clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Internet Meme Salt Bae Opens Steakhouse in Boston

Plus, more recent restaurant openings in and around the city

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Salt Bae Salt Bae-ing at Nusr-et Steakhouse in New York
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

Welcome to the Eater Boston restaurant openings roundup; this page is updated regularly, with the most recent updates at the top, highlighting all the new restaurants that have opened in the Boston area in recent weeks. (Here’s last season’s archive, including Jamaica Mi Hungry’s temporary Allston expansion, Faces Brewing Co. in Malden, Dumpling Daughter’s new Coolidge Corner outpost, Hainanese chicken rice restaurant Chic Chick in Allston, and more.)

As of June 22, a number of Boston-area restaurants have resumed dine-in service following three months of takeout and delivery only. Likewise, some new restaurant openings are offering indoor table service right away. The level of service offered is indicated in each description. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in the state, please visit the Massachusetts COVID-19 website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Something missing? Email boston@eater.com. (Looking for info on recent restaurant closures? Find that here.)

September 18, 2020: Pricey Steaks From an Internet Meme

BOSTON PROPER

BACK BAY

With local, independent restaurants struggling to survive as the pandemic drags on in its sixth month, it is perhaps not the ideal time for an out-of-town internet meme/butcher/restaurateur to drop a pricey steakhouse on Boston. Nonetheless, Nusret Gökçe — better known as Salt Bae — makes his Boston debut today, September 18, opening a new outpost of his Nusr-et steakhouse on the edge of Back Bay and Bay Village.

The 100 Arlington St. space was previously home to Nahita, which drew influences from Peruvian and Japanese cuisine and closed in late 2019 after a year in business. Turkish-based restaurant group Doğuş Restaurant Entertainment and Management (Dream, stylized as d.ream) was behind Nahita and is also behind Gökçe’s Nusr-et-branded steakhouses and burger restaurants, so it was no huge surprise last December when Gökçe was spotted scoping out the empty Nahita space and posting a tour of the interior to his Instagram story, vaguely referring to it as his “Boston location.”

Posts to Gökçe’s Instagram story today reveal that the high-ceilinged space looks nearly identical to when it was Nahita, with orange accents, distinctive columns, an eye-catching mosaic-style wall, and lush greenery.

Nusr-et Boston doesn’t have its own website yet, but the general Nusr-et website reveals a menu shared by the international group of restaurants: various cuts of steak and lamb; several types of meatballs — including heart-shaped; salads; and typical steakhouse sides, like potatoes and greens.

Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema visited the New York outpost when it first opened in early 2018, dropping $320 on a dinner for two, finding it to be more satisfying as dinner theater than a steakhouse — “but only if Salt Bae is in the house.” (Given the pandemic, does anyone really want Salt Bae hovering over their table, salting their steaks with his signature flip of the arm, which lets the salt bounce again his elbow before it lands?)

In fact, other menu items also involved tableside preparation, from sushi that arrived on a cart “like a tiny meat Uber” to a $30 beef carpaccio appetizer that “involved damp slices of meat” covered with balsamic to a tough and “unremarkable” $25 butter lettuce salad “tossed at the table with too little dressing.” Even the baklava was sliced and stuffed with ice cream at the table. It will be interesting to see if Nusr-et’s tableside dramatics continue during the pandemic.

Sietsema was somewhat disappointed with the centerpiece, the steaks — “nearly all of the cuts are wet-aged wagyu beef, and thus a little rubbery and low on flavor, though nicely marbled with fat,” he wrote. The steak was perfectly cooked, though, “with some nice edge fat that we willingly gobbled.”

The steaks were priced from $70 to $275 without sides and were big enough to feed two, “or almost,” Sietsema noted. (These were 2018 New York City prices; 2020 Boston prices may vary.)

Several other New York critics were equally unenthused, calling the restaurant “Public Rip-off No. 1” and “messy around the edges,” while others admitted that having Salt Bae show up tableside was “embarrassingly thrilling” and that he has “obvious talents as a salesman and hardworking restaurateur.”

While Gökçe has built quite a following on the internet for his appearance and signature salt move, his expansion to the United States — locations are open in New York and Miami, with several others in the works — hasn’t been without controversy.

In late 2018, around 100 protestors showed up outside the Miami branch after Gökçe posted about feeding Venezuelan authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro at the Istanbul location of the steakhouse. The previous year, shortly after opening the Miami restaurant, he had also angered residents by posting a photo of himself dressed as Fidel Castro.

In 2019, Gökçe’s company reportedly paid four former New York servers a $230,000 out-of-court settlement following allegations that servers were not informed about exactly how much was collected in tips and instead received weekly checks that may or may not have been for the correct amount they were owed. The servers reportedly alleged that Gökçe “doesn’t care about local laws.”

Also in 2019, a server at the Miami location sued Gökçe in federal court, alleging illegal tip pooling and other wage violations; a judge later ruled that more servers could join in a collective-action lawsuit. Gökçe ultimately won the case.

A 2020 Vice report also details allegations of sex discrimination and union busting within the Salt Bae empire.

Nusr-et Boston opens today but hasn’t yet announced details on hours, reservations, and whether takeout or delivery will be available; stay tuned for updates.


September 14, 2020: Roast Beef Sandwiches at a Food Hall, Arepas in Brighton, and More

A roast beef sandwich with rare beef and barbecue sauce. The bun has sesame seeds and poppyseeds on top.
Roast beef sandwich from Cusser’s
Holly Rike

BOSTON PROPER

BRIGHTON

In the former Green Briar space (304 Washington St.), a new Latin American restaurant is now open — Peka, from owner Katiuska Valiente. Pedro Alarcon of the now-defunct La Casa de Pedro in Watertown and Boston is in the kitchen. (“There is nobody better than him when we talk about Latin food,” Valiente tells Eater.)

