Category Archives: SoWa

Winter in Boston

Harrison Avenue

Click on image to enlarge

I woke up this morning to look out at a blustery day filled with snow blowing up and down Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End.

This is a view from my fourth floor apartment; to the left you can see Harrison Avenue heading toward E. Berkeley Street and to the right is a view of the BSC South End gym and Gaslight restaurant. Hard to believe that spring technically starts in approximately 30-days.

Cinquecento rolls out weekend brunch menu

CinquecentoStarting this weekend, you will have another option for brunch as Cinquecento opens to serve patrons from 10am – 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The menu which is posted on their website here, is divided into pastries, smaller first plates, eggs, salads and pastas; all very reasonably priced it would appear.

According to the press release, Cinquecento’s brunch menu will include savory Italian dishes like truffled polenta with poached eggs, grilled steak and eggs with Pecorino biscuits, as well as sweeter options like crepes with whipped lemon ricotta and native honey, ricotta fritters and sugar donuts.

You can call to make a reservation at (617) 338-9500.

Boston Chops in the South End

Boston Chops South EndRecently I chatted with the people over at Boston Chops.  Rumors of their opening still remain unconfirmed, but waitstaff has already started training so hopefully the wait is nearly over.  When the doors open, Boston Chops hours will be 4pm to 1am; serving dinner from 5pm to midnight – daily.  Boston Chops will also be open for  brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm, but I was told brunch will not be available immediately.

The menu is either not finished or when I spoke to them they wanted to keep the information private. I was told the menu focuses on allowing patrons options not often associate with steak houses. For example, you will be allowed to choose your cut of steak for their signature steak frites and you will be served unlimited fries.  While that sounds delicious, when I asked about prices I was told Boston Chops is an “urban steak bistro” with approachable prices. Huh? I have absolutely no idea what that means.  However, if Chef Coombs restaurant Deuxave in the Back Bay is any indication, main plates could range from  $31 to $39; let’s hope Coombs opts for a more affordable price point here in the South End so I can visit more often.

Patrons of the previous restaurants in this space will remember a very dramatic interior.  Boston Chops brings a completely different look and feel to the space, using dark woods, burgundy tones and heavy unfinished steel. The 30-seat bar and a large lighting fixture designed to look like chandeliers from Burgundy France will provide a sophisticated vibe.  Construction was still on-going when I wrote this post earlier in the week, but I have faith it will look beautiful and will be a fantastic (and welcome) addition to the neighborhood.

You can stay up to date on the latest information about Boston Chops by liking their Facebook page here.

SoWa Open Market closes for season

The SoWa Open Market and the  Farmer’s Market which opened this spring officially closed today at 4PM.

The market which draws thousands each weekend will take a hiatus during the winter months and be back in the spring of 2013. I’ll miss having this just outside my condo and look forward to its return in May 2013.

Restaurant review: BoMA Restaurant and Bar

After more false starts than an entire NFL season, BoMA Restaurant + Bar finally opened their doors to the public last week.  The renovation of the space is dramatic and exudes a warm and cozy vibe.  Dark colors contrast with the exposed brick and oversized, unique chandeliers that provide a relaxing environment to meet for drinks or grab dinner.BoMA Restaurant and Bar

The dinner menu at BoMA has sixteen options including “Small Plates” which is how Chef Bussell describes appetizers; these range from $8-$12.  The menu also includes three options referred to as “Lighter Fare”, but think “pub grub” since it includes food like their burger with duck fat french fries.  Lastly, there are six “Large Plates” ranging from $20-$27.

BoMA Restaurant and BarWe started our dinner with the roasted beets and goat cheese salad $11 and roasted clams and chorizo $12. Both were very satisfying, but I preferred the clams and chorizo with my ale.  Beer lovers note BoMA has 16 craft beers on draft that will rotate with the seasons.  Below you can see we opted for the comfort food listed in the “Lighter Fare” portion of the menu.  The Fish-n-Chips is $15 and the BoMA burger is $14.  Both hit the spot and I predict will be some of the restaurant’s best sellers.BoMA Restaurant and Bar

Earlier this month I was invited to try their menu and we ordered the Chestnut Ravioli, Duck Confit, Rabe in Pistachio Cream ($24) and Grass Fed Hangar Steak, Texas Hash, Greens in Chili Garlic Butter ($26); read here for more about these tempting meals.

As mentioned above, BoMA is located in the South End at 1415 Washington Street across from The Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Although BoMA was not taking reservations this past weekend you can call ahead at (617) 536-2662.

BoMa on Urbanspoon

American Field pop up market

Boston American FieldThis weekend, Ball and Buck will be hosting the inaugural “American Field” All American Menswear pop up market at the Power Station at 540 Harrison Avenue in the South End’s SoWa district.

More than 50 vendors will be showcasing, and selling, their Made in USA products. Food trucks will be serving great eats and it appears there will even be a beer garden featuring Local Micro Breweries.

540 Harrison Ave, Saturday & Sunday Oct 20 – 21

More information about the event here, www.americanfield.us

South End development underway

A few weeks ago I mentioned on my blog the city of Boston had approved a new hotel and residences to be built just a few blocks from my home.  I am so happy to hear that space currently used as a parking lot near Interstate 93 will be redesigned and add space for residents and commercial purposes.

I have paired a photo from Google Maps with the image of the proposed development offered by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.  The $165  million dollar project will include 3-story parking garage, 19-story residential tower, and a 11-story hotel that has 325 “micro-rooms” (I have no idea what a micro room is but I don’t care since I live two blocks away and hopefully will never need to make use of the rooms).

