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Chef Michael Schlow shot to acclaim with the Financial District’s fine-dining flagship, Radius, which closed in 2013. Now he’s rolling the dice on Everett: He’ll return to the local upscale dining scene with Seamark Seafood & Cocktails and cocktail bar Old Wives Tale at Encore Boston Harbor this spring.

Schlow calls his nautical menu “pier to plate,” with a focus on local shellfish. This marks a turning point for the James Beard award-winning chef. His current Boston presence centers around food hall spots: Sauce Burgers at Hub Hall and Italian Kitchen at Time Out Market.

Schlow plans to “take the most amazing, fresh, pristine seafood and create a menu that offers the best raw bar, Northeast classics, and simple yet creative entrees,” he says, plus steaks and pasta.

Boston’s storied past and engaging historic sites are admittedly part of its allure, but the dynamic city teems with new energy year after year. And there’s no better time to visit this coastal capital than summer. Here are 10 of the best new things to do, eat, and enjoy in Boston during the summer of ’24.

Sip a storied cocktail on the 17th story 

The luxe hotel brand Raffles unveiled its first American property in Boston last year with a 17th-floor homage to the Singapore original. With sweeping views of the South End, Back Bay, Charles River, and Cambridge via floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor deck, Long Bar & Terrace at Raffles Boston has all-day food offerings and cocktails like the Boston Sling, tinted pink with pomegranate liqueur and cranberry compote. 

Hit the Walking City Trail

Visitors and locals alike will want to explore one of the most walkable cities in the country via a newly mapped-out network of park paths, city streets, and built features. Devised by local writer and urbanist Miles Howard, the Walking City Trail connects 27 miles from Dorchester to Charlestown with free, easy-to-follow GPS and PDF guides at bostontrails.org.

Sofra’s cardamom-spiced morning buns with orange-blossom glaze.
Photo Credit : Kristin Teig

Savor a second helping of irresistible baked goods

One of New England’s favorite bakeriesSofra is opening a larger second location this spring in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Led by James Beard Award-winning chef Ana Sortun and multi-year Outstanding Baker semifinalist Maura Kilpatrick, the second Sofra will have more seating (a major upgrade from the Cambridge original!), host classes, and showcase the illustrious lineup of sweet and savory Middle Eastern-inspired treats for which the spot is known, such as cardamom-spiced morning buns with orange-blossom glaze.

Delivered Daily: The Latest in Travel, Food, and Living in New England

Stock up at a non-alcoholic bottle shop

The sober-curious movement has a new beacon in Boston. Dray Drinks, the city’s first “packie” dedicated to non-alcoholic spirits, beer, wine, canned cocktails, and more, carries more than 200 different zero-proof products. Whether you’re abstaining from alcohol entirely or just moderating your day drinking this summer, Dray has something fun and festive in store.

Dray Drinks in South Boston is devoted to non-alcoholic adult beverages.
Dray Drinks proves adult bevvies don’t have to contain alcohol to be fun.
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Dray Drinks

Whether or not you golf, the public green and driving range in Brookline is worth checking out for lunch. Alex Saenz, a venerable chef formerly of local fine-dining kitchens, helms Hemlock Grill at the Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course. Grab a seat on the porch and order at the counter to try satisfying salads and sandwiches like the signature fried chicken with house pickles and ranch and a side of perfectly seasoned chips. Don’t skip a cold can of IPA from nearby Trillium Brewing Company.

Paddles up at PKL Boston

Here’s hoping for a sunnier summer this year, but it’s still smart to be ready for some rainy-day activities. PKL Boston is a locally owned, totally fun indoor emporium for pickleball—the easy-to-learn sport beloved by retirees, college kids, and pretty much everyone else who’s picked up a paddle. The South Boston spot has five courts for pickleballing, plus shuffleboard and cornhole, as well as a dining room and multiple bars.

Joyfully celebrate diversity and freedom

Now in its third year, the Embrace Ideas Festival celebrates Juneteenth in Boston with three days of art, ideas, culture, and scholarship. This summer’s fest kicks off June 19 with a Juneteenth Concert at the Embrace Monument on Boston Common, with more activities amplifying anti-racism through June 21 to be announced.

Score a seat at the city’s newest sports brewery

Boston famously eschewed English culture some 250 years ago, but today it’s mad for football (though it’s soccer, to us). The city will have its own professional women’s soccer team in 2026. Meanwhile, it recently welcomed Drawdown Brewing just down the hill from the proposed stadium site. Owned by sports fan Liz Nicol, Drawdown has a diverse draft list of malt-forward styles like Altbier and Porter, plus big plans to highlight this summer’s Euro soccer tournament on the TVs in its Jamaica Plain taproom.

Cocktail at Old Wives' Tale Speakeasy Encore Boston Harbor
The cocktail presentation game is strong at Old Wives’ Tale: Boston’s newest speakeasy.
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor

Take a gamble on a new seafood spot and speakeasy

Vegas-style casino Encore Boston Harbor feels like a vacation no matter how you experience it—but we highly suggest you take the free shuttle boat there from Boston Harbor. This summer, the Everett resort unveils a new take on local flavor, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails, with pier-to-plate lobster, shellfish, and more, plus a 16-seat speakeasy called Old Wives’ Tale. With James Beard Award-Winning chef Michael Schlow overseeing the culinary program, dining here sounds like a sure bet.

Catch a taco pop-up by a top chef

James Beard Award-nominated chef and Dorchester’s own Valentine Howell Jr. is contending on Top Chef this season. If his turn on the hit Bravo TV reality competition is making you hungry, give his pop-up @blackcattacos a follow on Instagram to see where he’ll be next. Howell recently left his role as executive chef of acclaimed Back Bay wine bar Krasi to focus on his own flavor of Caribbean Latin cuisine.

Here’s a closer look at Boston’s newest eateries, drinking spots, hotels, conference areas, private rooms, and other spaces available for events this spring. The new and renovated Boston area venues are available for corporate parties, weddings, fundraisers, outdoor functions, business dinners, team-building activities, conferences, meetings, and more.

Wyndhurst Mansion

Tucked away in picturesque Lenox on the Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa property, Wyndhurst Mansion is a former Gilded Age estate that’s been reinvented as a stunning destination. Boasting more than 20,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor function space, the Wyndhurst has a variety of options for private events. The recent upgrades, which were completed in August, include updates to its five standard rooms and five suites, as well as the outdoor gathering spaces and 1894 Restaurant. The grand ballroom, which measures 2,750 square feet, accommodates 204 guests.

