Much of the early buzz has billed chef Michael Scelfo’s forthcoming Waypoint restaurant as simply a seafood spot. While Scelfo doesn’t want to get too technical, he sees it more as a restaurant with coastal-inspired fare.
“Everything has a sort of seafood current running through it—no pun intended. But it definitely has other areas,” Scelfo says of Waypoint, which is slated to open in mid-August at the edge of Harvard Square, about a 10-minute walk from his first restaurant, Alden & Harlow. “We wanted to showcase all kinds of things that are great from along the coast. … We’re dealing with coastal purveyors, farms, dairies and artisans.”
That breadth is evident on the menu, which has housemade pasta and pizza sections in addition to a raw bar section and categories of snacks, plates and larger-format dishes, which may include whole fish and poultry as well as lamb shoulders and big rib-eye steaks, all cooked in the large pizza oven on display in the open kitchen. The menu will also have a bread program showcasing a fish sauce-infused baguette and both squid-ink and seaweed-infused bread. Full caviar service will be offered, and the staff will cure its own anchovies and make its own fish sauce and hot sauce.
“It’s all got that local love going into it and that scratch touch. It’s great. It’s another opportunity, I feel like, to say, ‘This is what we feel about seafood and coastal dining,’ ” Scelfo says. “I think it’s really different and also uniquely complementary to what we’re doing at Alden. I think they’ll feel inherently connected but still be their own unique concepts.”
Waypoint’s wide-open layout with lots of natural light also stands out from Alden’s meandering, subterranean digs. Three light fixtures meant to evoke weathered fishing gear hang from the ceiling above a large raw bar display near the entrance, while a hightop communal table, a chef’s table and a bunch of marble-top tables fill the rest of the 140-seat space. A walnut bar stretches along the right side of the room; it has a built-in column with spigots for Waypoint’s absinthe program, which will feature 20 types of the spirit and work its way into a handful of cocktails.
“I’m a huge absinthe fan, and I think it goes really beautifully with shellfish, so it’s going to be kind of fun,” Scelfo says. “And nobody has it in Boston, so we’re really excited to showcase it and do something different.”
Scelfo admits the excitement he feels in opening Waypoint is different from what he experienced when opening Alden & Harlow: “I’m not living and breathing on every single nail that goes into the wall or every screw. I was like that with Alden because it was my first and I didn’t have anything else. Now I’ve got Alden in place and occupied and it’s plenty to keep me humming and running.”
Waypoint 1030 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. waypointharvard.com