Peka is currently offering takeout and dine-in, serving dishes like pabellón criollo, a Venezuelan shredded beef dish with rice and beans; arepas with a variety of filling options, such as roasted pork or carne mechada; Cuban roasted pork; and more.

Valiente designed the space, she told Eater, “with a touch of inspiration of Venezuela and Latin countries.”

FENWAY

Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, the casual offshoot and neighbor of Mooncusser Fish House in Back Bay, has double food hall expansion plans in the works. As announced a year ago, a new location of Cusser’s is slated to open at Hub Hall, the forthcoming food hall at the Hub on Causeway development in Boston’s West End.

But first, a just-announced location of Cusser’s will open this week (Wednesday, September 16) at Fenway’s Time Out Market Boston (401 Park Dr.). Like the other Time Out vendors, Cusser’s offers a concise menu — shorter than at its original location on Stuart Street — including lobster rolls ($26), roast beef sandwiches made with wagyu, served rare ($12), fish tacos ($10), fish and chips ($15), seafood chowder made with skate broth and scallops ($8), onion rings ($4), and fries ($4). The lobster rolls and roast beef sandwiches come in two styles each: a cold lobster roll with tarragon and grainy mustard mayo; a hot lobster roll with lobster beurre rouge; the Cusser’s three-way roast beef with barbecue sauce, mayo, and jack cheese; and the 80 Thoreau roast beef with cheddar, pickled red onions, and Thoreau sauce. (80 Thoreau is the name of Cusser’s upscale big sibling out in Concord.)

Cusser’s takes up the mantle from a now-departed vendor from Time Out’s opening lineup, Saltie Girl, which also served hot and cold lobster rolls, chowder, and fish and chips. (Accordingly, Cusser’s is opening in the former Saltie Girl space at the market.)

Cusser’s, Mooncusser Fish House, Moon Bar (located downstairs from Mooncusser), and 80 Thoreau come from chef Carolyn Johnson and co-owner Ian Calhoun; Johnson is an alum of Icarus and Rialto.

This is the second recent addition to the Time Out lineup; see July 29 update below for details on Nu Burger, the other newcomer.

CAMBERVILLE

INMAN SQUARE

Two bits of news for Cambridge’s Inman Square: Puritan & Co. has opened a takeout shop in the space next door, dubbed Puritan Provisions (1164 Cambridge St.), serving a short menu of breakfast and lunch items a few days a week (primarily bagels and sandwiches), along with some bake-at-home entrees and pantry staples.

At 204 Hampshire St., the former City Girl Cafe space, Everett-based Tapiocarias House of Flavors has opened a new location. The Brazilian restaurant serves acai bowls, sandwiches, pizza, and more.

UNION SQUARE

Bibimbap shop Perillas, version 2.0, is now open at Somerville’s Bow Market (1 Bow Market Way). The Korean takeout joint was a year-long pop-up tenant at the market from fall 2018 to 2019, and it has reopened — this time in the former Jaju Pierogi space — as a permanent tenant. For now, the hours are limited to 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 12 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The menu is simple: bibimbap. Choose from bulgogi beef or baked tofu.

WARD TWO

As mentioned in the September 8 update of Eater Boston’s beer news roundup, Bergamot (118 Beacon St., Somerville) has completed its transition into FAB (“Food Art Beer”), a gastropub and art gallery serving “progressive American cuisine” in collaboration with new Somerville brewery FAB. The food comes from Bergamot chef and owner Keith Pooler and “second in culinary command” Cam Catarius; the beers come from FAB, which is contract-brewing at Dorchester Brewing Company (but has a Somerville facility in the works). The opening menu includes dishes such as tomato toast, mussels, grilled Cornish hen, and a burger.

FARTHER AFIELD

BROOKLINE

Cobble is now open on the second floor of the Arcade Building in Coolidge Corner (318 Harvard St.), a BYOB, reservation-only, semi-private restaurant from owner Emily Vena (the longtime La Morra chef) and partner Rachel Trudel.

Earlier in the summer, the Cobble team started offering “Cobble at Home” takeout and delivery options, which are still available. Now that the venue is open, groups of five to six diners can take over a whole dining room, or groups of two to four diners can be seated in a dining room with just one other party, distanced, for a BYOB, family-style feast with a menu that changes weekly. (The total capacity across the two dining rooms is 12.)

This week’s menu, for example, includes tomato soup, watermelon salad, rolls with maple butter, ricotta cavatelli, lamb or kale polpette, potato salad, and a fudge brownie dessert, priced at $85 per person. The menu offers suggested wine pairings, but customers must bring the wine (or beer, or spirits) themselves. House-made cocktail mixers are available for purchase onsite.

Meant to feel like a dinner party, Cobble operates on Friday and Saturday nights, with the food prepared in a commissary kitchen offsite and finished at the small kitchen at the Arcade space.

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

Boston chef Kevin O’Donnell, who opened celebrated South End Italian restaurant SRV with Michael Lombardi in the beginning of 2016, has returned to his home state of Rhode Island and opened a new restaurant, Giusto, located on the waterfront at the new Hammetts Hotel (4 Commercial Wharf). It’s O’Donnell’s first solo project. Kyle Stamps (the Mooring, 22 Bowen’s) is in the kitchen as executive chef.

Giusto’s Italian-inspired menu (O’Donnell describes it as “freestyle Italian”) pays homage to Rhode Island ingredients and culture — think Calabrian-style stuffed quahogs. The opening menu also includes dishes such as spaghetti with clams and chourico; tagliolini with “not your nonna’s meatballs,” red sauce, and parm; “corn found on an Italian street” with pepperoni and ricotta; and fried calamari with squid ink tempura, capers, and cherry peppers.

The beverage list features local beers and Italian wines, with an emphasis on natural and biodynamic options.

The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, serving lunch and dinner daily. There’s also private dining space available.


