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Fresh flavors from six new restaurants coming to Brookline near St. Mary’s MBTA stop

Six new restaurants are coming to Beacon Street near St. Mary's. Photo by Ellen Clegg
March 19, 2024  Updated March 21, 2024 at 9:06 a.m.

This story was produced in collaboration with the Reinventing Journalism course at Brandeis University, taught by Professor Neil Swidey, with mentoring for student journalists by Brookline.News steering committee co-chair Ellen Clegg and editor Sam Mintz.

After months of construction and a steady stream of questions from curious neighbors, five new Asian-influenced restaurants are expected to open just in time for the summer season in a strip of empty storefronts at the corner of Beacon and St. Mary’s streets.

The restaurants, which will feature outdoor dining in a covered pavilion running along Beacon Street, are replacing O’Leary’s Irish Pub, the Economy True Value hardware store, Dunkin’ Donuts and Sichuan Gourmet, which weathered closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheduled to replace them are Ssaanjh Indian, Kyo Matcha Bakery, KyuRamen, Baby Café, and Liyin Rice Roll. A sixth restaurant, Sushi Jiro, is on tap to move into the old hardware store site but must appear before the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals to resolve some remaining regulatory issues, according to a letter issued by the Planning Board.

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During the Feb. 6 Select Board Meeting, Bob Allen, an attorney for owner Dan Yu, said a total of 192 outdoor seats will be available, with each restaurant accommodating between 22 and 60 seats, although indoor seating will be available, too.

Yu explained that his vision for the outdoor seating is to create a more public space for people to congregate. “This is an opportunity to create some vibrancy and make it more happening,” he said. Yu said he has worked in and operated restaurants in the Boston and Brookline area since he was a child.

A rendering of the six restaurants with outdoor seating. Photo courtesy of Paul Warren

Yu said he initially aimed to lease to a variety of restaurants offering diverse cuisines and services. But “the people who were interested in the space and took the plunge were all Asian restaurants,” he said. He hypothesized that this could be partly because of the opening of H Mart, an Asian supermarket at 1028 Beacon St.

The new restaurants are expected to open in the coming months, though not all at the same time. The project has been in development for two years.

Liyin Rice Roll specializes in Chinese dim sum and will offer a selection of small breakfast and lunch plates. Baby Café will offer Hong Kong-style cuisine, including a breakfast menu. KyuRamen will offer ramen noodle soup. In the evenings, Ssaanjh Indian, akin to its sister restaurant Shan-A-Punjab on Harvard Street, and Sushi Jiro will serve the dinner crowd. Meanwhile, Kyo Matcha Bakery will offer Japanese baked goods, desserts, and sweet drinks.

Kyo Matcha is one of the restaurants coming into Beacon Street near St. Mary’s Street. Photo by Ellen Clegg

The development of the strip has remained somewhat mysterious to many locals.

Anna Mitchell and Kaden Litzinger, both students at Boston University who live down the street, expressed surprise at the news of six incoming restaurants. “I’m most excited for matcha,” a powder made from ground green tea leaves that is used as a flavoring, Mitchell said.  

Local business owners share similar sentiments. “I wish I understood more about their vision as a neighborhood amenity. There hasn’t been much advertising,” said Aaron Mehta, 12-year owner of the Wine Press at 1024 Beacon St.

“There’s certainly nothing like this in Brookline,” said Paul Warren, a Town Meeting member from Precinct 1, which includes the St. Mary’s business district, and a member of the Select Board. “This will be really unique.”

Correction: A previous version of this story included a quote which stated that the storefronts were vacant before Yu purchased the property. In fact, several businesses were still operating at that time.