The tables are set at the Seaport’s newest restaurant: Chickadee opens Tuesday, July 31, for lunch and dinner. Situated inside the Innovation and Design Building, the operator-owned spot aims to be a neighborhood go-to during lunch, and a warm and comfortable restaurant by night.
Chickadee plans to be a hospitable neighbor for the IDB community, and then “as high-touch and gracious as we can [be]” for those guests who make a special trip to Drydock Avenue to eat there, says co-owner and front-of-house director Ted Kilpatrick.
The 88-seat Chickadee is the IDB’s first full-service restaurant, though it joins kiosks Farmacy Café, Triangle Coffee, Munch Mobile Kitchen, Yankee Lobster Company, and an outpost of Hingham’s Gelato & Chill. IDB tenants America’s Test Kitchen just launched a food truck there, and Joanne Chang’s eighth Flour Bakery will open there this fall.
Kilpatrick and chef John daSilva first met at No. 9 Park. Kilpatrick has spent the last few years as service director with Cushman Concepts in New York City (O Ya, Covina, Roof at Park South), while daSilva earned a 2015 Best of Boston nod for his work at the original Spoke Wine Bar in Davis Square.
They have signed on chef de cuisine Stephanie Bui, formerly of Deuxave and No. 9 Park; Gardner Olsen (former sous chef at Benedetto), and Trevor Sheehan (formerly of Cultivar). Bianca Yeager just moved to Boston from New Orleans to be Chickadee’s assistant general manager, and guest relations manager is former Deuxave maître d’ Danielle Almeida.
The Chickadee owners were attracted to the IDB because of developer Jamestown’s vision for it to connect the Seaport and South Boston neighborhoods, Kilpatrick says. It’s also a supportive community of neighbors, which includes Reebok, Boston Beer Company offices, the Boston Design Center, and numerous other technology, manufacturing, and other businesses. “Everyone’s rooting for each other and wants the building to succeed as a whole,” he says.
During lunchtime at Chickadee, daSilva’s pita bread is the star. Try it with a selection of seasonally inspired dips and salads, or holding together sandwiches like crispy chicken with labneh ranch, turmeric pickles, and shredded lettuce; and a grass-fed cheeseburger with tahini mayo and dill pickles.
At night, things will shift gears to highlight Kilpatrick’s cocktail program with shareable snacks like sour cream and onion doughnuts with caviar crème fraîche and chive blossom; and warm smoked trout dip with salt and vinegar rye chips. For entrées, expect a handful of rotating house-made pasta dishes, such as lumache with vadouvan lamb ragu, fava beans, and labneh. DaSilva is also preparing some large-format proteins like roasted half duck with smoked almonds, grapes, jicama, and mint; and slow-roasted porchetta with watermelon, fried peanuts, mint and colatura; as well as seasonal vegetable side dishes.
“We want the food menu to be fun and approachable,” he says.
The modern, comfortable space nods to its location with some high-style design elements, like light mesh curtains, and dark carpeting against white oak finishes. Every seat is cushioned for maximum coziness, and fresh flower arrangements and other details keep it homey. There are high-top booths and soon, a drink rail around the 16-seat bar, and an additional 30 seats on the outdoor patio. There’s also parking available for dinnertime guests.
21 Drydock Ave., South Boston, 617-531-5591, chickadeerestaurant.com.
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