s or 1980s pizza-and-grinder shop. 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Happening eventually

Double Zero

This vegan, wood-fired pizzeria is part of a chain from global vegan restaurateur Matthew Kenney, who opened a fully vegan food hall in Providence not too long ago. Most of the pizzas are made with cashew-based mozzarella or cream, but rice-based cream is also available (as are gluten-free crusts). There are also a few pasta dishes and Italian-inspired small plates. 163 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

The legendary New Haven-based, coal-fired pizzeria chain continues its expansion around the northeast with a Watertown location at the Arsenal Yards development, where it will join the aforementioned Tori Jiro and lots more. 485 Arsenal St., Watertown. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.

Vaguer plans

Nothing’s definite yet, but New York-based, Detroit-style pizzeria Emmy Squared is eyeing Boston for expansion, and cake-throwing DJ Steve Aoki has mentioned a hope of bringing his pizza delivery business, Pizzaoki, to Boston, among other cities. Plus, Boston is still eagerly awaiting the re-emergence of the Rabbotini’s pizza pop-up, which will hopefully land a permanent Boston-area space eventually. Will any of these open in 2020? Stay tuned.


2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two

An aerial rendering shows a complex with courtyards next to a roadway
An aerial rendering of the Speedway, coming to Brighton this year
The Speedway/Official Site

You know the drill: Boston’s obsessed with food halls right now. As it’s getting harder for independent operators to open up standalone restaurants due to rent and a million other factors, maybe this is a good opportunity for newbies to get a foot in the door with relatively low rent and access to a liquor license. Or maybe Boston will be overrun by food halls and will eventually sink into the ocean under their weight.

Like it or not, they’re coming. Several are on the way for 2020, and several more beyond. Keep track of it all with this guide, which is updated periodically, and get a quick overview of the expected 2020 openings below:

The Beat

Another historic and gigantic space, another food hall. Sort of. The Beat plans to open in the former Boston Globe headquarters on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester, where it will feature up to 25,000 square feet for retail and restaurant space, possibly including a 100-seat restaurant, a microbrewery, and/or a beer garden, as well as a food hall-style atrium. The development’s other 695,000 square feet will be dedicated to tech and office space. No vendors have yet announced their intent to open in the Beat, and details are somewhat scarce overall, but some distinctive signage went up in late 2019, and construction is moving along. It’s one of quite a few potential 2020 openings happening in Dorchester; check out the Spotlight on Dorchester section below for more information. 135 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring 2020.

High Street Place

Several vendors have already been mentioned above — Daiquiris & Daisies, Haley Jane, Wheelhouse, and Tenderoni’s. Overall, this downtown Boston food hall will feature around 20 food and beverage vendors, and the roster also includes a local juice shop chain, Mother Juice; a Somerville shop known for its porchetta sandwich, Pennypacker’s; a popular sandwich shop from Bay Village, Mike & Patty’s; and more. 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Hub Hall at the Hub on Causeway

Apizza, mentioned above, is one of Hub Hall’s 18 planned vendors; others include old-school Boston icons Mike’s Pastry, Monica’s Mercato, and Sullivan’s, as well as newer local spots like the Smoke Shop BBQ, Greco, and Cusser’s Roast Beef. Hub Hall is part of the larger Hub on Causeway development, which includes office, hotel, and residential space. There are also several other dining options open or coming soon at the development, not part of Hub Hall, including Guy Fieri’s first Boston restaurant and a cocktail bar called Sound Advice. 80 Causeway St., West End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

The Speedway

As mentioned in the Boozy Boston section above, Notch Brewing is the first announced vendor for the Speedway, which isn’t explicitly a food hall, but it will fill much the same niche. Built on the site of the former Charles River Speedway Headquarters administration buildings — with certain historic elements preserved — the Speedway will be home to multiple food vendors, a full-service restaurant, and the aforementioned brewery and taproom, as well as event and office space, a large courtyard, and small retail shops featuring local makers. 525 Western Ave., Brighton, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Summer 2020.


Lots of Japanese Food (Mostly Out-of-Town Chains, But Potentially Interesting Ones)

Bowl of a Japanese soup, featuring a transparent brown broth, thinly sliced beef, thick udon noodles, a soft-boiled egg, and vegetables
Sukiyaki udon at Tsurutontan, now open in Kenmore Square
Tsurutontan [Official Photo]

The title of this section says it all — there are lots of Japanese restaurants slated to open this year, and they’re mostly chains, but they sound like they might be worth some excitement. Here’s the rundown.

