Openings: In Beverly, Ellis Square Social is now open (252 Cabot St. at Federal Street). The owners of the former Barrel House have turned the space into a cocktail-forward gastropub, with longtime Grill 23 chef Jay Murray helming the kitchen. He calls the menu “inventive but familiar at the same time,” oriented toward shared plates. “It’s social,” he says. “When people come in, we want it to be fun. We want people to have a good time.” This means cheese and charcuterie platters; small plates such as pea falafel, burrata with smoked eggplant, sake-cured hamachi, and poutine; and mains from Parisian gnocchi to roast chicken with panzanella. Given Murray’s time at Grill 23, it’s no surprise that steaks have a place on the menu. You’ll find a handful of fancy cuts with sides such as mac and cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes. Evil cocktail genius Todd Maul (Clio, Cafe ArtScience) developed Ellis Square Social’s program, which includes tiki drinks, gin classics, and Aperol spritzes on tap; you’ll find him behind the bar a few times a week.
Mighty Love Food (155 Milk St. at Broad Street) opens Aug. 31, bringing plant-based fast-casual breakfast and lunch to the Financial District. Chef Jerome Picca, who used to run Harvard Square restaurant Small Plates, is a partner in the restaurant, along with Cameron Grob (Serafina, Bastille Kitchen) and others. “The thing that’s most important to me about this whole concept is that we’re going for healthy, we’re going for nutritious, and we’re going for made-from-scratch as much as possible, with an eye toward the least amount of impact on the environment,” Picca says. He also aims to educate customers about nutrition and ingredients. The menu centers around bowls such as The Runner-Up (squash ribbons and vegetarian “meatballs” with tomato sauce and vegan mozzarella) and the What the Health (Korean barbecue tempeh, grains, fennel, and house-made kimchi). It’s not the only new plant-based option of the week: By Chloe has opened in the Back Bay (399 Boylston St. at Arlington Street) as scheduled, its third local location.
Pop-up: The Seaport has a new seasonal beer garden. Cisco Brewers has launched a pop-up running Wednesdays through Saturdays during the fall (Seaport Boulevard at Fan Pier Boulevard). In addition to Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, Grey Lady, and other beers, the location will be serving raw bar and tacos from South Boston’s Loco Taqueria. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund, supporting a Seaport memorial honoring service members from the state who were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Milestones: This is 40 for Formaggio Kitchen, which celebrates the anniversary of its Cambridge location (244 Huron Ave. at Appleton Street) by throwing a block party. Taking place Sept. 23, it features food from restaurants such as Alden & Harlow, Loyal Nine, and Oleana. A beer garden will pour offerings from Trillium, Mise Wines, and more. There will also be live music, samples, and a raffle. All of the profits go to local organization Food for Free, fighting hunger through food rescue and other efforts. For tickets ($10), go to www.eventbrite.com. Formaggio will also soon have a new Cambridge sibling: Formaggio Kitchen Kendall (94 Hampshire St. at Windsor Street). Co-owner Ihsan Gurdal says he expects an October opening. It will be similar to the other stores — with a cheese counter, gourmet groceries, and prepared food, with an application for a license to sell beer and wine in the works — but oriented toward the needs of the area. “It will be neighborhood-driven, lunch-driven, corresponding to where we are: so close to so many corporate businesses and MIT housing,” Gurdal says.
Closings: In Chestnut Hill, Oishii Sushi Bar (612 Hammond St. at Sheafe Street) closes Sept. 23 after 20 years in business. According to a statement from owners Jackie and Ting Yen on the restaurant’s website, the lease is ending. Oishii was long known as a sushi destination, with eclectic rolls named after loyal customers. The South End location (1166 Washington St. at East Berkeley Street) remains open.
Petsi Pies’ East Cambridge cafe (594 Cambridge St. at 8th Street) has closed. Its Somerville bakery (285 Beacon St. at Sacramento Street) and Cambridge cafe (31 Putnam Ave. at Green Street) are still serving peach pies, savory tomato pies, and all of your other favorites.