If you like a laid-back spot where the food is still top-notch, then you have to check out Eva, a new restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston.
At 279A Newbury St., Eva is serving up more than your average mid-day sandwich, and a range of dinners from lamb chops to chickpea curry, all in a calming, tropical atmosphere.
Soon, the restaurant will be a triple threat, offering a diverse lunch and dinner menu, as well as brunch on the weekends, beginning May 7.
Eva has replaced a longtime Newbury Street staple, Cafeteria, but is the brainchild of the same owner, George Aboujaoude.
Cafeteria was Aboujaoude’s first independent foray into the restaurant industry, but he grew up learning the ins and outs from his father, who owned Coppa on Shawmut Ave. in the South End.
“Growing up in it was a positive experience,” he said. “We lived upstairs in the same building that the restaurant was in, so our life revolved around it. So I thought it was only normal to continue the business.”
Aboujaoude opened Cafeteria, a modern American cuisine restaurant, in 2007. It had an all-day menu, and served brunch on the weekends.
After a few years, Aboujaoude opened Bijou Nightclub on Stuart Street in Boston in 2012, and then Committee, a Mediterranean restaurant, in the Seaport in 2014.
All was well until the pandemic hit, and Cafeteria, which was not known for take-out, had to shut down.
By October 2020, Aboujaoude had to give back the keys to the restaurant and close up Cafeteria for good.
“It was very emotional. It was very sad,” he said. “A lot of my staff was with me for between 10 and 13 years. It was a family. To put so many people out of work and part ways…I was able to bring some people over to Committee, which was great, but we weren’t able to find homes for everyone.”
As the pandemic began to let up, the owner of Cafeteria’s building began looking for a new tenant, and reached out to Aboujaoude once again.
“He always told me ‘People are coming from New York, people are coming from Miami looking at the place, big restaurant groups from Boston, they’re looking at it,’” Aboujaoude said. “And I know the potential. I know what this place can do.”
At the end, Aboujaoude secured the building, and began making Eva come to life.
“I wanted to pick up where we left off,” he said.
Eva gets her name from the first letter of the names of Aboujaoude’s children, 5-year-old Eli and 2-year-old Vivian, as well as her last name.
Inside, Aboutjaoude had a designer decorate, with the starting idea simply being the color green — Eli’s favorite color.
“I tell him ‘That’s you. You’re the E, ‘”Aboujaoude said of his son.
From there, Eva was made into a teal and green sea of relaxation, complete with comfy couches along the walls, paper-covered chandeliers, and monkeys in the stairway.
Beyond the décor, Eva’s building and location are equally impressive. It has one of the largest patios on Newbury Street, and its upstairs seating is surrounded by large windows which let in lots of natural light.
Aboujaoude said he brought in his head chef from the Committee, Luis Figueroa, to help design the menu and open Eva. Like Cafeteria, Eva offers modern American cuisine, but has a separate lunch and dinner menu, and has more Mediterranean dishes, such as lamb chops and grilled octopus.
So far, Aboujaoude said, Eva’s most popular dishes are the spinach artichoke dip, short rib gnocchi, and specialty pizzas.
Eva also has an array of original cocktails crafted by general manager Nick Antonucci, such as cruel summer, which features passion fruit vodka and blood orange juice, and monkey business, with coconut tequila and vermouth.
Eva is open 11 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am to 1 pm on Friday and Saturday.
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