A fried chicken and barbecue joint in Cambridge, a decades-old pizzeria downtown, a food market in Brookline — these are the restaurants and food businesses that have closed in the Boston area this fall (or closed earlier during the pandemic but have just officially announced that the closure is permanent) as staffing and supply chain issues and other challenges continue to hurt the industry. Read on for details on the restaurants that have bid Boston farewell in recent months, including mainstays as well as newcomers.
This list was most recently updated on December 15, 2021, adding notes on Pellino’s Ristorante in the North End; Coppersmith (closing next month) in South Boston; Local 338 in West Roxbury; Bisq, Loyal Nine (closing December 18), Luce, and Temple Bar in Cambridge; and Twyrl Pasta Bistro (closing December 16) in Arlington. (For notes on last season’s closures, go here.)
Shanghai Gate (204 Harvard Ave., Boston), a longtime Allston favorite for Chinese food, closed recently, replaced by a restaurant called BOS’ Sichuan Taste that reportedly has the same chef but different owners, decor, and menu. Highlights at the now-closed Shanghai Gate were the Paradise Mountain chicken, a dry hot chicken dish heavy on ginger and garlic; the sizable lion’s head meatballs; the pork-filled soup dumplings; and garlicky baby bok choy.
Also in Allston, Vietnamese restaurant Le’s (137 Brighton Ave., Boston) has closed after about 15 years; it’ll be replaced by Dalongyi Hot Pot. The Harvard Square location of Le’s remains in operation, serving a variety of pho options, vermicelli dishes, and other Vietnamese cuisine.
And one more in Allston: Hidden gem the Glenville Stops (87 Glenville Ave., Boston), a gastropub open since early 2014, closed in late October. The restaurant’s website simply states, “We have closed: very sorry.” A longer goodbye on Facebook thanks the community for support over the past seven years, “especially during these impossible times for a restaurant ... It has been a pleasure, hope to see you all soon.” Find owner Mike Chapman and executive chef Nathan Allen at the revamped Il Capriccio in Waltham, which they took over earlier this year.
Magnolia Bakery (4 S. Market St., Quincy Market, downtown Boston), the New York City bakery famous for its cupcakes and banana pudding, opened its only Boston location at Quincy Market in March 2018. It closed temporarily at the start of the pandemic — but a rep now confirms that the closure is permanent. The company continues to operate locations in New York, California, Illinois, Asia, and the Middle East, and shipping is available throughout the United States for Bostonians and others missing that pudding. (You can even get it in a 64-ounce tub.)
Elsewhere downtown, Theatre District restaurant Abby Lane (255 Tremont St., Boston) — which opened in 2012 — has been on hiatus since late 2020, but now it’s clear that it won’t be reopening and will instead be replaced by a new restaurant, Nash Bar & Stage (“bringing a lil bit of Nashville to Boston”), from the same owner, chef Jason Santos. Nash Bar & Stage will open around December 2021, per its nascent Instagram account. Santos is also behind Buttermilk & Bourbon in Boston and Watertown, Citrus & Salt in Boston, and B&B Fish in Marblehead.
More bad news downtown: Financial District Indian restaurant D’Guru (187 Devonshire St., Boston), open for over a decade, is no more. Its original location in Somerville (which is named Guru the Caterer) remains open for individual orders as well as catering, and the company also continues to make farmers market appearances, too. The Somerville location delivers locally.
Plus, Haymarket Pizza (106 Blackstone St., Boston), a pizzeria near the Haymarket MBTA station and the Haymarket outdoor food market, has closed after an impressive 50-year run (28 under the current ownership).
“Many of our patrons are lifelong customers who grew up visiting the market as children and have made Haymarket Pizza a part of their family tradition,” Haymarket Pizza wrote on Facebook. “With such a meaningful history in the heart of Boston, we’ve been blessed with countless friendships and memories over the years at Haymarket Pizza. Anyone who’s ever had Haymarket Pizza knows there’s nothing like it, and that we’ve always done our best to keep our prices reasonable, even during tough times. With deep gratitude, we thank you for your loyalty and support during our long time in business.”
Also downtown, Financial District cafe Dock Square Cafe (60 State St., Boston) has closed as of mid-October, citing “circumstances beyond our control.” Sibling spot Boston News Cafe and Catering remains open across the street at 28 State St. as well as at 80 Arch St., serving sandwiches, soups, salads, and customizable rice bowls.
