Back Bay’s Legendary L’Espalier is Closing

New Year's Eve will serve the final meals at an iconic fine dining institution.

Chef Frank McClelland at L'Espalier

Chef Frank McClelland at L’Espalier. / Photo by Chorale Miles

Its current, 40th year will be the last for one of Boston’s best (and longest-running) restaurants.

L’Espalier hosts its final service on Dec. 31, as the Back Bay bastion of fine dining (and local farm-to-table forerunner) is bidding adieu after four decades. The restaurant—famous for its refined hospitality and elegant, multi-course tasting menus of New England-French cuisine—seems to be the latest casualty of a more casual-trending industry. Chef-owner Frank McClelland told the Boston Globe that L’Espalier’s lease is up and he doesn’t have the “desire” to renew.

Though it enjoys veteran status and takes pride in traditional trappings, L’Espalier has remained a consistently exciting dining destination even in recent years, and made our just-updated list of the best restaurants in Boston. It opened in 1978 at 384 Boylston St., moved to a 30 Gloucester St. townhouse in 1982, and has inhabited its current location at 774 Boylston St. since 2008. McClelland has been at the helm since 1988, and spoke to Boston earlier this year about his restaurant’s enduring appeal—though he did acknowledge that L’Espalier wouldn’t last forever. “I have no plans to retire. I just can’t. But I can’t vouch for L’Espalier being here in ten years,” McClelland said then.


L’Espalier. / Photo provided

Retirement, at least, still isn’t an option: according to the Globe, McClelland is working on a new, undisclosed project. In the meanwhile, devotees of his legendary restaurant (and those who want to cram in a first visit in its last days) will find a nine-course “Farewell Menu” offered the next few nights, according to a rep, and it includes butter-poached lobster with Alba truffles, foie gras tart with white peppercorn gelee and apple caramel, and of course, one final spin of the famous cheese cart.

We’ll bring the latest updates on McClelland’s next move when available; until then, here’s to one spectacular sunset for a true bright spot in Boston dining.

774 Boylston St., Back Bay, 617-262-3023,