Out with the old, in with the new — for the most part. That’s the sentiment behind Ciao Bella, a new Italian restaurant that has almost completely replaced North Square Oyster in the North End.
All Day Hospitality — owners of North Square Oyster, Ward 8, Bodega Canal, and, most recently, Tony & Elaine’s — closed North Square Oyster at the end of 2019 to make way for a revamp. The result: Ciao Bella, which will open Tuesday afternoon.
The old restaurant hasn’t been completely forgotten, though. A 10-seat bar within the space will be dubbed North Square Oyster Bar, a scaled-down version of its predecessor that will serve lobster rolls, crudite, fresh oysters, and a wine list that focuses on natural varietals.
Ciao Bella’s menu is more reminiscent of the American Italian food that has made Tony & Elaine’s such a hit. Executive chef Pierce Boalt Juckett, who will lead both the Ciao Bella and North Square Oyster Bar food program, crafted a menu that includes familiar classics like spaghetti carbonara, vongole, veal Milanese, and chicken piccata. A New York-style cheesecake will grace the dessert list, as will tiramisu and rotating flavors of both gelato and cannoli. Guests will also be able to enjoy Italian craft beers, organic and biodynamic wines, and retro cocktails including cosmos, lemon drops, and espresso martinis.
“When we opened our most recent restaurant, Tony & Elaine’s, we were inspired by working within the notion of what an Italian-American restaurant could be,” said Nick Frattaroli, owner of All Day Hospitality, in a press release. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and having a lot of fun with it. With North Square, we knew we weren’t maximizing the opportunity provided by being a restaurant in Boston’s Little Italy. Ciao Bella will be an elevated alternative to the old-school, casual vibe of Tony & Elaine’s and North Square Oyster Bar allows us to continue on with a great restaurant that we’re very proud of. It’s the best of both worlds.”
The two-story restaurant was designed by Justin Power, who was behind all of All Day Hospitality’s other locations. The airy downstairs bar features a marble countertop and pastel pink barstools, while the upstairs dining room embraces a retro vibe with floral wallpaper, wood trim, and white tablecloths.
Check out the opening menu for Ciao Bella, which starts serving dinner at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Ciao Bella and North Square Oyster Bar; 5 North Square, Boston; Mondays–Thursdays from 4:30 p.m.–1 a.m., Fridays–Sundays from 11:30 a.m.–1 a.m.; ciaobellanorthend.com