Openings: Southern food comes to the South End with Southern Proper, opening on March 1 (600 Harrison Ave. at Union Park Street) with executive chef Jason Cheek (Toro, Coppa, Little Donkey, Merrill & Co.) in the kitchen. Cheek grew up in North Carolina. He says he wants to “serve stuff people might not be familiar with,” such as chicken pilau, a favorite version of chicken and rice. He’ll also serve pigs’ heads — “unctuous and delicious” — Hoppin’ John, calabash-style seafood, and roasted oysters. Oh, and pressure-fried chicken, just like what he grew up on. “Fried chicken will be the biggest seller in the restaurant,” Cheek promises. “Without a doubt, people love fried chicken.” The restaurant will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with brunch and lunch to follow this spring.
Bootleg Special, also serving Southern food but with a Creole twist, is slated to open Feb. 20 (400 Tremont St. at Herald Street). Enjoy Cajun seafood boils and other eat-with-your-hands treats. There are also po’ boys, crawfish mac-and-cheese plates, and (of course) beignets. To drink? A Hurricane. It’s open for dinner nightly.
Lunches: Eataly’s Terra (800 Boylston St. at Ring Road) now serves weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with grilled fish, housemade charcuterie, an assortment of pasta, and salads, designed for quick (read: lunch break) service.
Personnel Changes: Proprietor Paul Maslow has enlisted Peter and Mareena McKenzie to take over the kitchen at Watertown hangout Strip T’s (93 School St. at Laurel Street). Peter comes from Rialto, Ribelle, and Shepard; Mareena developed pastry programs for Ribelle, Shepard, and Pammy’s, and worked at Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut. The pair will put a “modern American diner” spin on the spot, according to a release; enjoy chicken and biscuits; steak frites with fennel fries; and diner-classic desserts like cakes by the slice and doughnuts.