Welcome to the Eater Boston restaurant closings roundup; this page is updated regularly, with the most recent updates at the top, highlighting all the restaurants that have bid farewell to the Boston area in recent weeks and the ones that have announced an upcoming closure but haven’t yet closed.
Note that due to the pandemic, many restaurants have closed “indefinitely” or “until further notice,” without announcing an official closure, but only restaurants that are confirmed to be permanently closed are included in this roundup.
The spring 2020 closure archive is here, including Bella Luna & the Milky Way, Bar Boulud, Deep Ellum, Comedor, Conor Larkin’s, and more, with most restaurants citing COVID-19 as a factor, if not the main factor, in their closure.
September 4, 2020: Two More Back Bay Bars, a Cambridge Ice Cream Shop, and More Closings
On the heels of the closures of Whiskey’s and McGreevy’s (see the July 20 and August 21 updates below), Back Bay’s Boylston Street has lost two more bars: the Pour House (907 Boylston St.) and Lir (903 Boylston St.).
It might not actually be the end of the line, though, for the 34-year-old Pour House, which noted that it is “changing hands” in a goodbye announcement on Instagram.
Charles M. Talanian — who owns the real-estate firm that owns the Pour House — told the Boston Business Journal that he’s in negotiations to buy out his partners and reopen the bar, possibly within 30 days and with some of the same staff.
But for the time being, the doors are closed.
“So many great times,” wrote the Pour House team. “So many fantastic memories. Far too many to post. It has been a wild and crazy ride and we could not have done it without all of you.”
The self-described “no-frills ... inexpensive watering hole” featured bars on two floors, big portions of pub fare, and food available until 1:30 a.m. nightly, as well as weekly comedy shows and cornhole tournaments (pre-COVID).
As for Lir, a 17-year-old Irish pub and sports bar with a distinctive spiral staircase, the venue announced its permanent closure in a September 3 Facebook post, thanking many of the sports fans who spent time there watching Arsenal, the Duke Blue Devils, Irish Rugby, the Seattle Seahawks, and more.
“We have all witnessed some amazing things together,” the team wrote. “Title winning championships, marathons, parades. The list could go on forever. Our mission has always been to make Lir your home away from home, whether you’re Irish, American, or a little bit of both. It pains us to leave you, but we can assure you that these memories will live on.”
Boston-based ice cream chain Emack & Bolio’s, which dates back to 1975, has closed its longtime Porter Square location (23 White St., Cambridge), a tiny nook within the Porter Square Shopping Center. The lease was reportedly about to expire, and because of the decrease in business due to COVID-19, it didn’t make sense to renew.
In Massachusetts, Boston locations remain open in Back Bay, Charlestown, and the West End; there’s also a smattering of Cape Cod locations.
Emack & Bolio’s features what is calls “outrageous” cones (dipped in nuts, sprinkles, cereal, etc.), ice cream “pizzas,” and more.
September 1, 2020: The Original Location of a Burrito Icon, a Decades-Old Sports Bar, and More Closings
The Seaport District is down one of its two Legal Sea Foods locations: The massive, multi-story Legal Harborside remains open, but its older sibling Legal Test Kitchen (225 Northern Ave.) is no more.
Its clientele included business people working in the area, people going to concerts at the Pavilion or conventions at BCEC, and late-night diners, a representative told Boston.com, so the absence of business, travel, and events in the area meant that it didn’t make sense to keep the location open.
Legal Test Kitchen had been open for 15 years.
A Theater District location of Legal Sea Foods (26 Park Plz.) also recently shut down.
“To the Boston community, it has been our honor to call the City of Champions our home,” the group posted on Facebook. “We have the best fans. Period. Thank you for making The Fours part of your traditions over the years. To the TD Garden, Celtics, and Bruins staff, we especially thank you for your loyalty and support. You became more than customers to us over the years. You are our friends and family.”
Named for Bruins hockey legend Bobby Orr’s jersey number, four, and located right by TD Garden, the Fours was packed full of sports memorabilia, giving off a “single uncle’s living room” vibe. It was the “best Boston sports bar of all time,” per Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and it was the best sports bar in America, per a 2005 Sports Illustrated ranking, which noted that the bar found itself at “the white-hot center of the sports universe” during that early 2000s cluster of Red Sox and Patriots wins. It was patronized by everyone “from sportswriters to assistant coaches all the way up to team owners,” not to mention athletes and fans.
In other West End news, Popover King has closed after a little over a year at 74 Canal St. The cafe served New England-inspired treats — popovers, of course, in a variety of sweet and savory formats, but also old-school brown bread, anadama bread, and more.
The shop reportedly reached an impasse with its landlord during the pandemic, owner Coco Cabuquit-Love told Boston.com, noting that the team “needed a little bit more time to pivot into a more online/takeout operation in navigating this new reality for our industry,” but the landlord, said Cabuquit-Love, “just wasn’t willing to negotiate.”
Eclectic brunch mainstay the Friendly Toast has opted not to reopen its longtime Cambridge location (1 Kendall Sq.), which had been temporarily closed since the start of the pandemic. (This is the second pandemic closure at 1 Kendall Sq.; see Flat Top Johnny’s in the July 16 update below.)
The Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based restaurant group announced the news yesterday, writing, in part: “We have a long and happy history [in Kendall Square] full of great memories and this is a tough moment for us.” This location opened over a decade ago, serving omelets, Benedicts, breakfast burritos, and lots more in a brightly colored and funkily decorated ambiance. It was the first expansion for the popular Portsmouth spot, later followed by several more locations around New England.
Owner Scott Pulver told Boston.com that the uncertainty around the full return of students and employees to the neighborhood drove the closure: “Cambridge is a ghost town.”
