Another Boston institution says goodbye with the closure of Gaslight, a South End staple for 15 years, site of champagne-fueled brunches, romantic reunions, and countless first dates.
The Harrison Ave. brasserie will close after Sunday brunch on Nov. 22, says owner Seth Woods. Sister restaurant Cinquecento closed earlier this year due to flooding, but Woods continues to run Aquitaine Boston and Metropolis Café in the South End, as well as Aquitaine Chestnut Hill.
Woods says that his lease ran out, which necessitated the closure — but that Boston’s demography has changed, too.
The news raises bigger questions about the future of the South End, once one of the only games in town. Restaurants that defined the neighborhood, including Coda, Masa, and Stella, have closed in recent months.
Now, he says, “There are a lot of different areas that have become popular. Back in the day, 15 years ago, the South End was white hot. Somerville wasn’t really going on like it is now. Cambridge wasn’t on fire, with all their micro-neighborhoods. East Boston. Southie. Waterfront. Fort Point. Suburbs. The suburbs are on fire!” he says. “You put all these things together and say, ‘What do I really want to do?’”
He’s not sure yet, though he’s certain he won’t open a big suburban or urban restaurant soon. Post-pandemic, he thinks diners will return to their roots.
“I’d do something in a small neighborhood where I can have a connection with the guest and put out an authentic product. It’s about getting small again,” he says. “People are going to be loyal and want to feel safe.”