Chinatown’s Shojo Celebrates Its One-Year Anniversary with a New Mural

We spoke with co-owner Brian Moy about the decision to repaint the restaurant interior, and what else is in store for the restaurant.

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The brand-new (still in-progress) mural at Shojo. All photos (except otherwise noted) by Fawn Deviney for Boston magazine.

Today marks the one-year anniversary for Chinatown hangout Shojo, a spot that has brought a breath of fresh air to the neighborhood with craft cocktails, fun, Chinese-inspired snacks like Szechuan pork-stuffed calamari and suckling pig bao, and a vibrant, graffiti-splashed interior.

In honor of hitting the one-year mark, co-owner Brian Moy decided to completely change the interior mural, which was painted by his childhood friend, artist Alec Strickland. The re-painting will become a yearly tradition to commemorate the restaurant’s evolution. “We wanted [the mural] to express what we were going through as a business,” Moy says.

The original painting (below) depicted the story behind the name Shojo, a mythical Japanese creature who, according to legend, embarked on a quest to find a sake river. By year two of this journey, Moy wanted the mural (also by Strickland) to reflect Shojo’s evolution. “The Shojo monkey has found his sake river, he found his land. So the theme [this year] is protecting his land. Year two, he is putting his foundation down, putting his footprint into the land. He’s here and not going anywhere,” he says.

Clearly, this represents more than just the mythical creature—it represents the evolution of the restaurant itself. “Year one we worked hard to establish ourselves,” Moy explains. “Year two, we are putting our footprint down in Boston, and want to protect what we have: our vision, and our food and drink.” The latter items, as a result, will soon be changing as well—as soon as next week, the restaurant plans to unveil a brand-new cocktail menu, as well as a new food menu, including Asian-influenced charcuterie.

The restaurant is closed to the public for regular dinner service so that the staff can celebrate the anniversary. However, from 6-8 p.m. this evening, they’ll be open to offer samples of the forthcoming food menu (like grilled Peking duck wraps, Asian-style head cheese rilletes, and Hawaiian-style salmon poke) and cocktail list (like a Zombie punch powl, a watermelon-mezcal cocktail, and a honeydew daiquiri).  Ahead, get a peek at the new interior. And if you’ll miss the old one, no worries—an image of it is in the process of being framed, and it will be hung above the banquettes in the space.

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Photo via Flickr/Cherrylet

Shojo’s original interior mural, depicting the creature of the same name’s quest for a sake river. 

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Above, Moy stands in front of the new mural (at the time of this photo, still in-progress). 

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Top left: The story of the new mural begins with Shojo on a horse, battling to conquer the land around his newly-discovered sake mountain. Bottom left: The center of the painting depicts Bodhidharma, who is revered as the father of Zen buddhism. “That signifies there is a certain time throughout the year that we are tranquil,” Moy says. Bottom right: The dragon wrapped around the mountain represents Shojo’s first year, Moy says. By protecting the mountain, the dragon is holding down Shojo’s spot in the community.

ShojoCollage1Above: Shojo the monkey, now clad in armor. “He is done with battles, and drunk on sake. He’s lounging along with the guests,” Moy says. 

ShojoCollage2Above: Stickland hard at work. 

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  • Alan Lung

    Love Shojo and very impressed by the owner Brian Moy. Looking forward to many more ventures from this young entrepreneur! Congratulations Brian!