August 26, 2020: Vietnamese Coffee in Fenway, Italian Comfort Food in Waltham, and More

A plate of rigatoni swaddled in butter and cheese, and topped with fresh chopped herbs.
Pasta at Sweet Basil, which has expanded from Needham to Waltham
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

BOSTON PROPER

FENWAY

The team behind a recently opened West Roxbury banh mi shop called Banh Mi Oi (see July 29 update below) has been busy lately: It recently opened a cafe in Fenway, too. Cafe Phinista is open at 96 Peterborough St., Boston, having recently taken over the space formerly occupied by Neighborhoods Coffee and Crepes.

Owners Yeanie Bach and Phi Pham founded Cafe Phinista as a pop-up in the summer of 2019, slinging tea and coffee at various events, including the JP Flea Market and Boston Night Market. The pop-up transformed into a delivery service in January, whereby Phinista sold Vietnamese coffee brewed with a phin filter, which is like a hybrid between a pour-over and a French press.

Bach and Pham were in talks with the Neighborhoods team before the pandemic struck but eventually put their plans on hold — along with the delivery service — to pivot toward delivering coffee to hospitals, including the West Roxbury VA Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“If you look at both of our locations, they’re very centered towards hospitals because we felt that our connection to those essential workers was very strong,” Pham told Boston.com.

The Phinista menu includes Vietnamese drip coffee; a Vietnamese lavender latte; mango and passion fruit bubble tea; a creme brulee crepe; and ube lava cake. Some of the beverages are also available at Banh Mi Oi, alongside banh mi, pho, vermicelli bowls, and more.

CAMBERVILLE

HARVARD SQUARE

An acai bowl chain that originated on the Jersey Shore recently opened its third Massachusetts location. Playa Bowls — which offers a vast selection of smoothie bowls with assorted bases, including acai, pitaya, banana, chia pudding, coconut, oatmeal, and greens, along with various smoothies and juices — is now open at 71 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge.

Partners Dana and Sarosh Nentin, David Swanson, Hung Lam, and John Castiglione previously opened Playa Bowls franchises in Brighton and on the campus of Northeastern University. Playa Bowls operates 97 franchises nationwide.

FARTHER AFIELD

QUINCY

The folks behind Quincy Center restaurant the Townshend just opened another spot in the South Shore suburb: Pearl & Lime. The new restaurant from Drink alums Palmer Matthews and Devin Adams features a raw bar that includes oysters, shrimp cocktail, and ceviche, as well as small plates inspired by street food from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Diners can expect street corn, tacos, nachos, chicharrón, and pastelillos (a Puerto Rican turnover, similar to an empanada) from Los Fuentes Pastelillos, a new pop-up from chef Pedro Fuentes.

Pearl & Lime’s bar program features craft cocktails and leans heavily on rum and agave spirits (its drinks menu boasts five margaritas, for example.) There are Mexican beers on draft and by the can, and the wine list features vinho verde, rosé, and champagne.

Pearl & Lime is currently open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, takeout, and to-go cocktails Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., though it plans to expand its service to seven days a week sometime in the near future.

WALTHAM

A popular Italian restaurant in Needham is expanding to Waltham. Sweet Basil will open the doors to its second location at 469 Moody St. on September 1, joining one of the Boston area’s great food scenes. Chef and owner David Becker — who has been at the helm of the beloved Needham location for two decades now — previously operated Balani in the 469 Moody St. space but decided not to reopen it after temporarily closing it due to the pandemic, instead shifting his focus to a second Sweet Basil location.

Becker had been operating Sweet Basil pop-ups in the Balani space before the pandemic struck. He recently explained in a press release that Balani — which was more eclectic than the more straightforward Sweet Basil — was “creatively fun,” but that “nobody wanted the Sweet Basil pop-up to go away.”

Sweet Basil’s Waltham menu mimics its Needham menu — steamed mussels, chicken parmesan, octopus with ragout and eggplant, house-made ravioli, and more — and will include some favorites from Balani’s menu as specials. It will be open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sweet Basil will also sell provisions, such as house-made sauces and fresh pastas, and cocktails to go.


August 19, 2020: Pizza Everywhere, Israeli-Inspired Southern Barbecue in Sharon, and More

A New Haven-style pizza with a charred crust sits on a stack of metal trays, next to a stack of pizza boxes, in front of a lit pizza oven
New Haven’s Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana has expanded to Watertown
Katie Chudy/Eater

BOSTON PROPER

DOWNTOWN BOSTON

El Jefe’s Taqueria has expanded from Harvard Square to the edge of Boston Common (80 Boylston St., in the heart of Emerson territory). There’s also a location in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Open for takeout and delivery daily from 8 a.m. to midnight, the new location is serving burritos, tacos, fajita bowls, and more. Breakfast items such as huevos rancheros, French toast, and breakfast burritos are available until 11 a.m. Online ordering is available.

SOUTH BOSTON

15-year-old Italian restaurant Stella closed in May in Boston’s South End, but chef and owner Evan Deluty is reviving it in food truck form at 150 W. Broadway in South Boston. Stella Express is likely to have its official debut this weekend, on August 22, but Southie residents might spot it doing test runs at B Street and West Broadway before then.

Open daily, the truck will be serving breakfast sandwiches, some Stella classics (like the Bolognese), salads, a range of coffee options, and more.

As Deluty told Boston.com, “I’m not into opening a brick and mortar right now. I think most people are trying to lay low and [are in] survival mode.”

Watch for updates on the old Stella Instagram account, which is poised to be repurposed for Stella Express.

FARTHER AFIELD

CHESTNUT HILL

Roman-style pizzeria Mr. Roni Cups, also serving rotisserie chicken, crispy nori sushi tacos, and more, arrives inside Bianca on August 20 at the Street Chestnut Hill (47 Boylston St.) with delivery and takeout, as well as some indoor and outdoor dining. Bianca itself isn’t open yet. Both come from the O Ya and Hojoko team, Tim and Nancy Cushman. Read more here.

