Openings: L’Espalier comes to the suburbs. Frank McClelland, who closed Boston’s beloved special occasion destination in 2018, has found a new home in Beverly. Frank (112 Rantoul St. at Pleasant Street) is a casual hybrid restaurant that offers sit-down meals, prepared foods, and fast-casual options highlighting local farmers.
An on-site market sells to-go breakfasts, as well as an all-day menu with salads and sandwiches (fried oyster po’boys, lobster rolls), plus wine, hot sauces, and teas. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends.
A 130-seat dining room, meanwhile, has a family-style menu that doesn’t stick to themes: a smoked fish board, burgers, roasted duck, and lamb meatballs in tomato eggplant sauce (McClelland’s must-order dish, with ingredients from his garden). It’s open daily from 5 p.m. Many former L’Espalier employees have joined him at the new location, including a pastry chef and several sous chefs.
The project is a change of pace for McClelland, who now works just 20 minutes from his North Shore home — as well as a strategic business choice.
“A lot of studies have revealed that people are moving out of large hub cities for lifestyle but still working there. Mass transit lines are growing rapidly, especially in these small cities, and people are finding a really nice lifestyle and a lower cost of living,” he says.
He hopes guests will experience L’Espalier-level service, though at a more accessible price point.
“It’s not like we all of a sudden aren’t good cooks or doing accurate service . . . but it’s at a quarter of the price for the customer,” he says.
Just the same, he hopes fine dining isn’t dead. Millennials in particular still long for an “experience,” he says. He’s just banking on the fact that they’ll head north of Boston to get it.
“We still want to give someone a total vacation for 1½ or two hours,” he says.
Coming Soon: Brian Moy, the restaurateur behind Chinatown’s popular BLR by Shojo, Ruckus, and Shojo, will open a new spot beneath Ruckus at 7 Tyler St. in spring 2020. The restaurant is nameless for now, though Moy’s longtime executive chef Mike Stark will remain in the kitchen. Ruckus is known for fast-casual noodles; stay tuned for more.