A year after closing, the East Coast Grill returns

Highland Kitchen's Mark Romano is reviving the Inman Square restaurant and—eventually—its famous "Hell Nights."

The East Coast Grill, located at 1271 Cambridge St. in Inman Square, returns Monday night.
The East Coast Grill, located at 1271 Cambridge St. in Inman Square, returns Monday night. –East Coast Grill via Facebook

Good news for those whose New Year’s resolutions included more spicy seafood and barbecue: The East Coast Grill is back.

After closing early last year and ending a 30-year run in Inman Square, the revered Cambridge restaurant is reopening Monday night—courtesy of another Boston-area culinary institution.

Highland Kitchen owner and chef Mark Romano, who bought the shuttered restaurant last spring with his wife Marci Joy, says he hopes to revive the East Coast Grill’s spicy food and atmosphere, with a few slight menu and interior design changes.

“You’ll see a lot of the old mixed in with a lot of the new,” Romano, whose Somerville spot has earned local acclaim, told Boston.com.


In addition to the usual seafood and barbecue mainstays, Romano there’ll be a number of new additions to the East Coast Grill’s menu, including buttermilk fried chicken, grilled avocado, hamachi crudo, and smoke tofu dan dan noodles.

The restaurant will be open nightly from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. But the bar will stay open until 1 a.m., which means a few more hours to enjoy the work of bartender Joe McGuirk, another Highland Kitchen team member assisting in the East Coast Grill revival.

Once things get rolling, Romano says he also has plans to do weekend brunch and bring back the restaurant’s infamously popular “Hell Nights,” a reservation-only spicy food extravaganza.

“We have to get the place running efficiently and effectively before we start doing special events,” Romano said. Early Monday afternoon, the chef was expecting a busy first night.

“Come by tonight if you want to see some people living in hell,” he somewhat-dryly joked.

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