• Chef Jason Santos

Boston Restaurants Are Expanding to the Suburbs as the Pandemic Continues

by Rachel Leah Blumenthal@blumie Nov 19, 2020, 10:30am EST

The narrative of the pandemic emptying out US cities may be overblown, but at least a few local restaurateurs are finding opportunities for expansion beyond Boston

It’s become a common pandemic-era narrative: City dwellers around the United States are supposedly fleeing to the suburbs, or at least searching real estate sites for suburban homes at a slightly higher rate than before. The narrative is overblown, says Curbed: Housing-market data just doesn’t support it. Still, there’s something to be said for dreaming of more space at a time like this. Who doesn’t want to have a backyard in which to lounge, unmasked? What city restaurant owner hasn’t been wishing for more — or any — outdoor dining space over the past few months?

Suburban flight might not be a real consequence of the pandemic, but anecdotally speaking, a few local restaurateurs are indeed signing deals to bring their existing restaurants or new ones outside of the city. Here’s a rundown on a few beyond-Boston projects coming down the pipeline.

Buttermilk & Bourbon in Watertown

Jason Santos’ New Orleans-inspired restaurant Buttermilk & Bourbon, which opened in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in early 2017, is slated to expand to Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development in early 2021, representatives for the development announced this week. It will take up 3,000 square feet of space at the development, which will ultimately fill one million square feet with retail, apartments, a hotel, and life science space.

At the original location of the restaurant, customers are particularly fond of dishes such as the fried chicken (try it Nashville hot) and the honey-glazed biscuits. There is also a substantial bourbon selection.

Arsenal Yards construction is on track for fall 2021 completion, although parts of it have already been up and running for a while, including a few dining options: New Haven pizzeria chain Frank Pepe, City Works Eatery and Pour House (a small national chain), and larger chains Shake Shack, Chipotle, and Ben & Jerry’s. Coming up in 2021: a conveyor-belt sushi chain, poke, yakitori, and more.

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