And one more for downtown: the Kinsale (2 Center Plz., Boston) actually closed a year ago, but it was supposed to be temporary, with a reopening targeted for sometime this year. (The same goes for its Cambridge sibling, the Asgard; see below.) In late October 2021, though, the company behind the Kinsale and the Asgard announced that the closures are permanent, citing the effects of the ongoing pandemic — lots of workers haven’t returned to office buildings, labor shortages are continuing, etc. The Kinsale had been around since 1998, while the Asgard opened in 2001.
Tiger Mama (1363 Boylston St., Boston) — the second restaurant chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison opened on this stretch of Boylston Street, which is now home to four of her businesses — closed at the end of October, making way for a new restaurant from the same team, opening in 2022. The Southeast Asian-inspired restaurant with tropical decor opened almost six years ago. [Read more.]
Pellino’s Ristorante (2 Prince St., Boston) has closed after about three decades in business — the first two-thirds of which were in Marblehead before owners Frank and Karen Pellino moved the restaurant to Boston’s North End. Pellino’s served rustic Italian cuisine with a focus on northern dishes. The same team continues to operate Casarecce, which opened on Hanover Street in 2019, serving “simple and rustic” Italian, especially fresh pastas.
It was announced over the summer, but as of late September, the Turtle Swamp Beer Garden at the Roslindale Substation (4228 Washington St., Boston) is officially closed due to “the impacts of COVID.” The original Turtle Swamp Brewing location in Jamaica Plain, though, remains in operation. The Roslindale beer garden was open for a couple years, following Trillium’s stint in that space.
Not actually closing this fall, but soon after: Giant South Boston restaurant/bar/cafe/rooftop Coppersmith will close on January 16, following quite a bit of a reprieve after its initial closure announcement in late 2019, which gave an estimate of late 2020 for the restaurant to be swallowed up by development. Through the 16th, the six-year-old Coppersmith will continue to be open Wednesday through Sunday with drinks, an all-day menu, and weekend brunch. There will be a special New Year’s Eve event, and the restaurant is also accepting private event bookings in its space.
Bagel shop Local 338 (1727 Centre St., Boston), which had been open for about four years, closed in November, although it may reopen under new ownership. The shop imported its bagels mostly prepped and frozen from New York, finishing the bake onsite.
Twyrl Pasta Bistro (315 Broadway, Arlington), a cozy Italian restaurant that features pasta made in-house, will close on December 16. It has been open since 2017, inspired by the family travels to Italy of chef Anka Bric and manager Chris Furlong, whose families are related by marriage.
In a note posted to Twyrl’s website, the duo write that they’ve decided not to renew their lease due to “a multitude of factors ... none more challenging than the breakdown of the supply chain. This has caused the cost of goods and services to soar, making the prospect of committing to a long-term lease far too great a risk in the face of future economic uncertainty and instability.”
Allium Market (1330 Beacon St., Brookline), a four-year-old Coolidge Corner specialty food market filled with cheese and lots more, officially closed on October 3, as planned. Owner Talia Glass had announced in August that the shop would close in October if a new owner couldn’t be found. Still, she’s happy to hear any serious inquiries via email. “And who knows — maybe the right new owners are still out there and Allium will come to life again!” she posted on Instagram. (Meanwhile, Instagram’s the best place to watch for updates on future Allium delivery/pickup opportunities and other news.)
Highland Fried (1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge) — Inman Square’s home of fried chicken, barbecue, and tiki drinks — has closed permanently. Sibling to Somerville’s popular neighborhood joint Highland Kitchen, from wife-and-husband duo Marci Joy and Mark Romano, Highland Fried opened nearly four years ago in the longtime East Coast Grill space. (For a year prior to Highland Fried’s opening, Joy and Romano operated it as a revival of East Coast Grill before turning it into the chicken-focused spinoff of Highland Kitchen.) In recent weeks, Highland Fried was closed on various days, citing staffing issues and such, but in early October, the team publicly announced that the restaurant would not be reopening.
A few days earlier, The Boston Globe had published a feature on Highland Kitchen and noted that its sibling would not be reopening. “It’s just me and Marci and we can’t do two restaurants this way,” Romano told the Globe. “It’s too much with everything going on, the latest mask mandate or fears of Delta. To keep our sanity, it’s best for our family to downsize to one place.”
Fans of the restaurant’s excellent fried chicken can still find it where it began: at Highland Kitchen on Monday nights.
