Chef Sarah Wade Will Serve an Eclectic, Upscale Menu at Her Third Boston Restaurant

Opening downtown in fall 2024, SJ’s will get a little fancier than the Chopped champion’s comfort-food-laden restaurants Stillwater and Sloane’s.

A restaurant rendering features a blue and gold color motif and a white marble bar with light wood accents.

Draft rendering of the bar area at SJ’s. / Baker Design Group

Chef and restaurateur Sarah Wade plans to bring “good food done well” to Boston’s Leather District in fall 2024 with the opening of SJ’s, her third restaurant. Her first two—Stillwater and Sloane’s—go all-in on comfort food, but she’s “breaking away” from that here, she says, offering something more “elevated.”

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“We’re going to have some fun with more upscale dishes,” she says, albeit with the “eclectic style” that has come to define Wade’s cooking. And don’t expect a stuffy or pretentious vibe to go with the fancier food: SJ’s will feel like a neighborhood bistro, a “cozy, comfy spot,” she promises.

Wade, a Chopped champion, says that the SJ’s menu will be “tight” but with lots of chalkboard specials “to keep everybody interested,” and it’ll change frequently to highlight seasonal ingredients. She’s in the midst of working on the opening menu but offers a couple teasers: There will be a chicken liver mousse macaron with onion jam, for one—“a sweet and savory appetizer,” she says. And while the restaurant “is not Italian by any stretch of the imagination,” Wade and the team will be making lots of pasta in-house, which started as a COVID project. “We had the time to play around and practice,” she says. “Pasta is always such a fun vessel, and it will always sell.” One planned pasta dish is uni cacio e pepe, says Wade, with uni butter, cheese, black pepper, and uni on top. “I’m excited about that one.” She’s not ready to share dessert specifics but notes that there will be “an old-school silver dessert tray” that comes around to the table.

Rendering of a private dining room in a restaurant, featuring dark blue walls and large tropical flower prints.

Draft rendering of the private dining room at SJ’s. / Baker Design Group

Also “old-school”? The value in the beverages, says Wade. “The wine glasses are going to feel bigger than normal; the martini glasses are going to feel big.” There’ll be six beer lines, classic cocktails “with a twist,” and “nice wine.”

A five-minute walk from Wade’s first restaurant, Stillwater, SJ’s will be located on the ground floor of the former WeWork building on Atlantic Avenue, which landlord Oxford Properties has since turned into a “life sciences launchpad” full of lab space. The restaurant design is “industrial modern bistro,” as Wade describes it, with “lots of dark blues and some retro lighting.” It’ll have a private dining room and a three-season covered patio, complete with heaters and fans.

While SJ’s prepares for a fall opening, Wade and her teams are keeping busy at Sloane’s and Stillwater. She’s particularly excited to get the word out about gluten-free Mondays at Sloane’s, taking place on the first Monday of each month—“clean fryer, clean kitchen, totally gluten-free menu on offer,” she says. And at Stillwater, on the last Tuesday of every month, Wade hosts “Chef Sarah’s Secrets,” a demo and three-course meal that zeroes in on a particular dish, such as fried chicken or dumplings. Plus, keep an eye out at Boston Calling this May: You just might spot Wade and the team serving up award-winning mac and cheese.

Rendering of a restaurant's elegant covered patio on the ground floor of a city building.

Draft rendering of the covered patio at SJ’s. / Baker Design Group

Debuting around fall 2024, SJ’s will be open for lunch and dinner, with weekend brunch starting about a month after the restaurant opens. 745 Atlantic Ave., Downtown Boston (Leather District),