HANOVER

Quincy’s Alba steakhouse has a brand new sibling in Hanover, Alba on 53 (2053 Washington St.). While the spacious new restaurant is fairly similar to its Quincy sibling (which has been around for nearly 20 years), Alba on 53 is adding a bit of influence from Arab and Eastern Mediterranean cuisines. The new steakhouse has a 700-bottle wine list, and the opening menu features dishes such as lamb and beef meatballs with mint tzatziki; tagliatelle Bolognese; seared ahi tuna; chicken under a brick; and several cuts of steak.

Seating is available indoors and outdoors.

QUINCY

Boardwalk Pizza is now open at Victory Point (332 Victory Rd., Marina Bay) from the Frattaroli family (who are also behind quite a few restaurants in Boston’s North End) and executive chef Pino Maffeo. The crispy, thin-crust pizza is available by the pie for delivery and takeout as well as big slices (a quarter pizza each) for eating on the go around the Marina Bay boardwalk.

The menu for the waterfront pizzeria appropriately includes some seafood pizzas, with toppings such as local clams and lobsters. In addition to pizza, there are salads and subs (think chicken parm, meatball, and Caprese.)

Boardwalk Pizza is open daily, year-round, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights).

SHARON

From executive chefs Avi Shemtov and Kyle Crusius, along with pitmaster Brendan Burek, comes a new restaurant, A La Esh, that will debut on August 23, working out of sibling restaurant Simcha’s space for the time being. Eventually, it will be located in the space next to Simcha. (Shemtov is behind the modern Israeli restaurant Simcha, located at 370 Main St., as well as the Chubby Chickpea food truck, for which Crusius is chef.)

The Israeli-inspired Southern barbecue restaurant will operate on Sundays to start, beginning at 11 a.m., with beer and barbecue. When the food runs out, it closes. Order in person for takeout orders (phone ordering will be added soon) or eat outdoors. Watch A La Esh’s Facebook page for updates, including menu announcements. Per a Boston Globe article earlier this year, items like smoked turkey shawarma, smoked vegetables, and smoked hummus might be available. (A Boston.com article also hints at fermented banana pudding.)

WATERTOWN

New Haven’s famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana continues its Massachusetts invasion with a brand new location at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development (24 Eldridge Ave.), open as of August 17. The Connecticut institution, around since 1925, is known for its pleasantly charred coal-fired pizzas, which typically have a somewhat asymmetrical shape and a haphazard slicing pattern. This is the 12th location and the third in Massachusetts, joining Chestnut Hill and Burlington. All locations are currently offering takeout and delivery only; the dining rooms are temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

The new Watertown location follows in the footsteps of all the others, featuring a 600-degree coal-fired oven that is a replica of the original in New Haven. On the menu, of course, is the popular white clam pizza, Foxon Park sodas, and more. When it eventually opens for indoor dining, it will seat around 90 diners, but for now, it’s takeout and delivery only (no delivery fees for online orders over $40). Beer and wine will be available for the eventual dine-in service but not for takeout and delivery.


August 10, 2020: Mussels on the Waterfront, S’mores Skillets at a Suburban Bowling Alley, and More

A silver pan is full of steamed mussels
Mussels at the Daily Catch
The Daily Catch/Facebook

BOSTON PROPER

BACK BAY

The first Boston proper location of Denver-based burger chain Smashburger is open as of August 5 in Copley Square (545 Boylston St.), currently offering takeout and delivery, with $0 delivery fees for the restaurant’s first 30 days for orders placed through DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats. While this is the first location within Boston, Smashburger has already made its way into the state with outposts in Natick, Medford, Westwood, Attleboro, and Plainville.

The new Boylston Street location is one of the first in the chain to serve breakfast, with items such as sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches; a breakfast burger; and tater tots. Aside from breakfast, the chain serves a variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, milkshakes, and more. This location is currently open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

ROSLINDALE

Local counter-service Mexican chain Chilacates has opened its long-in-the-works Roslindale location (4257 Washington St.) in the former Redd’s in Rozzie and Tony’s Market spaces, offering takeout as well as indoor and outdoor seating. It joins two locations in Jamaica Plain as well as one each in the South End, Mission Hill, and Chestnut Hill.

Chilacates serves burritos, tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and more, fillable with proteins such as carnitas, lengua, potatoes with chorizo, and more. Here’s a look at the new space.

WATERFRONT

Sicilian-inspired seafood-and-pasta restaurant the Daily Catch — with locations in Boston’s North End, Brookline, and Vermont — has added a fourth location just a five-minute walk from the one in the North End. The newest Daily Catch is now open on Boston’s waterfront at 65 Atlantic Ave., on the edge of the North End, taking over the former Golden Goose and Kolbeh of Kabob space.

The Daily Catch originally opened in the North End in 1973. There was a location in Boston’s Seaport District for 16 years, too, but it closed in late 2018, with the owners, the Freddura family, expressing hope of finding a new location in the Seaport or elsewhere.

The new location is currently open for indoor dining and outdoor dining (two patios), operating from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Diners can call (617) 772-4400 for reservations. Takeout is also available.

CAMBERVILLE

WELLINGTON-HARRINGTON

Kantipur Cafe is now open at 119 Hampshire St. in Cambridge, which was the longtime home of Cafe Kiraz before two other short-lived cafes opened and closed there. Kantipur Cafe is serving a mix of Nepalese, Indian, and American food, with tandoori and biryani dishes; Indian classics like tikka masala, vindaloo, and saag; Nepalese momo; American sub shop standards like pizza and wings; and more.

The restaurant is currently open for dine-in service as well as takeout and delivery (free within a two-mile radius). Order online.

FARTHER AFIELD

ABINGTON

Luci’s Pizza Bar — serving pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more, including a s’mores skillet dessert — is now open at Webster Timber Lanes, an Abington bowling alley at 460 Bedford St. Dine-in and takeout are currently available, and the restaurant is open until midnight daily.