However, the restaurant group expressed optimism for an eventual Cambridge comeback, noting in the Facebook announcement that “we look forward to being in a Cambridge neighborhood again soon.” Pulver also told Boston.com that the team is “actively looking” for a new Cambridge space for when the city “comes back to life.”
Meanwhile, other Friendly Toast locations remain in operation in Portsmouth and Bedford, New Hampshire; Burlington, Vermont; Burlington, Massachusetts; and Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
In an announcement posted to Facebook yesterday, Bull McCabe’s owner Brian Manning said that the intimate Irish pub, a 12-year-old neighborhood gem for live music, will not be reopening.
“The last six months have taken an incredible toll on all of us,” he wrote, “and while the restaurant/bar/music venue industry as a whole has been decimated, Mom-and-Pop shops like ours, especially, have been crushed. We’re a 780 sq.-ft music venue, not easily-aligned with social distancing, and we have been struggling to stay afloat for a long time.”
It’s been a tough few years for the pub, which was on the verge of closing in 2018 during a lease dispute with its landlord. In addition to “legal battles,” Manning also cited construction and the “ever-changing neighborhood” among the driving forces behind several years of difficulties. “We’ve incurred a large amount of debt, and it is continuing to rise with no income to help knock it down. So, as much as I want to hang on and hope things will bounce back, I can’t afford to, financially or emotionally.”
With live music six nights a week, the tiny space played host to a number of longtime musical residencies, especially in the funk and reggae realms. Dub Apocalypse, for example, was a mainstay.
Down the street, five-year-old Thunder Road has also announced its closure. Signed by Charlie Abel and the Thunder Road team, the note reads, in part: “The challenges upon us all at this time are far too great to keep our doors open.”
“Although our first home is no longer, we may just have a new place for our family to gather in the near future,” the note continues.
The Somerville Avenue space has cycled through several nightlife venues in recent years: It was previously home to short-lived music venue Radio, which replaced a nightclub called Club Choices.
After 25 years, beloved local burrito chain Anna’s Taqueria is closing its original location at 1412 Beacon St. in Brookline, owner Betsy Kamio announced last week, noting that the closure is not tied to the pandemic. The lease is set to expire soon, and with the rise of food delivery apps, Anna’s has been able to “consolidate service to its other seven locations,” according to the announcement. One of those locations is just blocks away on Harvard Street.
Anna’s is currently offering takeout and delivery from its remaining Brookline location as well as locations in Porter Square, Cambridge; Davis Square, Somerville; Beacon Hill, Boston; and Newton Highlands. The MIT and Prudential Center locations, however, remain temporarily closed.
Karl’s Sausage Kitchen & European Market (1 Bourbon St.) — a North Shore deli and market that features European foods, especially German — has closed down the cafe portion of the business.
“As you know our space was always too small and now impractical given the new health concerns,” wrote owners Anita and Bob Gokey in a Facebook announcement. “We always had a large learning curve for new kitchen and cafe staff to learn the cuisine, which now, feels like an impossible hurtle. What feels right is to focus on the market and explore the options of offering take and bake options in 2021 that you can enjoy at home. We will still offer our pastries to go, bottled beer, and frozen schnitzel (to cook at home), our salads and other options for you to enjoy at home.”
Karl’s has been open since 2012 at this location but dates back to 1958, having previously been located in Saugus.
In other Peabody news, Kelley Square Pub (135 Washington St.) has closed, although its older sibling in East Boston remains open. The Peabody location was around for about five years, serving pizza, calzones, burgers, wraps, pasta, steak tips, and more.
August 21, 2020: A Sports Bar in Back Bay, an Italian-Peruvian Restaurant in the North End, and More Closings
Sports bar McGreevy’s is now permanently closed, with restaurateur (and Dropkick Murphys cofounder) Ken Casey saying that it “will not open after the pandemic,” although he expressed hope that “maybe someday” it could reopen elsewhere. For now, though, it’s “another loss at the hands of COVID,” Casey told The Boston Globe via a rep.
Open since 2008, McGreevy’s billed itself as “America’s first sports bar” despite its relatively young age; in fact, it was a replica of a bar that opened in 1894, Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevy’s Third Base Saloon, which was a gathering spot for the Royal Rooters, the precursor to Red Sox Nation.
Casey is also one of the partners behind Lower Mills Tavern and the two locations of Yellow Door Taqueria, all of which remain in operation (and will reportedly take on former McGreevy’s employees).
On the heels of the closure of Dick’s Last Resort at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the historical shopping plaza is losing another restaurant: Cheers. (This isn’t the original Cheers location, which remains open on Beacon Hill.) The Faneuil Hall location of Cheers will close on August 30, after 20 years in business, with owner Tom Kershaw reportedly citing a lack of assistance from the landlord, making the “current challenge insurmountable.”
After a 20-year run serving an Italian menu “with a Peruvian twist,” Taranta will close on August 29 in Boston’s North End (210 Hanover St.). Chef and owner Jose Duarte posted an announcement to the restaurant’s website and social media channels, reading in part:
My wife and I opened this business as a wedding present to each other and to us it is our first child. We have been a part of an amazing community, creating memorable experiences and sharing our sustainability efforts. As many of you know, the last 4 months have been very challenging and difficult for us. Many restaurants in the North End rely heavily on tourism, sporting events, concerts, conventions, and our location has lost all of our corporate business, functions and graduations, operating at 30% of its capacity due to seating restrictions. Without all of this we cannot survive. Since March, our liabilities have accumulated to more than we can sustain and unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement with our landlord to make things work.
