12 New Fast-Casual Boston Restaurants We Loved in 2022

For a low-key date, lunch on the go, some quick—but excellent—sustenance amid the hustle and bustle of life, these are the new counter-service spots that excited us in 2022, whether for takeout and delivery or no-frills dine-in. (Plus, eight notable expansions and revamps.)

Two white bowls sit on a pale green tray, one featuring thick noodle rolls with fish balls and a swoosh of sriracha, the other with chopped cucumbers.

Rubato’s ji cheung fun (steamed rice rolls) with curry fish balls and a spicy cucumber salad. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

From Nashville hot chicken to endless pão de queijo variations, to the Fijian raw fish dish kokoda, to Cambodian sandwiches, to steamed rice rolls with curry fish balls, Greater Boston’s fast-casual scene was on fire this year. There are so many brilliant new spots to add to our takeout/delivery repertoires—and many of them offer a bit of seating inside, too, if you’re just passing through the neighborhood.

This is part two of our year-end reminiscing about our favorite new openings of 2022; here, we focus on the fast-casual/counter-service restaurants.

See also: Our favorite new full-service restaurants, bars, and bakeries and cafés of 2022.

Bōm Dough

It feels a little strange to see something else in the former and Highland Fried space, but Bōm Dough has given the sprawling Inman Square address a complete makeover, providing a bright, homey spot for breakfast, lunch, and coffee. The menu features a ton of variations on pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), plus açaí bowls, sandwiches, soups, and more. To drink? Plenty of espresso- and matcha-based lattes.

1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-945-1179,

Overhead view of a pepperoni pizza with a barely-there, charred crust.

For Pizza’s pepperoni pizza. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

For Pizza

This Medford Square pizzeria serves a twist on a classic South Shore bar pie—at 12 inches, it’s a bit larger than the traditional 10-inch version, but it features that perfectly charred, barely-there, “lacy” crust. Topping options abound, and there are vegan pizzas available, too. Better yet: For Pizza donates a portion of proceeds to a variety of community organizations.

51 High St., Medford, 781-219-3139,

Four paper cups are filled with different flavors of gelato, with little plastic spoons sticking up from each.

Gorgeous Gelato. / Courtesy photo

High Street Place

This one actually includes over a dozen exciting fast-casual openings in one. The downtown food hall debuted in March 2022, packed full of counter-service restaurants and bars (more info on the latter in our bar-oriented roundup) from local favorites. Food highlights include the iconic porchetta sandwich from Somerville-based Pennypacker’s, award-winning burgers from Wheelhouse and fried chicken sandwiches from its sibling spot Haley Jane’s, tacos from North East of the Border, gelato from Gorgeous Gelato, and so much more. Grab a spot for your group among the vast communal seating options, and you can all order from different vendors if you so choose.

100 High St., Downtown Boston,

A spicy fried chicken sandwich on a white plate is isolated on a blue background.

A Hot Chix sandwich. / Photo by Malakai Pearson

Hot Chix

Our mouths might still be on fire from the seriously hot fried fish sandwich we had at Hot Chix a few weeks back. The team behind the Inman Square newcomer has been honing the brand since 2019, when Hot Chix began as a pop-up, making frequent—and well-loved—appearances at local breweries. Now in its own space, the no-frills former home of Guangzhou Restaurant, Hot Chix is serving enviable Nashville-style fried chicken (and fish, shrimp, and mushrooms). Cool down with the must-try honey butter biscuits and some banana pudding for dessert.

1220 Cambridge St., Cambridge,


Boston loves poke and ceviche, but how about the Fijian raw seafood dish kokoda? From the crew behind Love Art Sushi, Suasday (see below), and more comes a casual (but very cute) Seaport space offering “Pacific-inspired bowls”—kokoda and poke in preset combos as well as customizable options. Don’t miss the passionfruit mangoade to drink.

53 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston, 857-310-8804,

Overhead view of Thai takeout, including a beef-filled bowl of noodle soup.

Prik Nam Pla’s khao soi nua and curry puffs. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Prik Nam Pla

Thai restaurant Prik Nam Pla replaced previous Thai locale Kor Tor Mor in Davis Square this year, primarily focusing on takeout and delivery in the tiny space but offering a few dine-in seats as well. The khao soi—available with chicken, beef, shrimp tempura, or tofu—is a strong order, paired with a side of delicately folded curry puffs and a sweet-but-not-too-sweet Thai iced tea.

24 College Ave., Somerville, 617-666-9822,


This sleek, green-tiled Hong Kong-style café in Quincy offers a comforting, carb-packed menu of congee, noodles, bao, and more—particularly enticing for winter lunch, but a welcome meal any time of year. Our early favorite is the ji cheung fun (steamed rice rolls) with curry fish balls and a side of spicy cucumber salad, but there’s lots more to try. (Hint: Parking can be tough; take the T to North Quincy and make the half-mile walk if you can. Also, there are only about eight seats inside, so be prepared to do takeout as a backup plan.)

412 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-481-2049,

slow dough pizza corner

Slow Dough Pizza Co. / Courtesy photo

Slow Dough Pizza Co.

