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Blue Ribbon Sushi opens in Kenmore Square; Fresh Pond gets a beer garden

Plus, the return of Pasta Beach.

Blue Ribbon Sushi

It’s a new era for Kenmore Square: Blue Ribbon Sushi has opened in the old Hawthorne space at Hotel Commonwealth (500 Commonwealth Ave.).

It’s the first of three new restaurants from New York City-based Blue Ribbon Restaurants, overseen by chef-owners Bruce and Eric Bromberg. The first Blue Ribbon Sushi opened in Soho in 1995, drawing raves from former New York Times critic Ruth Reichl.

“If you have ever felt like a clumsy foreigner and worried about doing the wrong thing in a sushi bar, this is the place for you,” she wrote.

The Seven Color Rainbow Roll at Blue Ribbon Sushi.Handout

Eventually, all three restaurants (including a brasserie and a coastal seafood spot) will occupy an iconic space: the longtime home of Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne. Those restaurants closed in 2021, after a protracted landlord-tenant dispute. Restaurateur Garrett Harker has several restaurants in the works down the block on Beacon Street.


Blue Ribbon Sushi has 120 seats, with a 14-seat sushi counter where guests can try Japanese whiskey, beer, and sake. Visit for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m., with lunch to follow.

Openings: Stuck in traffic? Hit the Fresh Pond Beer Garden at Fresh Pond Mall (545 Concord Ave.), slated to open next week. Jim O’Rourke (Arlington’s Heights Pub and Winchester’s First House Pub) and Kevin Treanor (Cambridge’s Phoenix Landing) run the spot.

Ma Magoo’s next door will deliver pizza and subs to the 188-seat space (with standing room for 500); they’ll also serve local craft beers from Lamplighter Brewing Co., Medford Brewing, and Night Shift, as well as canned beer and cocktails from Salem’s Deacon Giles Distillery. Be on the lookout for food trucks, too.

Visit from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. until midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Reopenings: Pasta Beach Rowes Wharf (30 Rowes Wharf) isn’t all washed up: The restaurant, which closed after a 2019 fire, will reopen on Saturday, June 25. The waterfront restaurant will serve pinsa, an airy Roman-style pizza with a fluffy crust, plus pastas, roast rhubarb duck, and house-made desserts. For now, visit from Wednesday through Sunday from 4:30 p.m., with expanded hours to come soon.


Artwork inside Pasta Beach.Handout

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