Duarte went on to note that while the physical restaurant will close, Taranta will remain alive via pop-ups, catering, classes, and online merchandising. Plus: “We thank everyone for their continuing support and hope to see you when we come back and reopen somewhere else within a year or so.”
Jose and Anna Duarte are also behind the recently opened Tambo 22, a Peruvian restaurant in Chelsea, and Trattoria San Pietro, an Italian restaurant in Norwell, both of which remain in operation.
Sky, a longtime Route 1 destination for event rentals and a Sunday buffet brunch, has closed permanently, per an announcement from owner Stephen T. Corcoran. The restaurant and venue first opened in Sudbury in 1997 before moving to Norwood in 2002.
“Given the challenging economic climate due to COVID-19 and the resulting uncertainty of future business, I have decided that the proper course of action is to not reopen,” wrote Corcoran. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support over the past eighteen years. We have developed many friendships and so many loyal customers that have become like family. I speak for the entire SKY team when I say that we have thoroughly enjoyed serving you and being a part of this wonderful community.”
Sibling restaurant 3 remains open 10 miles away in Franklin, offering a similar menu. Sky gift cards and rewards cards are valid at 3.
Balani, open for nearly two years on Moody Street, will not return after the pandemic, instead making way for a new location of its big sibling, Sweet Basil, which will open on September 1. Chef and owner David Becker is behind both restaurants, as well as Juniper in Wellesley.
“While Balani was creatively fun for me, it’s always about what the people in our neighborhood want,” said Becker, via press release. He recently ran a well-received series of Sweet Basil pop-ups in the space and had been wanting to find more room for Sweet Basil anyway in order to sell provisions like pastas and sauces.
Some popular Balani dishes will continue to appear at the new Sweet Basil as specials. In its brief timespan, Balani was an eclectic space, in terms of both the ambiance and the menu — an experimental mix of a little bit of everything. (Sweet Basil, on the other hand, has a more traditional Italian focus.) The opening menu at Balani included dishes like sea scallop crudo, smoked monkfish kofta, katsudon with soft-cooked egg, Boston cream loukoumades, and lots more, jumping around the globe.
Stellina closes on August 22, per a message posted to the restaurant’s Instagram account and attributed to owner Ginnie Curcio. The Italian restaurant has been around for 34 years.
“The reasons we are closing will come as no surprise to anyone,” read Curcio’s announcement. “The persistent presence of COVID-19 and the limited seating required to keep people safely distanced make operating Stellina untenable. ... It’s hard to persevere when you don’t know what the future will be like six months or a year from now.”
August 7, 2020: Lowcountry Cuisine in Jamaica Plain, Game Burgers in Inman Square, and More Closings
End of an era at Faneuil Hall Marketplace: The Boston location of the Dick’s Last Resort chain is now closed, ending 15 years of casual food, big margaritas, silly paper hats, and intentionally sarcastic staff. Locations of the chain, which was founded in 1985 in Dallas, remain open in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and elsewhere, serving items like “Dick’s huge 12-inch wiener” and the “big T-boner.”
In other downtown news, all Boston locations of the London-based chain Pret a Manger are now closed, part of a pandemic-related restructuring of the company which also included the closure of all but one Chicago location and 30 locations in the United Kingdom. Pret is known for its grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and other light fare, and it had several locations around Boston’s Financial District, inside South Station, and in Back Bay and the Longwood Medical Area.
Pret first landed in Boston in late 2012 with locations on Franklin Street and Boylston Street. A 2014 opening on Arch Street was the largest United States location at the time, offering seating for 100 customers; there was even some lounge and meeting space.
Fenway food hall Time Out Market Boston has reopened with limited seating, delivery options, and other updates, but several of its original vendors are gone. The seafood-focused Saltie Girl has closed its Time Out location, where it served lobster rolls, chowder, fish and chips, octopus empanadas, and more. A rep for the food hall confirms that Saltie Girl will not be reopening there. (See the July 2 update below for details on another closure at the food hall, Craigie Burger.)
Saltie Girl’s original Back Bay location remains open, currently offering takeout, delivery, and dining outdoors and indoors (in sibling restaurant Met Back Bay’s space, which is larger than the intimate seafood bar).
Barlow’s (241 A St.) closed at the end of July, nearly a year after the sale of its building. The decade-old restaurant’s owner Tom Devlin told Boston.com that the closure had more to do with the sale than with the pandemic — he had signed a one-year lease with the new owners, and the year is now up. The pandemic did dissuade Devlin from considering renewing the lease, though, especially since Barlow’s hosted lots of large functions, which obviously isn’t viable for the foreseeable future.
Devlin’s restaurant group is keeping the liquor license and hoping to open something new in the future, and the group is also behind quite a few other restaurants, including Brighton Bodega, Devlin’s, Porter Belly’s, and more. As Devlin noted to Boston.com, those restaurants are faring well — they have lots of outdoor space, and the restaurant group owns the real estate for each.
Lowcountry restaurant the Frogmore (365 Centre St.) closes August 9 after five years of fried chicken, hoppin’ John, and more. The restaurant announced the closure on social media a few days in advance to give diners a last chance to say farewell. “Don’t be sad,” noted the post; “we had five great years.”
When the Frogmore opened during summer 2015, it was a collaboration among Adam Rutstein, who had owned Centre Street Sanctuary at the same location (it closed that spring), and the team from Fairsted Kitchen in Brookline — Andrew Foster, Steve Bowman, and Alex Homans. (Fairsted closed at the end of 2017, with Bowman then revamping it into an Italian restaurant, Grassona’s, which closed in January 2020.)