W Hotel Boston

Located in Boston’s Theater District, W Hotel Boston just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its 5,000-square-foot meeting and event space. Featuring large-scale graphic artwork by Boston artist Cedric Douglas, the spaces blend organic textures, wood, and granite elements. The largest room, the 1,900-square-foot Great Room, features 15-foot ceilings and accommodates as many as 200 guests. However, there are also several smaller spaces, including five studios, which range from 350 to 530 square feet. Equipped with full AV capabilities, W Hotel Boston provides speedy Wi-Fi, customizable menus, and ergonomic memory foam padded chairs.

Blind Duck

Towering high on the 17th floor of Raffles Boston, Blind Duck opened in December. Elegant yet welcoming, the 1,500-square-foot speakeasy is spread throughout two floors and accommodates as many as 96 guests for a reception-style event, or 80 seated. Available for full buyouts outside of traditional business hours, they serve up custom cocktails like the El Jardinero, made with the venue’s very own Blind Duck gin, cucumber juice, clarified tomato juice, and tarragon-infused St-Germain. While there are no video capabilities, screens and projectors can be rented based on event requirements. The venue’s existing audio system can also be used.

Hilton Boston Park Plaza

One of Boston’s most iconic properties, the 1,060-room historic hotel became Hilton Boston Park Plaza in October. Featuring 70,000 square feet of meeting and event space, its most famed gathering area is the 13,215-square-foot Grand Ballroom. Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, original Baccarat crystal chandeliers, and ornate balconies, the space accommodates as many as 2,200 guests in a variety of formations. The hotel has a total of 35 meeting rooms and three ballrooms, and features full AV capabilities.

Puttshack Natick

Featuring three nine-hole mini-golf courses, Puttshack Natick is the latest location of the tech-infused mini-golf experience. Available for full or partial buyouts, it opened in Natick Mall in February. Measuring 22,000 square feet and spread across two floors, it features a dining area and full-service bar on each floor, as well as an outdoor patio and semiprivate seating options. The first floor, which measures 7,983 square feet, can accommodate 75 guests for a private event, while the second level, which measures 13,787 square feet, accommodates 125.

The Artisan Hotel at Tuscan Village

A 165-room boutique hotel tucked in Salem’s Tuscan Village, The Artisan Hotel opened in October. With 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, there are endless opportunities to create your own custom event. The 3,970-square-foot grand ballroom can accommodate groups ranging from 115 to 350 in a variety of formations. There are also several other spaces, including the 3,378-square-foot fifth-floor rooftop, which accommodates 300 guests for a reception. The rooftop features a 500-square-foot private dining room that accommodates 20 guests. The Artisan Hotel at Tuscan Village is equipped with full AV capabilities.

Eastern Standard

One of Boston’s most beloved restaurants, Eastern Standard reopened in its new location at Bower, Fenway Center’s mixed-use residential complex, in October 2023. Back with its beloved craft cocktails and brasserie-style menu, the 8,000-square-foot venue is available for both semiprivate and private events that accommodate groups ranging from 15 to 300. The main dining room accommodates 160 seated guests, while there’s also a 23-seat white marble bar and 65-seat outdoor patio. A 48-seat private dining room, which measures 680 square feet, features a projector and wall plates for a band or DJ to connect to the state-of-the-art sound system designed and installed by John Lyons Systems. Get the burger if you know what’s good for you.

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails

Set to open in April, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails will be tucked inside Encore Boston Harbor. Serving elevated New England seafood favorites, the 217-seat restaurant, which measures 5,400 square feet, features a welcoming nautical environment. The main dining room, which measures 1,550 square feet, accommodates 86 seated guests or 110 for a cocktail-style event. A private dining room known as the State Room measures 323 square feet and welcomes 39 seated guests or 50 standing. A private dining room called Old Wives Tale, which currently functions as a speakeasy, measures 450 square feet and accommodates 16 seated guests or 25 standing. There’s also a 1,078-square-foot showcase bar and lounge, which welcomes 42 seated guests or 72 standing, as well as a 920-square-foot terrace that accommodates 34 seated or 50 standing. The restaurant will have full AV capabilities for private events and meetings.

Good Company

Charlestown “farm-to-glass” cocktail bar Good Company opened in November. Unique and creative, its mixologists serve up drinks like the Strawberry Roots, a mix of Del Maguey mezcal, strawberry-beet amaro, pickled beets, dill, roasted celeriac, and fermented garlic honey. The 1,700-square-foot space accommodates 40 seated guests or 60 for a cocktail-style function. There’s also a 22-seat patio, which measures 500 square feet. While there’s no AV hookup, Good Company can connect to Spotify and Wi-Fi.

Davio’s Back Bay

A staple of Boston’s dining scene, Davio’s Back Bay completed a renovation of its private dining spaces in December. Accommodating groups ranging from 10 to 300, the Northern Italian steakhouse welcomes 15 to 30 guests in several different spaces, including the 435-square-foot wine room. There’s also the 8,480-square-foot adjacent atrium space, which welcomes 200 seated guests or 800 for a reception. Davio’s is equipped with full AV capabilities.

Drawdown Brewing Company

An LGBTQ+ and woman-owned brewery in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Drawdown Brewing Company opened in December and will start hosting events this spring. Featuring an industrial interior and movable seating for flexible setup options, the 2,500-square-foot space is divided into two sections: the 1,300-square-foot brewing area and 1,200 square feet designated for meetings and social gatherings for as many as 90 people. The space also offers three 65-inch flat-screen TVs that can be connected to any device to show and promote relevant content to guests.

Carver Road Hospitality, which recently announced its New England debut with the April 12, 2024 opening of Seamark Seafood & Cocktails and its intimate speakeasy cocktail bar Old Wives’ Tale at Encore Boston Harbor, has appointed James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schlow as Chef Partner at Seamark Seafood & Cocktails. Designed by award-winning architecture and design company Rockwell Group, Seamark will offer a contemporary interpretation of New England’s timeless seafood dining experience, blending tradition with innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Schlow to lead Seamark’s culinary program,” said Carver Road Hospitality CEO Sean Christie. “As a celebrated chef and an acclaimed restaurateur, he is perfectly suited to help Seamark make its mark as the area’s must-visit elevated seafood  destination.”

In his role as Chef Partner, Schlow will continue to highlight Carver Road Hospitality’s commitment to culinary mastery while strengthening Encore Boston Harbor’s reputation as the region’s premier luxury resort and casino. He will lead Seamark’s culinary team and help to develop signature recipes.

“It is an honor to partner on another restaurant venture in my home city of Boston,” said Michael Schlow, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails Chef Partner. “With a focus on elevated New England seafood and a unique pier-to-plate concept, this one is particularly special as I have the privilege of working alongside my dear friend and Carver Road’s Sean Christie, a native to the area, who understands the nostalgia of this project as well.”