Fuji at High Street Place

The JP Fuji Group — which has Japanese restaurants in Quincy, Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston — will be a vendor at the forthcoming High Street Place food hall (see above), featuring some bestsellers from its existing locations as well as some new dishes. There will be drinks, too, including sake, whiskey, and beer. 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.

Kura Sushi

This one is actually more of a 2021 thing, so it’ll be a long wait, but this Japanese sushi chain plans to open in the forthcoming Arsenal Yards development (along with several other restaurants mentioned above and below). It will bring conveyor belts full of sushi — and small prizes for those who eat a lot of it. 485 Arsenal St., Watertown. Anticipated opening timeline: 2021.

Maruichi [NOW OPEN]

This Japanese grocery store and deli has opened in the Harvard Street space formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant and cafe Gen Sou En. Maruichi is based in West Hartford, Connecticut, where it sells Japanese groceries such as enoki mushrooms, Kewpie mayo, and more, along with prepared foods such as ramen, sushi, bento boxes, yakisoba, and bubble tea. Maruichi also operates a shop in Scarsdale, New York. 299 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Opened: February 8, 2020.

Menya Jiro

This New York City-based ramen chain is planning a Massachusetts expansion. Menya Jiro, which specializes in the ramen typical of Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture, will open inside the Crimson Galeria in Harvard Square. The restaurant has been described as the “Chipotle of ramen” because of its focus on build-your-own dining options. The shop serves ramen with a base made with tonkotsu and chicken broth and also offers spicy and vegetarian options. 57 JFK St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Winter/spring 2020.

Momosan Ramen

This is part of the Hub Hall food hall (see above.) From Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, it will serve ramen (of course) but also sushi, bar snacks, and more, along with sake. It will be the only full-service, standalone restaurant within the confines of the food hall. 80 Causeway St., West End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

Tora Ramen

This ramen shop will be the newborn sibling to Tora Japanese, a subterranean kaisen don gem in Chinatown. Owner Patrick Zhong plans to open at least two more restaurants in Boston under the Tora moniker; this Harrison Avenue joint appears to be the first. 99 Harrison Ave., Chinatown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.

Tori Jiro

See There Are Still a Lot of Chicken Restaurants on the Way section above.

Tsurutontan [NOW OPEN]

A new addition to the small but mighty local scene of restaurants that focus on udon (see also: Yume Ga Arukara and Futago), Tsurutontan is now open inside the Hotel Commonwealth. This chain is rooted in Osaka, Japan, and has a dozen Japanese locations, but it’s only just getting its footing around the United States. In addition to udon, it serves sashimi, dumplings, and a little more. 500 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston. Opened: January 24, 2020.


Malden Fun

A lo mein-style dish in a Chinese takeout container is accompanied by fortune cookies
A snack from the original Salem location of Bit Bar
Beth Swan

There are a few new spots in the works for Malden this year, and they’re all fun.

Bit Bar

This arcade bar from Salem is expanding to Malden, opening at the J Malden Center in Malden Center in 2020. In addition to the arcade games, Bit Bar serves a menu with arcade-inspired comfort food, such as Tetris piece-shaped tater tots. 190 Pleasant St., Malden. Anticipated opening timeline: May 2020.

Faces Brewing Co.

See Boozy Boston section above.

Landsmith

Also opening at the J Malden Center, Landsmith is a cafe and “outdoor adventure clubhouse,” aimed at helping people connect over a love of outdoor activities. There’ll be classes, workshops, and more, along with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and grab-and-go foods. Union Square Donuts cofounder Heather Schmidt is behind Landsmith. 190 Pleasant St., Malden. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.


Another Good Year for Thai Food, Perhaps

Overhead view of a plate of pad thai
Pad thai from Mahaniyom
Mahaniyom [Official Photo]

Boston’s Thai food scene has always had some strong highlights, but it’s had an especially excellent couple of years, with new restaurants like Dakzen, Kor Tor Mor, and 9Zaab introducing some less familiar Thai street food dishes to non-Thai diners; Sugar & Spice improving its already solid menu with an increased focus in several specific regions; Yummy Thai adding a wide array of Isaan dishes; and two pan-Southeast Asian restaurants opening with a good showing in the Thai department — Chalawan and Mae Asian Eatery.