The Frogmore’s opening executive chef, South Carolina native Jason Albus, designed the menu to highlight Lowcountry cuisine from the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, with dishes like grilled okra, she crab soup, frogmore stew, pan-roasted catfish, and more on the original menu. Five years later, the focus remained largely the same at the restaurant, which was decorated with a pineapple motif, meant to represent hospitality. The Frogmore had bustling bar and brunch scenes, and its closure will certainly be felt in the neighborhood.
ASSEMBLY ROW AND BOYNTON YARDS
Somerville Brewing has announced that it is shutting down. The brewing company, known for its Slumbrew beers, had a brewery and taproom in Somerville’s Boynton Yards area near Union Square as well as a brewhouse and restaurant at the Assembly Row development, which also hosted a Somerville Brewing outdoor beer garden for several summers. Somerville Brewing had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the fall, with co-founder and co-owner Caitlin Jewell telling Eater at the time that “operations continue as normal.” Chapter 11 filings allow for companies to attempt to restructure their business and assets in order to pay off debts.
“Today we say thank you and goodbye,” the brewery posted on social media on August 3. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to bring you Slumbrew beers, the outdoor beer garden, our brewery and American Fresh Brewhouse. Having plenty of time to think, rest and reset we have decided to close for good. Thank you for the good times, great conversations and celebrating the many special moments of your lives with us.”
The local brewery had been around for nearly a decade, debuting in 2011 with several of its Slumbrew-branded beers. Over the years, the Somerville Brewing portfolio covered a wide range of styles, including New England and West Coast IPAs, porters, sours, and lots more.
For sale but not yet closed: Legendary Central Square music venue the Cantab Lounge (738 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge), known especially for its bluegrass and poetry scenes, is for sale. However, it could continue operating for a time — once the state reaches phase four of the COVID reopening plan — if a sale hasn’t yet been made.
After 17 years — five in its current form — the Inman Square location of Bukowski Tavern (1281 Cambridge St., Cambridge) is no more, with chef and co-owner Brian Poe telling the Globe that “the pandemic took it.” The Cambridge location, after a major renovation in 2015, was a more polished version of the original Bukowski Tavern in Boston’s Back Bay (which remains open), although both focused on casual bar food and a long beer list.
When Poe bought into the Cambridge location as part of the 2015 revamp, he added a game-heavy spin to the menu, serving elk, antelope, bison, and yak burgers, to name a few.
Signage is posted at the now-closed tavern, advertising that the restaurant space is available.
Shotcakes sold ice cream-filled cupcakes, milkshakes, smoothies, and more in the Burlington Mall food court (75 Middlesex Tpke.) for about a decade; it’s now closed.
The Framingham location of the local Beer Works brewpub chain (345 Cochituate Rd.) is closed; it had been open since 2013. “The pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on business,” Beer Works attorney Paul Sporn told the Framingham Source. “The pandemic made it impossible to move forward in Framingham.” The property, which spans almost 9,000 square feet and features a large parking lot, is on the market for $4.25 million.
Two Beer Works locations remain in operation in Boston, as well as one each in Salem and Hingham, but all are temporarily closed due to the pandemic. As noted by the Framingham Source, neither Boston location has brewed its own beer onsite in over a year; instead, beer was transported in from the now-closed Framingham and Lowell locations.
Sidell Hospitality, which recently closed its Fenway food hall location of Saltie Girl (see above), has also closed the Met Natick, a steakhouse, at the Natick Mall (1245 Worcester St.). It had been open since 2007. Its Boston sibling, the Met Back Bay, is still in operation, although it’s functioning a bit differently than normal due to the pandemic: Met dishes can be found at sibling spot Stephanie’s on Newbury, while the original Back Bay location of sibling seafood restaurant Saltie Girl is currently using the Met’s space indoors and out.
The physical storefront for the Cake Diner, a six-year-old bakery, is now closed at 995 Broadway, according to an announcement on Instagram by owner Lorianna Dwyer. However, Dwyer writes that it’s not the end for the business; watch its social media channels for updates regarding future sales channels and other information. For now, Dwyer is continuing to take custom orders for August 26 through the end of October and cookie pre-orders for October 31 through the end of the year. Send inquiries via the Cake Diner’s contact form.
Scratch Kitchen (245 Derby St.) has closed after nearly a decade focusing on local sourcing and serving sandwiches, salads, and more.
“We would like to thank everyone who supported us over the years,” the restaurant wrote in an announcement on Facebook. “We truly appreciated your patronage and enjoyed serving you. It has come with a lot of hard thinking and was not an easy decision but we will be closing Scratch Kitchen. From myself and our staff we send our thanks to all who enjoyed our little corner spot from the locals to those not so local. We will miss you and hope you are doing well during this period of time.”
July 20, 2020: A Back Bay Dive, a Board Game-Filled Gastropub, and More Closings
Regina Pizzeria’s decade-old Allston location (353 Cambridge St.) — a sizable one — will be closed as of July 21, due to non-renewal of its lease, as a rep told the Globe. (The closure was purely a matter of the lease, not COVID, Boston.com notes.) This location featured a full bar, parking, and lots of screens for watching sports. A number of other locations, including the North End original, remain open around the Boston area.
Dive bar Whiskey’s (885 Boylston St.), which had existed in its final barbecue-focused format since 1994 but was open for over 35 years overall, is now closed, with manager Becky Caloggero telling the Globe, “It’s not how I wanted this to end,” noting an increase in rent.
Adventure Pub opened at the end of 2018 in the former Bistro Duet space (190 Massachusetts Ave.), pairing board games and other table games with gastropub-style cuisine and joining a small but growing scene of local gaming/eating/drinking venues. It is now closing permanently, as of July 31, citing the pandemic.
