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 this past month.
Kendall Square is quickly becoming a fried chicken destination, with State Park, Shy Bird, The Automatic, and other area hangouts offering fantastic versions. Now there’s Lily P’s, a spacious fried chicken-centric eatery from chef Chris Parsons. In addition to fried chicken sandwiches, guests can order trays of original, hot, or black pepper honey chicken, plus sides like the Lily P’s slaw, Carolina rice grits, and ranch fries. Hit up the shuffleboard table while you wait for your meal. (50 Binney St., Cambridge)
How’s your aim? At Flight Club, a new darts bar that opened in the Seaport, tracking technology helps players improve their dart-throwing skills in sectioned-off playing areas called oches. If you get hungry while crushing the competition, an adjacent restaurant and two bars offer snacks like white bean dip, pumpkin risotto, and a full-on raw bar. (60 Seaport Blvd., Suite 215, Boston)
From the founders of specialty store American Provisions comes Gray’s Hall, a wine bar making its South Boston debut on New Year’s Eve. The idea, co-founder Andy Fadous told Boston.com, is simple: to be a communal gathering place that’s “more approachable and less intimidating, from the way we talk about [food and wine] to the music we play to the things we choose to sell and how we let people taste things.” The bar will offer a selection of primarily natural wines, plus beer, spritzers, and sharable snacks from chef Marcos Sanchez. (615 E. Broadway, Boston)
The West End exploded with new restaurants and bars this year, and there’s an entire food hall landing in the neighborhood in 2020. The last newcomer to sneak in is Sound Advice, a swanky cocktail lounge from the team behind NYC legend Death & Co. Take the elevator from the street up to the luxe bar (or enter from the adjacent ArcLight Cinemas), where classic and original cocktails await alongside gussied-up bar snacks. (60 Causeway St., Boston)
BLR by Shōjō
After nearly four decades operating in Chinatown, BLR by Shōjō closed on Dec. 21. Owner Brian Moy, who took over the family restaurant in 2016, thanked his staff and customers in a news release. “We hope to find innovative ways to bring the BLR brand to life as we continue to serve the Chinatown community,” Moy said. He and his team plan to open a new restaurant below Ruckus, one of their other concepts, sometime this spring.
ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe
More commonly known as Cafe ArtScience, this Cambridge restaurant and cocktail lounge abruptly shuttered on Dec. 21. Founder David Edwards shared in a newsletter that, over the next few months, his team would be transforming the space into a new restaurant, called Senses, with chef Jody Adams consulting on the project. Stay tuned for more details on what’s to come.
When Yellow Door Taqueria expands with a second location in 2020, it’ll come at the cost of its sister bar Lion’s Tail, a South End watering hole that will pour its last drink on Dec. 30. Owned by the same hospitality group, the taqueria will transform the space to more closely mimic its original Dorchester location, with Yellow Door general manager Andrew Toto telling Boston.com that many Lion’s Tail employees will stay on after the switch.
Mere days before the end of the year, Southern Proper chef and owner Jason Cheek announced that he would be closing his South End restaurant on Dec. 31, ending its near-two-year run of fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk biscuits. “Today is a very sad day for me,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “I am so fortunate to have accomplished this dream of mine and to have worked with and met so many amazing people during this time of my life.”
In early December, Swissbäkers shared the news that it had closed its four remaining locations for good. Founded in 2006 by Helene and Thomas Stohr, the family-run bakery made its name serving baked goods like pretzel rolls, Berliners, and croissants along with soups, sandwiches, and salads. “We want to thank you for letting us help start your morning the Swiss way for the last 13 years, it has been an honor,” the Stohr family wrote.
The Fenway’s rapidly changing landscape took a loss this month when Tony C’s closed its Fenway location on Dec. 1. “Our lease at our Fenway location expired and we were unable to secure another long-term lease,” said David Doyle, regional director for Tony C’s, in a statement. The sports bar’s other locations were unaffected, but shortly after its closure, The Baseball Tavern, another Fenway watering hole, announced that it would temporarily close while the building it occupies is torn down and redeveloped.