Hallelujah, Eastern Standard Is Making a Comeback

Plus, restaurateur Frank DePasquale has a couple of new projects up his sleeve, there’s a new Anna’s Taqueria in town, and more local food news.

Two tall buildings rise next to a busy city street.

The new Eastern Standard (and three sibling venues) are in the works at Bower, a mixed-use development on Beacon Street between Kenmore Square and Audubon Circle. / Photo courtesy of Bower

Welcome to our weekly news roundup, keeping you up to date on tidbits of Boston-area restaurant news. Got info that should be on our radar? Send an email.

Catch up on last week’s news

Want to drink latke-themed cocktails or hang out in a bar jam-packed with Christmas décor? Last week’s Three to Try highlighted a trio of popular holiday pop-up bars—two for Christmas and one for Hanukkah­—that are back up and running for the season. We also took a trip outside of the city with this roundup of eight destination-worthy brunch spots in Greater Boston suburbs, and we highlighted a few restaurant openings—tacos on Mission Hill! Tropical cocktails in South Boston! Baklava in Roxbury!—in last week’s news roundup.

What else is going on?

  • The rumors are true: Restaurateur Garrett Harker’s quartet of forthcoming Kenmore Square venues will include a new version of his late, great Eastern Standard, which closed earlier in the pandemic, breaking a lot of hearts in the process. “This space may not look like much right now, but come next year, it’ll be full—of a new team, of plates of steak frites and bread pudding and burgers and the plat of the day, of guests new and old, of laughter and tears, of whiskey smashes, of cheers when the Sox hit a homer, and of stories,” the team shared on social media, along with a photo of Harker standing in an under-construction space that will become the next iteration of the brasserie. The new Eastern Standard will be joined by a cocktail bar called Equal Measure and two more spots.
  • Local burrito chain Anna’s Taqueria, which has been around since 1995, has added a seventh location to its roster: Today (December 6) is opening day at 360 Longwood Ave. in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. This location is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Somerville’s shared kitchen workspace Foundation Kitchen has started the opening process at its long-awaited Charlestown outpost, which will eventually feature a wine bar, food stalls, and plenty of space for events and pop-ups. Its first vendor is now up and running: Render Coffee, serving coffee, tea, breakfast, and lunch. Stay tuned for more.
  • Local restaurateur Frank DePasquale—who is behind quite a few North End venues, plus a couple at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett—has helped reopen the cozy Cambridge restaurant Trattoria Pulcinella following the passing of its chef and owner, Giovanni Oliva, earlier this year. Oliva’s wife and daughter, Maria and Amanda, have been working with DePasquale, a longtime friend of the family, to renovate and revamp the menu, which showcases Italian cuisine with a focus on Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Pulcinella is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday; reserve online.
  • And that’s not all for DePasquale: He’s also taking over the Ristorante Fiore space in the North End after it closes later this month, turning it into somewhat of a revival of the DePasquale family’s now-closed restaurant and nightclub Umbria. Set to open around spring 2023, the new Umbria will include two floors of Italian and steakhouse dining and a rooftop lounge—the plan is for “the feel of a Tuscan villa … with a Miami-style roof deck,” per a rep for the restaurant group.
  • Ristorante Fiore isn’t the only December closing: Downtown bar and club Good Life will end its run on December 17. (“In the future, the spirit of GL will live on in some other form of business, but our time here at 28 Kingston St. is rapidly coming to an end,” the team announced on social media.) Under the same ownership since 2005, the venue has long catered to a variety of musical scenes, especially in the hip-hop and dance realms.
  • And in Fenway, Mei Mei said goodbye to its original brick-and-mortar home over the weekend. Once a food truck and restaurant, now a dumpling company, Mei Mei is preparing to make the move to South Boston, where it’ll operate a dumpling factory with space for a café and classroom. (Old favorites like Mei Mei’s iconic scallion pancake sandwich, the Double Awesome, will return.) Expect the new Mei Mei to debut in January.

Things to do

Be sure to check out our weekly roundup of great events in and around the city, from music and theater to festivals and art exhibits. Here are a few upcoming food events that’ve caught our eye; follow the links for pricing, timing, and other pertinent info:

  • Boston Public Market vendor Seven Hills Pasta Co. is hosting a variety of classes in the coming weeks, including a holiday pasta ornament-making class on December 10 for kids and their guardians. (It includes some pasta tasting, too!)
  • And speaking of pasta, a lot of local restaurants put together seafood-filled dinners to celebrate the Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but how about the Feast of the Seven Pastas? Join Mida at its Boston or Newton location for dine-in or takeout on December 23 for a feast of salad, bread, pastas (yes, seven), and chocolate cookies. It’s $120 and designed to feed two or three people. Here’s the menu and details on reservations/pre-orders.
  • Get your best Krampus costume ready and head to Notch Brewing’s Brighton location December 10 for Krampusnacht. There’ll be a costume parade and competition, German cookie decorating, live music, and holiday-themed horror movies playing all day. The festivities start at noon, and it’s family-friendly until 7 p.m., at which point it becomes a 21-plus event.
  • Another option for December 10: holiday drag lunch at Night Shift Brewing’s Lovejoy Wharf location in the West End, taking place from noon to 3 p.m. Holiday sweaters or other festive attire encouraged. Your ticket includes guaranteed entry and one drink.

Things to buy

The holiday season is in full swing, so we’re adding a new section to our weekly roundup: Here are a few local food or food-adjacent products to consider gifting your food-loving friends this year. (Check last week’s installment for more recommendations.)

  • Spices! Cambridge-based Curio Spice Co. offers plenty of giftable goodies, including a wide variety of spice sets. We’re also fans of Curio’s Secret Spice Society, a $12-a-month subscription that ships one or two spices or spice blends and accompanying recipes to your door. You can gift a six-month subscription.
  • Cake! Okay, this isn’t so much a gift as it is something to bring to Christmas and share with everyone, but if you’re remotely close to Medford and will be able to get to Ebisuya Japanese Market on December 23 or 24, consider placing an order for this year’s chocolate mousse cake or chestnut and caramel cream bûche de Noël. Ebisuya quietly serves up truly excellent baked goods year round. Details, instructions, and beautiful photos here.
  • Art! Local artist Laurel Greenfield has tons of great food and beverage prints, from a Mike’s Pastry box to a Dunkin’ iced coffee.