Also in Inman Square, Bisq (1071 Cambridge St., Cambridge) has closed, with the outgoing voicemail message at the restaurant stating, “Unfortunately, due to different circumstances, we will have to close our doors for good.” The intimate wine bar — sibling to the now-closed Bergamot — also happened to be known for its incredible fried chicken, among other things. It had been open since 2015.
Meanwhile on the edge of Central Square near MIT, the Asgard (350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge) has closed after 20 years; its temporary closure that began a year ago is now officially permanent. See the listing for its sibling spot the Kinsale in the Boston section above for more information.
Also in Central Square, icon Craigie on Main (853 Main St., Cambridge) is up for sale; it’s been on hiatus since August 2021. When the news broke on October 22, chef and owner Tony Maws sounded like he was keeping his options open and just exploring the possibility of a sale, but in an October 26 interview with GBH News’s Jim Braude, it became clearer that Craigie on Main is officially done.
“I sincerely hope that I can find a way to get behind a stove [again] in some way, shape, or form ... [but] the Craigie on Main as we all knew it and we loved it, that part’s not coming back,” he told Braude, discussing a wide range of reasons, both business and personal, why it was time to move on. [Read more.]
In Kendall Square, Tahaza Hummus Kitchen (1 Canal Pk., Cambridge) closed on October 21 after a little over six years in business. The fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant posted a goodbye on social media, writing in part: “We fought to stay afloat but the formidable forces of the pandemic proved to be more than we could withstand. We are deeply sad and disappointed but also feel grateful for the time we had.”
“As a business and as individuals, we’ve grown quite a bit since we first established our restaurant and coffee shop seven years ago,” the Loyal Nine team posted on social media. “While the last 18 months have had their challenges, reflecting on our time in East Cambridge comes with sincere joy as we appreciate all that has been given to us. Thank you to our community, our staff, and our regulars. Two more weeks ahead of resurrecting forgotten New England food traditions, kicking back Grower wines, sipping on some Dark Matter coffee, and sharing good vibes in the ‘hood. We’ll miss you, and look forward to hosting you in Canton.”
Loyal Nine opened in 2015, serving what it called “East Coast revival” cuisine — a very historical look at New England food unlike what you’d find at other old New England restaurants. Think dishes like soused mackerel on brown bread with cultured cream and radishes or the Aroostook savory supper, a layered potato, salt pork and onion casserole — not baked scrod and chowder. It was different and creative, and the neighborhood really took to it. The excellent daytime cafe didn’t hurt.
Eater’s former restaurant editor Bill Addison included Loyal Nine in his 2017 guide New England’s 38 Essential Restaurants, enlisting Yankee Magazine food editor Amy Traverso to write up a blurb about the restaurant. Loyal Nine is “an ambitious, thinky, New England-inspired restaurant without the ye olde kitsch,” she wrote, noting that chef Marc Sheehan’s “‘eat local’ ethos goes beyond mere sourcing ... he does a deep dive into culinary history, reviving Colonial foodways like sallets and soused bluefish but with a coolly modern sensibility. Stripped of the Puritan stodge, doused with lively, who-woulda-thunk? accents like chamomile vinegar, sunchoke-walnut jam, and pork-fat hollandaise, he creates an authentic New England cuisine for today.”
Harvard and Porter Squares
A couple quiet changes on the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Porter squares: The Grafton Group’s longtime restaurant Temple Bar (1688 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge) closed temporarily at the start of the pandemic but has reportedly closed for good as a new location of tapas chain Barcelona Wine Bar is expected to take over the space early next year, joining two other local outposts (South End and Brookline).
Likewise, Italian restaurant Luce (1 Shepard St., Cambridge) — a rebranding/revamping of Shepard and sibling to Hi-Rise Bread Company — closed at the start of the pandemic, calling it temporary. Now, though, the team from Giulia down the street has announced that they’ll open Moëca, “a neighborhood seafood-focused restaurant inspired by Italy and beyond,” in the Shepard Street space. (Prior to Shepard and Luce, it was the longtime home of popular French/Cuban restaurant Chez Henri.)
Local gelato company Gelato & Chill (92 Derby St., Suite 117, Hingham) is closing its Derby Street Shops location at the end of October, opting not to renew its lease there, but Hingham fans will be able to pick up gelato pints, kits, and cannoli at the company’s commercial kitchen space in Hingham (60 Sharp St.). Gelato & Chill’s other retail locations at the Shops at Chestnut Hill and Time Out Market Boston in Fenway remain in operation.