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.
Rendering via Elkus Manfredi Architects
Newton-based National Development is the real estate developer that built the Ink Block. Earlier this week they proposed building a 14-story residential building on a sliver of land along Albany Street that would either be a part of or abut the Ink Block. The developer describes the potential new building as a 245 “co-living, multifamily” residential building that would be marketed towards Millennials.
The development is being marketed as micro-apartments with many units smaller than 400 square feet that also offers organized social activities (e.g. regular wine tastings, sightseeing tours, etc…) designed to help bring residents together. According to the article on Curbed Boston, the apartments are marketed more as places to sleep, shower and cook the odd meal. Such a set up has zero appeal to me, but I can see how someone who is new to town or is rarely home may like this sort of set up. The project still needs Boston Planning and Development Agency approval. Stay tuned.
In case you missed it, a new (and very cool) park officially opened in the South End this past weekend. Located under the I-93 overpass by the Ink Block, it shows how creatively the city is thinking and how space once unused and unsafe can be transformed.
I first wrote about the park called Underground at the Ink Block or Underground Ink for short in August in this post. Since then, finishing work was done and street artists from all over the United States including Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Boston were invited to come and bring life to the concrete ramp walls that define this urban park. The developers behind the neighboring Ink Block, National Development, will manage the new park.
Below are photos that I took while enjoying the opening party on Saturday afternoon. When you get a chance I’d recommend you check it out. You can also like the park’s Facebook Page to learn more about upcoming events.
This coming weekend, Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 be sure to check out the annual SoWa Art Walk from 11:00AM to 5:00PM both days. The art walk will coincide with the SoWa Open, Vintage and Food Market which is now also open both Saturday and Sunday.
The SoWa Art Walk is really an amazing and fun way to spend a few hours of your day perusing art in a variety of mediums and includes hundreds of local artists and artisans (many in their studios located at 450, 460 and 600 Harrison Avenue, 35, 49 and 59 Wareham Street and 46 Waltham Street).
No plans this weekend? Check out the SoWa Open Market on Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th. This year’s market is expanding and will be open both days of the weekend starting tomorrow.
For SoWa Open Market’s opening day they will be hosting the first ever Power Beer Fest, which will include 60+ Mass. brewers. Tickets are $55 a person, and will allow you unlimited two-ounce beer samples from participating breweries. In addition to the Power Beer Fest, the SoWa Open market which spans three blocks along Harrison Avenue, will include:
- SoWa Arts Market: 100+ artisans selling handmade goods, including jewelry, art work, clothing, home goods, photography and more. Located in the parking lot at 450 Harrison Avenue.
- SoWa Farmers Market: A collection of local farmers and bakers, consisting of more than 50 vendors. Located in the parking lot at 500 Harrison Ave.
- SoWa Food Truck Bazaar: 12 of Boston’s food trucks will be on site throughout the season. Located in the parking lot at 540 Harrison Avenue.
- SoWa Beer Garden: Located by the SoWa Food Truck Bazaar includes a rotating selection of craft beers to enjoy all season long.
For more information visit: www.sowaboston.com
The pace of construction in the SoWa district of Boston’s South End neighborhood seems to have quickened recently along Harrison Avenue. Earlier this month the 14-story multi-building complex currently known by its address, 345 Harrison Avenue, topped off.
When construction is completed the complex will include 585 new residential apartments along with 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 275 parking spaces and 325 bicycle spaces. Amenities in the building will also include a resort-style pool, fully equipped fitness center and sky lounge with beautiful views of the city. Below is a rendering of what 345 Harrison will look like when completed. The view is looking north with the Ink Block to the right and behind that I-93 with a barely recognizable and poorly created skyline of Boston’s Financial District off in the distance.
8-acre cultural playground, opening in South End this June
Move over Lawn on D in Southie. You are no longer the coolest park in Boston. The developer of the Ink Block announced last week that a new 8-acre urban park under the I-93 expressway will open this June. Dubbed, “Ink Underground”, this previously unused space that extends east from Albany Street to Fort Point Channel under I-93 will include pedestrian boardwalks and bicycle paths along Fort Point Channel, creating a new, active connection between the rapidly-developing South End and South Boston.
Amenities at Ink Underground will include 24-hour security, a dog park, a curated series of pop-up food and beverage experiences, public art walls, sculpture exhibitions and a diverse program of special events (like the one shown below) including a graffiti art festival, an artisan night market and fitness classes. Additionally, a bike storage facility and 175 parking spaces will be located at Ink Underground.
Like Ink Undeground’s Facebook page to stay up to date with programming and events that will take place in this new public space / park.