Patrick Lee says there was never a pro-Cambridge tilt when the Grafton Group opened its first restaurant, Grafton Street, nearly 20 years ago. But it took a long time to open a restaurant in a Boston zip code.
“I think once we opened Park [in 2012], that’s when we realized our next restaurant likely would be in Boston,” Lee says. “So when we started looking again, we focused a bit on Boston.”
The spot Lee found for State Street Provisions is along the Greenway on Long Wharf, where the short-lived City Landing and Sel de la Terre once resided. Slated to open in late November, the restaurant sports a contemporary rustic style with hardwood floors and dark banquettes. The dining room provides a view of the Greenway, while the lounge area’s focal point is the massive bar. That’s where Kyle Powell will head up a beverage program featuring classic cocktails as well as a hot grog that will change each week. On tap will be the usual selection of local craft beers as well as two white wines, two red wines and an amaro to help lure other restaurant workers.
“We like the idea that it’s for the industry crowd,” Lee says. “We’re going to be serving food later into the night, and it’ll be really quality products, so they won’t see a drop off in quality.”
The kitchen is helmed by Tom Borgia, who was previously at the Grafton Group’s Russell House Tavern. The menu will share many of the same characteristics as that restaurant’s unfussy offerings, with a raw bar, fresh pasta and sausage of the day, pizzas, sandwiches and seasonal small plates. Lee expects the engine of the restaurant to be the pantry, an exposed portion of the kitchen that will turn out fresh-baked breads, cheese, charcuterie, terrines, preserves and pickled fare to be displayed on a Carrara marble counter.
“It’s the heart of the restaurant,” Lee says. “It’s going to have an energy all its own. It’s a part of the restaurant that connects the kitchen to the bar.”
Energy is what’s needed in the 180-seat space, which will be hosting its third restaurant in three years. But Lee sees plenty of potential for attracting diners and making sure the spot buzzes like its four Cambridge siblings.
“The people who work around this area or in the same building, or who live at Harbor Towers or the North End—if we can capture them, then we think everything will sort of fall into place,” Lee says. “It’s an exciting area because the Greenway is really coming into its own. … We feel like there really is a demand that we can tap into.”
State Street Provisions 255 State St., Boston (617-863-8363) statestreetprovisions.com