Situated adjacent to Encore Boston Harbor’s majestic Garden Lobby and across from the stunning Ferris wheel, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails will boast a bounty of elevated New England seafood favorites, featuring the freshest pier-to-plate cold-water fish, lobster, and shellfish available. The welcoming and luxurious nautical inspired restaurant, designed by the award-winning architecture and design company, Rockwell Group, will include an 82-seat main dining room, a 30-seat alcove dining room, 41-seat showcase bar and lounge, 34-seat outdoor terrace, 21-seat corridor terrace, and 16-seat private dining room.

Hidden behind the back wall of Seamark Seafood & Cocktails, Old Wives’ Tale will be a hidden room with a concealed façade inside of Seamark featuring intriguing antiques and gadgets that add a unique element of detail to this secret space. The cocktail program, curated by internationally renowned spirits expert Francesco Lafranconi, draws from lore and legend intertwined with New England’s seafaring history. The menu will offer guests the opportunity to explore ports of call around the globe, featuring spirits and flavors collected oceans away. This journey will be a testament to the allure of the open sea, the mysteries of the deep and the wonders that await those who dare to venture.

Schlow has been the recipient of many awards including being named “Best Chef in the Northeast” by the James Beard Foundation, “Best Chef in the Country” by Sante Magazine, as well as the “Culinary Award of Excellence” by Robert Mondavi. His ability to capture a variety of global cuisines and techniques has led to appearances on numerous national television programs including Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Food Network, CBS This Morning and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, among others. He is the author “It’s About Time, Great Recipes for Everyday Life.

Schlow has opened highly acclaimed dining destinations spanning the country, including Alta Strada with various locations on the East Coast; Nama Sushi Bar and Nama Ko in Washington, DC; and Via Matta, Radius, and Tico – all formerly located in Boston. He also currently oversees Italian Kitchen at Time Out Market in Boston and Sauce Burgers at Hub Hall.

The James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schlow has returned to Boston as the Chef Partner at Seamark Seafood & Cocktails at Encore Boston.

Carver Road Hospitality will open Seamark Seafood & Cocktails on April 12th, alongside an intimate speakeasy cocktail bar called Old Wives’ Tale and Michael Schlow is in charge of the food and spirits expert Francesco Lafranconi is in charge of the drinks.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Schlow to lead Seamark’s culinary program,” said Carver Road Hospitality CEO Sean Christie. “As a celebrated chef and an acclaimed restaurateur, he is perfectly suited to help Seamark make its mark as the area’s must-visit elevated seafood destination.”

michael schlow headshot boston

Seamark will have a focus on seafood as the name suggests and we attended a press preview this week and got to sample some picks from the menu. We tried a beautiful raw tuna starter, lobster gnocchi, a seared scallop dish and a short rib with lentils, all paired with some amazing wines and cocktails.

Chef Michael Schlow returns to Boston with a new restaurant at Encore
Credit: J.Q. LOUISE

Known for lots of restaurants in Boston and across the country, Chef Schlow currently oversees the Italian Kitchen at Time Out Market in Boston and Sauce Burgers at Hub Hall. “It is an honor to partner on another restaurant venture in my home city of Boston,” said Michael Schlow, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails Chef Partner. “With a focus on elevated New England seafood and a unique pier-to-plate concept, this one is particularly special as I have the privilege of working alongside my dear friend and Carver Road’s Sean Christie, a native to the area, who understands the nostalgia of this project as well.”

SCHLOW
Credit: J.Q. LOUISE

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails will be located in the lobby of Encore Boston, adjacent to the famous Garden Lobby and across from the Ferris wheel. The nautically inspired restaurant was designed by the award-winning architecture and design company, Rockwell Group, and will feature an 82-seat main dining room, a 30-seat alcove dining room, a 41-seat showcase bar and lounge, a 34-seat outdoor terrace, a 21-seat corridor terrace, and 16-seat private dining room. But the best part is that there will be a “hidden” speakeasy in the back.

COCKTAILS Francesco Lafranconi
Credit: J.Q. LOUISE

Old Wives’ Tale will have a concealed façade inside of Seamark. The cocktail program will be curated by spirits expert Francesco Lafranconi and will feature seasonal cocktails made with top-tier ingredients and prepared for visual and sensory impact for guests. At the preview night last week, we sampled a number of cocktails that will be on the opening menu this spring. The Oyster Kiss, a take on a Vesper Martini, the Veggie Beach, a take on a Bloody Mary, and the B-Town Old Fashioned are all must-tries when you stop in!

COCKTAILS Francesco Lafranconi
Credit: J.Q. LOUISE

March is here, the weather is confusing, and we’ve got one foot in our comfort-food season and one foot in is-it-too-early-to-eat-on-a-patio? season. Either way, there’s great food to be had, and we’re back with our monthly guide on where to eat around Greater Boston—a mix of new restaurants, old restaurants doing new things, a few particularly great meals Boston staffers have enjoyed lately, and a peek ahead at imminent openings.

Older Restaurants Doing New Things

Interesting menu changes, special events, new chefs. 

Beard Papa’s

Not so much an older restaurant doing a new thing but a previous spot making a comeback: Japan-based chain Beard Papa’s has returned to Boston. Known for its cream puffs, the bakery chain used to have a handful of local outposts that closed in the past few years, but Boston fans can once again enjoy the fresh-baked, light-as-air pastries stuffed with decadent cream. Here’s a peek inside.

232 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-449-9156, beardpapas.com/boston.

Committee

Lamb frites and shrimp saganaki, anyone? The Seaport District Greek restaurant and cocktail bar is getting a boost from a new menu, the return of lunch, and a (sort of) new executive chef. Luis Figueroa is now at the helm of the kitchen, but he was actually on Committee’s opening team back in 2015. (In the interim, he’s cooked at a few other places, including Greek restaurant Kosmos in Walpole.) The revamped lunch service includes a convenient mix of salads, sandwiches, and customizable bowls.

50 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston, 617-737-5051, committeeboston.com.

Lê Madeline

After 10 years, Quincy’s Pho Linh, a traditional Vietnamese noodle shop, has transformed into Lê Madeline, showcasing modern Vietnamese with a twist (not to mention a ridiculously good lobster roll and some killer cocktails). Executive chef Peter Nguyen, a Boston native who was most recently cooking down in Houston, draws some inspiration from the south, like in his Việt Cajun crawfish noodles dish (pictured above). You can still get the old Pho Linh menu at lunch, but head in for dinner for the full revamped Lê Madeline experience.

409 Hancock St., Quincy, lemadeline.com.

Phinista

As of the beginning of February, this French-Vietnamese café in the Fenway is under new ownership. Now, the daytime crêpe-and-bánh-mì-focused menu eases into dinner entrees in the evening, including Thai dishes like khao man gai (chicken and rice with garlic and ginger) and guay tiew neau toon (stewed beef with noodles). Watch social media for other updates.

