For an essential guide to the city, sign up for How to Boston, Boston.com’s weekly culture and lifestyle newsletter.
If opening one restaurant takes time and patience, then putting two together simultaneously requires that of a saint, or two, and perhaps the luck of a devil. After a yearlong process, Two Saints Tavern & Dos Diablos Taco Bar, a two-in-one restaurant and bar on Gainsborough Street near Symphony Hall, opened last Monday.
This latest venture is from Brian O’Donnell and Ken Casey (co-founder and singer with Boston-bred Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys), the team behind McGreevy’s in the Back Bay and Lion’s Tail in the South End. It brings in former McGreevy’s general manager Chuck Hitchcock as a partner and GM.
“We feel there are two different types of clientele in the neighborhood that we need to attract,” Hitchcock said. “Doing a single concept makes that difficult. We saw a need for something casual, fun, exciting, and also somewhere to go to eat that’s dark and sexy. So, the place was split in two.”
Both sides were designed by local interior designer and HGTV and Food Network show host Taniya Nayak, who is married to O’Donnell. A standout feature is the art: Each side boasts a mural. One is pictured above, from area artist Mark Grundig, and the other is local artist Joseph Koury’s rendition of Rosie the Riveter, a holdover from former inhabitant Our House East.
“We like the visual of the strong female,” Hitchcock said.
The differences go beyond the decor, though.
“The Tavern part is more beer hall-style with communal picnic tables,” Hitchcock said. “It works really well for students and big groups. It’s an American-style menu, very good comfort food. You can have a good burger at a good price.
“The other side is very different,” he continued. “Dos Diablos is our attempt at doing authentic Mexican-style food. The look is Gothic — almost religious with red lighting and red bar seats. It’s very dark and, well, like I say, has this religious feeling.”
Coincidentally, former Church Chef Andrew White is on board as executive chef, overseeing both concepts. Adam Ford, formerly of Pabu and Tiger Mama, is head mixologist.
Opening two different spaces on this quiet street, where the foot traffic mostly comes from Northeastern University and other colleges, provides two new diversions in an arguably barren neighborhood.
“Choosing this property came down to recognizing the need in the area for something fresh and new,” Hitchcock said. “There’s so much development in the Seaport and Southie, it’s grown unsustainable, so we looked in underrepresented areas.”
Not to mention, he attended the Wentworth Institute of Technology.
“So I have an emotional attachment to the area,” he added.
Two Saints Tavern & Dos Diablos Taco Bar, 52 Gainsborough St., Boston; twosaintstavern.com