Two well-established Boston chefs are joining together to launch a yet-to-be-named Italian restaurant in Back Bay with mid-range fare and a focus on seafood.
Ken Oringer, the chef at the Boston restaurants Uni, Coppa and Toro, as well as Little Donkey in Cambridge, and Jamie Bissonnette, the James Beard Award-winning chef and Oringer’s partner at Coppa, Toro and Little Donkey, plan to open their latest venture in a former retail space located between Fairfield and Gloucester streets at 276-278 Newbury St.
The proposed restaurant, which would also offer takeout, would have 103 seats indoors, as well as 25 at the bar and 40 outdoors on two patios, said Jon Aeta, the applicant’s attorney, during a Jan. 5 virtual meeting of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay Licensing and Building Use Committee, and it would have a full liquor license, which is being transferred from the former location of Uno Pizzeria & Grill on Boylston Street.
While the restaurant’s proposed hours of operation are now 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, both Conrad Armstrong, chair of the Licensing and Building Use Committee, and Elliott Laffer, who chairs NABB, indicated that the late closing time could be a “sticking point” for the applicant because of the likely potential for patrons to create excessive noise while exiting the establishment.
Oringer countered that Uni (along with Clio, its predecessor in the same space), which, he said, is located in a more residential area of Back Bay than the site of the proposed restaurant, has closed at 2 a.m. for two decades without incident.
“We’ve been operating bars in Boston for 20 years … and we don’t attract boisterous crowds,” he said. “That’s not what we’re after.”