Moody’s Is Opening a Deli in Copley Square

The prime Back Bay location is the longtime home of Rebecca’s Cafe.

Photo by Chelsea Kyle for “Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions Set to Expand”

Josh Smith has been in expansion mode with his charcuterie-born restaurant empire for a couple years now—first adding a wine bar, the Backroom, to his Waltham deli, then a huge production facility across town, growing wholesale business, adding a bakery, and more.

And he’s finally ready to give Boston proper a bigger piece. Moody’s Deli will open an outpost at 500 Boylston St., with an entrance across from 200 Clarendon (aka the Hancock Tower), this fall.

“We’re so lucky,” Smith says. “It’s been months of planning and discussing” with the property managers. The news came out this week, via Boston Restaurant Talk, because they sent an internal memo to tenants about it.

Smith has his first meeting with Boston health officials today—wish him luck; let’s just say Moody’s launched in Waltham instead of Boston for a reason. Now all meat curing takes place at the Death Star—what Smith calls the 10,000-square foot production facility—and he has a stellar health record in Waltham, so he’s hopeful to find support with the city. If all goes well, Moody’s could open as early as the end of September, he says.

The weekday-only deli is taking over a 3,100-square foot café, and Smith says they plan minimal renovations, including a fresh coat of paint, and installing new countertops and deli cases. The plan is for a small deli for made-to-order breakfast and lunch options, plus ample grab-and-go choices, and just a handful of tables for dining in. But if customers demand weekend hours, or a cozier seating area, that could come down the line.

“Like we did here in Waltham, we’re going to start small and see how it goes, then maybe add a little more,” Smith says. “Adding a Backroom isn’t out of the question, but we want to do it without affecting quality in either location.”

One new amenity in the works: A Moody’s app for ordering and paying ahead. While the Boston deli will have traditional Moody’s favorites, it will also have some unique new menu items. It neighbors a SoulCycle, so with those guests in mind, Smith wants to create some lighter grain bowls, and maybe some seafood salads. Rebecca’s also has a deck (pizza) oven, so the lunch crowd could have the option of some seasonal flatbreads, he adds.

“There will be some things that might not fly off the shelves in Waltham. We’re sensitive to the different demographic we’ll be serving [in Boston],” Smith says.

Readers might recall Smith has more Moody’s related projects in the works. He recently took over the lease of a neighboring restaurant on Moody Street, and plans to open a Waltham taqueria. Some of that extra square footage will also enable him to expand seating in the Backroom, and build out a raw seafood bar there. After the Back Bay location gets up and running by October, he’ll focus on the Waltham expansion.

And then he’ll focus on California. That’s right. Moody’s is heading west. Smith and his business partner have purchased a small winery and a building, the latter in downtown Napa.

“We have a strong love for wine and California, and great relationships with wineries out there,” Smith says, and despite the amount of wonderful charcuterie produced on the West Coast, the Napa area lacks a real deli, he adds. “We want to bring that Northeast deli and charcuterie program out there.”

Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions, coming to 500 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, by October 2017, 468 Moody St., Waltham, 781-216-8732, moodyswaltham.com.

The Katz Sandwich from Moody's Delicatessen

The Katz Sandwich from Moody’s Delicatessen. / Photo by Nina Gallant provided

 Moody's Deli in Waltham

To-go cases at Moody’s Deli in Waltham. / Photo by Nina Gallant provided