Gufo Brings Modern Italian (and Bocce!) to East Cambridge

The team behind SRV and the Salty Pig is serving pasta and pizza at a new spot—and it'll soon be a cafe by day, too.

Overhead view of a whole roasted fish covered with a dark green herb-y pesto and parsley. A roasted half lemon sits to the side.

Whole roasted black bass with chermoula and preserved lemon at Gufo. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

The owl has long been associated with wisdom because of its quiet, precise observation and evolutionary survival skills. Likewise, the experienced Boston restaurateurs that make up the Coda Group (SRV, the Salty Pig) have combined years of knowledge for their latest restaurant, named for the astute and sensible bird: Gufo, “owl” in Italian, opens Friday, July 28, in East Cambridge.

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With a seasonal selection of pizzas and handmade pastas on the menu, dinner service begins today with options like squid ink bucatini with baby clams and ‘nduja butter, a merguez sausage pizza, and more. At Gufo, “we bring some sensibilities from Salty Pig and some from SRV,” notes Coda Group’s director of operations Ted Hawkins. But he adds, each restaurant is “uniquely its own thing.”

Overhead view of three different pastas on white plates and a side of focaccia-like fried dough.

Pastas at Gufo. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

In the coming weeks, Gufo will also unveil a counter-service cafe open daily for breakfast and lunch. Look forward to croissants, muffins, slices of cake, and other pastries made fresh daily, as well as sandwiches and salads, alongside locally roasted coffee, espresso, and kombucha on tap. Grab-and-go cafe service will run until 4 p.m. daily before bar service begins, with seat-yourself options inside and on the patio. The full-service dining room will be seated between 5 and 9:30 p.m. Also forthcoming: a party-ready patio with a fire pit and a bocce court.

Overhead view of almonds, cured meat, giardiniera, olives, and other Mediterranean snacks.

A spread of snacks at Gufo. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Pizza and snack boards—think spreads like marinated tomatoes, giardiniera, and eggplant caponata with whipped ricotta and house-baked focaccia—will be available nightly beginning at 4 p.m. The full menu kicks in at 5 p.m., adding first-course plates and pastas such as a snap pea Caesar salad; pork and beef meatballs with spicy tomato and pesto; and rigatoni Bolognese.

Wines, beer, and cocktails lean classic-Italian and value-driven, Hawkins says. Peroni joins a handful of local craft beers on tap; while wines, all $14 by the glass or less, stick to traditional Italian grape varietals but not necessarily to the country itself. “There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the terroirs in certain pockets of America and in certain pockets of Italy,” Hawkins explains. The menu will highlight those connections, particularly with a nightly “Cal-Ital Carafe,” a special half-bottle offering typically not available by the glass.

Along with plays on classic cocktails and mocktails made with house-made infused spirits and shrubs—all also $14 and under—there will be dessert drinks employing espresso, Italian digestifs, and soft serve.

Snap peas topped with fresh dill, breadcrumbs, and thin radish slices are served in a white bowl.

Snap pea Caesar at Gufo. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

The Coda Group founder Jim Coechner had his eye on Gufo’s 660 Cambridge St. space, previously Loyal Nine, when it became available more than a year ago—and the location’s spacious outdoor patio is a big reason why. The 80-seat area, newly bedecked with lush greenery, is partially covered with a structural enclosure equipped with ceiling fans and heaters, making it three-seasonal. The rest of the outdoor area is open-air with shade sails and a newly installed wooden privacy fence. (Like at SRV, Hawkins is excited to offer full-scale community and private events, including weddings, at Gufo beginning later this fall.)

Restaurant interior photographed during the day, with lots of natural light. The space has white, grey, and peach tones and lots of plants.

Gufo. / Photo by Sabine Nordberg

Inside, about 100 seats are in the dining room, including a new section of cozy booths between the cafe and the open kitchen. Diners will enter just off Cambridge Street, via the cafe, and be greeted by a host in view of the midnight-blue Wood Stone pizza oven. That dark hue continues into the dining room, where it’s enhanced with an accent wall of blue and gold owl-printed wallpaper. In front of the open kitchen, the walls and furniture are a neutral cream tone, and the bar area to the far side of the space is all orangey-pink terracotta. The color-blocked look gives the space, Hawkins says, “a homey, ’70s chic kind of vibe.”

Overhead view of a plate of large shrimp, heads and tails on, in a pool of red butter.

Head-on shrimp with roasted Fresno and garlic butter. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Andrew Hebert is Gufo’s executive chef. At the helm of Salty Pig for nearly four years and a former line cook at SRV, Hebert was previously kitchen manager of Jody Adams’ restaurants Trade and Rialto. Pastry chef Christy Henry (Mamaleh’s) will join the Coda Group at Gufo to spearhead pastry production for the cafe and private events, plus breads and plated desserts for the restaurant, such as soft-serve ice cream with house-made toppings like crumbled cookies. Ryan Millian, an industry veteran and the longtime Coppa general manager, is Gufo’s GM.

Two pizzas cook inside a large oven.

Pizzas in the oven at Gufo. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Hawkins, who was the opening general manager at SRV before leaving to earn a Master of Business Administration from Boston University, is now also a partner at SRV. The Coda Group has a track record of teaming up with chefs, he says, noting SRV’s Michael Lombardi and opening partner Kevin O’Donnell had both previously worked at the Salty Pig. The company is keeping it going by partnering with Hebert at Baleia, a Portuguese-inspired restaurant opening later this year, which is the chef’s concept and passion project.

See the full opening Gufo dinner menu below.

A page of an Italian restaurant menu with pasta, pizza, and more.

A page of an Italian restaurant menu with cocktails, beer, cider, mocktails, and wines.

660 Cambridge St., East Cambridge,