It’s been really awesome working over there. Everyone has been super supportive; my regulars at Sycamore are asking about it every night.
For my second spot, I wanted to do something close to my first restaurant. I didn’t want to become a chef who was an hour away for my first expansion. I didn’t think I could give them what they both deserve, and I wanted to be in the restaurant every day.
I always wanted to do something more casual. We’ve been doing the bistro thing for a very long time now. I wanted to do something different. Initially I was going to do a noodle shop, because I’m madly in love with ramen. I decided to do something a bit different because all the while, planning my ramen shop, one of my close friends, Alison Hearn — from Hustle Cat, a Southeast Asian barbecue pop-up concept — was looking to do her own thing. We decided to join forces and do a little combo restaurant.
We both want and love this type of restaurant. It’s something really approachable, where you can eat a few times a week, with big, bold flavors. We’re not going to be afraid of making something really spicy if we write “spicy” on the menu.
It’s a small, tiny microrestaurant with 18 seats and East Asian soul food. We’re treating it like a diner. We want to open at 11 in the morning with service throughout the day with the same menu, which is very diner-y. We wanted to do some stuff from Japan, we wanted to do some stuff from China. My executive chef, Daniel Scott, is Korean — his mom is a killer home cook. He grew up drying squid on his kitchen table. His kimchi [is] incredible.
PULL UP A CHAIR Little Big Diner opens at 1247 Centre Street, about two blocks from Sycamore on the other side of the Newton Centre Green, in late summer.