New Lumière Owner Plans to Refresh the West Newton Spot This Spring

Chef Jordan Bailey will revamp the bar area, expand the booze offerings, and continue original chef/owner Michael Leviton's commitment to sustainability.

Lumiere Newton

Lumiere chef Jordan Bailey. / Photo provided

Chef and restaurateur Michael Leviton announced earlier this month that he’s selling his West Newton bistro, Lumière, to chef de cuisine Jordan Bailey. Leviton, who opened the restaurant nearly 17 years ago, told the Boston Globe the transition would be “pleasantly seamless,” though early next spring, guests will begin to see some changes from the young chef/owner.

The most prominent change will be the addition of more casual lounge area with high-tops, communal seating, and a 12-stool bar. The existing, five-seat bar will be removed, and Bailey plans to cosmetically update the main dining room with additional banquettes, booths, and other seating options. This renovation will happen in March, and will not require Lumière to shut down throughout construction, though it will likely close briefly so the floors can be redone and paint can be touched up.

The new lounge area will give Lumière guests an option beyond committing to full dinner, which is something the restaurant has wanted to offer for several years, a representative said. It also gives Lumière a venue for regular wine, beer, and cocktail events. The staff is currently developing an ever-changing, weekly wine tasting menu, and plans to introduce weeknight, regionally-specific wine pairings in the bar area. Expect to see more unique cocktails and a longer list of draft beers, too.

Lumière has built its reputation on sustainably-sourced ingredients, and it has earned eight James Beard Foundation Award nominations, plus accolades from Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and Saveur—and Boston magazine.

Leviton told the Globe that Bailey “greatly appreciates what we do and how we do it.” Bailey will continue creating classic, French-inspired fare with local products, while also increasing the number of weekly specials and presenting his own, compelling tasting menus. Look for pork belly, foie gras torchon, frog legs, mussels with white wine, braised short ribs, and other homestyle bistro dishes; Bailey has no intention of delving into “new school, hyper-manipulated food,” he said.

When he officially takes over, Bailey plans to reintroduce dinner hours on Sunday evenings. Eventually, Lumière will add Sunday brunch and business lunch hours, too.

Bailey joined Lumière as a sous chef in 2012, after spending a year working for Leviton prepping meat and operating the wood-fired oven at Area Four in Cambridge. Now 27 years old, he started his career as a dishwasher in Charleston, S.C. He staged under chef Bruno Loubet in London before moving to the Boston area to work as a chef at Tosca in Hingham.

Leviton sold his interest in Area Four earlier this year and is leaving the daily grind of restaurants in order to spend more time with his family. He plans to continue his committment to education around and advocacy for sustainable food. Leviton is the former chairman and a current member of the Chefs Collaborative, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, and the Chef Action Network, and also a 15-year chef instructor at Boston University’s Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan College.

Bailey officially becomes Lumière’s sole owner on February 28. In the meantime, Leviton will be cooking up his annual holiday menus, as well as some classic Lumière dishes.

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