(Here’s a closer look at Dakzen, which won Eater Boston’s 2018 award for fast-casual restaurant of the year.) There are only a couple new Thai restaurants on the radar for 2020 so far, but they are both particularly intriguing.

Hen Chicken Rice

See There Are Still a Lot of Chicken Restaurants on the Way section above.

Mahaniyom [NOW OPEN]

Brookline Village’s dining scene keeps getting better. Mahaniyom is a Thai small plate/family-style restaurant featuring “meticulously home-cooked-style, authentic Thai cuisine made from scratch and handcrafted cocktails,” as the team previously told Eater. Mahaniyom’s dishes are “inspired by [the team’s] childhood when the whole house smelled tasty from Mom’s cooking and the curry paste was made from scratch and most of the ingredients were picked fresh from the garden behind the house.” The 26-seat restaurant is meant to have an “unpretentious, feel-like-home atmosphere” reminiscent of Thailand, and it has a full bar with natural wines, local beers, sake, and cocktails “inspired by Thai flavors and ingredients reminiscent of the good old times.” Longtime Shojo bartender Chompon (Boong) Boonnak is a co-owner (along with childhood friend Smuch (Top) Saikamthorn), so the cocktails are a big focus. 236 Washington St., Brookline Village. Opened: Mid-February 2020.


Latin American Food (With a Side of Boozy Slushies)

yellow door taqueria
The original Dorchester location of Yellow Door Taqueria is shown here. It’s expanding to the South End in early 2020.
Sarah Storrer/Eater

The Boston area has a lot of Mexican food on deck this year, with a bit of Salvadoran and Peruvian joining the mix as well. Here’s what’s on the way:

Ali Baba

If the name doesn’t exactly sound Latin American, that’s because it’s not: Ali Baba’s original South End location is focused on Turkish food (and some other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes) and located right next door to its Mexican and Salvadoran sibling, El Triunfo. The two will combine forces under the Ali Baba name for a new restaurant in Charlestown that features the cuisines of both restaurants (not fused together, just offered alongside each other). So: burritos, flautas, quesadillas, tacos, and the like, as well as kofte, doner kebab, ishkembe (a Turkish tripe soup), and more. See also: Not One But Two, Maybe Three, Turkish(ish) Restaurants section below. 100 Cambridge St., Charlestown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: “Soon.”

Barra [NOW OPEN]

See Boozy Boston section above.

Chilacates Cantina

As local Mexican chain Chilacates continues to expand, founder Socrates Abreu is adding a little something different to the mix: He’s replacing his burger restaurant the Joint (which replaced Grass Fed) with a new full-service restaurant along the Chilacates lines but slightly different. Unlike the fast-casual restaurants, the so-called Chilacates Cantina will have booze (a beer, wine, and cordials license that allows for some creative cocktails). Diners can expect new menu items, such as chimichangas and flautas — and whole-roasted pig on Sundays. And a bathroom built in an adjacent space, a definite improvement over the burger shop’s no-bathroom situation. Plus, the long-in-the-works Roslindale expansion of Chilacates will combine Chilacates and Chilacates Cantina, offering a fast-casual counter as well as a sit-down bar. 605 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston; 4253-4257 Washington St., Roslindale, Boston. Anticipated opening timelines: January 2020 in Jamaica Plain; late winter for the counter-service portion of the Roslindale location; later for the bar portion.

Cósmica [NOW OPEN]

The team behind the Beehive in the South End and Beat Brew Hall in Harvard Square has opened a Mexican restaurant in the South End. Cósmica is now open inside the Revolution Hotel and is featuring taco options 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. (There are non-taco dishes as well.) Its beverage list includes boozy slushies, sangria, Mexican beers, mezcal, and seasonal agua frescas (both with and without alcohol). 40 Berkeley St., South End, Boston. Opened: February 6, 2020.

El Tacuba

Medford is still eagerly waiting for this full-service restaurant and tequila bar from the brothers behind the popular group of fast-casual Tenoch restaurants, which are known for their tortas. When Alvaro and Andres Sandoval’s new restaurant finally opens, there will be dishes like pescado a la veracruzana and other dishes inspired by their home city of Veracruz, Mexico, alongside a wide range of tequila and mezcal options. 35 Salem St., Medford. Anticipated opening timeline: Not in 2018, like its website still says. Not in 2019, as the team has said as recently as late 2019. Perhaps 2020?