BROOKLINE

Ivory Pearl is open at 1704 Beacon St. in Brookline’s Washington Square. Read more about the seafood-and-cocktail spot from the Baldwin Bar/Blossom Bar team.

HAVERHILL

Barrio Tacos has expanded to Haverhill, opening at the Harbor Place complex (2 Merrimack St.), where it’s offering indoor and outdoor dining. It’s a small chain mostly centered around Cleveland, Ohio, but there’s also a Michigan location and one in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Cleveland-based artists — muralist Michael McNamara and metal-worker Willie Hackley — decorated the space.

Barrio Tacos centers around a build-your-own taco menu, letting customers choose from a range of tortilla options (soft or hard corn, soft flour, and more); proteins such as chorizo, jalapeno lime shrimp, or Thai chile tofu; cheeses; toppings such as Napa slaw or cilantro and onions; several salsas; and other sauces, such as mango habanero or Carolina reaper.

SWAMPSCOTT

The Cookie Monstah, a local mini-chain of food trucks and storefronts specializing in cookie ice cream sandwiches, added a third storefront on August 2. It’s located at 505 Paradise Rd. in Swampscott, joining locations in Danvers and Burlington. (There are also six Cookie Monstah food trucks, along with sibling truck SnōMobile, which serves shave ice.) The new location currently offers a walkup window for ordering.

Melissa Gale’s Cookie Monstah business began as a single food truck in 2014. The menu includes 12 to 15 cookie flavors daily (such as red velvet, salted caramel, peanut butter chocolate chip, and more), and cookies are sold individually, by the six- or 12-pack, or in ice cream sandwiches with a variety of ice cream flavors. The Green Monstah sandwich, for example, features chocolate chunk cookies with mint Oreo ice cream, while the Salty Dog sandwich pairs “totally turtle” ice cream with salted caramel cookies.


July 29, 2020: Burgers at a Food Hall, Banh Mi in West Roxbury, Pancake-Flavored Old Fashioneds in Watertown, and More

Closeup headshot of a smiling woman wearing a denim apron over a black top
Nina Festekjian of Anoush’ella has opened Nu Burger at Time Out Market Boston
Time Out Market Boston

BOSTON PROPER

EVERYWHERE

Rapper Tyga has launched a string of virtual chicken restaurants, Tyga Bites, nationwide, serving boneless chicken bites, tots, dips, and cookies, only for delivery via Grubhub, operating out of 500 existing restaurant kitchens. Local locations appear to cover pretty much the entire Boston area; many seem to be operating out of Bertucci’s addresses. If you’re craving nuggets — uh, bites — drop your address into Grubhub and it’ll bring up the nearest Tyga Bites delivery options.

FENWAY

Fenway food hall Time Out Market Boston (401 Park Dr.) reopens on the evening of July 29, bringing some changes to go with the times: more patio space; an app for contactless ordering; a variety of healthy and safety measures related to cleaning and social distancing; and such. (Plus, Bisq is expanding its menu with items similar to its Cambridge sibling — including that famous fried chicken.) The reopening also includes the opening of a brand new burger restaurant, taking over the vacant space left by Craigie Burger, which announced a few weeks ago that it would not be reopening at the food hall.

The new burger spot is appropriately named Nu Burger, and it comes from chef Nina Festekjian of Anoush’ella, an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant that also has a location at the market. At Anoush’ella, Festekjian focuses on Armenian and Lebanese flavors, but she’s going a bit more global with her Nu Burger menu, which includes six burgers (plus one for kids), each served on a brioche bun from Salem’s celebrated bakery A&J King or on local greens. Halloumi fries and parmesan truffle fries are available as sides, and hickory bacon and/or an egg can be added to any burger.

On the menu: the Fenway NuBurger (sharp cheddar, tomato, charred onion, lettuce, spicy pickle, NuSauce); the Korean Bulgogi (Asian slaw, pickled daikon, bulgogi and spicy kimchi sauces); the Umami Truffle (pecorino, truffles, fried egg, tomato, balsamic shallot, arugula, aioli); and more. There’s also a vegetarian option involving spicy cauliflower and quinoa. Prices range from $12.50 to $15.50, with the kids’ burger (or cheeseburger) and fries ringing in at $5.75.

“Our vision is to have Boston experience the way the world eats burgers,” said Festekjian, via press release.

In other Fenway restaurant opening news, Shinmio Tea opened at 900 Beacon St. on July 15, serving a variety of teas to go, including milk teas with boba, fruit teas, and tea-based smoothies with cheese foam. Peek at Instagram for a look at some of the options.

SEAPORT DISTRICT

Mayday, an outdoor shipping container cocktail bar from the Chickadee team (21 Drydock Ave.), is exactly what this summer needs. Takeout available, because takeout cocktails are a thing now (well, temporarily). The menu rotates, but you’ll usually find classic summer favorites like frozen strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas.

SOUTH END

During the pandemic, there has seemingly been an increase in “ghost kitchen” situations, where new restaurants appear out of nowhere on delivery apps but don’t have actual physical locations that customers can visit. (See Tyga Bites above.) In many cases, it’s an existing restaurant testing out a new concept and delivering out of an existing space; see Okinawa Boba Co., for example.

Speaking of boba, Milkboy Boba is one such recent addition to Caviar, Uber Eats, and other platforms. The delivery-only boba service comes from the Jaho Coffee team and operates out of Jaho’s South End, Boston, location (as well as the Salem location). The menu includes black sugar boba options, a milk tea series, tea lattes, fruit flavors, and other drinks.

WEST ROXBURY

One banh mi shop has replaced another: Banh Mi Oi is now open in the former Banh Mi Ngon space at 1759 Centre St. The team behind the new spot is also about to take over Neighborhoods Coffee & Crepes in the Fenway neighborhood to open a Vietnamese cafe called Phinista.

