Lenox Sophia, a modern American restaurant, is set to open near the Broadway T stop in South Boston on January 28, 2022, taking over the original home of KO Pies (87 A St.), a cozy little nook of a space that has been vacant since late 2018.
In the works for the past two and a half years, Lenox Sophia comes from chef Shi Mei, a longtime Boston resident who left accounting for culinary school over a decade ago and never looked back. His career has taken him from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and the French Laundry in California to Jason Dady’s Bin 555 in Texas and back to Boston to work on Lenox Sophia, which he describes as a “casual fine dining” restaurant. While working on the plans, he put in time in various local kitchens, including Asta, Whaling in Oklahoma, and Mida.
Those who remember the original KO Pies location will recall its intimate size, with just a tiny bit of seating. “I always wanted a small space,” Mei tells Eater, “similar to Daily Catch in the North End, where I can cook and it really feels like you’re eating in my home kitchen.”
It’s an idea he’s been mulling for a long time, he says. “I love hole-in-the-wall places. I wanted my space to mirror that but with well-executed and plated food.”
Mei is still menu testing, but the opening menu will likely contain dishes such as octopus and mussels escabeche with smoked oyster and cassava bread; celeriac with onion agrodolce, puffed grain, cauliflower, and ajo blanco; tagliatelle with sunchoke, cremini mushrooms, and Benton’s Country Ham; and Rohan duck with dirty rice porridge and grilled kale.
Mei will be joined in the kitchen by chef de cuisine Yesid Areiza, who previously worked his way from dishwasher to head chef at Petit Robert Bistro. Like Mei, he also spent time at Asta and Whaling in Oklahoma, plus stints at Tiger Mama and Shepard.
When Lenox Sophia opens, it will serve dinner only (Tuesday through Sunday), and the restaurant doesn’t yet have a liquor license but is working to obtain one. The restaurant isn’t taking reservations or providing takeout and delivery. Outdoor dining is a possibility for the spring: Mei will apply for parking-space style patio seating. Note that while the restaurant has a portable ramp available for entry, Lenox Sophia’s bathroom is not fully wheelchair accessible; those with questions can contact the restaurant for more information.
Watch Instagram for updates leading up to next week’s planned opening.