96 Peterborough St., Fenway, Boston, 617-262-7700, phinista.com.

Rochambeau

This French stunner has been going strong since 2019, but now there’s a fresh reason to stop by: The downstairs dining area has been transformed into “The Steak Room,” a prix fixe steak frites heaven—with endless frites!—for lunch and dinner.

900 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-247-0400, rochambeauboston.com.

Sullivan’s Castle Island

Not exactly a new thing—just Boston’s first sign of spring! Sullivan’s reopens its original Castle Island location on March 2 after its annual winter break. Hot dogs, burgers, fried fish, and ice cream await.

2080 William J. Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685, sullivanscastleisland.com.

Wink & Nod

By design, this South End cocktail bar’s culinary program rotates from time to time—and the time has come for the latest switch-up. Chef Louis DiBiccari’s Mediterranean-inspired pop-up, SubRosa, bid farewell in February, and now chef Brad Druckenbroad is onboard with Cenetta, “a contemporary approach to Italian classics.” You’ll find dishes such as tuna crudo cannoli, baked cod puttanesca, and limoncello cheesecake.

3 Appleton St., South End, Boston, 781-435-0394, winkandnod.com.


Staff Recommendations

Just a few places we’ve enjoyed recently that we think you’ll love too.

Deuxave

Every plate that comes out of Deuxave’s modern French kitchen is a work of art; go ahead and browse the restaurant’s Instagram account for a minute, and we’ll be here when you get back. But the French onion soup—well, we were pleased to find that the team deviated from swooshes and perfect plating here, instead opting for the rustic delight of molten Comté cheese baked to the sides of the bowl, the way French onion soup should be. And this one just so happens to be one of the tastiest around, thanks to the fantastic depth of the nine-hour beef broth. The rest of the meal was delicious, but it’s the soup we’re still dreaming about a week later.

371 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.

Eastern Standard

Eastern Standard is back; the baked rigatoni with lamb sausage is back; all is right in the world. Get the rigatoni, plus the luxurious butterscotch bread pudding with praline ice cream and salted butter caramel for dessert—and perhaps start or end at sibling cocktail bar next door, Equal Measure, for a cocktail.

775 Beacon St. (in the Bower), Fenway/Kenmore, Boston, 617-530-1590, easternstandardboston.com.

La Brasa

The smell of the wood fire and the beautifully designed wooden interior will catch your attention first when you enter this East Somerville mainstay: It feels like the type of place that could be your comfortable neighborhood hang or your wedding venue. (Conveniently, the restaurant does host a lot of weddings!) You’ll want to make sure part of your meal includes tortillas, which are made in-house completely from scratch, starting with the nixtamalization of the corn. Might we suggest the fan-favorite cochinita tacos, made with chile de árbol, salsa verde, cilantro, and onion? We could eat a dozen of these—but then we wouldn’t have room for the expertly prepared entrees. Go for whichever version of duck or chuleta is currently on the menu.

124 Broadway, East Somerville, 617-764-1412, labrasasomerville.com.

Tora Ramen

No-frills but friendly, this cash-only Chinatown spot will get you in and out quickly on your lunch break. Choose from around 10 ramen options and an assortment of small plates (takoyaki, gyoza, etc.) We love the black garlic tonkotsu ramen, a hearty, umami-packed pick that stars torched pork belly and corn in a rich broth that takes about two days to make.

99 Harrison Ave., Chinatown, Boston, 857-233-4680, toraboston.com.


Looking Ahead

We’ve got an eye out for these soon-to-open spots. (Find our full list of 2024 anticipated openings here.)

Ciao Somerville

Love the wood-fired pizzas from Chelsea’s acclaimed Ciao, but hate trying to find a seat? You’re in luck: The tiny eatery is expanding to Somerville’s Ball Square, steps from the Green Line, any day now. This location has a bit more room—and a bigger menu, from bruschetta with seasonal toppings to larger selections of pastas and salads than at the original. Watch social media for updates on an imminent opening-day announcement.

688 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville.

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails / Old Wives’ Tale

Seafood towers, lobster rolls, creative cocktails: It’s all on deck at Encore Boston Harbor’s forthcoming seafood spot (and speakeasy-style hidden cocktail bar, Old Wives’ Tale), set to open in April just off of the glamorous main lobby of the hotel and resort. Restaurateur Michael Schlow has signed on as chef-partner, collaborating with Vegas-based Carver Road Hospitality (which is run by Boston native Sean Christie). If you’re a longtime Bostonian, you’ll recognize Schlow from his past restaurants Radius, Via Matta, and more. And yep, that famous Radius burger will be on the menu at Seamark.

Michael Schlow, a chef who built his name on now-closed Boston restaurants including Financial District fine dining spot Radius and white-tablecloth Italian restaurant Via Matta, is re-entering Boston’s fine dining scene. The gig comes courtesy of Las Vegas-based restaurant group Carver Road Hospitality, which has hired Schlow to lead a forthcoming New England seafood restaurant, Seamark Seafood & Cocktails, and a speakeasy called Old Wives’ Tale, both slated to open inside the Encore casino and hotel in Everett on April 12, according to a press release. In recent years, Schlow has mainly focused on expanding his restaurant empire beyond Boston, but still maintains two food hall stalls in the city (Sauce Burgers at Hub Hall and Italian Kitchen at Time Out Market), plus an outpost of Italian restaurant Alta Strada in Wellesley.

Grace by Nia announces a second location

Hot on the heels of a successful debut in the Seaport last spring, supper club and live music venue Grace by Nia is taking its sparkly show on the road. The restaurant, in partnership with entertainment company Big Night, will be opening a second location at the Foxwoods casino and resort near Norwich, Connecticut. The 5,000-square-foot spot is slated to open in May.

A cream puff chain with a cult following draws lines on Newbury Street

Beard Papa’s, a Japanese cream puff chain with locations across the U.S., made a splashy debut at 232 Newbury Street, in Back Bay, this past weekend. Lines snaked down the block as customers waited for their chance to grab a handful of the chain’s colorful cream puffs in flavors like green tea and Oreo cookie crumble. While this is Beard Papa’s only current location in Massachusetts, it’s actually a return to Boston for the brand: The cream puff chain once ran several Boston locations, including in Chinatown and Allston, but all have since closed.

Two restaurant ownership switch-ups to know

French Vietnamese coffee shop Phinista in Fenway has new ownership; as does beloved Ethiopian restaurant Blue Nile in Jamaica Plain. At Phinista, Yeanie Bach and Phi Pham announced that they’d be moving on in order to spend more time with their daughter. “With the joyous arrival of our new baby girl, we’ve made the decision to prioritize family and be present for this precious time in our lives,” the pair wrote in a post on Instagram. (The announcement did not mention who the new owners are.) At Blue Nile, which was previously run by restaurateur Yosef Haile, ownership has switched hands to Rob Eugene, a prolific Boston entrepreneur who is also behind restaurant and nightlife spot Hue in Back Bay.

