Tavern Road Will Close at the End of August

Louis and Michael DiBiccari’s essential Fort Point restaurant shutters August 26.

Photograph by Jesse Burke for Best of Boston 2014

This post was updated August 15 to include new comments from Tavern Road co-owner and chef Louis DiBiccari.

Four years later—but what feels like a lifetime in the once-quiet Fort Point neighborhood—Tavern Road will close its doors for good on August 26. Chef/owner Louis DiBiccari shared the news on the restaurant’s Instagram late last night, Eater Boston reports.

He wrote:

We’ve had incredible highs, devastating lows & a whole lot of laughter. Most of all, we’ve stuck together and worked hard everyday to bring inventive cuisine, creative cocktails & a sense of community to the Fort Point neighborhood.

DiBiccari opened the ambitious and earnest Tavern Road—as Boston magazine critic Corby Kummer called it in 2013—with his brother, Michael. Both alumni of Sel de la Terre, they used well-sourced ingredients and emphasized butchery and the nose-to-tail philosophy to create globally inspired shareable plates. The cuisine changed through the years, but it filled a niche not only on the up-and-coming waterfront, but in Boston as a whole.

Despite that appearance, business is tough, DiBiccari tells Boston.

“Lots of times, you look at [chefs’ and restaurants’] Instagram and think, ‘Man, they’re killing it.’ But at the end of the day, it’s a very difficult, and very expensive city to do what we do in right now,” the chef says.

“We did a really nice job of bringing this place back to life, but sadly it’s a tough environment to work in, Fort Point,” he continues. “There’s just so many restaurants down here now. All different types—fast-casual, beer bars. The more I look around, the more I realize this is just probably not the right place for us right now. We had a responsibility to a lot of people who are invested here, and to ourselves, to make a really hard decision.”

Tavern Road built a strong industry following, in no small part thanks to the stellar bar program, created by No. 9 Park alum Ryan McGrale, who tragically died in 2015. Tenzin Samdo left Trade and carried the torch since last summer, before leaving recently to reopen ArtScience.

That turnover has nothing to do with the decision to close, DiBiccari says.

Among other accolades, Tavern Road has Best of Boston awards for late-night dining (2014), and the Fort Point neighborhood (2016).

The industrial space, large and airy on Congress Street, helped Tavern Road build its community. The DiBiccari brothers were inspired by Fort Point’s creative residents, and paid homage to their artist uncle by naming the restaurant after his former studio near the Museum of Fine Arts. A striking mural covering the main wall was inspired by his sketchbooks, and painted by a trio Fort Point artists.

Tavern Road spawned a Studio Sundays gallery series, an art-meets-food festival called Create Boston (which is coming up again on September 10), and a crowdsourced art installation in honor of the late beverage director.

“We’d like to thank Fort Point for embracing us,” DiBiccari wrote on social media. “Our local suppliers whose products allowed our dishes and drinks to shine. The artists who transformed our space into one that truly connected with the roots of the artists community.” He also thanked Tavern Road’s bar team, managers, kitchen crew, and guests.

DiBiccari hints at the final night of service: Instead of traditional dinner, he plans to invite chef friends in to help use up the pantry and cooler in a Chopped-style throwdown.

“We’ll need to clean the walk-in out, so I’ll just say, ‘go for it. Grab whatever you want.’ We’ll do stationary and passed apps, and have a great night,” he says.

The chef plans to step away from the kitchen for a bit after Tavern Road closes, focusing on Create Boston, and the food and lifestyle marketing company he co-founded, Frontburner Social. But for now, “I’m pretty determined to close this place out on a high note,” DiBiccari says. “I’ll be on the line every night for sure.”

Make sure to get to Tavern Road again before August 26 to see him off.

Tavern Road, 343 Congress St., Boston, 617-790-0808, tavernroad.com.

janky donuts

Tavern Road chef Louis DiBiccari. / Photo provided.