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Does More Waterfront Housing Mean More (Locals-Friendly) Waterfront Restaurants?

Anthony's, soon to be hot waterfront housing.

Anthony's, soon to be hot waterfront housing.Photo: city-data

Today the Globe talks about the rapid residential and retail expansion of the Waterfront area, including at the site of Anthony's Pier 4. Though right now the area is "windswept" and desolate, soon it'll be filled with swanky new condos, retailers, and, yup, restaurants. But what kind of restaurants? It seems like residents sure will need to dine out: Per the story, some living spaces will be "375 square feet, barely enough room for a galley kitchen".

Right now the Waterfront (or, in Meninoese, the Innovation District) is home to splashy, expense-account places like Del Frisco's and Strega Waterfront. They're Big Nights Out, not neighborhood spots for a casual bite. Even home-grown restaurants like Menton and Trade, across the channel, are splurges (Menton more so than Trade, of course). On the cheaper end of the spectrum, well ... there's a new Boloco.

Could the new condo developments inspire native restaurateurs to gamble on waterfront property? Forward-thinking Michael Leviton, who closed Persephone in the still-sleepy neighborhood a couple of years ago, could open a second branch of Kendall Square's successful bakery/coffee shop/restaurant Area IV; a perfect fuel stop for the very demographic the Innovation District hopes to attract. Yesterday Eater interviewed Ken Oringer, who's casually contemplating another Toro. Why not there? It's impossible to get into the South End Toro on a weekend night; on weeknights, it's the ideal drop-in spot. A new Toro might thin out the South End's crowds and give Waterfront denizens a weeknight home away from home. And, finally, why not an affordable, casual seafood restaurant on the water? Legal Harborside has its charms, but it's also second-mortgage-inducing.

What's missing in the neighborhood is resident-fueled, resident-friendly dining. So many customers flock to the big restaurants and then flee to from whence they came. Hopefully giving diners a place to actually live is a step in the right direction.

Changes on the Waterfront [Globe]

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