When Seamark Seafood & Cocktails debuts at Encore Boston Harbor this spring, it’ll bring “approachable” local seafood—albeit with a bit of decadence—to the glitzy lobby of the Everett casino and resort, says chef-partner Michael Schlow. The longtime Boston (and beyond) restaurateur—who was behind Radius and Via Matta, among other restaurants—has just announced his involvement in the forthcoming restaurant, partnered with Vegas-based group Carver Road Hospitality. But don’t dismiss this as an out-of-town project: Boston native Sean Christie owns Carver Road. This duo is as New England-y as they come, and they’ve got lots of classic seafood dishes—and other fun—planned for Seamark and its hidden cocktail bar, Old Wives’ Tale.

When Christie and Schlow first connected, Christie’s idea was simply to do “a great seafood restaurant,” as Schlow tells it. “That can mean lots of different things to different people,” Schlow says. Keeping in mind the casino location, the duo made a plan for a restaurant that would play to crowds that want classics and crowds that want something a little special, but all “very recognizable” dishes without a menu full of ingredients that require Googling. “It’s a balancing act of classic New England dishes and seafood [dishes] from around the world,” says Schlow, showcasing as much “beautiful local fish” as possible.

“This menu was fairly easy to write because this food just speaks to me,” says Schlow. “It’s about respecting these ingredients. The fish that we can get here in the Boston area is so amazing, and it doesn’t need a lot. Mother Nature’s done most of the work for us. Our job is to just gently coax it and make it great.”

The menu will offer everything from “quintessentially New England” dishes like lobster rolls and chowder to more elevated options. “I think for a lot of people coming to a casino, they’re coming to be entertained, have some fun, maybe splurge. You don’t have to splurge here, but you’ll have the opportunity. You can have a dish that has caviar, lobster, king crab, a lot of high-end things.”

There will be a seafood tower, he says—“they’re so celebratory”—and appetizers like an elegant tuna tartare with cucumber, caviar, and ponzu; an “extra-crunchy” shrimp tempura he serves at his Japanese restaurant Nama Ko in D.C.; and fried calamari, Rhode Island-style. The opening menu will include a few soups—traditional takes on lobster bisque (poured tableside) and French onion, plus a “decadent” double clam chowder. That’s double the clams and double the bacon, but not double the potatoes, because that would be too much, he explains with a laugh. “And we’re having little fun plays at the casino without going too kitschy—we do have clams casino on the menu.”

Another dish planned for the opening menu is a play on shrimp scampi. “During COVID, I really thought about how foods comfort us, and I sort of embraced a lot of the Italian American dishes because they brought me back to my childhood, and I know there’s demand for them,” he says. He decided to toy around with the classic shrimp dish, using “large, succulent, over-the-top” black tiger shrimp with a “France-meets-Italy sauce” infused with butter, garlic, chives, and white wine. “It’s almost like a beurre blanc but with some Italian feel to it,” he says, and it’s served with saffron rice, charred broccoli, and tomatoes. “It’s rich and gorgeous,” he promises.

While Seamark showcases seafood, there’ll be a variety of meat- and vegetable-focused dishes, too. On the meat front, let’s get to that burning question from the Bostonians already familiar with Schlow’s work: Yes, he’s bringing his “Schlow burger” back—the horseradish sauce, cheddar, and crispy onion-topped burger made famous at his now-closed Financial District restaurant Radius, the burger that ushered in Boston’s fancy burger era. The burger has made appearances at other Schlow restaurants over the years, but he’s not currently serving it anywhere, and Seamark feels like the right fit, he says. “It’s just so approachable. You’re sitting at the bar, you don’t feel like seafood—you’re going to get that burger.”

In addition to Seamark’s main bar, there will be Old Wives’ Tale, a hidden cocktail bar within the space, with its own food and drink. Beverage director Francesco Lafranconi is creating “a very exciting beverage program,” says Schlow. “Expect the unexpected. There’ll be all sorts of surprises and fun things.” (An earlier announcement from the company described the vibe as “whimsical” and “adorned with maritime elements,” noting that drinks would be inspired by different ports of call around the world and served in “oceanic glassware” with “creative garnishes resembling sea creatures.”)

Schlow is still developing the food menu for Old Wives’ Tale but teases that it’ll have symmetry with the cocktail list, featuring light dishes inspired by the same ports of call as the drinks. There’ll be other general snacks, too, like house-made potato chips with onion dip. “Snacks that when you read the menu you’ll think, ‘I wasn’t hungry, but maybe a little of this wouldn’t hurt.’”

Schlow—a restaurateur, cookbook author, and James Beard Award-winning chef—has operated numerous other restaurants in Boston and beyond over the years. Back Bay Italian restaurant Via Matta had a particularly notable run, and the original Alta Strada in Wellesley has been going strong for nearly two decades, now with several out-of-state offshoots. Aside from Alta Strada, his current Greater Boston projects are casual food-hall spots: Michael Schlow’s Italian Kitchen at Time Out Market Boston and Sauce Burgers at Hub Hall.

“I’m excited to do a new sit-down restaurant” in the area, he says, after facing a number of closures during the pandemic. “This is my home. I think some people thought I moved away,” he says, because he does a lot of business in D.C. and elsewhere. “My [Boston] restaurants closed for a plethora of reasons—we didn’t want to close them—and I’m really excited at this opportunity to open a really nice sit-down restaurant with Sean [Christie]. We’re gonna have some fun together.”

We’re a month into 2024, and it’s already been jam-packed with delicious new openings—Mexican in SomervilleNoodles times two in CambridgeA café/plant shop on Mission HillA pepperoni Negroni-filled food hall downtownCasual omakase in Charlestown! With 11 months of the year still to go, we’re looking forward to countless other openings, reopenings, and expansions—restaurants fancy and casual, bars, cafés—spanning a variety of cuisines and neighborhoods. Below, check out the details on 26 spots we’ve got an eye on, and stay tuned for more restaurant opening coverage throughout the year. Know of something that should be on our radar? Our inbox is open.


Althea

With lovable Italian restaurant Vialé going strong for nearly a decade now in Central Square, the husband-and-wife duo behind it, Greg Reeves and Shauna Reyburn, are opening a new restaurant right down the street. Althea, taking over the recently closed Dial space on Main Street, is aimed at “healing the soul with food, wine, and humans,” says Reyburn. She and Reeves describe the food as creative American with “thoughtfully sourced ingredients,” including local veggies that’ll get cooked up on an outdoor grill. “We know what the community wants and needs—and deserves,” says Reyburn. “Althea lets us do more of that with a new twist—but still growing from strong local roots.” Watch for live music and a raw bar on the spacious patio come warmer weather.

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Anticipated opening: April 2024. 907 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge.

