Welcome to the Eater Boston restaurant openings roundup; this page is updated occasionally, 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.) Given the current pandemic situation, all restaurant openings, until further notice, are for takeout and/or delivery only.
June 18, 2020: Jamaican Food in Allston, a Soft-Serve Snack Shack in Inman, and More
On June 19, Jamaica Mi Hungry founder Ernie Campbell is expanding again, bringing his Jamaican food company to Allston with a long-term pop-up at 182 Western Ave. (formerly the home of the Rabottini’s Pizza and Cafe Beatrice pop-ups). For the summer, the Jamaica Mi Hungry food truck will serve takeout lunch in the Western Avenue parking lot before the business transitions into the restaurant space in the fall, also adding dinner service, according to a representative for Dorchester-based food business incubator and nonprofit organization CommonWealth Kitchen, of which Jamaica Mi Hungry is a member. The Western Avenue restaurant will remain in operation through the end of 2020.
Jamaica Mi Hungry also previously popped up in CommonWealth Kitchen’s Kendall Square kiosk, and Campbell has been heavily involved with the organization during the pandemic, managing kitchen operations for the organization’s CommonTable initiative, helping prepare over 25,000 meals for families in need.
Campbell founded Jamaica Mi Hungry in 2012 as a catering company, later adding food trucks as well as a seasonal restaurant in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. In September 2019, he opened a permanent restaurant in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, which has been well-received in its early months.
The Allston pop-up is part of Havard’s Zone 3 initiative, which aims to liven up Western Avenue with a variety of pop-ups, programs, and more. (Somerville’s Aeronaut Brewing has spent four summers popping up down the street with a beer garden and live music series as part of the initiative. COVID-19 has put the 2020 season on pause, though.)
When Jamaica Mi Hungry opens on June 19, it will operate on weekdays only, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., to start. Stay tuned for updates on a transition into the restaurant space and the addition of dinner service, which will include dishes like jerk chicken, coconut rice and beans, and more. Given the takeout nature of everything right now, Campbell is adding some new grab-and-go-friendly meals like jerk chicken wraps, too. More information (and a menu) here.
Located in the tiny sliver of Inman Square that’s over the Somerville line, neighborhood favorite Trina’s Starlite Lounge has temporarily transformed its adjacent sibling sports bar, Parlor Sports, into a takeout window called Starlite Snack Shack (1 Beacon St., Somerville). The Snack Shack opened on June 17, serving some Trina’s favorites — burgers, hot dogs, fries, and onion strings — as well as High Life and rosé cans, root beer floats, and soft-serve ice cream. It’s open daily from 2 to 9 p.m.
Roslindale’s La Taqueria (636 Hyde Park Ave.) has expanded to Dedham (320 Washington St.), open as of June 15 and accepting online orders and phone orders (781-686-9111) for takeout and delivery. Owner Diana Gualdron told Patch that the original location, which is two years old, already sees a lot of customers coming in from the Dedham area, so now it will be easier to deliver to them. The menu includes dishes such as tortas, taco salads, quesadillas, burritos, and lots more.
Somerville isn’t the only spot with a new ice cream option: Vermont-based chain Ben & Jerry’s has opened a new franchise at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development (103 Arsenal Yards). The shop, which opened on June 6, is currently offering takeout and delivery from 1 to 9 p.m., serving a full menu of cones, cups, sundaes, pints, and more. Online preordering and curbside pickup are available.
June 10, 2020: Mango Blackberry Kettle Sours, Raw Bar Platters, and More
The waterfront neighborhood of Annisquam is getting a new restaurant on June 18: Talise will open in the longtime Market space on Lobster Cove (33 River Rd.), debuting with takeaway meal kits, local goods, wine, beer, and raw bar and charcuterie arrangements to start. (Market closed earlier this spring.)
For now, hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday for the provisions, wine, and beer takeout, while the menu of weekend meal kits will be posted at the beginning of each week for preorder and weekend pickup between 4 and 6 p.m. More details here — and note that delivery by boat will be added in the future.
The 65-seat seasonal restaurant comes from wife-and-husband duo Ariel and Joshua Smith and Ariel’s sister Sarah Clasby Becker. Joshua Smith was previously chef and partner at Market sibling Short & Main and has also worked alongside nationally known chefs like Gabrielle Hamilton, Sean Brock, and Ashley Christensen; Ariel Smith has spent much of her career at Neptune Oyster Bar, a seafood icon in Boston’s North End; and Clasby Becker also worked at Neptune, as well as Eastern Standard.
Talise will be serving plenty of seafood and locally sourced produce from around the Cape Ann region.
