Category Archives: Dining

Marseille soft opening this weekend in SoWa

Last December I shared that the team behind the popular restaurant, Petit Robert in the South End, would be opening a new restaurant in the space formerly home to GasLight Brasserie.

The new South End restaurant Marseille which opened last weekend will be open for brunch this weekend to coincide with the first SoWa Open Market of the season. There is a possibility the restaurant will try to open on Saturday but that has not been confirmed. If weather is nice enough the patio will also be open for outside dining. Brunch will begin at 10AM.

The new restaurant called Marseille, uses the French city as well as flavors from the western Mediterranean as inspiration for its menu, and over the next two nights, they will be hosting ‘friends and family nights’ before hosting a soft opening this weekend. If you’re interested in checking out the South End’s newest restaurant make a reservation on Open Table.

For those familiar with the former restaurant, you’ll notice much remains the same (the beautiful zinc bar for example) but the owners have purchased new patio furniture and the interior color palette is much lighter.

560 Harrison Avenue
SoWa District – Boston

Coda Restaurant Group looks to open a new restaurant “Baleia” at the Troy Boston in the South End

Earlier this month, the Coda Restaurant Group (which own/manage The Salty Pig and SRV) came before the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) to share plans to open a new restaurant in the Troy Boston residential building later this year.

However, this isn’t the first time these two men have introduced the idea of opening a new restaurant in this space. Back in February 2022, Jim Cochener of Coda Restaurant Group and Ted Hawkins, General Manager of SRV Boston joined the EBNA to discuss a liquor license request for a new restaurant they wanted to open in the Troy Boston. At that meeting, they described the restaurant as a full-service, “Mediterranean-focused” restaurant and raw bar with ~100 seats inside, a 16-seat bar, and ~20-patio seats on East Berkeley Street.

Although nothing materialized, it appears their plans are back on track. Jim and Ted indicated when they joined the EBNA earlier this month that the restaurant will be called Baleia (a Portuguese word that means whale) and will be open daily for dinner with plans to also offer Sunday Brunch. On the call, the team indicated that they are targeting a late summer / early fall opening.

When Baleia opens, it will join two other restaurants that are just blocks away that also have a menu focused on Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on seafood – Atlantico, and Marseille (scheduled to open in the spring of 2023). Is this the start of a new food trend? I do love seafood and wish the Coda team much luck. As I learn more, I’ll be sure to share it.

Casa Giacomo’s is now Gigi

Casa Giacomo’s opened in late December 2022. The space had been purchased earlier that spring by the team behind the much-loved Kava Neo Taverna and Ilona South End restaurants. After the longtime owner of Giacomo’s was sold the team closed the restaurant to perform extensive updates in the kitchen and remodeling of the dining room.

When the tiny Italian neighborhood restaurant reopened in late December it gave a nod to its past by rebranding the new space as “Casa Giacomo’s” but the similarity in name proved to be confusing to the public, which didn’t realize there was a change of ownership and vision. To eliminate the confusion, the owners have now changed the name to Gigi.

If you’ve not yet tried the restaurant, I’d encourage you to stop by. Some of my favorite items on Gigi’s menu include for starters: the cured meat and cheese plate ($18) and polpette meatballs ($15); main plates: carbonara pasta ($25), risotto al manzo ($25), and branzino ($28); and while I typically skip dessert, I suggest trying Gigi’s tiramisu with an Amari.

431 Columbus Avenue

Aquitaine Boston looks to reopen the week of May 15th

The popular South End restaurant, Aquitaine Boston, hopes to reopen in mid May and is targeting the week of May 15th. In early February the restaurant was forced to suddenly close after extreme weather caused significant water damage. Below is a photo from the restaurant’s social media page in mid March, showing the ongoing work to repair the damage done.

I feel for the management team and staff who work at this restaurant and hope that they are able to reopen by mid May. Patio season will have just started the month before and Aquitaine has one of the best in the neighborhood.

I’ll do my best to update you on anything I may learn about their reopening but for more details about Aquitaine Boston, follow their social media pages on Intagram and Facebook.

New South End restaurant Marseille hints at opening

Back in December I shared that the team behind Petit Robert would be opening a new restaurant in the South End called Marseille. The new restaruant will focus on southern French cuisine and operate out of the space that was formerly home to Gaslight Brasserie. 

Initially slated to open in February or March, the restaurant’s Instagram account yesterday hinted that the opening would be soon. There is more work to be done, but it’s possible they could be looking at an April opening.

Last week, two of the three large patio umbrellas that had been installed by the previous restaurant were removed. It is unclear if they will be reinstalled, but otherwise there has been little change from outside the restaurant. However, it appears as if renovations inside have progressed. Follow their Instagram account to stay up to date on their progress.