Baleia

The Coda Group looks to Italy with its restaurants SRVthe Salty Pig, and 2023 newcomer Gufo, but the team is taking Boston diners on a trip to Portugal with its newest endeavor, Baleia (Portuguese for “whale”), opening soon at the Troy Boston apartment building. Executive chef Andrew Hebert will be serving a Portuguese-inspired menu heavy on seafood, featuring dishes such as cataplana (braised pork and seafood stew) and whole roasted black bass (charred lemon, presunto, and anchovy XO), not to mention non-fish options like piri-piri chicken and lamb shank tagine. The latter is a nod to North African cuisine; Baleia’s menu touches on not just Portugal but “port cities that have been heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine,” per Coda partner and director of operations Ted Hawkins. The wine list will be entirely Portuguese, and the cocktails will be inspired by the region.

Anticipated opening: Early March 2024. 264 E Berkeley St., South End, Boston, baleiaboston.com.

BE Pasta Bar

Sometimes you just need a quick cup of on-the-go pasta, especially if you’re cramming for finals. This Boston University-area fast-casual restaurant, inspired by European pasta shops, will make its pasta in-house, sourcing ingredients from Greece and Italy.

Anticipated opening: February 2024. 1026 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline (on the Boston border).

Bluefin

Lobster rolls, clam chowder, raw bar items, and more: A seafood shop and takeout restaurant at Somerville’s Bow Market is expanding into bigger digs in Jamaica Plain. The second location will similarly operate as a fresh fish market and seafood-focused takeout joint, but with a bit more space for customers—and for executive chef Manya Lulek to have fun with seasonal plates to complement the core menu of New England classics. The expansion also allows the Bluefin team, founded by lifelong fisherman Jason Tucker, to improve its farmers market program, bringing fresh seafood to more communities, and the plan is to launch a fresh fish subscription service, too (think seafood CSA).

Anticipated opening: Mid-March 2024. 660B Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, bluefinrawbar.com.

Café Gloria

Local industry vet Will Isaza is best-known for his bartending skills, most recently as director of bar operations for cocktail gems Blossom BarIvory Pearl, and Birds of Paradise. But the East Boston native will soon be bringing a different drink to his old neighborhood with his first solo project: coffee. Café Gloria, which he’s describing as a neighborhood coffee and espresso bar, will highlight Colombian coffee beans, as well as a co-branded roast with Cambridge-based Broadsheet Coffee Roasters. There’ll be a variety of coffee-shop beverages and canned cold brew, not to mention a nonalcoholic version of Isaza’s award-winning coffee-and-passionfruit “Gloria” cocktail. Also on the menu: the Colombian rice bowls of his childhood, plus other snack-y recipes from his mother (Gloria!).

Anticipated opening: Late spring 2024. 287 Maverick St., East Boston, cafegloriaeastie.com.

Ciao Somerville

The tiny original location of Ciao! Pizza and Pasta in Chelsea gets loads of acclaim for its irresistible Neapolitan-style pizzas. This Somerville expansion—taking over the former Eat at Jumbo’s space in Ball Square—will allow fans to enjoy the pies more easily with a bit more seating, plus new menu items. For one, the original location’s popular salsiccia pizza (house-made fennel sausage with pickled cherry peppers) will be a little bit different on the Somerville menu; plus, look for new pasta dishes, more salads, and various bruschetta options.

Anticipated opening: Imminent. 688 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville, ciaopizzaandpasta.com.

Citrus & Salt

After a little over six years, Jason Santos is moving his coastal Mexican-inspired Back Bay restaurant—awash in pastels, Dole Whips, and pitchers of margaritas—to a larger space in Fort Point. It’ll be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and late-night service, with a mix of old favorites and new dishes. Local firm Assembly Designs is working on the space, which will be decorated with flamingos, flowers, and sugar skulls galore. Compared to the original location, which closes with a big party on February 23 (watch the restaurant’s social media for ticket info), it’ll have a larger dining room, more space for private events, and a big patio. (Santos is also opening his previously announced fast-casual, all-day restaurant Butterbird at Arsenal Yards in Watertown around July 2024, showcasing biscuits, fried chicken, and beignets.)

Anticipated opening: March 2024. 319 A St., Fort Point, Boston, citrusandsaltboston.com.

Crush Pizza

Downtown Boston lost an excellent source for casual, Neapolitan-style pizzas—cooked fast and hot in wood-fired ovens—at the end of 2020, when Crush’s State Street location shut down after seven years. A Quincy location, open since 2019, has been going strong since then, but at the time of the downtown closure, chef and owner Tony Naser expressed hope to open another location somewhere in Boston at some point. It’s finally coming to pass: Crush will debut soon in East Boston. “It will have that same vibrant, industrial feel that our Quincy location has,” per a spokesperson, “but still a touch of old-school vibe that we love.” The Italian-imported ovens are different this time, conveyor-style gas/electric hybrids meant for consistency and perfect for Crush’s current Italian-meets-New-York style. Also on the menu: sandwiches, salads, wings, and other fun stuff, like loaded fries in various styles.

Anticipated opening: Early spring 2024. 975 Saratoga St., East Boston, crushpizza.com. 

Desnuda Cocina e Bar

Part restaurant, part music-focused “listening bar”—that’s a phrase you’ll see again below—Desnuda “will take traditional Mexican, Peruvian, and Asian cuisine and strip it bare,” courtesy of executive chef Jesus Preciado, per a spokesperson for MAZI Food Group (also behind Kava Neo-TavernaIlona, and Gigi). Preciado will draw inspiration from his own Colombian roots as well as travels around Latin America and Asia. Expect an emphasis on cocktails and music, too, with the overall concept aiming to “capture the fiery, Latin heartbeat.”

Anticipated opening: Summer 2024. 647 Tremont St., South End, Boston.

Folio

Beacon Hill’s gorgeous membership-based library, the Boston Athenaeum, is undergoing a massive renovation—and that includes the addition of an open-to-the-public restaurant run by the Catered Affair, the team behind food and beverage offerings at other local libraries, museums, and beyond. (See also: the Map Room Tea Lounge at Boston Public Library.) At Folio, expect French and Mediterranean fare, served breakfast through dinner, alongside a French-leaning wine list. The team is describing the cuisine as “bistronomy,” a portmanteau of bistro and gastronomy.

Anticipated opening: 2024. 14A Beacon St., Beacon Hill, Boston, thecateredaffair.com/folio.

