On a Central Square corner that once housed the region’s best-named restaurant, Pu Pu Hot Pot, along with the original Toscanini’s location and more, change has been underway for quite some time. A brand new building now stands on the site (907 Main St., Cambridge), housing the soon-to-open 907 Main, a boutique hotel with a variety of dining options (including the return of Toscanini’s). The hotel is slated to open in May 2020.
In addition to acclaimed ice cream shop Toscanini’s, 907 Main will be home to Belmont-based bakery Praliné French Patisserie and two restaurants overseen by executive chef Justin Urso: the Dial, a full-service restaurant with a globally inspired menu and an outdoor patio, and Blue Owl, a rooftop bar with a 40-seat outdoor terrace and an industrial vibe.
Urso is an alum of Frank McClelland’s now-defunct L’Espalier and Sel de la Terre, Catalyst in Cambridge, Del Posto in New York, and more. He’s joined by Roberto Porsia, the hotel’s director of food and beverage, who is also an alum of McClelland’s restaurants, as well as Jody Adams’ now-closed Rialto and Boston’s two Serafina franchises.
Blue Owl’s name and logo — not to mention some of its desserts — are inspired by Tootsie Roll Industries and the company’s iconic Tootsie Pop-chomping owl. The Cambridge Brands candy factory, owned by Tootsie Roll Industries, is a very short walk away. Depending on the time you pass by, you might smell the scent of Junior Mints lingering on the breeze: The factory produces 14 million a day. (It also produces Sugar Babies and Charleston Chews, but Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops are produced elsewhere.)
Urso and the Blue Owl team are sharing an early look at the menu for the rooftop bar; it centers around snacky bar bites, skewers, and such:
Bar Bites ($3-6)
- Yucca fries — mojo aioli
- Chickpea samosa — mint raita
- Tostones — charred habanero aioli, pikliz
- Duck fat fries — sambal aioli, curry mayo, house ketchup
- Popcorn — green Thai curry powder, coconut oil
To Share ($8-16)
- Duck confit bao buns — hoisin sauce, kewpie mayo
- Chilaquiles — tortilla chips, salsa verde, shredded chicken, cotija
- Korean fried chicken wings — gochujang glaze
- Za’atar-spiced crispy lamb ribs — sumac dipping sauce
- Coney Island dogs — beef frankfurters, chili, onions, yellow mustard
- Shrimp tacos — jalapeno salsa, cilantro lime slaw
Skewers ($6-11, with three per order)
- Lamb kofte — tzatziki
- Pork vindaloo — mango chutney
- Curried shrimp — charred lime
- Chicken tikka — coriander chutney
- Deep-fried Junior Mints
- Black sesame mochi
- Confectioner’s Row candy bowl — Tootsie Rolls, Junior Mints, Charleston Chew, Sugar Daddies, Tootsie Pops
Once Blue Owl opens, the outdoor terrace portion will be open when weather permits, most likely from around mid-April through late October. The indoor portion will have plenty of windows so diners can still enjoy the rooftop feel in colder months.
The hotel itself is currently heading toward a May 2020 opening; stay tuned for timeline updates on each of the restaurants, but according to the current plan, the Dial and Blue Owl should open at the same time as the hotel, with Toscanini’s and Praliné following soon after.