Garrett Harker, Jeremy Sewall, Skip Bennett, and Shore Gregory — founders of Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 — recently announced that they are separating after more than a decade as partners. The group first came together in 2010 to open Island Creek in Kenmore Square.
According to the Boston Globe, Gregory and Sewall sent a letter to their investors last week explaining their intention to split with Bennett and Harker. Gregory and Sewall will continue to operate Row 34, and will rebrand the Burlington outpost of Island Creek as a third location of Row 34. (In addition to its original location in Fort Point, the restaurant operates a location in Portsmouth, NH.)
“We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with Skip Bennett and our Island Creek Oyster farm family in the years to come, and have the utmost respect for both his team and his products,” said Sewall in a statement.
Harker will continue to operate Branch Line in Watertown and Eastern Standard Provisions (a pretzel company), while Bennett will spend more time working on Island Creek Oyster farm in Duxbury, which he owns.
“I’m humbled by the overwhelming response and support that we have received at our restaurants over the past 10 years, and I will look back on my time with my partners fondly,” said Bennett in a statement. “As we move on to the next chapter, I look forward to watching these talented individuals pursue their dreams, I’m certain it will be spectacular. I am happy to be spending more time in Duxbury with my ICO family, continuing to grow the ICO brand.”
The foursome has experienced a near unprecedented level of success and acclaim since forming their restaurant group. The separation will be hard to take for its acolytes, especially because it comes hot on the heels of news that Harker’s beloved Kenmore establishments Eastern Standard, the Hawthorne, and Island Creek all closed for good as a result of a lengthy lease dispute with landlords UrbanMeritage.
“The most enduring gratification in my 30 years in hospitality has been in service to my partners and leadership teams as they expand their success and contributions to our industry,” said Harker in a statement. “I’m looking forward to continued great things from the Row 34 team.”
And in other news…
- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently announced that the state will eliminate percentage-based capacity caps on restaurants come March 1. The state’s restaurants have been subject to some level of percentage-based capacity caps since they reopened for indoor dining in June 2020. Baker’s decision comes at a time when restaurant workers — who are among the most vulnerable for COVID-19 infection — still aren’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts.
- Dunkin’ Donuts (it’ll always be Dunkin’ Donuts, not simply Dunkin’, in Boston) recently added a matcha dusted donut to its menu, alongside a blueberry matcha latte, which is made with blueberry flavor. Yum.