Jacob Wirth

Steeped in history, German restaurant and beer hall Jacob Wirth (home to decades of piano singalongs!) operated from 1868 until its closure following a 2018 fire. It had actually been put up for sale earlier that year—and now, finally, new owners are working on reopening it. (Its interior is designated as a Landmark, which adds some challenges to renovations, but construction is ongoing, and the team’s been having a fun time stumbling on lots of old safes in the walls—disappointingly empty.) The revamp is a collaboration between City Realty and Royale Entertainment Group, and a lot will be the same, but with an accessible entrance, a roomier bathroom for women, televisions, and—the team and we say this lovingly—improved food. “The guts, the history, the bones are still there,” says Jamison La Guardia, vice president of sales and operations for Royale Entertainment Group. “We’re just contemporizing it.” The piano, of course, will be back, and the team’s even considering adding a second piano for occasional dueling piano nights, but plans are still fluid. The menu, too, won’t be finalized for a while, but the team does plan to bring back some nostalgic dishes from the most recent incarnation as well as historical menus they’ve found from the 1950s-60s. “We’re definitely keeping the German elements,” says La Guardia.

Anticipated opening: Late spring 2024. 31 Stuart St., Downtown Boston. 

Kaia

Xenia Greek Hospitality—the team behind 2023 showstopper Bar Vlaha (not to mention Greek wine bar Krasimysterious cocktail bar Hecate, and growing fast-casual chain Greco)—is opening “an homage to the Aegean Coast” in the South End. The Xenia crew isn’t sharing many details yet but asserts that Kaia will continue the group’s “dedication to making Boston home to one of the most exciting Greek dining scenes in the country.” (Meanwhile, they’re also opening a new Greco location at the Burlington Mall in April.)

Anticipated opening: Summer 2024. 380 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, xeniagreekhospitality.com.

La Padrona

Raffles Boston, the glitzy Back Bay hotel that debuted last year, already has a few dining and drinking options up and running, like upscale Portuguese destination Amar. Joining the lineup in 2024: La Padrona, an Italian restaurant from A Street Hospitality, the group behind TradePorto, and more. The team includes James Beard award-winning chef Jody Adams as Chief Culinary Officer, as well as Eric Papachristos as CEO and Jon Mendez as COO. At La Padrona, Adams and executive chef Amarilys Colón will highlight a variety of Italian regional cuisines with lots of fresh seafood and house-made pastas. The glamorous two-story space—with design inspired by late Italian post-war architect Gae Aulenti, among other sources—will include a bar and lounge on the ground floor with the main dining area on the second.

Anticipated opening: April 2024. 40 Trinity Pl. (Raffles Boston), Back Bay, Boston, raffles.com/boston.

Lê Madeline

After a decade-long run, restaurateur Tam Le is converting his Quincy restaurant Pho Linh, which served traditional Vietnamese fare, into Lê Madeline. The new concept, which Le tested as a pop-up at Pho Linh over the last few months, showcases creative Vietnamese fare—mixing in some global flavors and techniques—by executive chef Peter Nguyen, a Dorchester native whose resume includes stints at Cambridge’s Little Donkey and Houston’s Riel. While the classic Pho Linh menu will remain available at lunch, Nguyen’s new dishes will come out to play at dinner, from Viet Cajun crawfish noodles (inspired by his time down south) to gỏi vịt, pan-seared duck breast salad. Also: fun, Vietnamese-inspired cocktails from industry vet Allan Yee, such as the Second Wind, an espresso martini with Vietnamese coffee and fig vodka.

Anticipated opening: February 8, 2024. (Pho Linh closed January 31.) 409 Hancock St., Quincy, lemadeline.com.

Merai

Here at Boston, we’re just a tad obsessed with Brookline’s Thai hotspot Mahaniyom, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting its forthcoming sibling, Merai, where the team will “celebrate and cherish the diversity in food with what we know best: Thai flavors,” as managing partner Chompon Boonnak previously put it. Now that the menu is almost complete, he teases a few dishes, such as khao soi fettuccine and hung lay bao bun. The bar (with a full liquor license) will be a focus, too—merai, after all, is a Thai word referring to alcohol.

Anticipated opening: Early 2024. 14 Harvard St., Brookline Village, instagram.com/merai.bar. 

Mikiya Wagyu Shabu House

Restaurateur Kevin Liu (of Matsunori Handroll Bar, among other ventures) might be one of the busiest folks around. In addition to a handful of restaurants in operation, he and his partners have around a dozen new projects in the works in various cities, including quite a few in Greater Boston. Currently under construction with an estimated month or two left to go: a Chinatown location of Mikiya, a growing all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu chain showcasing—like many of Liu’s restaurants—wagyu. (Conveniently, he owns a wagyu ranch in Miyazaki, Japan.) The vibes are luxurious. Stay tuned for details on other intriguing restaurants coming down the pipeline, too.

Anticipated opening: Early 2024. 21 Hudson St., Unit 101, Chinatown, Boston, mikiyashabu.com.

Nowon

The team from New York City-based Nowon, a Korean-American pocha (gastropub), is “very excited” to expand to Boston’s Seaport District, says chef and proprietor Jae Lee. The restaurant, with current locations in New York’s East Village and Bushwick, is named for Lee’s South Korean hometown. The “legendary cheeseburger” gets top billing, a smashed double burger with kimchi special sauce, roasted kimchi, American cheese, pickles, and onion (although we’re already eyeing “Jae’s chicken bun,” with double-fried chicken thigh, soy-pickled jalapeño, parmesan, peanut, and cabbage slaw). Tasting menus are available for the groups who want to try a little bit of everything. Open seven days a week (lunch, brunch, and dinner), the Boston restaurant will feature seasonal outdoor seating and a full liquor license.

Anticipated opening: Late summer 2024. 117 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, nowonusa.com.

Ricen

The long-empty Rod Dee space in Porter Square will finally get new life—as another Thai restaurant! Panupak Kraiwong, who founded Best of Boston winner Dakzen in Somerville (but left the company a few years back), is behind Ricen, which will focus on rice and noodle dishes, inspired by his most recent trip back to Thailand. “I was amazed by how much Thai food has changed,” says Kraiwong. “We will serve new Thai food” and focus on careful sourcing of ingredients like fresh calamari and salmon. Ricen’s meals fall under the category of “jaan diew,” essentially single-dish meals where an entrée is served complete with noodles or rice (as opposed to, say, dining with a big group and sharing lots of à la carte entrees with separate sides of carbs). Kraiwong’s friend’s mom, Sasirin (July) Siwayawirote, is cofounder and executive chef of Ricen. “She used to have her own restaurant in Thailand,” says Kraiwong, “so we can guarantee that the taste is really close to original taste.”

Anticipated opening: May 2024. 1906 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, instagram.com/ricenboston.