Casa Giacomo’s in the South End opens today

Last spring, after 27 years in business, owner Jackie Taglieri sold Giacomo’s South End. The space closed for renovations shortly after that and has been closed since. On Christmas the new owners announced on Instagram (here) that Casa Giacomo’s would be opening soon but were vague about when.

Last night I was told Casa Giacomo’s will have a soft opening tonight. Initially, the restaurant will only be accepting walk-ins for dinner. The new owners are the team behind the much loved Kava Neo Taverna and Ilona, so I’m very excited to see how they have updated this neighborhood restauarant and what touches they have added to make it their own. Casa Giacomo’s is open daily (starting today) at 5:00 PM.

Casa Giacomo’s
431 Columbus Avenue

New South End restaurant, Marseille to open in 2023

Petit Robert Bistro to open new restaurant at 560 Harrison Ave

Those who have attended the SoWa Winter Village that opened after Thanksgiving will know that the team behind Petit Robert have announced they will be opening a new restaurant focusing on southern French cuisine in the space that was formerly home to Gaslight Brasserie for many years. One can also assume the space that served as a daytime cafe (formerly Greenlight Cafe) will also reopen when they formerly take over in the new year.

Currently the restaurant group is eyeing a February / March opening. Stay tuned for more details to follow from GTI Properties & Petit Robert team after the Winter Festival concludes.

Now serving: Sunday brunch at Franklin Cafe

Last week The Franklin Restaurant at 278 Shawmut Avenue announced they would begin to serve brunch each Sunday from 11AM to 3:30 PM, starting December 11th. Their brunch menu has yet to be posted on their website but you can check back for details later. Most talbes will be held for walk-ins but a few tables can be reserved via Resy, here.

Brasserie (formerly Gaslight) has closed

Yesterday, the Boston Restaurant Talk blog broke the news that Brasserie in the South End would be closing immediately. The restaurant which was overtaken by the property management company, GTI Properties and managed by Jeff Gates a former partner of The Aquitaine Group, which owned the Gaslight Brasserie du Coin had only been open for business since May 2021.

Minimal effort was put into the new restaurant which struck me more as a knock off of the original restaurant. It is unclear what will become of the space or if GTI Properties will continue to run the space. The same property management company has sunk significant money into updating and remodeling another former Aquitaine Group restaurant space (Cinquecento) just up the street. The initial plan was for that space to open this year as Roma 500. No word on the status of that space either.

SOLD! Giacomo’s South End

After 27 years in business, Jackie Taglieri has sold Giacomo’s South End. The neighborhood restaurant, which has other locations (notably the original in Boston’s North End), has a reputation for making consistently delicious Italian-American cuisine.

While it can be sad to see a much loved restaurant change hands, that isn’t the case here. The new owners (Irakli Gogitidze, George Axiotis, and Jesus Preciado) are familiar with the South End, and are the team behind the much loved Kava Neo Taverna and Ilona.

When I spoke to Irakli about the change in ownership, he was candid about how much the team respects Taglieri and their commitment to the restaurant and its patrons. Later this year they plan to make some much needed renovations and to rebrand the restaurant as Casa Giacomo’s to pay homage to its past while helping to distinguish it from the other Giacomo’s locations, which are under different ownership. 

I’m very excited to see some much needed investment in this space and look forward to what this creative team will do. If you haven’t been to Giacomo’s South End in a while, perhaps it is time to make plans and check out the restaurant.

I want to wish Irakli, George, and Jesus much luck and success with their new restaurant as they help breathe new life into this neighborhood gem.

South End Restaurant Brasserie readies to open

Earlier this month it was reported on the Boston Restaurant Talk blog that SOWA Hospitality Group (a division of GTI, Inc.) would be opening a new French restaurant in the space formerly known as Gaslight.

The new restaurant called, Brasserie, will likely open the second weekend of May. Today, signage is being added to the 560 Harrison Avenue building and the parking lot is being freshly paved. Friends & Family events are scheduled for next week to get the staff and kitchen ready for a full opening and daily meetings are taking place with staff as the team readies to open.

I’m optimistic Brasserie will be successful because veteran restauranteur, Jeff Gates, has been overseeing the opening. SOWA Hospitality Group made the decision to make no discernable modifications to the space so Brasserie looks like a Gaslight reboot rather than a new restaurant, but perhaps that was the intention all along. Regardless, it will be good to see the lights come back on and the patio once again full of people.

For more information visit their website at or you can follow the restaurant by liking their Facebook page.

Brasserie, bienvenue au South End. Je vous souhaite beaucoup de succès.

