Blossom Bar Sibling Ivory Pearl Will Replace Grassona’s Italian in Brookline
Before acclaimed bartender Ran Duan's newest cocktail destination opens, the pasta house says goodbye in January with tons of wine specials.
One of the Boston area’s most celebrated cocktail experts is about to serve up something new. Ran Duan, the acclaimed bartender and owner of Blossom Bar in Brookline Village and the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II in Woburn, will open Ivory Pearl later this year at 1704 Beacon Street. The small space is currently home to Grassona’s Italian; before that, it was cocktail haven Fairsted Kitchen.
Grassona’s will have its final full day of service on Monday, January 13, with fresh pasta specials and 25 percent-off wines on the menu until then, says current owner Steve Bowman. After Jan. 13, Grassona’s may remain open a bit longer for drinks and snacks, Bowman says, depending on the transfer of its license. Duan told the Boston Globe he hopes to begin Ivory Pearl construction by springtime.
Details are slim on the new concept so far, but Duan told the Globe Ivory Pearl will be different from his two, tropical-inspired bars. It will have a cocktail-and-seafood-focused menu. Otherwise, “All I can say is it’s a style of cocktail that doesn’t exist in Boston,” he said. Boston has reached out to Duan for more information.
A Brookline native, Bowman gave Washington Square a drinks destination when Fairsted Kitchen debuted in 2013, with then-innovative draft and pre-bottled cocktails. Founding partner Andrew Foster moved on a few years later, and in early 2018, Bowman replaced Fairsted with the homey Grassona’s.
Alongside classic cocktails and spritzes, certified sommelier Bowman has offered a stellar wine by-the-glass program throughout Grassona’s two years in business. To say goodbye to the neighborhood, he’s offering 25 percent off all bottles of wine until Grassona’s closes, plus $5 draft beers on Mondays, January 6 and 13.
Chef Phil Dwyer is preparing special dishes to close out Grassona’s time in Brookline. A former Fairsted sous chef and alum of Ribelle and KO Prime, Dwyer is making the likes of smoked whitefish raviolo in brown butter sauce; handmade tagliatelle alla Norma; and slow-roasted beef cheek raviolo this week. On Mondays, January 6 and 13, he’s also offering slices of Sicilian-style pizza.
“It would be lovely to see our fans one more time before the end,” Bowman says. It’s unfortunate to be saying goodbye, he adds. “Sadly we just couldn’t make it work,” Bowman told Brookline Patch. “We were never busy enough to keep up with all the costs.”
Bowman started his hospitality career at V. Cirace & Son, the North End bottle shop that holds the city of Boston’s first liquor license distributed after Prohibition. He previously worked at Menton and Russell House Tavern before opening Fairsted Kitchen.
“Right now I’m focused on ending Grassona’s as gracefully as possible,” Bowman says. “But I love the restaurant industry, and I’m excited to find a new path within it.”
Stay tuned for news about what’s next for Bowman, as well as for more details about Ivory Pearl. In the meantime, Grassona’s is open Thursday through Monday until January 13 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays), and potentially later into January with a smaller menu. Follow @grassonas and @ivorypearlbar on Instagram for updates.
1704 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline, (617) 396-8752, grassonasitalian.com.