Folio will open as part of the Boston Athenaeum this summer

The cafe and restaurant will open in August.

The Catered Affair
Folio is set to open in August. Photo courtesy of The Catered Affair

When you’re browsing titles in the Boston Athenaeum, a historic independent library, museum, and cultural center, there will be a new spot that you can stop by for a bite to eat.

Modeled after a European-style cafe and restaurant, Folio will open on Beacon Street this August. It will be the latest project from The Catered Affair, an event catering company that also operates dining experiences in elegant venues, such as the Boston Public Library‘s Map Room Tea Lounge and spaces in The Institute for Contemporary Art and The Harvard Art Museums. Folio will open in partnership with the Athenaeum, and be housed within their complex with a separate street entrance. A direct entrance from the institution to the restaurant will  open at a later date. This new destination will be a cross between a cafe you might find in a museum and a fine dining restaurant, according to Ken Barrett-Sweet, vice president of catering.


“A majority of the food selections are shareable bites,” Barrett-Sweet said. “It’s all table served, with quite a bit of thought going into the experience.”

The preparation of dishes and drinks may have interactive components, he explained, so that patrons can participate in “their own journeys.” When some cocktails are created, diners will get to choose a type of wood to smoke into the beverages, for aroma and flavor. With items like soups, there could be a cracker that the guest would hit with a mallet before they enjoy the meal.

The menu will include dishes like a chilled asparagus, pea, and basil soup, and meat pies from Suya Joint. Guests can also enjoy café gourmand, four mignardises with a choice of espresso or tea.

Folio will be able to seat 42 guests, with a bar and an open-kitchen dining experience. The space itself will be decorated with warm, rich hues, featuring deep hunter green tones, while also showing off vibrant orange and yellow accents. Barrett-Sweet said that he hopes the cafe and restaurant will attract customers from the Financial District and Government Center, as well as tourists who frequent the area.

“It’s very typical of a European cafe,” Barrett-Sweet said. “It’s spacious enough that everyone is part of the party.”


The new spot represents an evolution in The Catered Affair’s approach to hospitality in Boston. Many of the venues that The Catered Affair services have similar hot beverage programs and pastry offerings. The Catered Affair continues to try to work with small batch makers and minority-owned businesses. Barrett-Sweet said that he sees Folio as most directly being a growth from the Map Room Tea Lounge, a warm space where people can enjoy beverages and bites.

“We’re the place that you come to after work — cocktails and bites, and then you’re going on your way,” Barrett-Sweet said. “Or theater — you come here, do your pre-theater, and then you go on your way.”

Folio, 14A Beacon St., Boston

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Folio as opening adjacent to the Boston Athenaeum. It will open as part of the complex with a separate street entrance.


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