The Banh Mi Oi menu includes several banh mi varieties, such as barbecue pork, lemongrass steak, tomato basil sardine, and more; spring (fried) and summer (fresh) rolls; pho; vermicelli bowls; and several other items. There are a number of vegetarian options available, and there are also some drinks available that will be showcased at Phinista once that opens — fruity bubble teas, flavored Vietnamese coffees, and more.

“Just like Vietnam’s culture, although busy, people will always put time out to drop by their favorite food stall for their breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” the Banh Mi Oi team writes on Facebook. “We hope our takeout concept will provide you fresh, fast, and especially a fulfilling experience.”

In other West Roxbury news, Maria’s Kitchen is now open at 1829 Centre St., taking over a trio of spaces that previously housed a pizzeria, hair salon, and office. The casual spot serves pizza, calzones, wraps, salads, pasta, and the like.

And one more piece of West Roxbury news: Delini Gelato debuted last month at 5 Bellevue St., serving gelato that early reviewers are praising highly. There are 12 small-batch flavors available daily, including dairy-free options; check out the current offerings here, such as white chocolate, matcha, stracciatella, and honey lavender. Online ordering is available for takeout pints and other items. The shop’s Instagram account provides a detailed look into the development of Delini.

CAMBERVILLE

KENDALL SQUARE

As of July 29, the reinvention of Cafe Artscience, Senses, is open for takeout and delivery at 650 E. Kendall St., with plans to ease into indoor dining in September. Inventor and restaurant owner David Edwards has brought on chef Nadia Michaud to serve a Mediterranean-inspired menu, with drinks by Bill Codman. The interior of the restaurant, once it reopens for indoor dining, will be more colorful and plant-filled than the bright, minimalist Cafe Artscience was, and it will feature a grand piano with live music at least once a week.

For now, customers can experience Senses at home with a menu that focuses on local sourcing, especially from producers who practice regenerative agriculture. The opening takeout and delivery menu includes options such as beef tartare, wild mushroom bruschetta, stuffed calamari au gratin, a porchetta sandwich, and more.

FARTHER AFIELD

HULL

A rejuvenated Nantasket Beach boardwalk, Paragon Boardwalk, is now open, featuring lots of new dining and drinking options and entertainment: a new location for longtime Nantasket pizzeria Joseph’s Pizza; a beer hall featuring South Shore breweries such as Widowmaker and Vitamin Sea; juice and vegetarian options from Weymouth’s Revive & Co.; New Zealand-style ice cream from Far Out Ice Cream; an outdoor sports bar; and more.

QUINCY

Liberty Tavern is now open for takeout with a limited menu at 1657 Hancock St., the former Angelo’s Coal Fired Pizza space. It’s reportedly a collaboration between Evan Harrington (an alum of Lincoln Tavern in South Boston) and Nick Palermo (owner of Greyhound Tavern in Bridgewater), serving “traditional American tavern” fare and making use of a wood-fired oven for pizzas and more.

The current menu, which will expand, includes items such as a pastrami sandwich, prosciutto burrata pizza, shrimp tacos, wood-fired wings, and more.

WATERTOWN

City Works Eatery & Pour House is now open for real at 91 Arsenal Yards Blvd., having hosted a preview night right before COVID shut down restaurants statewide, stalling the official opening. With nine locations across the country, the City Works chain features a lengthy beer list and a beer-friendly American food menu — popcorn chicken, burgers (including the Impossible Burger), smoked ribs, Tex-Mex mac and cheese, and more. Weekends are for rock-and-roll-themed brunch, which includes options such as beignets, mimosa flights, and a pancake-flavored Old Fashioned.

The Watertown location is large and has a patio, semi-private dining areas, and plenty of televisions. It’s open for indoor and outdoor dining as well as takeout and delivery.


July 14, 2020: Lobster Rolls in a Picnic Grove, Fried Plantains in a Cabana, and More

Rendering of people eating at picnic tables in a grove along water, with string lighting in the trees.
Rendering of the Picnic Grove at Cambridge Crossing
Steelblue

BOSTON PROPER

BACK BAY

The newest location of Revival Cafe & Kitchen is now open at 103 Newbury St., under the Simon Pearce glassware shop, joining siblings in Cambridge’s Alewife area and Somerville’s Davis Square. All three locations are currently open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and offering online ordering for no-contact curbside pickup.

Steve “Nookie” Postal of Commonwealth and Liza Shirazi of the now-defunct Crema Cafe are behind the cheery trio of cafes, serving a range of coffee and tea drinks; pastries such as zucchini cardamom muffins, blueberry lemon coffee cake, and funfetti cookies; and breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

THEATER DISTRICT

Massachusetts’ first location of the casual Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh chain will open on July 20 at 134 Boylston St. (near Emerson). Four more locations are set to open in Boston over the next five years. Garbanzo has locations around the United States, especially concentrated in Colorado (but no farther west than that).

The menu is a build-your-own style: pick a base (pita, salad, plate, etc.), protein (grilled steak, falafel, mushrooms, etc.), vegetables/toppings (hummus, tabbouleh, pickles, etc.), and sauce (tzatziki, tahini, cilantro sauce, etc.).

CAMBERVILLE

EAST CAMBRIDGE

Will Gilson and his Puritan & Co. team have big plans for the East Cambridge development Cambridge Crossing, with a trio of new restaurants, including a rooftop bar, opening later this year, possibly in the early fall. The overall project is called the Lexington, and the name also refers more specifically to the rooftop bar, while the other two restaurants will be called Geppetto and Café Beatrice.

Starting on July 16, the Lexington will debut in outdoor form as the Lexington at the Picnic Grove in Cambridge Crossing. Meant to be a preview of the eventual rooftop bar, the outdoor restaurant will feature summer staples from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the summer. Reservations required. There’s room for 80 diners spread across socially distanced tables.

On the menu: grilled chicken wings, grilled bacon-wrapped scallops, wagyu hot dogs, Impossible tacos, lobster rolls, sundae cups, and more, as well as beer and wine.