This optimistic early March roundup highlighted 15 exciting restaurants that were likely to open in the Boston area in spring 2020 — before the long-lasting effects of the pandemic had really become clear. Now, most upcoming openings are delayed quite a bit. But one of the restaurants on the map, Chic Chick, did manage to open this spring (see below), and one more arrives today: Faces Brewing Co. (50 Pleasant St., Malden).
Given the current limitations of dining out in Massachusetts — no dining inside restaurants yet — the spacious brewpub is debuting outdoors as a beer garden on June 10, featuring some beers on draft and a food menu of the kinds of things you’d want to eat with beer: hearty salads and flatbreads; pretzels with beer cheese and mustard; fried chicken sandwiches; bacon cheeseburgers; mini doughnuts; and more. (Executive chef Ezra Gold is an alum of Alden & Harlow and Waypoint in Cambridge.) The opening tap list includes a mango blackberry kettle sour, several New England IPAs, a blonde stout with coffee, and more. It’s open from 3 to 9 p.m. on opening day; check the Faces website for updates on COVID hours.
The Faces team includes four Martignetti siblings, whose father and uncles operated a Cambridge nightclub called Faces from the 1970s through 1990. (The family was also behind the now-closed but never forgotten Lanes and Games in Cambridge.) Childhood friend Eddie Ducharme is the head brewer for the new Faces, which is located inside an old bank that was reportedly the site of the first armed bank robbery in United States history. Customers will have to wait at least a few more weeks to dine inside and check out the old bank vaults, which have been repurposed into private dining rooms.
“Working in this business must run in our blood,” cofounder Bob Martignetti previously told Eater, “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.”
May 12, 2020: Dumplings, Scallion Pancake Roll-Ups, and More
Dumpling Daughter, with locations in Weston and Cambridge’s Kendall Square, adds a new outpost on May 13 at 1309 Beacon St., Brookline, per an announcement from owner Nadia Liu Spellman. The address is right in the heart of Coolidge Corner, by the Trader Joe’s. “Our loyal fans have been extremely supportive during this time and we have never felt as needed as we are now,” writes Spellman. “From the beginning it has been our mission and duty to serve clean and genuine Chinese homestyle fare, and we are so happy that our food comforts people today.”
The Brookline takeout menu includes a variety of dumplings, buns, scallion pancake roll-ups, rice bowls, noodle dishes, bubble teas, and more, and there are a number of gluten-free and vegan options available. All locations are completely nut-free.
Online ordering is available via the restaurant’s website, and customers can also call (617) 383-5282 or use the new Dumpling Daughter app, available via the iPhone App Store or Google Play, to order from the new location, which is open Wednesday through Sunday. The Weston location is also currently open for takeout (also closed Mondays and Tuesdays), while the Cambridge location is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
Spellman opened the original Weston location in 2014. “My mother is my number one consultant,” Spellman told Eater at the time, “and the menu is based on my love for her home cooking.” Her mother, Sally Ling, was behind the eponymous Sally Ling’s in the 1980s, a trailblazing upscale Chinese restaurant on Boston’s waterfront. Dumpling Daughter takes a much more casual approach, offering a quick-service nod to the family legacy.
May 4, 2020: Hainanese Chicken Rice, French Pastries, Apple Fritter Bread, and More
Hainanese chicken rice restaurant Chic Chick opens at 164 Brighton Ave. in Allston on May 5, replacing Chinese restaurant Iron Kitchen, which was under the same ownership. To start, Chic Chick will offer a limited menu for takeout and delivery, including the “classic” — poached chicken thigh with skin, served with jasmine rice, sweet soy sauce, garlic ginger sauce, ginger scallion sauce, and chicken soup. One variation, also available on the opening menu, replaces the thigh with skinless breast and the jasmine rice with brown rice, and the other variation is the same as the classic but adds skinless breast. Prices range from $10 to $12, and add-ons are available, such as extra chicken and extra sauces.
Hainanese chicken rice is a popular dish throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine; it originated with emigrants from Hainan, China. Chic Chick is positioning itself as a Singaporean restaurant. (Meanwhile in Somerville, another Hainanese chicken rice restaurant, Hen Chicken Rice, is on the verge of opening but is serving the Thai take on the dish rather than Singaporean.)
Once restaurants are allowed to operate normally again, Chic Chick plans to expand the menu to include teas, tea lattes, and more.
For now, customers can order lunch and dinner daily via direct online ordering or third-party platforms such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Chowbus, Ricepo, and Uber Eats.
Colette Bakery, a self-described “little French bakery who’s going to make you travel,” opened on April 18 and is already making a splash with Medford residents with its French pastries, breads, sandwiches, quiche, and flatbreads.
Customers can order online or by phone (781-396-2313) for pickup at the store, which is located at 509 Main St. Due to current restrictions, two customers are allowed inside at a time; curbside pickup is also available.