Three new restaurants to open in South End: Brasserie, Roma 500, and Pho on Thayer

Preview(opens in a new tab)

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. By September 2020, WBZ-TV reported that 20% of all restaurants in Massachusetts had closed for good. Spring 2021 has reversed those trends as many restaurants come out of hibernation and news of new restaurant openings replaces the more depressing news of closures that we became accustomed to last year.

With an increased optimism comes new investment to bring life back to spaces that pre-pandemic were popular and profitable. Seizing this opportunity, GTI Properties has hired Jeff Gates to oversee the food and beverage operations at the SOWA Power Station, which is being converted into a special events space and to open and manage three new restaurants in SOWA – one of which will open next month.

Brasserie, located at 560 Harrison Avenue (formerly Gaslight) will open in May, according to a Boston Restaurant Talk blog post. If that timing is correct, a quick walk by suggests that not much will likely change in decor or design but Gaslight was a juggernaut so the key to Brasserie’s success will be staffing and management.

Roma 500 at 500 Harrison Avenue (formerly Cinquecento) will likely open later this year. Unlike Brasserie, significant renovations and remodeling are required. Roma 500 will have an enlarged outdoor dining patio and bar. No other South End restaurant has an outdoor bar, making this a unique (and welcome) addition to the neighborhood.

Finally, Pho on Thayer, at 460 Harrison (building B) will open in new space that was briefly used by Mohr & McPherson but is now vacant. Late last year Jeff Gates petitioned the city on behalf of GTI to transfer the Hungry I liquor license to Pho on Thayer so the restaurant will have a full bar.

Stay tuned for more details as they come available, I’ll be sure to share that information here.

Dine Out Boston, Mayor approves outdoor dining in Boston, and a huge restaurant patio comes to the South End

sergio mazon, kava restaurant, greek restaurant, boston dining

Dine Out Boston (March 14 – 28) starts next week. Here is a full list of participating restaurants for this year’s, Dine Out Boston. If you’ve never participated or you need a refresher, participating restaurtants offer a three course prix-fixe menu for lunch ($15 | $20 | $25) and dinner ($28 | $33 | $38). Call ahead to inquire about the menu and to make your reservation. For more information visit the Dine Out Boston website.

Outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking spaces will return to Boston by April 1, 2021 (weather permitting). The program which was expanded last year to help restaurants and the public dine outdoors, was well received and wildly popular. Eater Boston has an excellent article with more details around the program and why it is returning to the sidewalks and streets of Boston in a few weeks, which you can read here.

Look for a large, new parklet to be built by Boston Chops South End on Union Park Street to expand their outdoor dining capacity. The exact number of seats to be added is yet to be confirmed but will be significant and a welcome addition to the neighborhood for patrons who want to support local restaurants but prefer dining alfresco.

OTTO Pizza to open in South End

A new pizzeria is about to open in the SoWa district of the South End neighborhood. The popular (and ever expanding) Portland Maine-based pizzeria, OTTO Pizza, will be opening at the 345 Harrison Avenue apartment complex (located across from the Ink Block in the South End).

No opening date has been shared, but I’m looking forward to the addition to the neighborhood. Pizzerias provide a more affordable dining and take out alternative in the South End, and this neighborhood needs more “fast, casual dining options”. As a result, I think OTTO Pizza will find a great deal of success filling this underserved and under-represented dining niche once it opens.

Pop up restaurant opens in South End

Nu Burger has opened within the Anoush’Ella restaurant space on West Newton Street in the South End as a “virtual pop-up”. Nina and Raffi Festekjian, who own Anoush’Ella and Nu Burger, are serving burgers for lunch and dinner seven days a week, while also continuing to serve Anoush’Ella’s menu.

Sergio and I wanted to show our support by trying out the new burger pop-up so we ordered from them this past Tuesday night. The Nu Burger menu has six different burgers (one a vegetarian option) each $12.50.

Shown above are the Fenway NuBurger served with pickles, cheddar, tomato, onion, lettuce and sauce with a side of French fries and the Umami Truffle NuBurger served with pickles, pecorino, truffles, fried egg, tomato, shallot, arugula and aoli with a side of French fries. Customers can order via this link for curbside pick up, or via popular food sharing apps for home delivery.  

The burgers are large and very filling. The baked French fries are good but I still prefer more traditional “fried” fries. I’m observing dry January so I had a glass of water with my dinner, but I can’t help but feel like these would go great with a cold beer, which Anoush’Ella serves. I didn’t see this option for take out orders but assume you can add beer to your order. Overall, we really enjoyed the bugers and will order from them again. I can’t think of a legitimate burger joint in the South End which makes this a very welcome addition to the neighborhood so let me know what you think when you order from NuBurger.

Nu Burger’s permanent home is located in Fenway at the TimeOut food market, but that is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the time being, there is a new burger option in the South End.