Food & dining

Here’s a look at the Boston-area restaurants that have closed recently (or will close soon)

L'Espalier chef/owner Frank McClelland in the kitchen of the Back Bay restaurant on Dec. 26. The renowned eatery closed days later.
Jim Davis/Globe Staff
L'Espalier chef/owner Frank McClelland in the kitchen of the Back Bay restaurant on Dec. 26. The renowned eatery closed days later.

Several venerable Boston-area restaurants have announced they would close their doors in the past several weeks, citing a range of reasons from expiring leases to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Here’s a look at the more well-known eateries that have shuttered, dismaying loyal customers in the process.

Cultivar

Crispy Thai pork belly with herbs and radishes at Cultivar near Government Center.
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe/File
Crispy Thai pork belly with herbs and radishes at Cultivar near Government Center.

Cultivar at the Ames Hotel near Boston’s Government Center is the latest restaurant to announce its closing. Proprietor Mary Dumont wrote on Facebook Jan. 9 that “today Cultivar will be closing its doors,” citing “a series of unforeseen events that have created the perfect storm.”

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Cultivar opened at the Ames Hotel in June 2017, using ingredients grown at an onsite hydroponic garden, and was described by Globe food critic Devra First as “an oasis right downtown.”

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“Dumont’s cooking puts the season on your plate, ingredients grow in the on-site hydroponic garden, and there’s a patio,” she wrote when the restaurant first opened.

First awarded it two stars in January 2018, writing, “Surely, steadily, Cultivar is growing into itself.”

And of all the gin joints in all the world, Cultivar was. . . definitely one that loved the juniper-based liquor.

“Gin. Every cocktail is made with gin,” First wrote. “Don’t like gin? You can substitute another spirit. But the folks at the bar really like gin.”

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She also described the atmosphere inside as “tranquil,” while the sun-soaked patio was more “festive.”

“Ladies lunch elegantly while steps away sweaty tourists pose with selfie sticks and try on Boston T-shirts,” she wrote.

Durgin-Park

Floor supervisor Frank Cirigliano talked with Kyle Frigon and his family at Durgin-Park in Boston on Jan. 4. The restaurant is slated to close Jan. 12.
Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Floor supervisor Frank Cirigliano talked with Kyle Frigon and his family at Durgin-Park in Boston on Jan. 4. The restaurant is slated to close Jan. 12.

The Boston landmark in Faneuil Hall that has long attracted tourists with its clam chowder, pot roast, and other quintessential New England Yankee fare said earlier this month that it would close on Jan. 12.

Restaurant manager Kenneth Thimothee said the closing was due to financial reasons, citing the state’s new increased minimum wage: “It’s very unfortunate, but the costs are too high,” he previously told the Globe.

Michael Weinstein, the chief executive of the company that owns the restaurant, also suggested that consumers are shopping and eating at other areas in Boston than Faneuil Hall, meaning fewer customers are coming through the door.

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The establishment lays claim to being one of the oldest restaurants in the city, as it opened in 1827.

Presidents of years past have been known to dine there, including Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In addition to its surly servers and red checked tablecloths, the restaurant is known for its roast beef, Boston baked beans, and its signature Indian pudding.

L’Espalier

An interior view of Back Bay restaurant L'Espalier, as pictured on Dec. 26.
Jim Davis/Globe Staff
An interior view of Back Bay restaurant L'Espalier, as pictured on Dec. 26.

After operating for 40 years, the Back Bay restaurant known for its sophisticated fare and impeccable service announced in late December that it would close on New Year’s Eve.

“The lease is up, and I don’t really have the desire to continue to do this and renew,” chef-owner Frank McClelland told the Globe then, noting that he is working on a new project he couldn’t yet disclose.

L’Espalier originally opened under founding chef Moncef Meddeb in 1978 on Boylston Street, in the space that eventually became the Rattlesnake, and what is now the Globe Bar and Cafe. L’Espalier has since moved twice, first to a town house on Gloucester Street, then to the more recent location next to the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Boylston Street, according to First.

The restaurant has been the site of countless marriage proposals and milestone celebrations, and has hosted everyone from Julia Child to Mick Jagger to Henry Kissinger: “Elegant and expensive, it is synonymous with fine dining in Boston,” First wrote in her homage to the restaurant’s closing.

Shepard

Wood-oven-roasted chicken, napa cabbage, fennel, spelt, and sweet herbs at Shepard in Cambridge.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Wood-oven-roasted chicken, napa cabbage, fennel, spelt, and sweet herbs at Shepard in Cambridge.

Owner Rene Becker, who also runs Cambridge’s Hi-Rise Bread Company, said in December that the Cambridge restaurant — which opened in 2015 in the longtime Chez Henri space — would close on New Year’s Eve.

Becker said he and chef Scott Jones (of Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park and Menton) aim to open a new concept in the space as soon as this month. The restaurant will be called Luce — named after Becker’s young daughter — and focus on Italian food, Globe food writer Kara Baskin reported Thursday.

“It will be cozier and warmer than Shepard, and we’ll make room for kids. We want people to drop in a couple of times per week. It will be more family-friendly,” he said, according to Baskin.

Erbaluce

Chef Charles Draghi at Erbaluce in August 2016.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
Chef Charles Draghi at Erbaluce in August 2016.

After a decade in business, the lovable Italian restaurant in Bay Village said in the fall that it would serve its last meal on New Year’s Eve as the building is slated to undergo a residential renovation starting this spring.

Although the new landlords offered to renovate a smaller restaurant space for Erbaluce in the same location, co-owner Charles Draghi said that move would not make sense for him.

“With Boston’s untenable rent situation, the impossibility of acquiring a liquor license, and the staffing issues that currently plague our industry, we are uncertain what our next step will be, or when it may happen,” he wrote in a farewell message, according to a previous Globe story.

“It has been our great pleasure to serve, and come to know, so many of you so well over the past 10 years,” he wrote.

Crema Café

A Harvard student sat in the balcony at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square in May 2008.
Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
A Harvard student sat in the balcony at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square in May 2008.

Harvard Square’s much-loved Crema Café on Brattle Street said in early December that it would close in the middle of the month, according to a Globe article citing co-owner Liza Shirazi.

“With a deep sense of appreciation, pride and sorrow, we must share with you, our dear friends, and community, that we will be closing,” the cafe wrote on Instagram on Dec. 3.

“We do have a lot of people who come here every single day,” Shirazi told Boston.com in early December. “We’ve been a part of their daily ritual. Seeing their reactions and how it’s impacting their life has been really hard. It’s been an important place for us, too.”

Australian coffee company Bluestone Lane Coffee was slated to move into the space, the story said, citing marketing director Andy Stone. Bluestone Lane operates cafes and coffee shops from Los Angeles to New York City.

Previous Globe coverage from food writers Devra First and Kara Baskin and staff reporter Danny McDonald was used in this report.