Restaurant Openings

Look Inside Boston’s First Location of Cava, Opening Friday in the Fenway

The Mediterranean-inflected fast-casual brand has additional restaurants in the works in Dedham, Hingham, Back Bay, and Kendall Square.

Enter the line to order at Cava in Fenway

Photos provided

A growing, Washington, D.C.-based fast-casual company sprouts in Boston this week. Cava (stylized as CAVA) debuts its first local location on Boylston Street in the Fenway neighborhood on Friday, Jan. 19—but if you’re in the area around lunch or dinner today, pop in for a first taste of its Mediterranean fare on the house.

From noon-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, Cava in the Fenway is dishing out free salads, grain bowls, pita wraps, and more, and collecting donations to benefit Future Chefs, a Boston-based non-profit that educates and trains teens for professional culinary careers.

Cava, founded by childhood friends Ted Xenohristos, Ike Grigoropoulos, and Dimitri Moshovitis in 2011, endeavors to bring the vibrant flavors of their Greek-American upbringing to a wider audience. The restaurant group began as a full-service restaurant called Cava Mezze, and executive chef Moshovitis still oversees menu development. (Boston chef Brendan Pelley of Doretta Taverna is heading to the D.C. area next week to team up with Moshovitis on a four-course Greek feast with wine pairings.)

The counter-service (or app-orderable), customizable menu starts with a handful of base options, and offers scratch-made spreads like roasted eggplant and red bell pepper dip, and jalapeño-infused “crazy feta” mousse; proteins like tomato-onion braised beef, and spicy lamb meatballs; crunchy toppings and vegetables; and dressings like Sriracha Greek yogurt, and lemon herb tahini. More than 50 items could theoretically be combined into 58 million different dishes.

The company partners with regional farms, like Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine, and has rancher partners for their proteins. Essex-based Lark Fine Foods has created a salted chocolate chip cookie exclusively for Cava’s Boston menus.

The Fenway restaurant is just more than 2,300 square feet on the ground level of the new Harlo boutique apartment building, and it seats 39 people. It opens Friday at 10:45 a.m., and will be open daily from 10:45 a.m.-10 p.m.

Cava is on track to open four more locations in Massachusetts by fall 2018. Dedham at Legacy Place is next, eyeing a springtime debut; following by Hingham’s Derby Street Center, and a Back Bay location near the Marathon finish line this summer, and Kendall Square this fall.

1346 Boylston St., Boston, cava.com.

The exterior of Cava in Fenway

Photos provided

Behind the counter at Cava in Fenway

Photos provided

Cava in Fenway

Photos provided

Drink station at Cava in Fenway

Photos provided

Cava in Fenway

Photos provided