NORTH CAMBRIDGE

Following the May 2020 announcement of the closure of the Table at Season to Taste, a four-year-old fine-dining destination in North Cambridge that had been temporarily closed since March due to the pandemic, owner Robert Harris also announced some other changes to his businesses, pivoting his catering company, Season to Taste, into a home delivery and takeout operation, Season to Go, and planning to open a more casual gastropub-like restaurant in the Table’s place.

The new restaurant opens July 17: Season to Taste (2447 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge) is meant to be more of a “neighborhood” restaurant, per a press release, with Harris noting that “opulent dining ... is not sustainable for the foreseeable future.”

Aside from Harris, one familiar face from the Table remains — pastry chef Mary Edinger, who is also an alum of Craigie on Main and No. 9 Park. Otherwise, the team is new, with Menotomy Grill alum Mark Thompson as chef de cuisine and Sycamore and Bergamot alum Olivia Rose Vienneau as beverage director.

The opening menu includes dishes such as fried plantains with cilantro-lime crema; a double-patty grass-fed beef burger with cheddar and special sauce; and a lobster roll with fries; as well as daily pastas and specials, such as butter-poached lobster campanelle with charred corn, cherry tomatoes, and basil. There are vegetarian and vegan options as well.

To start, Season to Taste will be open outdoors, with cabana-style patio seating; email info@seasoncambridge.com or call (617) 826-9037 to make a reservation. Dinner will be served from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with a late-night menu available until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Indoor dining could begin in the fall. Season to Go remains in operation, as does Season to Taste Catering.

FARTHER AFIELD

NEWBURYPORT

Tuscan Brands, a company with Italian markets and restaurants at several locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (including in Boston’s Seaport District), has added a new location in Newburyport, Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar (38 Merrimac St.). It’s the first of the company to focus on seafood and includes a raw bar, cocktails, and lengthy wine list. The coastal Italian menu also includes some pizzas and pastas popular at Tuscan Brands’ other locations. The restaurant is serving lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, as well as takeout.

QUINCY

A familiar name in Quincy bar pizza is back, sort of: The Alumni is now open at 379 Washington St., adjacent to — and from the same ownership as — Rags Tavern. The new Alumni, Rags, and an older Alumni location that opened in Weymouth in 2016 feature the pizza recipe from the now-defunct Alumni Cafe, a pizza hot spot that was open in Quincy’s Wollaston neighborhood from 1960 to 2013. (Alumni Cafe was under different ownership than the newer spots, but its recipe lives on at these and several other area restaurants.)

WEYMOUTH

4th & Cherry is now open in Weymouth Landing (59 Washington St.) in the former Passport space, with several people who were involved with Passport at the helm. Named for the owners’ favorite bars in Brooklyn, the restaurant is a “bespoke craft beer and cocktail bar” with upscale pub fare, such as short rib-stuffed pretzels, charcuterie and cheese boards, sesame-crusted tuna, and pan-seared scallops. 4th & Cherry is currently open for indoor dining and takeout.


July 6, 2020: An “Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain” in Back Bay, Kabobs in North Cambridge, and More

A root beer float in a glass sits next to a bottle of root beer with a straw dispenser visible in the back
A root beer float at the Bittersweet Shoppe on Newbury
The Bittersweet Shoppe on Newbury/Facebook

BOSTON PROPER

BACK BAY

The Bittersweet Shoppe on Newbury — which bills itself as “an old-fashioned soda fountain, gourmet coffee cafe, and Boston’s first memorable picnic experience company” — opened last month at 257 Newbury St. in Boston’s Back Bay. Founder Tracy Casavant has operated a lemonade-and-more business called Bittersweet Homestead for several years, popping up at farmers markets and other events with seasonal drinks and treats.

At the Newbury Street storefront, diners can get picnic-friendly takeout meals, as well as root beer floats, snow cones, waffles, lemonade, pastries, and more. A bit of patio seating is available.

CAMBERVILLE

NORTH CAMBRIDGE

Mediterranean Grill opened in mid-June at 2401 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, the former Fiorella’s Express space by the bike path. The new restaurant is serving a variety of kabobs, falafel plates and wraps, and more, spanning a range of Mediterranean cuisines.

Early reviewers on Google and Yelp have enjoyed the “scrumptious” spinach pie, the “amazing” kashk-o-bahdemjan (a Persian eggplant dip), and the “light and flavorful” falafel.

Delivery and takeout are available via several third-party platforms, including DoorDash, Grub Hub, and Uber Eats. The restaurant is also offering dine-in service indoors, as well as some seating on a small patio outside.

FARTHER AFIELD

ASHLAND

Just outside of Framingham, Mazi Kitchen & Bar is now open in Ashland (320 Pond St., formerly home to a Blockbuster Video), serving an American menu with Mediterranean and other influences. There’s beer, wine, and cocktails available, and there’s some parking lot seating under a tent. Indoor dining is also available.

On the menu: sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, pasta, and “shareables” such as a “Greek sushi roll,” spinach and cheese pies, chicken quesadillas, and more.

FOXBOROUGH

At Patriot Place, the retail development by Gillette Stadium, a new restaurant opened for indoor and outdoor dining on July 6: Citizen Crust, which, per a press release, is serving “global street food” as well as cocktails and beer.

The “crust” part of the name might refer to the Roman-style pizza on the menu, but there’s also everything from carne asada fries to tandoori beef skewers to “tuggets” — tofu nuggets with “koji street sauce.” There are also “crack curds,” at least until Citizen Crust decides to join the restaurants that have moved away from food items named after drugs and other terms referencing addiction.

Citizen Crust also has a walkup gelato window. The new restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. daily and is operated by Thomas Perruna, who is also behind Tavolino at Patriot Place.

ROWLEY

North Shore town Rowley has a new seafood-focused takeout spot, Blue Boat, with ties to the Blue Marlin Grille and Boat House Grille in Essex. Blue Boat replaced the last outpost of the Spud’s chain at 255 Newburyport Tpke. (Route 1) and is serving chowder, crab cakes, fish tacos, and more, as well as non-seafood options like steak tips and chicken parm.

