The Most Important End-of-2018 Restaurant Openings and Closings You May Have Missed
Shepard has closed (but change is coming soon), Bow Market's chocolate shop opened, and more of the biggest dining news from the end of 2018.
For many people, a new year brings opportunities for self-reflection, goal-setting, and starting fresh—and that goes for local restaurants, too. From a few notable closures at the end of 2018, to several new businesses setting up shop in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, here’s a recap of the biggest dining news you may have missed over the holidays.
Well, let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
L’Espalier has shuttered after 40 years in the Back Bay, after not renewing its lease on Boylston Street. Chef Frank McClelland served the fine dining institution’s final meal on New Year’s Eve, closing an important chapter in Boston restaurant scene history, as well as in farm-to-table dining in New England. The Boston Globe first reported that 62-year-old chef McClelland has a new project in the works; stay tuned for more details.
Shepard closed on New Year’s Eve as well. “Seasons change. Times change. And restaurants change,” the Cambridge spot’s website reads. To that end, as soon as later this month, a new venture from owner René Becker (Hi-Rise Bread Co.), chef Scott Jones (formerly of the Barbara Lynch Collective), and Best of Boston bar manager Nic Mansur will take over the space at 1 Shepard St., which was once the legendary Chez Henri. The forthcoming project “has been in the works for some time,” the Shepard team says, so stay tuned for more on this new beginning.
Formaggio Kitchen Kendall opened on Friday, Dec. 28, and begins regular business hours today. It’s open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Like its other Cambridge and South End locations, the newest Formaggio offers a vast selection of curated cheeses and speciality grocery products; and it serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches, coffee, and more. (94 Hampshire St., Cambridge, formaggiokitchen.com)
Somerville’s evolving Bow Market saw three delicious new businesses open in late December. (1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, bowmarketsomerville.com)
- In Season Food Shop is a partnership between Bobby MacLean of Compliments Food Truck and Copley Square Farmers Market manager Shane Clyburn. The small storefront debuted December 22, stocked with artisan grocery items, bottled beverages, and local produce. A counter inside also serves sandwiches, smoothies, and other healthy plates. The partners are offering small-scale investment opportunities in the startup through MainVest.
- Chocolatier Alexandra Whisnant has moved production of Gaté Comme des Filles—her French-inspired brand of luxury bonbons—to the Union Square maker-space after establishing it locally at Aeronaut Brewing Co. At Bow Market, her team sells fresh morsels of seasonal flavors like Meyer lemon and white chocolate cardamom packaged to order in pretty gift boxes, with treats like chocolate mousse cones in the works, too.
- Tanám, a Filipino restaurant and cocktail bar from chef Ellie Tiglao, secured its certificate of occupancy to softly open during Bow Market’s first-ever New Year’s Eve. With bar director Kyisha Davenport at the helm, Tanám served cocktails such as a house Old Fashioned with rye and ginger; a perfectly purple Ube Sour; and creations like Lamb Talk, with Lambanog (a coconut wine from the Philippines), kalamansi (Filipino lime), egg white, and rosewater. “We’ll begin a period of obnoxiously letting everyone know” that Tanám is softly open, Tigalo said in her emailed newsletter to followers. Look for those updates on social media.
The Tam and Sullivan’s Tap reopened on New Year’s Eve, after being purchased by a local investment group Greater Boston Bar Co., and closing briefly for “improvements.” The new owners rehired the staff of Theatre District stalwart the Tam, and spokesperson Sean Martin told the Boston Globe that both dive bars “will retain the same exact character that people have grown to love and respect.” (The Tam, 222 Tremont St., Boston, 617-482-9182; Sullivan’s Tap, 168 Canal St., Boston)
The Westland officially opens tonight near Symphony Hall. After a period of soft opening, the newest venture from Red Paint Hospitality Group is now open nightly from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. The neighborhood tavern has two full bars with craft cocktails and beer, and an appealing menu of American comfort food and brasserie fare, such as a shrimp-and-crab-stuffed mushrooms; roasted chicken with miso-maple glaze; and a burger with truffle aioli and a red wine gastrique. The kitchen serves food from 5-10 p.m. every Sunday-Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch, weekend brunch, and late-night dining will begin in the coming weeks. (10 Westland Ave., Boston, 617-208-6292, westlandboston.com)