It is hard to say which restaurant will be the first to open in Boston’s South End in 2018 but it is interesting that two contenders are restaurants that focus on cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon line, Southern Proper and Bootleg Special.
While Boston has an Italian or French restaurant on what seems like every corner, the city has relatively few restaurants that seek inspiration from the South and even fewer that do it well.Chef Jason Cheek will be opening his restaurant, Southern Proper, at 600 Harrison Avenue in The Girard relatively soon, considering the space has signs saying “Opening Winter 2018”. The new space will include more than 1,500 square feet of dining, bar space and patio seating.
If Cheek’s name rings a bell it might be because he has a distinguished career working at several excellent restaurants including The Maiden, Sam’s at Louis, Coppa and Toro to name just a few.
A restaurant that looking to open even before Southern Proper is the traditional style Louisiana seafood boil, called Bootleg Special, owned by the former Castle Square resident, Stephen Chan. The restaurant’s menu will include items like crawfish poutine, po’boys and beignets.
Southern Proper hopes to get a live music license, which I hope they can get – this city needs more places that offer live music – not fewer and their location on the corner of Tremont and Herald Street means there are very few residents who could / should be impacted.
It is interesting to note that both of these restaurants constitute new space for the South End, adding to the dizzying number of new restaurants that have opened in this tiny downtown neighborhood.
In the case of Southern Proper, it is going into a new mixed-use residential space that previously was a parking lot in SoWa and in the case of Bootleg Special, to my knowledge the space was never a restaurant; previously it had been a dog daycare center.