Bundle up: This one’s outside. It’s a pizza truck from Eventide Fenway and Menton alum Ian Maschal, and it’s usually parked outside of Newton Upper Falls Beverage Store, although it makes appearances at breweries and private events, too. The naturally leavened, slow-fermented dough yields a beautiful crust with plenty of character, topped with tasty seasonal ingredients. Find the weekly schedule and other pertinent info on Instagram.

150 Needham St., Newton, and other pop-up locations, 617-548-1098,

A bowl of shredded beef, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled carrots.

Suasday’s kroeung beef curry salad bowl. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal


From the team behind Kokoda (see above), Suasday is a rare bit of non-Italian food in Boston’s North End: a tiny Cambodian sandwich shop with salads and rice bowls, too. (It’s primarily takeout, but there are a few seats inside.) We love the slow-braised kroeung beef curry, which, like most of the other protein options, can be enjoyed in sandwich or salad/rice bowl form. Try it with a passionfruit juice with coconut jelly.

227 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 857-829-1299,


There’s only outdoor seating, so you may want to opt for takeout this time of year, but Thazia offers a concise menu of warming Asian fusion noodle and rice bowls out of a shipping container at the Innovation and Design Building. (Find it at the far end of the Seaport District, and note that it’s only open for weekday lunch hours.) Founder Panupak Kraiwong—who previously founded Somerville Thai gem Dakzen—aims to offer a melting pot of Asian cuisines with a Thai base, like a tom yum-style soup with ramen noodles and shrimp tempura.

21 Drydock Ave., Seaport District, Boston, 617-792-9356,

Cross section of a turkey and cheese sandwich on thick ciabatta, served on black and white checkered paper.

A modified version of Vinal General Store’s Best Cellar, a turkey and cheddar sandwich. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Vinal General Store

The friendliest little general store and lunch counter around. This comes from the team behind Vinal Bakery (conveniently located next door) on the outskirts of Union Square, and it offers a rotating lineup of soft-serve ice cream alongside its piled-high sandwiches—and, as the window art promises, “nice wine, no fuss, and ice cold beer, hot damn!” Buy some fun artisanal goods while you’re there—many local, some just plain cool. (Browse the offerings on Instagram.)

220 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-718-0568,

Three grilled bone-in chicken pieces are displayed on a black platter with sliced red onion, with bowls of sauces and spices visible around the plate.

Wow Tikka’s tandoori chicken. / Photo courtesy of Wow Tikka

Wow Tikka

Coming in right at the end of the year, this December debut is already getting early buzz for its build-a-bowl take on Indian cuisine, a concept owners Gopi Nair and Kannan Kesavalu hope will help demystify Indian food for those less familiar with it. Other options include tender tandoori chicken drumsticks, crispy aloo tikki (potato patties), and turmeric chai lattes.

84 Peterborough St., Fenway, Boston, 857-250-2062,

Overhead shot of several colorful grain and green bowls.

Life Alive bowls. / Courtesy photo

Notable Expansions and Revamps

These fast-casual favorites expanded or otherwise underwent a major change in 2022—so, not new-new, but newly improved.

  • Bab Korean Bistro: Brookline’s Bab Korean Bistro expanded to Malden this year, bringing with it tasty tteokbokki and lots more. While the Brookline location has more of a dine-in vibe, Malden is counter-service with just a few tables.
  • Café Sushi Shoten: Café Sushi, a longstanding Cambridge sushi favorite, opened an adjacent shop this fall filled to the brim with sake, Japanese pantry staples, and grab-and-go sushi.
  • Clover: Local vegetarian chain Clover opened its first Somerville outpost this year, expanding to Assembly Row. This location includes a selection of specialty groceries curated by Alexandra Whisnant and Bobby MacLean, respectively of Bow Market’s chocolate shop Gâté Comme Des Filles and food shop Picnic & Pantry.
  • Hummus v’Hummus: Restaurateur Avi Shemtov (Simcha, the Chubby Chickpea) debuted fast-casual hummus-focused concept Hummus v’Hummus this year, rapidly opening three locations (at the Speedway in Brighton, at the Street in Chestnut Hill, and in Sharon). Find customizable hummus, rice, and salad bowls with loads of toppings.
  • Life Alive: The local vegetarian chain—known for its colorful, serene spaces and flavorful grain bowls—added four locations this year: Kendall Square, Davis Square, South End, and Harvard Square. The latter two are collaborations with Down Under School of Yoga. Do yoga and get lunch in one go.
  • Miznon: The ultra-popular Israeli street food chain arrived in Boston’s Seaport this year, starring pitas with all kinds of fillings.
  • Ruckus: This casual Chinatown noodle shop from the Shojo team reopened in early 2022 after a lengthy pandemic hiatus. Try the spicy tori miso ramen, which features grilled, thick-cut pork belly.
  • Saloniki: The local fast-casual Greek chain—whose owners include legendary Boston chef Jody Adams—expanded to Back Bay and Beacon Hill this year, bringing it up to five locations.