In a July 17 Facebook post, the Adventure Pub team explained the upcoming closure, noting that “no one can plan for a pandemic.”
“The inability to gather safely with our community has caused irreparable damage to businesses like ours that depend [on] gathering,” the post continued. “Unfortunately, this Adventure ends here.”
For the remainder of the month, the venue is open for takeout, delivery, and dine-in service with an ever-changing menu as supplies run out. “Our staff would love to hear from you, our fellow Adventurers, about any special moments or things you enjoyed most about coming to visit with us,” read the Facebook post. “This is incredibly heartbreaking for all of us, so we’d like to have the light shine brightest before we go.”
The nearly decade-old Newtonville location of Rox Diner (335 Walnut St.) has closed, while its West Roxbury counterpart, which is under different ownership, remains in operation. The casual diner served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, featuring a lengthy selection of omelets; hearty French toast and pancake options; quite a few salads and wraps; and a short list of dinner specials, such as chicken parm and steak tips. The space is currently for lease.
July 16, 2020: A Couple of Cambridge Bars With Pool, a Fancy Japanese Destination Downtown, and More Closings
Chef Youji Iwakura’s ambitious one-and-a-half-year-old Japanese restaurant Kamakura (150 State St.), a multi-level space focusing on high-end kaiseki cuisine, is closing, per Boston Magazine, making way for another new restaurant from chef Michael Serpa: Little Rose, which will reportedly feature a counter-service burrito shop on the street level, a sit-down Mexican restaurant on the upper level, and a rooftop tequila and mezcal bar called Rosita. (Serpa is behind Select Oyster Bar and Grand Tour in Back Bay and the soon-to-open Atlántico in the South End.)
Kamakura opened in late 2018 but had been in the works for over two years. In fall 2016, Iwakura (an Uni and Snappy Ramen alum) told Eater that kaiseki cuisine was born in the coastal city of Kamakura (in Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture), a “melting pot of art, music, and food” and a place where modern and traditional pieces of Japanese culture exist alongside each other, as do fine dining and street food. The region highlights local seafood and vegetables. Iwakura wanted to bring a “renaissance to current Japanese cuisine in Boston” with contemporary kaiseki, something “more than just sushi, teriyaki, tempura, or what people call traditional Japanese food.”
Sure enough, the hallmark of the restaurant was its kaiseki tasting menu, consisting of many courses of gorgeously plated dishes that played up local and sustainable ingredients. The menu progressed through courses such as “from the garden” (sauteed mushrooms and parsnip puree) to “steam” (unagi chawanmushi, a highlight of the meal) to “encouragement” (miso marinated black cod with roasted golden beets). There were simpler options, too, such as bento box lunches and offerings from the sushi bar and robata grill.
The space featured a stunning rooftop bar with a retractable roof; that’s the space Serpa will be turning into Rosita.
Faced with the double hit of the pandemic and an April water main break that caused an estimated $1 million in damages, Italian restaurant Cinquecento (500 Harrison Ave.) is now permanently closed. Jeff Gates, a partner at Cinquecento’s parent company, the Aquitaine Group, had previously expressed hope for an August or September reopening.
The sizable restaurant included a pleasant patio and was located within the heart of SoWa Open Markets, making it a popular spot especially on market days. It opened in late 2012 and recently welcomed chef Charles Draghi, owner of the now-defunct Bay Village favorite Erbaluce, to its ranks.
On its website, Cinquecento posted a farewell message to “loyal guests, friends, and neighbors,” noting that it will keep some Cinquecento dishes — such as the Bolognese — on the menu at sibling restaurant Gaslight right down the street.
This isn’t the only recent closure for the Aquitaine Group — see the “Farther Afield” section within today’s update below for details on sibling restaurants Aquitaine in Dedham and Gaslight in Lynnfield.
Open for a quarter of a century, Cambridge pub the Field (20 Prospect St.) is closing permanently, with local journalist Dalton Main reporting that owner Jerry Coleman “wouldn’t dream of putting anyone in danger.”
The cozy neighborhood hangout featured pool and darts, as well as a nice patio out back, and was a good place to catch a soccer or rugby match (often on said patio, courtesy of a projector).
A Facebook post from the Field reads, in part: “Sadly COVID-19 has impacted this industry. We are unable to maintain our establishment. Over the the years we have enjoyed the wonderful staff, community members, students and the various vibrant visitors that have visited our pub. It has been a second home to many. We will miss everyone in the community that visited for a day, a semester or for years.”
Another Cambridge venue with pool — quite a focus on pool, actually — is also bidding the city farewell. Flat Top Johnny’s (1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge) announced on Facebook this week that it will close after 27 years — but not for another month. August 14 will be the final day of service; until then, takeout and outdoor dining will be available. (Pool is prohibited by the current COVID-19 regulations, which state that gathering areas such as pool tables and dance floors are not allowed at this time.) Although primarily a pool hall, Flat Top Johnny’s has also been a longtime staple in the neighborhood for people not interested in playing pool, thanks to its convivial atmosphere and crowd-pleasing selection of burgers, beers, and such.
In the announcement, Flat Top Johnny’s acknowledged that 2020 “has been a hell of a year” and that the venue had become “extra vulnerable” due to its inability to host large groups and big parties during the pandemic.
“Please come in and say hello one last time to the best staff on the planet,” the message reads, in part. “We would love to see your smiling faces! Have a burger and a beer, buy some swag to take home, and help us celebrate what has been an amazing run.”
On the heels of the Aquitaine Group’s permanent closure of Cinquecento in Boston’s South End (see above), the group has also closed two of its suburban restaurants, the Legacy Place, Dedham, location of Aquitaine (500 Legacy Pl.) and Gaslight in Lynnfield (see below). “These are difficult times and this decision to close was not made easily,” read a farewell note on Aquitaine Dedham’s website, addressed to “loyal guests.”
