A French Connection


To hear him speak, you would think Samuel Gosselin has spent much of his life preparing to open Josephine, a restaurant/wine bar that will replace Kenmore Square’s Petit Robert Bistro.

“I always cooked. I always host dinners at my place,” says the French native, who wants to bring the same convivial spirit of hospitality to his first restaurant. Originally, the concept was a small wine bar, possibly set in South Boston. But after talking to Petit Robert owner Loic Le Garrec, he decided to change his plans in order to accommodate the 96-seat, two-level spot. He quickly hired chef Stefano Quaresima, whom he considers just the right fit, with his “very traditional European training,” including two years at Tour d’Argent in Paris. “He’s an Italian chef, someone who can marry butter and oil,” he adds. “We share the same vision.”

The vision, he says, will be a “lighter” take on traditional French fare. He’s also working with a French company to build a balanced wine list that will “open people’s palates to new experiences.” The extensive renovations will reduce the number of seats to 76 and result in a feeling that’s “more casual, a little more warm atmosphere than the traditional bistro,” according to Gosselin. As for an opening date, he says, “Early April is a safe bet.”

The Hyde Road…
After 10 years of serving Italian fare in Roslindale, two of the three owners of the well-regarded Sophia’s Grotto plan to open a second restaurant, this time in Hyde Park. The husband-and-wife team of Sonia and Joe Garufi will open Antonio’s Bacaro in the old Dotty’s Diner in Cleary Square. Joe is working on designing the space, which will feature tin ceilings, a bar, a dining room that will seat about 50 people and a “little hidden wine garden patio.” It’s slated to open in May with a full liquor license and an Italian menu that ranges from small plates to full dinners.

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