Signs of Boston's life sciences-fueled economic boom are hard to miss. In neighborhoods across the city, long-time residents and newcomers alike find themselves surrounded by new office complexes, residential towers, and—most importantly—a swarm of new restaurants. Forget the old-money steakhouses and uninspired seafood places of Beantown past: The new breed of Boston restaurant is sophisticated, modern, and fun. And for this crop of upstarts, brand matters. Here are three recent arrivals whose stories and visual identities are as satisfying as the dishes on their menus.
Not the newest of the new, but we think that the team at Hojoko has done a great job of creating an identity that is uniquely its own. The name itself conjures up images of a buzzing, frenetic Japanese urban center. Our favorite part about the Hojoko brand? The rosy-cheeked, sake-wielding baby that serves as Hojoko's mascot. It works so well in personifying their brand as fun and approachable—like a character from a Miyazaki film. The energetic tone of their messaging along with all of the visual touches that carry over once you step inside help to make this place feel like a little slice of Tokyo (and the pop-punk soundtrack that blasts every night doesn’t hurt either).
There's a good reason that Cambridge and Somerville have been buzzing about the arrival of Juliet. Aside from being named Restaurant of The Year by Eater, Juliet has done a bang-up job with its brand. The restaurant is all about fresh, organic food and service that is anything but pretentious. Owners Josh and Katrina ensure that Juliet's warm, friendly vibe finds its way into every part of the experience, from the dining room to the restaurant's official blog. Even with its eclectic and sometimes challenging prix fixe menu, Juliet makes every guest feel right at home.
This delicatessen gets bonus points for making a concept that seems straight out of Crown Heights work among the biotech giants of Kendall Square. Mamaleh’s branding successfully walks the line between friendly/familiar and totally new. Mamaleh's flat graphics style, muted color palette, and playful messaging transform a Yiddish term of endearment into an experience that feels equal parts inviting and modern. And it makes us hungry for bagels. Gravlax, anyone?