The French restaurant has locations that remain open in Chestnut Hill and Boston’s South End, in addition to sibling restaurants Gaslight and Metropolis Cafe (both also in the South End).
Indian chain restaurant Godavari has closed its Framingham location (1656 Worcester Rd.), leaving only one local outpost (in Woburn). Godavari features South Indian cuisine, including a variety of dosa options, and this location had been open for about three years, having replaced a location of Mexican chain Acapulco’s.
Godavari has locations throughout the United States and Canada and is expanding to the Middle East and Europe.
Like sibling restaurants Cinquecento and Aquitaine Dedham (see above), the Lynnfield location of Gaslight (1100 Market St.) is now closed, sharing the same message on its website as Aquitaine and referring customers to its siblings that remain open, including the South End location of Gaslight.
Gaslight Lynnfield had opened at the start of 2016 and was meant to be a more American counterpart to its French brasserie namesake in the South End, serving raw bar items, charcuterie, and dishes like tuna au poivre and rotisserie chicken. The space was large, seating around 300.
The Natick Mall has lost its outpost of Wasabi, which featured conveyor-belt sushi. It used to be a small chain; one Virginia location remains in operation now. The Natick location had been open since 2011 and was “destroyed” by the pandemic-related temporary closure, as general manager Jeffrey Miller told Framingham Source.
July 7, 2020: A Jazzy French Restaurant Downtown, a West Roxbury Pub, and More Closings
In downtown Boston (129 South St.), French bistro Les Zygomates played host to fans of live jazz, wine, and oysters for over a quarter of a century. It is now closed, with a message on its website simply stating: “Permanently closed. Thank you for your loyal patronage over the years.”
In 2014, owner Ian Just — shortly after opening Society on High near South Station — sold the 20-year-old Les Zygomates and its sibling restaurant Sorriso to Anthony Botta, a veteran of the restaurant industry in Las Vegas, and his brother-in-law Mark Tosi, president of Italian food importer Pastene, based in Canton. The duo planned to “preserve what the regulars like most about the two restaurants” while somewhat reinventing Sorriso into Bel Ari (which ended up closing a couple years later) and bringing in Legal Harborside alum Robert Fathman as executive chef for both restaurants.
In its later years, Les Zygomates was a bit of a relic in a sea of flashier, newer French options, but it remained a reliable downtown staple, especially for those looking to enjoy some steak frites or bouillabaisse while taking in live jazz. “So that’s the main thing, the ‘why’ of Les Zygomates — the jazz, the wine, the companionship,” wrote The Boston Globe’s restaurant critic Devra First in a May 2014 review shortly after the new owners came onboard. “The food is comfortable, solid. Some of it is very good. Some of it less so. It balances out.”
Love Art Udon, an udon and tempura shop that opened on the Allston/Brookline border (1024 Commonwealth Ave.) in late 2018, has closed permanently, according to a press release by co-founder Ronald Liu, also posted to the restaurant’s website. July 3 was Love Art Udon’s final day in business.
“Udon was a passion project we had been kicking around for a while and in 2018 we finally made it happen,” co-founder Jessica Chiep said via the press release. “But with everything that has been happening in the world, unfortunately the day to move on has come. We’re incredibly thankful for all the support and love we received from the community especially during these uncertain times. We won’t be completely shutting down the brand as we explore pop-up opportunities in the future but for the time being our Brookline location will be closing.”
The team will transition the Commonwealth Avenue space to another owner and is happy to work with customers to find alternate ways to honor remaining gift cards or social media winner meals.
The Squealing Pig — a trio of pubs in West Roxbury, Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, and Provincetown — has closed the West Roxbury location permanently, announcing the news on Facebook in a note thanking “loyal customers and employees, especially those who supported us through these difficult times.”
Located at 1885 Centre St., the Squealing Pig was previously known as Eat With Jack O’Neill, under the same ownership (Diarmuid O’Neill). O’Neill opened Eat With Jack O’Neill in 2015, taking over the old West Roxbury Pub space. in 2018, the restaurant transitioned to the Squealing Pig to match O’Neill’s other properties.
July 2, 2020: A Massive Fine-Dining Restaurant in Harvard Square, a Food Hall Burger Joint With Fancy Pedigree, and More Closings
Time Out Market Boston — the gigantic Fenway food hall (401 Park Dr.) that debuted a year ago and has been temporarily closed due to the pandemic since mid-March — has lost one of its original vendors. Craigie Burger, a burger-focused offshoot of Cambridge’s award-winning Craigie on Main, will not reopen when the market eventually does.
“It’s a precarious situation,” Craigie’s Tony Maws told the Globe, citing the lack of students and Red Sox fans filling the neighborhood due to the pandemic.
Maws ran Craigie Burger with a couple other local restaurant industry vets: Nick Zappia, of the now-defunct Blue Room in Cambridge, and Michael Leviton, of the now-defunct Lumière in Newton (which he sold in 2016).
“Our original conversations centered on how to show that real food can be served at a competitive price outside of a Craigie, Blue Room, Lumière setting,” Maws told Eater shortly before the opening of Time Out Market Boston. “We’re all madly in love with what we’ve been able to accomplish and proud of each other’s restaurants, but there is this way that people eat without having to have the whole Craigie-type experience, so could we do that and still not compromise any of the values we consider to be non-negotiable?”
Craigie Burger featured a take on Craigie on Main’s famous burger, with some variations to allow for the volume of food hall visitors versus the limited amount of burgers Maws serves at the Cambridge restaurant each day. There were a couple other burgers on the menu, too, plus fries and a bun-less burger bowl.
