Can’t keep up with all of the restaurant and bar openings and closings happening around Boston? We highlight the need-to-know newcomers and surprising shutters that made headlines in the dining scene this past month.
A bar within a bar opened in the Fenway when The Groove materialized inside of Hojoko, complete with Hello Kitty caviar service and cocktails. Chef Rob Wong has crafted a separate menu dedicated to snackable fare (karaage fried chicken, kimcheese fries), which diners can enjoy alongside sake flights and amid a solid soundtrack. The Groove hosts vinyl nights dedicated to different genres — funk, disco, rock — and Wednesdays serve as Bring Your Own Vinyl nights. (1271 Boylston St., Boston)
Sustainable seafood is the focus at La Pescheria, a new, permanent restaurant and bar at Eataly. Here, chef Sam De Los Santos serves consciously-sourced produce from vendors like Red’s Best and John Nagle Co. in dishes that highlight simple, Italian cooking: black bass crudo with Noto almonds, casarecce with tuna and chickpeas, Amalfi-style grilled prawns with orange olive oil. The prix-fixe menu is available for both lunch (two dishes for $29) and dinner (three dishes for $39), in addition to à la carte items and a rotating selection of oysters. (800 Boylston St., Boston)
Sweet Waffles & Boba
Sweet Waffles & Boba launched in Chinatown in April with a playful selection of waffle pops, its version of Belgium liege waffles on a popsicle. In addition to The O.G. (a waffle dusted with powdered sugar), the shop sells a Matcha Crunch (matcha dip, crushed pistachios), Strawberry Shortcake (strawberry dip, shortcake crumble), and more. As for the boba, the menu includes boba milk teas, along with green teas and signature lemonades that can be upgraded with boba. (18 Hudson St., Boston)
Cue the Instagram frenzy: Taiyaki NYC has landed in the Seaport with fish-shaped ice cream cones filled with red bean or custard filling, available either in signature taiyaki creations (like the Choco-Lit or Straight Outta Japan) or build-your-own variations. Matcha drinks are available as well, and soufflé pancakes will be served on weekends from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (119 Seaport Blvd., Suite B, Boston)
The Quiet Few
This East Boston gastropub opened in early April, but you could be fooled into thinking that it’s been around forever. Walk into the dimly lit bar, and you’ll find regulars who are already on a first-name basis with the bartenders, and who are happy to recommend their favorite items on the menu — like the TQF Burger, a gargantuan thing with fried mozzarella and bacon. Owner Josh Weinstein has curated an impressive whiskey list, including a whiskey of the week and an off-menu selection fit for true whiskey nerds. (331 Sumner St., Boston)
After popping up at Porter Square’s Bagelsaurus, Vinal Bakery has finally found a permanent home in the former Pizza Palace space in Union Square. English muffins are the focus here, with a bevy of sandwiches that highlight the fluffy bread: the Ham Jamboree with smoked ham, brie, jam, and baby kale; the Miss Maple with an over medium egg, cheddar, and maple butter; the Sorry Charlie with dill and celery tuna salad, house dill pickles, and cheddar cheese. Order a pack of four English muffins to take home and test out your own creations. (222 Somerville Ave., Somerville)
After 28 years of serving kebab plates, falafel, and grape leaves, a popular Middle Eastern restaurant in the Back Bay has shuttered. In 2018, the owner made the decision to retire and put the cafe on the market; according to a licensing hearing, the license was transferred to Demetri Tsolakis of Committee in the Seaport and Gre.Co in the Back Bay, listing Krasi as the new name for the space.
On April 19, chef Jason Tom closed the door to his Harvard Square restaurant Night Market for the last time. The subterranean Asian street food spot opened in 2014, and served daikon fries, xinjiang lamb, and a dumpling of the day. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has been a part of the restaurant staff, dined with us on occasion, or has been a regular patron over the years,” reads a closing message on the website.
Stephi’s on Tremont
After five years in business, Stephi’s on Tremont Street closed in April, joining the recently shuttered Stephi’s in Southie. Owned by Sidell Hospitality (a merger of Kathy Sidell’s The Met Restaurant Group and Stephanie Sokolove’s Stephanie’s Restaurant Group), the South End space is being taken over by the team behind Bar Mezzana — stay tuned for more details on their upcoming restaurant.
Tom English Bar
Pour one out for Tom English, a Dorchester dive that closed on April 1. The building that occupies the bar was sold to developers in 2017, along with the adjacent Dorchester Market, though both continued to operate for the past two years (Dorchester Market remains open). The watering hole offered darts, Keno, and solid pours — all the makings of a classic neighborhood bar.