Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen Opens This Month in the South End
UPDATE, September 12, 10 a.m.: Have you checked out the South End’s newest m’anoush house yet? Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen, which specializes in these Mediterranean flatbreads, is now fully open for lunch and dinner.
A first-time restaurateur is bringing the flavors of her childhood to a new, high-end, quick-service spot in the South End of Boston. Nina Festekjian and her husband, Raffi, will debut Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen by the end of August.
With the menu centered on the saj, a convex metal grill, griddled-to-order, thin flatbreads called m’anoush will be the vehicle for wraps stuffed with locally sourced, seasonal produce, antibiotic-free poultry and meats, and fresh Mediterranean-spiced spreads. Anoush’ella will also offer a few house salads; soups; lentil, rice, and couscous bowls; sweet m’anoush options; and a range of topped labneh (simple strained yogurt) bowls. It will also serve beer, wine, and cocktails, plus coffee, teas, and juices. Check out the menu online.
It’s a contemporary take on the fare Nina and Raffi Festekjian, both natives of Beirut, Lebanon, grew up eating at bazaars and street markets.
“My husband and I love the Armenian Lebanese food of our childhood,” Nina writes on Anoush’ella’s website. “The fresh, balanced ingredients and complex flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean are so healthy and satisfying. We were always on the hunt for a local restaurant that captured the tradition and comfort of this food.”
When they couldn’t find such a place, the avid home cooks decided to open their own. “Anoush’ella” is an Armenian phrase meaning “may it be sweet,” an expression used when serving comfort food made with love, Festekjian explains in a press release. The “explosive” flavors are meant to awaken the palate and also satisfy the soul, she says.
The South End space is also meant to feel like home. Festekjian, a designer, worked with Jim Piatt of Piatt Associates to create a relaxed, comfortable, yet elegant space, she says. Anoush’ella has oversized windows overlooking Washington Street, with ironwork details inside that mimic the saj, gray ash flooring, and fire-worn black stone tilework. There are 58 seats inside, including at a bar and around a communal table in the center of the space, plus 34 seats outside.
Once it opens at the end of August, Anoush’ella will serve lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., with brunch on the weekends from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen, opening August 2017, 35 W. Newton St., South End, Boston, anoushella.com.