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails / Old Wives’ Tale

While there’s no shortage of food and drinks at Encore Boston Harbor, we’re always up for a shiny new option. (Can’t have a fancy steak every day, we suppose.) A new seafood restaurant—complete with a speakeasy-style cocktail bar—is opening soon, from Vegas-based Carver Road Hospitality, which is owned by Boston native Sean Christie. Expect elevated New England seafood dishes and nautical-inspired design, spanning a large main dining room and several other seating areas, including a seasonal terrace. Old Wives’ Tale, an intimate cocktail bar, will be hidden behind a wall of the restaurant, allowing spirits enthusiasts to “explore ports of call around the globe.” The team promises craft cocktails that “pay homage to the essence of the ocean”—and they’re sure to be photogenic, if that’s your priority, thanks to “oceanic glassware” and sea creature-like garnishes.

Anticipated opening: April 2024. 1 Broadway (Encore Boston Harbor), Everett, seamarkencore.com.

Small Victories

This “no-frills neighborhood tavern,” coming soon to South Boston, is “mostly a carbon copy of [East Boston sibling] the Quiet Few, but if the Quiet Few drank a Monster Energy drink,” says founder Josh Weinstein. (The new spot is about twice the size of its older sibling.) It’ll focus on whiskey and American pub fare, serving as “a place for people in the neighborhood to congregate, celebrate, and commiserate with old and new friends alike.” The larger size will allow for even more whiskey than its big sibling, not to mention a bigger food menu (“Seafood!” notes Weinstein), an amaro list, a photobooth, and more fun.

Anticipated opening: Late March 2024. 400 Dorchester St. (across from the Andrew T stop), South Boston, smallvictoriesbar.com. 

Somaek, Temple Records, and more

Restaurateur Jamie Bissonnette’s 2023 departure from the restaurant group he built with Ken Oringer (ToroCoppa, etc.) came as a surprise to longtime fans citywide. Now, he’s onto the next adventure—or, rather, at least three, as the Globe reports. With Andy Cartin and Babak Bina (JM CurleyBogie’s Placethe Wig Shop), he’ll open a Korean restaurant called Somaek (with noodles, rice cakes, and more inspired by his Korean mother-in-law’s cooking) and a listening bar (is 2024 the year of the listening bar?) called Temple Records (with Bissonnette’s “super-eclectic” collection of music), plus a 20-seat sushi counter, Sushi @ Temple Records, this year. These’ll all be in Downtown Crossing, near Cartin and Bina’s existing spots. The trio is apparently planning more restaurants for 2024, too. Big year!

Anticipated opening: March 2024. 11 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston.

Taco Azul

Restaurateur Dan Leyva—who counts spearheading a massive overhaul of the Wings Over chain among his 15 years of hospitality experience—is bringing “a modern Mexican taco restaurant” to Boston this year, opening first on Beacon Hill, with the Seaport and Cambridge in his sights—“and all throughout Massachusetts,” he says. The restaurants will be casual (but full-service, and with full liquor licenses) and feature “delicious guacamole, tacos, and margaritas,” he says, perfect for “a quick business lunch, a family dinner, a date night, or a fun night out.”

Anticipated opening: Mid-2024. Beacon Hill, Boston, tacoazul.com.

Unnamed fast-casual restaurant from Will Gilson

The chef and restaurateur behind Puritan & Co.Puritan Oyster Bar, and more is opening a casual rotisserie chicken spot with Mediterranean flare not far from his Cambridge Crossing trio of businesses (the Lexington, Geppetto, and Café Beatrice). Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant will have a year-round indoor farmers market attached. More to come soon, including a name.

Anticipated opening: Late May 2024. 68 First St., East Cambridge.

Verveine Cafe & Bakery

The old gang is getting back together: Acclaimed pastry chef Monica Glass, who worked at restaurateur Ken Oringer’s restaurant Clio a decade ago, is partnering with Oringer to open a Cambridge bakery and café with global influences. This means treats such as kimchi egg cheddar danishes, black sesame croissants, ube brownies, and strawberry chamomile doughnuts. The beverage menu will play along the same lines, with “some fun coffee and latte drinks,” says Glass, featuring flavors like black sesame, ube coconut, peanut butter, and miso caramel. Also on deck: fresh juices and spritzes.

Anticipated opening: 2024. 298 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, verveinecafe.com.

XOXO Bar

With Uni and Fat Baby alum Kegan Stritchko heading up the kitchen, American-Japanese restaurant XOXO Bar will feature omakase as well as à la carte sushi and robatayaki options. Dramatic cocktails will accompany—think smoke bubbles and fancy garnishes—in digs the team is describing as “sleek and modern,” centering around a 16-seat bar. Owners Fred Starikov and Steve Whalen are involved in a number of restaurants and bars in Greater Boston, including the reborn versions of the Thirsty Scholar in Somerville and the Silhouette in Allston.

Anticipated opening: March 2024. 1154 Boylston St. (across from the Shoppes at Chestnut Hill), Chestnut Hill, xoxosushi.com.

Yume Ga Arukara

There’s something to be said for the very concise menu at Cambridge mega-hit Yume Ga Arukara: You only have to choose hot or cold udon, spicy or not—and then sit back and enjoy your noodles. No appetizers, no desserts, no frills. (Seasonal specials occasionally appear.) That said, we’re excited to see the team get creative with an expanded space—more seating, full service, booze, and a bigger menu!—at the upcoming Seaport location.

Anticipated opening: February 19, 2024. 70 Pier 4 Blvd., Suite 260, Seaport District, Boston, yumegaarukara.com.

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails, the new restaurant coming in April to Encore Boston Harbor will include a touch of adventure, whimsy, and mystery with the introduction of Old Wives’ Tale, a hidden speakeasy with a concealed façade inside the eatery.

The intimate-but-chic cocktail bar will offer up a collection of cocktails that pay homage to the majestic creatures of the sea and the coastal communities they call home. The drinks menu created by master mixologist Francesco Lafranconi will feature 12 signature cocktails, as well as classics, which will transport guests across the globe from England and the Mediterranean Seas to the shores of South America and Asia, and concluding in India.

To complement the selection of libations, Old Wives’ Tale will also offer a thoughtfully curated selection of small plates featuring fresh seafood delicacies like exquisite oysters, flavorful ceviche and succulent grilled fish. The space will be decked out in dark woods, and embellished with details that nod to the nautical word and the mystique of the sea, from creative garnishes that resemble sea creatures to ocean-inspired glassware.

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails

The speakeasy will adjoin Seamark Seafood & Cocktails, a restaurant featuring pier-to-plate cold-water fish, lobster, and shellfish prepared unpretentiously, but with culinary flair, says Sean Christie, co-founder and chief executive officer of parent company Carver Road Hospitality. “It’s our interpretation of an elevated seafood establishment that has all your New England favorites, but is more diverse than that,” Christie says.

Since opening in 2019, Encore has become known as a dining destination, with restaurants including elegant steakhouse Rare; Red 8, known for its sumptuous décor and Chinese flavors; welcoming Italian eatery Fratelli; and the very upscale snacks at Cheese Meets Wine.