Tambo 22

Longtime North End chef Jose Duarte, who runs the Peruvian-Italian restaurant Taranta, is expanding his talents out to Chelsea with Tambo 22, featuring Peruvian-inspired bar food accompanied by natural and biodynamic wines and Peruvian beers. 22 Adams St., Chelsea. Anticipated opening timeline: Late winter 2020.

Yellow Door Taqueria [NOW OPEN]

Dorchester’s Yellow Door Taqueria’s South End sibling restaurant Lion’s Tail closed just before the new year began, but Yellow Door Taqueria is now filling that void with another Yellow Door Taqueria. Diners will find a vibe and interior that’s similar to the original location, along with tacos, crudos, and cocktails. Keep an eye out for news regarding live music and DJs. 354 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston. Opened: February 12, 2020.


Spotlight on Dorchester

A woman and two men stand in a line against a pale yellow cement wall outside, smiling and looking at the camera. The man in the middle has an arm around the shoulder of each person to the side. The woman on the left wears a black dress with a floral print, and the man on the right has a blue t-shirt that reads “Immigrants feed America.”
The Comfort Kitchen team. From left: Nyacko Pearl Perry, Biplaw Rai, and Kwasi Kwaa.
Rita Ferreira

It’s looking like it might be a busy dining year in Boston’s largest neighborhood. Dorchester is awaiting the arrival of a food hall, an oyster bar, barbecue and more. Here’s a look:

50Kitchen [NOW OPEN]

In the works since mid-2018 (and operating as a catering and private chef business since before then), Anthony Caldwell’s 50Kitchen is finally open in Dorchester’s Fields Corner neighborhood. The Dorchester native intends the restaurant to be ”a place that represents second chances and the power of community.” He’s serving Southern American and Asian fusion, Caldwell tells Eater, with dishes such as banh mi with smoked brisket; chicken and waffles with rosemary-infused maple syrup; bang bang shrimp with jasmine rice and bok choy; shrimp and grits; vegetarian “fusion bowls”; and more. The 17-seat restaurant features an open kitchen, and beer and wine are available, as well as online ordering, takeout, and corporate catering. 1450 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Boston. Opened: January 29, 2020, with limited hours and menu; a full opening followed on February 23, 2020.

The Beat

See 2020: The Year of the Food Hall, Take Two section above.

Comfort Kitchen

Upham’s Corner is getting a cafe and restaurant focused on serving comfort food from across the globe. The team behind Comfort Kitchen includes managing partner Biplaw Rai (cofounder of Dudley Cafe in Roxbury and board member of Commonwealth Kitchen, a local nonprofit food incubator), organization development partner Nyacko Pearl Perry (founder of Yin Consulting), and chef partner Kwasi Kwaa (founder of Ghanaian pop-up the Chop Bar). The space will also function as a food incubator, offering affordable pop-up space for local food entrepreneurs. 611 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Summer 2020.

M & M BBQ at Dorchester Brewing Company [NOW OPEN]

M & M BBQ is the in-house restaurant at the newly expanded Dorchester Brewing Company, where it is serving a range of barbecue options as well as mac and cheese, pretzels, and more. It’s the evolution of catering business and food truck M & M Ribs, which has been around in some form or another since 1982. 1250 Massachusetts Ave., Dorchester, Boston. Opened: January 20, 2020.

Pearl Oyster Bar

The South Bay retail development in Dorchester has a number of dining options, all chains; this will be the first independent restaurant to open there. Pearl’s focal point is meant to be its raw bar, and it will also serve other seafood-oriented dishes (with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible) and craft beer. 20B District Ave., Dorchester, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.


Not One But Two, Maybe Three, Turkish(ish) Restaurants

Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Salt Bae
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

It’s going to be kind of a weird year for Turkish food in Boston — but then again, Boston has very little in the way of Turkish food, so any additions to the scene are probably welcome. One of these restaurants is Turkish/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean and Mexican/Salvadoran, one is Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean, and one is...Salt Bae’s steakhouse (which isn’t a Turkish restaurant, per se, just a chain that is Turkey-based).

Ali Baba

See Latin American Food (With a Side of Boozy Slushies) section above.

