[UPDATE] Journeyman to Create a ‘Casual Sibling’ and Forgo Stoves for Fireplaces

The innovative Union Square hideaway will close briefly this spring to reinvent itself.


Journeyman owners Diana Kudayarova and Tse Wei Lim. / Photo privided

UPDATE, April 15: Journeyman is currently closed, but it will reopen with a new tasting menu on Thursday, April 21, the team just shared in its newsletter. The Monday-Wednesday casual concept is called Heat, and it will debut on April 25. You can book a table now, and they will also reserve walk-in tables for Heat.


Since it opened in 2010, Journeyman, the first restaurant venture from Tse Wei Lim and Diana Kudayarova, has constantly evolved. But this spring, the Union Square spot will make the most dramatic changes yet.

The husband-and-wife duo, who also own neighboring Backbar and Study and Ames Street Deli in Kendall Square, just announced they are doing away with Journeyman’s stoves and technical plating in favor of wood-fired, straightforward fare, and are also debuting a more casual, weeknight concept in the space. The restaurant will shutter next month and reopen mid-March.

Stemming from a forward-thinking underground supper club Kudayarova and Lim hosted for friends and folks in the know, Journeyman debuted with meticulously-plated “omnivore” and “vegetarian” tasting menus, before doing away with choices entirely and offering a seven-course, nightly chef’s whim menu. The new, dual concept is inspired by casual dinners Journeyman hosted in 2015, with themes like Thai food, hot dogs and beer, and a clam bake.

“We loved seeing the dining room fill with friends and neighbors and turn into a raucous party. We’d love to see it happen more,” the team wrote in its January newsletter. 

When it reopens, the Journeyman dining room will offer more counter seating and a drink rail, and an overall more social atmosphere. Expect the sound system to be amped up, too. Tock, the ticketing system Journeyman instated last fall, and the tasting menu will still be in place Thursday-Sunday, but Monday-Wednesday nights will see a themed, a la carte menu of small and large plates. The more casual concept will allow for flexible dining experiences, from a quick, weeknight dinner, to casual snacks and dessert at co-owner Sam Treadway’s bar, to a full-on feast with friends.

Chef Tru Lang is honing in on more straightforward cuisine, prepared on NorCal Ovenworks wood-fire grills, a stove, and a string roaster. Sous vide cooking and molecular gastronomy are things of the past at the new Journeyman, and it will show in the revamped kitchen.

The restaurant will close for renovations this spring. (See UPDATE, above.) In the meantime, Journeyman will continue to serve its tasting menu to ticketholders on weekends, and it will preview the new a la carte concept on Monday-Wednesday evenings. Check out the schedule below, and keep an eye out for special guest announcements.

January 11-13: Whole Hog, with an acorn-fed pig from Andy Carbone

January 18-20: Whole Hog returns (it’s a big pig!)

January 25-27: Veggies

February 1-3: Cider and cheese

February 8-10: Seafood—sashimi, crudi, chowders, and more

Journeyman, 9 Sanborn Court, Union Square, Somerville; 617-718-2333 or journeymanrestaurant.com.