The Studio Cafe has opened at 327 Main St., Woburn, serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches, smoothie, pastries, and more. Order online or by phone (781-404-6056), and check out some food photos on Facebook, like this apple fritter bread. Closed Mondays.
April 24, 2020: Spicy Hunan Cuisine, Mexican Falafel Rice Bowls, Kabob Pizza, and More
In Cleveland Circle, My Happy Hunan Kitchen has replaced Feng Shui at 1926 Beacon St. As the name suggests, the restaurant focuses on spicy Hunan cuisine from China, courtesy of a pair of chefs, Wei Ding and De Wu, who both come from Changsha, Hunan’s capital. Ding owned his own restaurant chain in China, and Wu is an alum of one of the Boston area’s only other restaurants to specifically focus on Hunan food, Sumiao Hunan Kitchen in Kendall Square.
Customers can order takeout online, directly from the restaurant, while delivery orders can be placed on third-party platforms such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. On the menu: brown sugar buns, pork soup bao, leeks with pig ear, sizzling cumin beef, roasted whole fish, and lots more.
A new fast-casual Mexican restaurant, Sombrero Chiquito, opened in early March at 197 Massachusetts Ave., near Symphony Hall. Co-owner and founder Sabrina Santos, who is originally from Brazil but has spent many years in the Boston area, intends to serve food that is “authentic, but also simple and affordable ... homemade recipes with a modern twist,” per the restaurant’s website.
Sombrero Chiquito is currently delivering via DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats; call the restaurant directly (857-265-3254) for takeout orders. The menu includes a choice of bases (burrito, rice bowl, salad, tacos, quesadilla, nachos), fillings (grilled chicken, spicy chicken, braised beef, shredded pork, Mexican falafel, adobo tofu), and sides (Mexican falafel, chips with salsa or guac, plantains).
Fried chicken alert: Mega-chain Popeyes has expanded to West Roxbury (1630 VFW Parkway) and has a drive-thru window.
Weltkuche Bistro (5 Glassworks Ave., Cambridge) is now open adjacent to the in-the-works Cambridge Crossing development by Lechmere, which will eventually be home to a trio of new restaurants from the Puritan & Co. team and a distillery and brewery from the Lamplighter Brewing team.
The new restaurant quietly opened for a few days in March before shutting back down for the pandemic, but as of April 6, it is back up and running with a limited menu for takeout and delivery. (Order online or call 617-714-3820.)
The current menu includes dishes such as bacon mac and cheese, Korean short rib fried rice, paneer tikka masala, and more, as well as beer and wine. (When dine-in service is allowed again, the restaurant will have a full liquor selection, but the current requirement only allow restaurants to sell beer and wine for takeout and delivery.)
Narinder Guhania, who is behind Porter Square mainstay Passage to India, is also behind Weltkuche Bistro. Weltküche is a German word meaning “world cuisine.”
The Biscuit, a 15-year-old Somerville cafe at 406 Washington St., closed at the end of 2019, with cofounder Andrew Platt citing “six years of fruitless negotiation with an unreasonable landlord.” However, Platt raised nearly $21,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to help with a planned relocation to a mystery “unique” and “subterranean” location nearby.
While that’s in the works, the Biscuit is currently cooking and baking out of In Season Food Shop at Bow Market (1 Bow Market Way), accepting takeout orders online with 24 hours’ notice for pickup between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The Biscuit is also selling products during Bow Market’s three-times-a-week Safe Supply outdoor market.
The current range of Biscuit products includes items like biscuits, scones, muffins, quiche, various loaves of bread, cookies, and more.
Sina’s Kabob House is now up and running at 150 Main St. The family-run restaurant is serving a menu that includes kabobs and pizza — as well as kabob pizza — and more for takeout and delivery daily, dinner as well as lunch. Call (978) 587-3098 and pay by credit card over the phone for takeout orders; use Grubhub for delivery orders.
Small local coffee chain Coffee Break Cafe opened a new South Quincy location at 102 Franklin St. in late March; there are currently two locations in Quincy, one in Milton, and one in Hyde Park, with each currently offering call-ahead ordering and in-store pickup. Consult the company’s website for hours and contact information for each location. In addition to a wide range of coffees and coffee-based beverages, Coffee Break Cafe also serves smoothies and other frozen drinks and a variety of baked goods.
Mexican restaurant Casa Blanca is now open at 207 Main St. (Route 38), a former Chili’s space. It’s part of a local chain with locations in Andover, Billerica, and beyond, and it serves chimichangas, flautas, enchiladas, and more. The current Wilmington menu is available here, and customers can call (978)-447 1299 for takeout or order delivery via DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to Sunday.