Servia

This is the new project for chef Ozcan Ozan, who was at the helm of now-closed downtown staple Sultan’s Kitchen. Located in the historic Cunard Building, Servia will be a casual, takeout-friendly spot by day, offering more formal dining at night, as well as a meze-focused bar menu accompanied by plenty of wine and cocktail options. While the restaurant described itself as Turkish in the early planning stages, it’s now going with a broader “modern Eastern Mediterranean” description. Executive chef Claudio Cavalleri is onboard to help Ozan. 126 State St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Late winter 2020.

Nusr-Et Steakhouse

Not a Turkish restaurant but a Turkish-based chain, this restaurant from Turkish butcher/internet meme “Salt Bae” (real name: Nusret Gökçe) is almost certainly opening in the former Nahita space, although the restaurant group behind it hasn’t officially confirmed the news yet. Can Boston support another steakhouse? 100 Arlington St., Bay Village, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.


Rejoice: More Rooftop Dining Is Coming

Rendering of a four-story hotel on a city corner complete with a rooftop terrace
Rendering of 907 Main, the Cambridge hotel that will include a rooftop bar called Blue Owl.
907 Main/Official Site

Boston doesn’t quite have the weather for year-round rooftop revelry like some other cities do, but locals do appreciate a good rooftop cocktail or meal when possible, and opportunities are increasing on that front, especially in Cambridge, in 2020.

The Shed at Cambridge Crossing: Unnamed Project From the Puritan & Co. Team

See Boozy Boston section above.

Blue Owl (and More) at 907 Main

Located at 907 Main, a hotel opening on the former Patty Chen’s/Cinderella’s/Toscanini’s site in Central Square, Blue Owl will be a rooftop bar and terrace serving up global street food-inspired snacks (and skyline views). There will also be a restaurant in the hotel, the Dial. Plus, Toscanini’s will reopen in the revamped space, and Belmont-based bakery Praliné French Patisserie will also open onsite. 907 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: The hotel is aiming for a spring 2020 opening; stay tuned for timelines for the food and beverage options.

The Rooftop at the Forthcoming Newbury Hotel (Formerly the Taj)

A major restaurant group — aptly named Major Food Group — behind restaurants such as Carbone (which has locations in New York City, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong, and which has a Drake cosign, for whatever that’s worth), Dirty French, and the Grill is planning a bar and restaurant in a forthcoming glitzy Boston hotel, the Newbury, which is a revamp of the Taj. Major Food Group’s foray into Boston will include a bar inside the hotel, Street Bar, as well as a Northern Italian rooftop restaurant, the Rooftop, that is glass-enclosed and has retractable roof panels. It will operate all day, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 1 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring/summer 2020 for the hotel and Street Bar; fall 2020 for the Rooftop.


Cool Stuff in East Boston

Closeup of a ramen bowl with thick noodles, egg, and oxtail
A test of an oxtail ramen dish from the Noodle Bar by Iterum Foods
The Noodle Bar by Iterum Foods/Instagram

Grilled cheese doughnut sandwiches and zero-waste noodles — East Boston has an interesting year coming up.

Food for Thought at Sammy Carlo’s

Seasonal Maine restaurant Food for Thought plans to open in Boston during the restaurant’s off-season, operating out of the Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen and Catering space during dinner hours. The menu could feature some Sammy Carlo’s ingredients (think Italian cold cut dumplings), and Food for Thought’s popular grilled-cheese-on-a-doughnut sandwich dangling from a hook over tomato bisque would probably incorporate local doughnuts from Kane’s at the East Boston location. In Maine, Food for Thought donates five percent of its profits to help combat opioid addiction in the state; similarly, the team plans to donate five percent of its East Boston profits back to the East Boston community. 567 Bennington St., East Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

Noodle Bar by Iterum Foods

A noodle-focused, sustainable, zero-waste restaurant is on the way to East Boston — hopefully — from chef Matthew McPherson (Tiki Rock, Menton, Porto). McPherson previously had a space locked down in East Boston’s Jeffries Point neighborhood, but that plan fell through recently; he’s now exploring other options in East Boston, with updates to come. In the meantime, keep an eye on social media for news of pop-ups. East Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.


More Excitement, from Creole to Barbecue to a Boozy Bookstore Cafe

Restaurant interior featuring a light wooden bar with branches hanging overhead.
The Gallows’ original South End location. The restaurant is expanding to Watertown.
Cal Bingham/Eater

But wait: There’s more. Lots more. Here are some other exciting 2020 openings that don’t fit into any of the categories above.

