New restaurants are all the rage these days in Southie, with spots opening nearly as often as fresh-painted condos sprout up from abandoned lots. But until now the boom has been mostly confined to the West Broadway section of the neighborhood.
That’s set to change as Roza Lyons prepares to open its doors in April on East Broadway in the former Urban Art Bar space. Despite all having worked at the nearby Playwright, partners Robert Fitzharris, Ian Neubecker and Marcos Figueiredo hope to cater to a more mature crowd at Roza Lyons.
“Once you kind of get to your mid-30s, you tend to think about what you’re eating a bit more,” Fitzharris says. “We’re all in our mid-30s, and we kind of wanted to have a place that we would actually want to go to. Somewhere that’s not a crazy sports bar or crazy loud all the time. Something that had food options different than fried.”
The handsome front bar is decked in dark wood with tin ceilings, antiqued mirrors, exposed brick and drop string lights, while the rear dining area features a pergola over a long banquette and a mix of two-, three- and four-seat tables. Another pergola hangs in the center of the restaurant above the kitchen, which is no bigger than most walk-in closets. With limited equipment in the 8-by-9-foot kitchen (dishwashers and prep stations are located downstairs), Figueiredo has had to get imaginative with the menu.
“I was worried about the kitchen, but I realized once I got inside that I can do some creative things. It’s going to be a new experience,” Figueiredo says.
Customers can expect a variety of salads, from one featuring broccoli with tomatoes, bacon, onions, peppers, grapes, cheese and lime-mayo dressing to a smoked salmon option with avocado, bacon, tomatoes, capers and cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette. There will be a half-dozen paninis and wraps as well as 10 small plates, such as spicy Brazilian bacon meatballs and lobster guacamole. At the bar, there will be a 20-tap selection of mostly local craft beers and a wine list with three tiers of pricing.
“We’re more focused on the quality rather than the quantity across the board,” Fitzharris says of the restaurant, which will have a 72-person capacity and also serve weekend brunch. “We just want to be a place where you can come and hang out.”
That welcoming vibe even extends to the restaurant’s name, which stems from family connections. Roza was Neubecker’s late mother’s maiden name, while Lyons is Fitzharris’ mother’s maiden name. “It’s a tribute to our mothers,” Neubecker says. “We wanted it to have a family feel.”
Roza Lyons 709 E. Broadway, Boston. rozalyons.com