“Time Out has been a valuable partner,” Maws told the Globe, “but we couldn’t come to an agreement that made sense.” He added that while he doesn’t have immediate plans for a location elsewhere, Boston hasn’t seen the last of Craigie Burger. (Meanwhile, burger lovers can still order from Craigie on Main in Cambridge, which is currently offering takeout Wednesday through Sunday.)
In other neighborhood news, the Chicago-founded, Boston-headquartered Uno Pizzeria & Grill chain has closed its Kenmore Square location after 30 years, with a rep telling the Globe that there were several factors: Its home, the historic Hotel Buckminster, had already closed, and the restaurant’s own lease was up soon anyway. Plus, without BU students in session and no Red Sox games down the street, “the timing just made sense.” Employees who wanted to stay with the company were reportedly able to transfer to one of the remaining 18 Massachusetts locations.
Arlington-based bakery Brit Bakery moved to 407 Concord Ave. in Cambridge in early 2019, selling cakes (including wedding cakes) and a variety of cookies, pastries, and other treats, emphasizing a use of organic products and no preservatives or artificial flavors. It is now closed, with a message on its website reading: “We are sad to announce that Brit Bakery is now permanently closed. We thank you for the love and support and wish you the best.”
Parsnip — which opened in the storied Upstairs on the Square space at 91 Winthrop St. in late 2015 — is now closed, with a rep telling the Globe that the team “didn’t think they could reopen and have a viable business at this point in time ... given the way people have changed their habits of living” due to the pandemic. But they’ll reportedly “have other ideas” for the large, multi-level space. The restaurant was part of Gerald Chan’s Harvard Square empire.
During its five-year span, the restaurant underwent some evolutions and staffing changes. When it first opened, a UK chef with years of hotel experience, Peter Quinion, was onboard as executive chef, with Boston Chops alum Ryan Marcoux serving as chef de cuisine. At the time, Quinion told Eater that the concept was “casual fine dining” with an emphasis on hospitality. “It’s all about the service, the food, the wine, and the hospitality in the space. It’s a grand building.” He described the menu as “modern European” with New England influences. The upstairs bar was meant to be a more casual experience with light bites, while the high-ceilinged main level featured more of a seated appetizer-entree-dessert experience.
In its final years, Parsnip featured chef Jeffrey Salazar at the helm. The Chopped and B3 alum served New American food with some Filipino influences.
Nantasket Beach music venue the C Note (159 Nantasket Ave.) is now closed after over a decade of hosting local and national acts of a variety of genres.
“Thank you to all of our loyal patrons, staff, and very talented musicians who have joined and supported over the years,” the venue posted on Facebook. “It is because of all of you that we are the South Shore’s best live music club.”
Haitian restaurant Infused Kreyol (423 Main St.) has closed after a couple of years in business, announcing in a June 21 Facebook post that the team was “hoping to bounce back even stronger but unfortunately that’s not possible at this time ... We will miss you all and will provide updates of any future plans. Thank you for your support!”
The Northshore Mall’s Bancroft & Co., a steakhouse, is now closed, with ownership team the Webber Restaurant Group planning to open something different in its place this fall. The group is also behind Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton, the Scarlet Oak Tavern in Hingham, and Bancroft & Co.’s Burlington counterpart, the Bancroft, all of which remain in operation.
Bancroft & Co. opened in 2018 and was meant to be a little bit different than its Burlington sibling. The opening chef was Mario Capone, an alum of multiple Lydia Shire restaurants in Boston as well as Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York City.
A small chain of local bakeries, White’s Bakery & Cafe, has permanently closed its Wellesley location, which had only been open since April 2019 and had been temporarily closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic.
“It is with sadness that we are announcing today the permanent closure of our Wellesley location,” the company posted on Facebook on July 1. “We want to thank all of our loyal customers and staff for their patronage and hard work over the past year.” Locations remain open in Brockton, Mansfield, and Hingham.
In other Wellesley closure news, the Fastachi nut and chocolate shop is also closed, “primarily due to COVID-19.” The Watertown location remains open with limited hours.
June 23, 2020: An Upscale Somerville Gem That Will Be Reinvented, a Century-Old North Shore Tea House That Might Make a Comeback, and More Closings
Two Au Bon Pain locations have closed in recent weeks, including one at 53 State St. (Also see the Davis Square section below.) The cafe-bakery chain was founded in Boston in 1978 and remains headquartered here, although it has since expanded to over 200 locations in the United States and Asia.
In other downtown Boston closure news, Japanese restaurant and sushi bar Sakurabana (57 Broad St.) is closed after 36 years in business, with a note on the door from owner Hironori Koga citing the pandemic making it “difficult to continue the business.”
As noted in the Boston section above, two Au Bon Pain locations have closed recently. On this side of the river, the longtime Davis Square location (18-48 Holland St., Somerville) is gone.
Wit’s End (1248 Cambridge St., Cambridge) was a relative newcomer to Inman, having opened in late 2017 in the former Hops Test Kitchen & Raw Bar space. From owner Pete Stein, the casual restaurant was meant to be a “neighborhood place for those wishing to be with their friends, have a fun drink, dine on some small plates, play some games and engage in witty banter, friendly debate, and perhaps win (or lose) an argument.” Riddles covered chalkboards around the restaurant, and the menu included items such as movie-themed mac and cheese options (“Gouda Will Hunting,” for one), sliders, nachos, wings, and more.