Atlántico

Select Oyster Bar chef and owner Michael Serpa just opened his Parisian-inspired bistro, Grand Tour (see below), in early 2020, but he’s already thinking of the next project: Atlántico, a restaurant and cafe inspired by the Iberian Peninsula. Expect a seafood-heavy menu that features paella and tinned seafood, not to mention a variety of pintxos and the region’s meaty gem, jamón ibérico. The drink list will focus on cocktails made with gin, sherry, and vermouth, drawing inspiration from Spanish and Portuguese bars. Atlántico will function as a casual cafe space during the day on weekdays, and there will be weekend brunch service. It’s opening in the former Southern Proper space. 600 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring 2020.

French Quarter

Coming to Downtown Crossing from the team behind nearby spots Back Deck and Fajitas and ‘Ritas, French Quarter will draw influence from the food of New Orleans with an ambiance to match. “We plan on recreating a French Quarter neighborhood watering hole,” co-owner and chef Paul Sussman previously told Eater. “We are trying to do pretty much traditional New Orleans — maybe updated a bit, but not chef-interpretations.” The menu will include jambalaya, gumbo, fried catfish, etouffee, and more, as well as lunchtime po’ boys and muffaletta sandwiches. Yes, there will be beignets on the dessert menu. The cocktail and beer lists will also reflect New Orleans. 545 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.

The Gallows

The Gallows, a staple of Boston’s South End, is expanding to Watertown — yet another addition to the increasingly stacked lineup at the Arsenal Yards development — and it will be a “hybrid concept” with its sibling doughnut chain, Blackbird Doughnuts. The new location will have room for outdoor dining and private events, too. 485 Arsenal St., Watertown. Anticipated opening timeline: Fall 2020.

Grand Tour [NOW OPEN]

From Michael Serpa of the popular Back Bay seafood restaurant Select Oyster Bar comes Grand Tour, a Parisian-inspired bistro featuring classics like steak frites and more. The menu mainly features vegetables and meats (including game), not very much seafood, leaving that to Select. The name is a reference to the famous trio of European bicycle races — the Tour de France, la Vuelta a España, and the Giro D’Italia. Enjoy an all-American by-the-glass wine list (with some French options by the bottle), escargot pie, and caviar omelets. Open for lunch and dinner daily. 314 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston. Opened: January 29, 2020.

Lenox Sophia

The intimate South Boston space that used to house the original KO Pies location will soon be home to Lenox Sophia, a modern American restaurant from chef Shi Mei, an alum of Asta, Whaling in Oklahoma, and Buttonwood. Mei plans to feature ingredients sourced around New England. 87 A St., South Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Lucie Drink & Dine (stylized as LUCIE Drink + Dine)

The longtime Brasserie Jo space at the Colonnade Hotel will get new life this year as Lucie, a “neighborhood restaurant and bar featuring a modern global menu.” Grill 23 and Oak Long Bar alum Michael Chandler will head up the kitchen; he’s also worked at several Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants in New York. 120 Huntington Ave., Back Bay, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Late winter 2020.

Mothership

First announced back in early 2018, Steve “Nookie” Postal and Liza Shirazi’s Mothership is finally under construction as of early 2020, located in the Alewife area, near one of its siblings, Revival Cafe & Kitchen. While the Mothership plans have likely evolved a bit over the past two years and Postal and Shirazi haven’t yet shared many current details, Postal suggested in 2018 that it would be a beer hall with food (sausages, pretzels, and the like) and games (like shuffleboard and Golden Tee). 125 Cambridgepark Dr., Alewife, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.

Nautilus Pier 4

The Nautilus, one of Nantucket’s trickiest reservations to snag, is expanding to Pier 4 in Boston’s Seaport District, where it will join the recently opened Woods Hill Pier 4. Like its Nantucket counterpart, Nautilus Pier 4 will feature a seasonal menu that touches on Asian and Latin cuisines, with dishes like tempura oyster tacos, steamed pork buns, blue crab fried rice, and Peking duck. 300 Pier Four Blvd., Seaport District, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Northern Spy

A bit outside of the immediate Boston area, Northern Spy is coming to Canton, courtesy of the Loyal Nine team from Cambridge. The family-friendly “classic New England restaurant” will open at a historic copper mill at the Paul Revere Heritage Site, serving dishes like prime rib, chowder, and Parker House rolls — as New England as it gets. 96 Revere St., Canton. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Shu Daxia

This hot pot chain is based in Chengdu City in the Sichuan province in China and plans to open in Kenmore Square in the space currently occupied by Scoozi. Shu Daxia has expanded beyond China to include franchises in Australia, Japan, and Malaysia, but the Kenmore location will be the first in the United States. Shu Daxia’s menu includes items such as pork ribs, tripe, and shaved beef — but the most exciting might be goose intestine, which comes served in a glass goose sculpture. 580 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.

