Boston's Hidden Restaurants

10 Restaurant and Food "Predictions" for 2020

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A look at what may (or will probably not) happen next year on the local food scene.

photo of closed for renovations signWe have reached the end of the year once again, and you know what that means--it's time to make some more predictions! Last year we didn't do all that well with our"predictions" for 2019, and there's a good chance that this year will be no different--or maybe even worse--though it does seem to be high time for a good old-fashioned robot dive bar (or not). And now, on to the predictions for next year....

1) Bow and Arrow Market Debuts in Somerville
In response to the increasingly-hot trend of axe-throwing bars in the Boston area, a local hospitality group converts a former East Somerville storage building into a space with independent shops, restaurants, and bars surrounding a circular courtyard where people can shoot arrows at archery targets. A few days after its soft opening, the development is abruptly closed for renovations and the archery area relocated to the basement of the nearby Encore Casino while the courtyard eventually becomes home to a whiffle ball field.

2) Little Brewster Island Becomes the Next Hot Boston Neighborhood for Dining
With developers running out of space in the Seaport District, a plan is put in place to build a bridge into Boston Harbor and turn Boston Light into "Lighthouse Place," with 35 food vendors being set up within the historic 100-foot-high structure. An upscale Peruvian-Norwegian restaurant called "Flash: A Modern Kitchen" opens on the top floor but quickly closes for renovations after complaints that customers become temporarily blinded every 10 seconds.

3) An Expanding Group of Bakery-Cafes Changes Its Name to "Only Six Hundred and Sixty Eight"
Seeing the success of a small local group of Caribbean restaurants named Only One, a local chain of businesses opens more then 650 new locations in the Boston area and changes its name to more accurately reflect its expansion. The company runs into a minor glitch when one of its bakery-cafes on Little Brewster Island closes for renovations, forcing it to spend a million dollars on new signs while also having to attend 667 licensing hearings in order to change its name.

4) A Bar Pizza Spot on the South Shore Tries to Ride the Poke Craze (and Fails Spectacularly)
A longtime watering hole south of Boston changes its concept so that it offers Hawaiian-style raw fish salads, but with burnt edges in keeping with the former bar pizza theme. The new concept lasts exactly one week before morphing into a Hawaiian bar pizza place featuring bar pies with pineapple on top, which ultimately seals the bar's fate and causes it to close for renovations.

5) Pelotonno Opens in Essex
A new high-end spot that allows customers to eat seafood while participating in live/on-demand cycling classes debuts on the North Shore and it instantly becomes a wildly successful place. The key attraction is patrons getting yelled at by instructors on their screens during the first three courses of the meal before they enter a cool-down period where they can enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Soon, several outlets of Pelotonno open along the Massachusetts coast, including one in the Seaport District where the instructors are allowed to yell at an even higher decibel level to be consistent with other nearby spots.

6) Jacob Wirth and Doyle's Reopen in Cambridge's Harvard Square
With its business-friendly environment and low rents, an increasingly wonderful part of Cambridge becomes home to two of the region's most cherished dining and drinking spots, giving hope to other now-closed landmark places. By the end of the year, new locations of Christo's, Durgin-Park, Anthony's Pier 4, Jimmy's Harborside, The European, and Phillips Old Colony House line the streets of the busiest parts of the city, and The Curious George Store also returns to the square--and opens a new restaurant within its space called The Yellow Hat Grille.

7) Faneuil Hall Changes Its Name to Faneuil Food Hall
The red-hot food hall trend get even hotter as an historic downtown Boston marketplace successfully applies for a name change and becomes the newest food hall in the city. The brand new Faneuil Food Hall concept takes a temporary hit once people realize that absolutely nothing has changed other than the name, so it attempts (and fails) to up its game by opening a bow-and-arrow bar on the upper rotunda. By the end of the year, the historic site becomes a Wegmans, which ironically includes a food hall.

8) A Staffing Company Opens a Restaurant in Boston's Financial District
Seeing an opportunity because of the continuing issue of too many job openings and too few available workers in the restaurant industry, a staffing agency near Post Office Square sets up a 300-seat dining and drinking spot in a former storage area of the company, calling it "Bringing Home the Bacon." The restaurant is an instant success, so much so that it sets up a food hall in the middle of the office as a sort of test run for new recruits.

9) A Robot Dive Bar Opens in Quincy
A couple of workers from Spyce, a Boston restaurant that has a robotic kitchen, branch out on their own to follow their dream of opening a neighborhood gin joint whose bartenders are robots. The bar does well, though the robots initially have trouble saying things like "Bathroom is for customers only, chief" and "We ain't got no beer with citrus, ok?" in a proper Boston accent.

10) Boston Sees Its First Three-Toed Sloth Cafe
The cat cafe era may be over in the local area, but a well-known zoologist decides to take a risk and open a cafe in Allston where people can play with these rather slow but friendly animals that hail from Latin America. The cafe--which is called Perezoso: A Modern Kitchen--opens toward the end of the year after a long and difficult licensing process that culminates with a city council member saying, "This is the dumbest idea I've heard in decades but here, take this license before I change my mind and give it to a steakhouse in the Seaport District."

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