A message posted to Wit’s End’s website and social media accounts reads, in part: “Friends, sadly, Wit’s End will not be reopening. The impact of such an extended shutdown was just too great to overcome ... Your enthusiasm for all things Wit’s End…our cocktails, our food and our general way...still humbles me. As you frequent other neighborhood bars and restaurants, please keep the Wit’s spirit in mind — leave your pretenses at the door, be true to yourself and enjoy the time with your friends and loved ones.”
In Wit’s End’s final days, it functioned as a pop-up clinic for COVID-19 antibody testing, which the city reportedly shut down with a zoning use challenge. (The accuracy — or lack thereof — of available COVID-19 antibody tests is still an issue; plus, the CDC doesn’t yet have enough information to determine if people who do have antibodies to the virus are definitely protected from reinfection.)
After a decade, Somerville gem Bergamot (118 Beacon St.) has closed. The intimate, upscale restaurant served what it described as “progressive American cuisine” and spawned a nearby sibling wine bar, Bisq (which also has a Time Out Market food hall offshoot). Part of the Bergamot team is also behind a recently opened taqueria on the Boston/Brookline line near Boston University, Taqueria el Barrio.
Bergamot co-owner Servio Garcia told The Boston Globe that the pandemic was “pretty much the nail that sealed the coffin,” noting that the restaurant wasn’t suited for a pivot to takeout and delivery. (Sibling Bisq, meanwhile, has been offering takeout, featuring chef Alex Sáenz’s extraordinarily popular fried chicken, among other items.)
It’s not entirely goodbye, though: Bergamot will be rebranded into an art gallery and a more casual restaurant, B2, featuring gastropub fare alongside local beer from new brewery FAB, which has roots in Somerville and Dorchester. Takeout and delivery should start soon. “This is not a new chapter, but rather a new book,” Garcia told the Globe.
Steps from the Minuteman bike path, Tango has been serving up Argentinian fare — especially grilled steaks and other meats — for 18 years, founded by Ricardo and Nancy Mermet. The restaurant will close on June 28, according to an announcement posted to Facebook on June 22.
“From the many batches of chimichurri, to the double kisses on the cheek from Armando, to the cocktails poured by Gabriel, we have enjoyed every moment, and it has been our true honor to have served you,” read the announcement, in part. “These last few months have been difficult in so many ways. But our hearts were filled by the outpouring of support from our customers, and the dedication and perseverance of our staff ... While we say goodbye for now, I hope one day we might be able to bring it all to life again. Until then, I hope you think of us every time you pop open a bottle of Malbec, cut into a juicy steak, or see that distinctive dance...the tango.”
Irish pub O’Leary’s has closed in Brookline (1010 Beacon St.) after nearly 30 years. A June 21 Facebook post cites the pandemic as “definitely a factor,” adding that “overall it is the best decision for our family as a whole to make at this time ... Words can’t explain how much we will miss you.”
The post goes on to reminisce about “unforgettable Christmas parties” (and Jell-o shots), “jokes that were told,” and “incredible memories that we will all have forever.” Open since 1992, O’Leary’s hosted live music twice a week and served dishes such as Guinness beef stew, broiled scrod, and fish and chips.
Sofa Cafe, a Brazilian coffee shop that operated for two years in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood before relocating to Framingham (181 Concord St.) in 2017, is now closed. “The owners were two doctors whose vision was to help young Brazilian men and women learn to become baristas,” building owner Marlene Aron told the Framingham Source. “Regretfully, Sofa Cafe will not be reopening.”
Open since late 2016, the Common Cafe & Kitchen (9 S. Main St., Natick Center) served casual cafe fare by day and Persian-style kebabs by night, also playing host to jazz, open mic nights, and other musical performances.
On June 17, the business announced its closure on Facebook, writing, “We tried hard but could not survive the epidemic ... We appreciate all of our customers and your support. We’ll truly miss you all.”
The Newton location of Florida-based pizzeria chain Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza (180 Needham St.) is now closed, but a few other local outposts remain in operation in Littleton, Natick, Reading, and Westwood.
This location opened in 2017 and served, of course, coal-fired pizza, as well as salads, sandwiches, and other casual food.
30-year-old Isaac’s Restaurant (114 Water St.) has closed; owner Bob Infusino wasn’t able to come to feasible lease renewal terms with the property owner, Wicked Local reports, and the pandemic made it impossible to move forward. The second-floor restaurant didn’t have a good way to add outdoor dining, and reopening indoors with limited capacity wouldn’t generate enough money. “I can’t face both a high rent and pandemic at the same time,” Infusino told Wicked Local.
With waterfront views and longtime employees who knew all the regulars, Isaac’s was a Plymouth icon.
Wayne Hooker, aka “Chef Wayne,” announced this week that he would close his popular 25-year-old Cajun restaurant Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou (63 Liberty St.) on July 1, but his Worthington Street takeout kiosk, Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou Cajun on the Go, will continue on.
Hooker told MassLive that his age (65) and physical issues with his hands and knees are factors in the decision to close the restaurant, as is the impact of coronavirus. “I can’t survive on a partial dining room,” he said, adding that he thinks that “getting out while you’re ahead is not considered quitting.”
The Wenham Tea House (4 Monument St.) has closed — at least for now — after more than a century, with operator Chris Keohane citing “challenges with product, staffing, and finances due to the pandemic.” Keohane ran the tea house in recent years and reportedly hopes that it could reopen under new leadership. It is owned by the Wenham Village Improvement Society and generates funds that go back to the town of Wenham, providing scholarships for students, beautifying the town, and more.
The North Shore establishment dates back to 1912, when it began as “a women’s exchange to provide an outlet for local homeworker goods and a cozy place for the townspeople to gather.” In modern times, it served breakfast, brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea and hosted many events, such as bridal showers and holiday meals.