This development happens to be next to the neighborhoods largest redevelopment plan that is currently underway called the Ink Block (shown above). The  project revitalizes 6 acres of land previously owned and occupied by the Boston Herald Newspaper.  The Ink Block plans propose multiple buildings of mixed use space with more than 470 rental residential units, retail space (including a 50,000 square foot Whole Foods) and 400+ below ground parking lot.

BoMA Restaurant and Bar to open next week

BoMa Restaurant and BarBoMA restaurant + bar

Today I sat down with the very personable head chef of BoMA Restaurant and Bar, Chris Bussell, to talk to him about his new restaurant, which is just days away from opening.  Although he was quiet on the exact day he did say “for sure by next Friday”.

This eagerly awaited restaurant has transformed the former home of Pho Republique, enlarging and moving the bar to the left side of the restaurant and making the space feel much larger by installing floor to ceiling sliding windows that open on to Washington Street across from the beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

BoMa South End

BoMA Restaurant features a bar area that can seat 24 comfortably overlooking Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross

Bussell was most excited when talking about the menu he’s pulled together which is divided into five categories: Tiny plates (think tapas but with a twist); Small plates (appetizers); Medium plates (mostly lighter fare ranging $14-18); Large plates (main course ranging $21-27) and Sweet plates (desserts).

The kitchen closes at Midnight but the bar will remain open serving drinks until 1AM.  While BoMA will only be serving dinner initially, Bussell assured me that after a few weeks they will also start serving Sunday Brunch.  Sounds delicious to me and I can hardly wait.

BoMa Restaurant in the South End

BoMA Restaurant includes cozy dining nooks where patrons can quietly dine

BoMA Restaurant and Bar is located at 1415 Washington Street.

SoWa Open Market finds new home for Food Trucks

The SoWa Open market held each Sunday along Harrison Avenue in the SoWA neighborhood of Boston’s South End continues to grow.

Starting this past weekend the food trucks moved to a vacant building (where the SoWa Open market originally started – by Gaslight).  The food trucks popularity was causing so much congestion near the artisan booths something had to be done and this seems like the perfect solution. Just one block from the artisans, the vintage market and the farmer’s market about a dozen food trucks set up shop.

Did you miss all the good eats? Check it out this Sunday.

SoWa Market Food Truck

The new home for SoWa Open Market Food Trucks

SoWa Open Market

SoWa Food Trucks every Sunday 11-4PM

The growing popularity of the Food Trucks, which come to the South End each Sunday for the SoWa Open Market, have been moved down Harrison Avenue to accommodate the growing interest.

South End Open Studios

The South End Open Studios was this past weekend.  The two-day event which draws thousands to the neighborhood, allows art collectors and enthusiasts to talk to local artists and visit galleries; all told – more than 200 studios and galleries are open.  In addition, artisans and specialty stores which comprise much of the retail space in the South End’s SoWa district (South of Washington) participated in the event this September.

Weather was perfect for this weekend’s art walk which included painters, sculptors, and designers who make jewelry, clothing, furnishings and more. Below are a few photos from a small number of the participating galleries and artists.

Bobby’s Vintage Clothing on Thayer StreetBobby's South End

SoWa has more than 200 active studios and art galleries
South End Open Studios

The caliber and variety of artwork is amazingSouth End Open StudiosNathalie Miebach

South End Open Studios

Is Boston Chops hiring

Yesterday, Eater Boston wrote a post entitled, Upcoming South End Restaurant to Focus on “The Cow”.  The post comments on a job posting on Craigslist looking for “Chef de cuisine, Executive Sous, Chef & Sous chef” who have “a strong understanding of the cow”.

Eater Boston’s article wonders out loud which of the new South End restaurants might be hiring for these positions, naming Estelle’s, BoMa , and Cinquecento.  However, my money is on Brian Piccini’s latest endeavor, Boston Chops, which is targeting a late November opening (pending construction).

New hotel and residences coming to my hood

South End Mixed Use DevelopmentLooks like the Mayor and the Boston Redevelopment Authority  just approved a cool new mixed use building in space that is currently occupied by a parking lot in my neighborhood, the South End.

Located at 275 Albany Street, the development includes a 3-story parking garage, 19-story residential tower, and a 11-story hotel. I have no idea what micro style rooms means, but I’m just happy it will bring more people to the neighborhood.  The development will be just one block away from the Ink Block.

More about this project and others approved by the city of Boston here.

Trattoria Cinquecento opening just weeks away

The Aquitaine Group made news in the fall of 2011 when they announced they would remodel the restaurant space previously occupied by Rocca in the South End and reopen it as the first Italian restaurant property the group owns and manages.

Cinquecento has garnered much attention and as recently as last week, positions for restaurant managers and a bar chef were seen posted online.  The 300+ seat Italian-concept restaurant has been eagerly awaited and although a definite opening has yet to be confirmed,  Trattoria Cinquecento will definitely open before the end of next month. Look for a soft opening the middle of September 2012.

Ink Block developers announce Whole Foods coming to South End

The Ink Block refers to the 6 acres that was the long-time home to the Boston Herald. The newspaper has since moved their headquarters to the Seaport District, and a developer has renamed the property the Ink Block with plans to demolish the existing buildings and erect new ones ranging 5-9 stories.Boston Herald South End headquartersPlans include nearly five hundred apartments, space for several retail and restaurants and as of last week a Whole Foods grocery store. The chain confirmed last week that they had signed a long-term lease to have a 50,000 square foot store, making it the largest in Boston. The store is expected to open in 2014.

This “No Man’s Land” sits beside two major highways (I-90 and I-93), and will be a welcome addition to both The South End and Chinatown which is just across the Mass Pike.  The development has spurred interest in other properties abutting the Ink Block.