The Burro Bar Is Headed for the Former Ribelle Space

The Alpine Restaurant Group is bringing an outpost of its Davis Square cantina, the Painted Burro, to Washington Square.
A spread at the Painted Burro in Somerville

A spread at the Painted Burro in Somerville. / Photo provided

Union Square Donuts isn’t the only Somerville favorite introducing itself to Brookline later this year. The Burro Bar, a “smaller-scale” version of the Painted Burro in Davis Square, is in the works for the former Ribelle Space in Washington Square.

The Burro Bar will have a similar design its big sibling, along with a streamlined version of its menu and cocktail program.

Boston Restaurant Talk first reported the rumor about the Painted Burro’s expansion yesterday. Chef/owner Joe Cassinelli confirms the Burro Bar is slated for a late fall/early winter debut. He has made no secret about plans for the Alpine Restaurant Group, which he started in 2009 with Posto. “The group will continue to expand its presence in the region with new locations of Posto and The Painted Burro across New England,” says its website.

Another Painted Burro was under construction in Downtown Crossing a couple years ago, but the Alpine Restaurant Group hit a snag with the owner of the former Windsor Button factory and pulled out of that space. In the meantime, the restaurant group has opened an endearing homage to Americana, Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar, in a completely renovated diner car in Davis Square, and has also expanded the Posto brand with Osteria Posto in Waltham. It also has a catering outfit with Posto Mobile.

In Somerville, the Painted Burro offers tacos, like the Cooking Channel-approved chorizo de la casa, Baja-style fried fish, and more unique options, like BLT & cheese, and crispy calamari. There are apps like street corn, mango guacamole, and chalupas with crispy squash blossoms, goat cheese, and roasted jalapeño agave nectar, and sides include Oaxaca cheese grits and creamy poblano rice. It has tortas, enchiladas, and entrees, like grouper a la Veracruzana, with peppers, olives, capers, tomatoes, seafood broth, and jasmine rice surrounding the pan-seared fish. The Brookline menu is still being finalized, but it will be a smaller list including Burro favorites.

Ribelle, chef Tim Maslow’s first solo endeavor, shuttered early this month. The prime Washington Square location gives the Alpine Group what it’s looking for in terms of new locations for the Burro brand: “a bustling urban atmosphere with strong neighborhood values, which has proven to a be a great fit for Burro in Davis Square,” says a company rep.

The Burro Bar, opening later in 2016, 1665 Beacon St., Brookline, thepaintedburro.com.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com