Sonsie Celebrates 30 Years on Newbury Street

A longtime fixture on Newbury Street known for its eclectic international menu and welcoming outdoor patio, Sonsie is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 8.

The restaurant at 327 Newbury St. boasts a European lounge, replete with deep leather chairs and sofas and a downstairs Wine Room, which features a walk-in, temperature-controlled, glass wine cellar. Its distinct French doors open up to an outdoor patio in season, making it one of the prime spots on Newbury Street to enjoy al dente dining, with offerings from the brick oven, along with Sonsie’s signature martinis, among other libations.

Ahead of the milestone anniversary, Patrick Lyons, owner of the Lyons Group, which owns and operates Sonsie, along with 20 other restaurants, including several other Back Bay establishments, including Back Bay Social, Bar Moxy, and Summer Shack, reflected on Sonsie’s  enduring success.

“I think it is a consistent offering of popularly priced food and beverage that fits the needs of the local neighborhood,” said Lyons via email.

Sonsie has also stayed largely consistent with what made the restaurant so appealing to patrons in the first place while making occasional updates and revisions to the menu to meet the public’s changing tastes.

“It has pretty much stayed the same in that it still serves the needs of the local community, but small adjustments have been put into place that recognize shifts and the whims and the desires of people, such as vegan and gluten free options,” said Lyons.

Meanwhile, Sonsie is now facing more competition than it did upon opening in late 1993 as numerous new restaurants have opened in the Back Bay and citywide since then.

“When we opened Sonsie, there may have been a dozen similar restaurants in the city,” said Lyons. “Today, with the explosion of construction and buildings, every new project has at least one and sometimes two or three restaurant spaces for lease. That means that there has been an exponential increase in the number of restaurants creating a much more competitive environment and a dearth of quality employees to staff all the new restaurants. Additionally, going out for dinner has become one of America’s favorite pastimes and the home kitchen seems to be going the way of high button shoes so I don’t see any stopping in the insanity of a new restaurant on every street corner.”

Asked to speculate on the future of the restaurant industry, Lyons said: “I think the cost of entry into the restaurant industry is going thru the roof. Greedy landlords, equipment, and food costs are all making it very difficult to make it work. That means that you are going to see the national chains who can afford to burn the money and the quality, local operators will survive. We are lucky to have the same landlord, Sam Perry, who has stuck with us rather than sold out to a soulless national corporate entity and that is what has been able to give the consistency and continuity to our guests.”

As he reflects on his past  30 years in business while looking ahead to the next chapter for the Lyons Group, Patrick Lyons said, “We have certainly grown. We employ a great many people in the city of Boston from the service side to middle management to executive management. We have had an environment where our loyal employees who have started as servers and bussers and they have moved up the food chains and are now middle management and beyond. We have expanded outside of Massachusetts over the past 30 years and that trend will likely continue.”

To commemorate its 30th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 8, Sonsie will offer a special menu featuring classic menu offerings, as well as a “celebratory surprise.”

For more information or to make reservations, visit

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