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Vicki Lee’s will become Ovenbird; Eastern Standard’s Garrett Harker plans new restaurants

Restaurant news you can use.

The warm buttered lobster roll from Row 34.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Coming soon: Vicki Lee Boyajian turns over the reins of her eponymous Belmont bakery to longtime executive chef Jason Reed at the end of February. He’ll open Ovenbird in the same space (105 Trapelo Road), with some tweaks. He’s been with Boyajian since 2009 and plans to continue operating as a breakfast and lunch spot.

“It’s not going to be all that drastically different from what I do now. I’ve been doing it so long, I’m comfortable with it. This is still a concept that revolves around prepared foods, bakery, and café, starting off with breakfast and lunch service, with more of my dishes taking center stage,” he says.

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His signature item will be a “knockout” roasted chicken with wood-roasted sides. His wife, Teri, will handle the bakery program — with throwbacks to some of Boyajian’s recipes.

It’s a homecoming for restaurateur Garrett Harker, who will open four restaurants in the Bower apartment building in the Fenway Center development, a luxury mixed-use project on Beacon Street. The restaurants will open in early 2023. Harker was a charismatic presence at Kenmore Square’s beloved Eastern Standard, which closed in 2021 along with sister restaurants Island Creek Oyster Bar and The Hawthorne.

The new restaurants (771 and 775 Beacon St.) will occupy roughly 20,000 square feet and an outdoor plaza, offering three-season al fresco dining. Harker’s longtime cocktail collaborator, Jackson Cannon, will oversee the beverage program. Nemo Bolin, who once worked with Harker at No. 9 Park, oversees the food.

In related news, seafood spot Row 34 will open a fourth location this fall in Kendall Square (314 Main St.). The oyster bar and restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, serving fresh fish. There are other Row 34 branches in Fort Point, Burlington, and Portsmouth, N.H. Chef-owner Jeremy Sewall previously ran Island Creek Oyster Bar.

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In October, Sewall released “The Row 34 Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from a Neighborhood Oyster Bar.”

Sewall said 80 percent of seafood was consumed in restaurants pre-pandemic, and that 90 percent of lobsters were consumed in restaurants. “Not many people would comfortably eat cooked seafood at home on a regular basis. They’d grill a steak or chicken. But now people are cooking at home more,” Sewall told the Globe.

For those who don’t feel like cooking seafood at home, Row 34 is known for creamy lobster rolls, lager-steamed mussels, and a strong beer list.


Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.