Tasty Burger

Tasty Burger is still a relatively small, local chain. The forthcoming downtown location — which will battle Shake Shack for those hungry college student and tourist dollars — will be Tasty Burger’s fifth location. The so-called “Big Tasty” is among the best fast-food burgers on the planet — the more locations slinging them, the better. 48 Winter St., Downtown Crossing, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Winter 2020.

Tiger Sugar

This Taiwanese boba chain is enjoying an explosion of popularity on Instagram thanks to its photogenic brown sugar boba, and it’s in the midst of rapid expansion around the United States, making moves into multiple cities. The Boston area is on the list, with locations slated for Cambridge and Allston. Addresses unknown. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Unnamed Cafe (With a Liquor License) at Brookline Booksmith

Coolidge Corner’s decades-old bookstore Brookline Booksmith is taking over a 4,000-square-foot adjacent space to add more room for retail as well as a cafe with a full liquor license. The bookstore hasn’t shared too many details yet, but construction will begin in June after the end of the lease of the Verizon store currently in the space. 283 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Anticipated opening timeline: Fall 2020.

Unnamed Project From the Brewer’s Fork Team

The popular Charlestown restaurateurs behind Brewer’s Fork will open a second restaurant in Charlestown, located in the longtime Navy Yard Bistro space. It will likely follow in the footsteps of Navy Yard Bistro and showcase wine (which would also differentiate it from Brewer’s Fork, which focuses on beer). The team hasn’t announced many details yet, but they’ve described the restaurant as “an American bistro” and expressed excitement for chef and co-owner John Payne to have a chance to highlight something other than the wood-fired pizzas for which Brewer’s Fork is known. 1 Sixth St., Charlestown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: 2020.

Unnamed Project From the Shōjō Team

Brian Moy, who owns Shōjō and Ruckus — and who formerly operated BLR by Shōjō — is planning to expand his mini-empire in Chinatown. Toro and Tiger Mama alum Mike Stark will be at the helm of the kitchen (he’s been the executive chef of Moy’s restaurant group for a few years now), serving a mystery menu to be revealed at a later date. (It seems likely that it will take after its siblings, which are each inspired by various aspects of Asian cuisines.) 7 Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Spring 2020.

High Street Place

100 High St., Boston, MA 02110 Visit Website

Double Zero

163 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

Comfort Kitchen

611 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, MA 02125 Visit Website

Ivory Pearl

1704 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02445

Toscanini's

899 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617 491 5877 Visit Website

Mothership

, Cambridge, MA

Bucktown Chicken & Fish

1522 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02120 Visit Website

Landsmith

190 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148 Visit Website

Tambo 22

22 Adams St., Chelsea, MA 02150 Visit Website

The Hub on Causeway

100 Causeway Street, , MA 02114

Grand Tour

314 Newbury Street, , MA 02115 (857) 277-0800 Visit Website

Super 88 Market Food Connection

1 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134 (617) 787-2288

El Tacuba

35 Salem St., Medford, MA 02155 Visit Website

Tsurutontan (Kenmore Square)

500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215 Visit Website

Faces Brewing Co.

50 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148 Visit Website

Krasi and Hecate

48 Gloucester St., Boston, MA 02115

Lenox Sophia

87 A St., South Boston, MA 02127

Servia

126 State St., Boston, MA 02109

Barra (Union Square)

23A Bow St., Somerville, MA 02143

Dorchester Brewing Company

1250 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02125 (617) 514-0900 Visit Website

50Kitchen

1450 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA 02122 (617) 474-2433 Visit Website

Mahaniyom

236 Washington St., Brookline, MA 02445

Hen Chicken Rice

24 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143

Dear Annie

1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 Visit Website

Lord Hobo (Seaport District, Boston)

2 Dry Dock Ave., Boston, MA 02210 Visit Website
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