Downtown Boston Gets Another Food Hall

Mexi-Cali bowls, pepperoni Negronis, and soft serve await at the Lineup, debuting January 17 in the Financial District.

Overhead view of a tray of smashburgers and crinkle-cut fries on tissue paper covered with smiley faces.

Burgers and fries from Big Grin at the Lineup food hall. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Downtown workers will have a new set of weekday lunch options starting January 17 with the opening of the Lineup, five fast-casual restaurants under one roof. Chef John Fraser—a restaurateur with venues in New York City, Los Angeles, and beyond—is behind the project with his hospitality group JF Restaurants. Several of Fraser’s restaurants have earned Michelin stars—most recently the one-starred Lilac in Tampa, Florida.

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The Lineup’s all-by-one-chef setup is a deviation from Boston’s typical food halls, at which multiple local chefs and restaurant groups are represented. Take High Street Place, right around the corner, for example, which features several Tiffani Faison concepts but also food stalls from Mamaleh’s, Mike & Patty’s, Wheelhouse, Pennypacker’s, and lots more. Hub Hall, nearby in Boston’s West End, also features an assortment of concepts and familiar names, including Greco, Mike’s Pastry, and Sullivan’s Castle Island. And there’s Boston Public Market, of course, which showcases a hyperlocal collection of farmstands, prepared foods, and made-to-order meals from numerous vendors.

But five spots, all from Fraser, comprise the Lineup, which will be located in a space called “the Connector” on the ground floor of mixed-use building the Winthrop Center. Lunch-goers who enjoy build-a-bowl-style eating will find vegetarian Mexi-Cali bowls and burritos at Ariana, while Iris Mezze—a casual take on Fraser’s sit-down Mediterranean restaurant in New York, Iris—will offer customizable bowls, salads, and pitas.

Hands hold three pitas stuffed with falafel, feta, lettuce, and other fillings.

Pita sandwiches from Iris Mezze at the Lineup food hall. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Meanwhile, Gatto Pazzo will serve “vegetable-forward,” Neapolitan-inspired pizza and “Italianesque” sandwiches, per a press release, and Big Grin will feature smash-style burgers, lobster rolls, soft serve, and such. While these four are slated to operate from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Day Shift, a coffee kiosk, will open earlier (7 a.m.) with breakfast and lunch café fare, smoothies, and lattes.

Everything at the Lineup is designed to be takeout-friendly and tailored toward easy workday lunch, but for those lingering onsite, there will be some light boozy options available: Gatto Pazzo, for one, will offer the Pepper-groni, with pepperoni vodka, red vermouth, and Campari, while Big Grin will have a pickle “minitini” and Ariana will let you add a Patrón tequila nip to fruity agua fresca.

Overhead view of four different pizzas, each with a leopard-spotted, puffy crust.

Neapolitan-inspired pizzas from Gatto Pazzo at the Lineup food hall. / Photo by Brian Samuels

On the less casual side of things, Fraser is also behind the private dining program for those who live in the Residences at Winthrop Center, and come spring 2024, he’ll debut a new public restaurant, too.

The opening of the Lineup isn’t Downtown Boston’s only recent lunch addition. The made-for-Instagram chain Sugar Factory American Brasserie opened at Quincy Market last month, dripping with over-the-top milkshakes, gold-leaf-dusted burgers, and celebrity-endorsed, candy-garnished, dramatically smoking cocktails. (Quincy Market: another downtown food hall!) Prefer your weekday lunches a little lower-key? The Boston team’s regular rotation of downtown lunch favorites includes Villa México Café (don’t miss the special black salsa), new Filipino spot Pinoy Kabayan (try the chicken adobo), and Bánh Mì Ok (for crispy egg rolls and bánh mì). From these to the food halls to, sure, the occasional Cookie Monster milkshake, Downtown Boston’s increasingly busy lunch scene has options for everyone—and good timing, too, as the midday crowds return.

Overhead view of a variety of cookies on tissue paper.

Cookies from Day Shift at the Lineup food hall. / Photo by Brian Samuels

The Lineup, debuting January 17, will be open Monday through Friday. 115 Federal St. (the Connector at Winthrop Center), Downtown Boston,