To wrap up the year, Eater Boston polled both local journalists and readers of this site to get their thoughts on the past year in dining: the good, the bad, and the most exciting things still to come in 2023. The results have been collected in the following series of posts. (Check out the full archive here.)
Below, we ask: What restaurant debut are you most excited for in 2023?
Marc Hurwitz, founder of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk, food/travel writer for Dig Boston and NBC Boston/NECN:
“Everyone else is probably going to say Eastern Standard returning to the Fenway area, and while that’s well-deserved, I can’t wait for Flat Top Johnny’s to be reborn in Kendall Square. It’s tough to argue against chicken tenders, beer, and pool.”
MC Slim JB, restaurant critic for Boston Magazine:
“I expect I’ll be part of a chorus here shouting, “Woo-hoo, Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks is coming back!” Along with Island Creek Oyster Bar and The Hawthorne, it left an aching void in our scene when it fell out with its landlord at the Hotel Commonwealth. Its rebirth next summer not far from its old Kenmore Square home will be the industry homecoming event of the year.
Just so ESK&D doesn’t hog all the spotlight, I’ll also cite Caveau near Government Center. I don’t know the concept yet (my guess is wine bar, my hope is natural wine bar), but I expect its owners — who also operate Yvonne’s, Ruka, Lolita, Mariel and Coquette — will continue their streak of opening opulent, nightclub-like restaurants that, unlike most scene-y spots here, actually serve quality food and drink. That neighborhood could use a shot of glamour.”
Devra First, restaurant critic for the Boston Globe:
“I’m really looking forward to Comfort Kitchen in Dorchester, with a menu that explores and celebrates the flavors and foodways of the African diaspora. It’s a foundational story of this country’s cuisine, and I’m glad to see it being told here. It will be great to have a buzzy new restaurant in Uphams Corner. And the Comfort Kitchen team has already proved itself via an extended pop-up in JP.”
Rachel Leah Blumenthal, food editor for Boston Magazine:
“Comfort Kitchen! I’ve been so excited for this restaurant to open in Dorchester since it was announced. Its pop-ups along the way have been incredible, so my expectations are high for what the team can do once they’re settled into their own permanent space. There’s so much room for creativity under the group’s “global comfort food” umbrella—with an emphasis on highlighting flavors and ingredients of the African diaspora—and I can’t wait to see how the menus continue to change.”
Nearly 100 people took part in Eater Boston’s dining survey this year (thank you, all!). Below, find the top reader responses for the most exciting restaurant openings coming up next year.
- Eastern Standard
- Comfort Kitchen
- Mei Mei Dumpling Factory
- Jazz Urbane Cafe
- “Whoever takes over the site of Moody’s on Moody Street.”
- “Anything the Coje Restaurant Group will do.”
- “I would love Sekali to open their own place in 2023…”
- “Japonaise Bakery — not a debut, but with how long their repairs and renovations have gone on it’ll sure feel like it!”
These answers have been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.