Nick Frattaroli, owner of Ward 8 and North Square Oyster, is no stranger to going against the grain. In the shadow of the Italian food-centric North End, Frattaroli saw an opportunity to offer something different with the American fare and craft cocktails served at gastropub Ward 8. Now, Frattaroli is shaking things up again with his Mexican-themed “rustic luxe” concept Bodega Canal, set to open in the sports bar-laden West End in November.
“Sports are a big part of the area, but we want to be a restaurant, not just a place where people go before games,” Frattaroli says. “We’re excited to do something different near the Garden, give the neighborhood another option.”
With distressed walls, sparkling chandeliers and gothic candelabras dripping in candle wax, the atmosphere at Bodega Canal stands apart from the vibrant colors and festive decorations often associated with Mexican spots.
“What we wanted to do was not go the traditional Mexican restaurant route,” designer Justin Power says. “We wanted to be a little more understated but elevated at the same time.”
This philosophy carried over to the kitchen as well, where chef Kenny Schweizer will create a variety of Mexican-inspired staples with inventive twists, including buttered lobster tacos served with grilled corn, pico de gallo, cojita and ancho crema on homemade corn tortillas. The drink menu also showcases a combination of traditional favorites alongside creative newcomers, such as the Mamacita cocktail made with Olmeca Altos Reposado, lime, cinnamon bitters and Goya pineapple soda.
“Everybody loves margaritas and everybody loves tacos, it’s just about doing it in a way that’s a little bit more fun and little bit more exciting,” Power says.
With a dining room that seats about 200, a lounge area complete with luxurious couches and a menu filled with shareable apps and entrees, Frattaroli hopes this space will become a destination that brings people together.
“I think we just really like to build restaurants that we would want to hang out at,” Power says. “You can come here on a date because the place looks sexy and romantic; the lights are dim. But you can come here with a group and it feels exciting.”
While this restaurant may be a departure from what diners and sports fans have grown accustomed to near TD Garden, Frattaroli says it will find its footing.
“I really believe in this concept,” he says. “I think it fits the area perfectly and I think it fits the space perfectly.”
Bodega Canal 57 Canal St., Boston bodegacanal.com