Eventide Oyster Co. Is Opening a Boston Location

The nationally acclaimed Portland restaurant is expanding into Fenway.

Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland

Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland. / Photo by Knack Factory provided

The debate around who has the best lobster roll in Boston is about to get a whole lot more intense. Eventide Oyster Company, a nationally acclaimed restaurant in Portland, Maine, is setting up shop in the quickly developing Fenway neighborhood.

Co-owners Arlin Smith, Michael Wiley, and Andrew Taylor filed for the Eventide Fenway, LLC., in Massachusetts last week, and is securing a space in the Van Ness building.

Since hitting the scene in 2012, the bright, airy, perpetually crowded Eventide has become one of New England’s hottest restaurants, and potentially the buzziest oyster bar in the country. Co-chefs Wiley and Taylor have shared the James Beard Award nomination for Best Chefs, Northeast, twice; as well as Food & Wine‘s Best New Chef 2013. Eventide has a place on Best Of lists by Bon Appetit, Eater, Huffington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.

The menu boasts more than a dozen oysters from the East Coast and beyond, with house-made mignonettes and ices, as well as roasted, fried, and smoked oyster dishes. Eventide is also known for delicate crudos, like red snapper with lobster butter; kampachi (yellowtail) with tuna floss, tumeric, and spinach; and scallop with Napa cabbage, shiso, and sesame. But its infamous for the brown butter lobster roll—the sandwich is trademarked on the menu. In a soft, bao-style bun, the chefs pile warm, rich lobster salad.

The ownership trio has two other spots in the Old Port neighborhood. In 2013, they purchased and revamped Hugo’s Restaurant, next door on Middle Street; and the pan-Asian Honey Paw opened on the same block in 2015. They incorporated as Big Tree Hospitality last year, focusing on sustaining the communities around their independent concepts.

Smith started his trajectory as general manager of Hugo’s, while Taylor cooked in Seattle and at Ken Oringer’s Clio before Hugo’s. Maine native Wiley was in Boulder, Colorado, before joining the Hugo’s kitchen. Together, they purchased it from chef Rob Evans (Duckfat).

Earlier this year, Eventide tested the waters of a Boston reception with a summer-long pop-up at Commonwealth, taking over the Sunday menu with their lobster roll, dashi chowder, green curry lobster stew, fried chicken sandwich with maple Chinese mustard, crudo options, and more.

Details on Eventide Fenway are slim at the moment, but the team says the “casual, counter-service” restaurant will have a “concise and creative seafood menu.” It’s the “super early stages” of this expansion, so stay tuned on a timeline.

Eventide Oyster Co., coming to 1321 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, eventideoysterco.com.

Eventide Oyster Co. brown butter lobster roll

Eventide Oyster Co. brown butter lobster roll. / Photo by Knack Factory provided