The restaurant is currently taking phone orders for curbside pickup of lunches and dinners, as well as market items such as fresh seafood, quarts of soup, frozen prepared dishes such as scallops wrapped in bacon, and more. Soon there’ll be onsite ordering available, too, at the “curbside clam shack and market.” Diners can also sit at picnic tables outside.

WINTHROP

Beraka Juice, a business that has been delivering organic, cold-pressed, unpasteurized juices around the North Shore and making appearances at events over the last couple of years, now has its own storefront in Winthrop (46 Woodside Ave.) as of late June.

Temporary hours to start are Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Orders can be placed online, with the menu including options such as love (grape, beet, and plum) and patience (watermelon, apple, mint, lime).


June 23, 2020: Burgers in Downtown Crossing, Asian Fusion Noodles Delivered, and More

Hands hold onto a cheeseburger from Tasty Burger, held aloft above more burgers and onion rings
A cheeseburger and more from Tasty Burger
Tasty Burger/Official Site

BOSTON PROPER

DOWNTOWN CROSSING

Massachusetts allowed restaurants to resume indoor dining — with restrictions — yesterday, June 22, after over three months of takeout and delivery only in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Still, most of the new restaurants opening in the coming weeks will likely stick with takeout and delivery only, or at least focus on it, and restaurants already tailor-made for that kind of service are at an advantage. So it’s no surprise that one of the first summer 2020 openings is a new outpost of local burger chain Tasty Burger, which is already experienced in the counter-service space. (It does offer table service at several locations, too.)

The brand new 48 Winter St. location, which was announced late last year and officially opened on June 19, brings the current location count to five (along with Fenway, Back Bay, North Station, and Harvard Square).

Fenway and Harvard Square, in addition to the new location, are currently operating with dining rooms open (full service in the Fenway location, both indoors and on the patio). The Back Bay location is expected to return in some capacity on June 26, and North Station is remaining closed for the time being.

The new Tasty Burger DTX is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with online ordering for pickup available. All the Tasty Burger classics are available — burgers, hot dogs, shakes, and such, as well as a small selection of beer and wine.

CAMBERVILLE

CENTRAL SQUARE

Forthcoming Asian fusion restaurant Nu Do Society, announced earlier this year, has quietly started to deliver pre-ordered meals on Sundays. Owner Wudthipong Guygaew is also behind Thai Amarin in Newton, but Nu Do Society mixes Thai food with other Asian cuisines, focusing on noodle dishes.

There will likely be a tom yum ramen on the menu, for example. “We think it’s a great combination between Japanese noodles and Thai hot [and] sour [soup with an] herbal broth,” a representative with the restaurant previously told Eater.

When the restaurant eventually fully opens at 123 River St., Cambridge, the longtime River Gods home, the intimate space will have room for about 28 diners (after COVID restrictions cease, anyway). But for now, the pandemic is delaying construction, and the restaurant is cooking out of temporary kitchen, with the revenue going toward rent and the Nu Do Society employees while introducing customers to the menu.

Nu Do Society currently accepts online orders from Tuesday to Friday for local Sunday afternoon delivery of a rotating, limited menu. (Delivery is free for orders over $35; otherwise, there’s a $5 fee.)

For June 28, options include a Northern Thai-inspired, mildly spicy linguine dish featuring chicken with red sauce; a vegan rice noodle soup; turmeric-marinated coconut chicken strips in pita bread with peanut sauce and Thai cucumber relish; and more. The restaurant has been previewing dishes on Instagram as well.

FARTHER AFIELD

NEWBURYPORT

Chef Linda Theth and Portsmouth-area restaurateurs Jay McSharry and David Vargas have opened Lin’s Little Kitchen in McSharry’s former Dos Amigos Burritos space at 24 Pleasant St. in Newburyport, serving a menu that embraces Theth’s family’s Cambodian and Laotian roots as well as a bit of McSharry and Vargas’s Mexican restaurant experience and Vargas’s heritage. (McSharry and Vargas are also behind Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, and McSharry runs other Dos Amigos Burritos locations aside from the now-closed Newburyport one, in addition to a long list of other restaurants that don’t serve Mexican food.)

The opening menu at Lin’s Little Kitchen leans more in the Southeast Asian than Mexican direction, with dishes such as Laotian beef jerky, egg rolls, banh mi, larb, and crispy rice salad with cured pork. But there are tacos, too, included one with seared fish and one with tofu.

This is Theth’s first ownership endeavor. The 24-year-old has worked under Vargas for years, starting at Vida Cantina as an intern and ultimately ending up as chef de cuisine. Vargas is reportedly bouncing around among Lin’s Little Kitchen, Vida Cantina, and two other McSharry restaurants for the time being but doesn’t expect Theth will need help for long.

Lin’s Little Kitchen is currently open for takeout, with online ordering available.

El Jefe's Tacqueria

83 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 945-1986

Revival (Newbury Street)

103 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

Ivory Pearl

1704 Beacon Street, , MA 02445 (617) 487-5297 Visit Website

Puritan & Co.

1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617 615 6195 Visit Website

The Daily Catch

323 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 523-8567 Visit Website

Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood

304 Stuart Street, , MA 02116 (617) 917-5193 Visit Website

Jaho Coffee Roasters & Wine Bar

665 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111 Visit Website

Café ArtScience

650 East Kendall Street, , MA 02142 (857) 999-2193 Visit Website

Stella

50 North Main Street, , PA 18938 (267) 740-7131 Visit Website

Nusr-et Boston

100 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

Season To Taste

2447 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 (617) 945-9535 Visit Website

Chickadee

21 Drydock Avenue, , MA 02210 (617) 531-5591 Visit Website

Time Out Market Boston

401 Park Drive, , MA 02215 (978) 393-8088 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Boston newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter.