North End spot would be like going to grandma's for Sunday dinner, if grandma were Italian and spent the whole day cooking

High-end family dining is coming to the North End. Jennifer Royale says her Table by Jen Royle at 445 Hanover St. will feature large bowls and platters that diners seated at the two long tables will pass along as they go from course to course.

Royle told the Boston Licensing Board this morning that her 35-seat outlet won't really have a menu - you reserve a seat and you get everything she's serving that night (so no dropping in at the last minute), with dinner starting at 6 p.m. But she said that will typically include appetizers such as bowls of dips for your focaccia, tomato bruschetta and salad and charcuterie plates, followed by both Italian short-rib and chicken dishes - all served family style.

She added she's still deciding between an additional appetizer of either shrimp or calamari.

Dessert would be ricotta zeppoli, she said.

Royle will start without a liquor license, but said she hopes to eventually seek one and to possibly add Sunday brunch at some point.



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BYOB license would be perfect

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BYOB license would be perfect. I wish more restaurants would do this.
I hate paying $10 for a 6oz glass of cheap wine.


Good news, bad news.

We’re talking about a concept restaurant with “, by [chef/owner]” right in the name. $10 wine won’t be a thing...I’m guessing more in the $14-16 range.


Im sure

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Jen Royale is a real Piasan and understands that wine should be offered by the house, We got our own dishes at nonnas, and there is no time for brunch on Sunday


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I hope there's some flexibility for seating, like i don't want Joey from Medford creeping on my daughter asking her to pass the hot buns.


it's not "fake family"

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Back in the 1980s, there were family-style restaurants like this--though with different menus--in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Large servings of meatloaf and fried chicken and such, and I think a choice of iced tea and lemonade to drink. I went a few times with friends (yes, we liked it enough to go back).

I wouldn't go to a place like that for a private or intense meal/conversation, romantic or otherwise, but that's true of plenty of restaurants where you don't share a table with strangers.

Monhegan Island, too

The majority of the dining space is at a single inn where you sit at big tables and meet people from all over the world as you pass the food around, boardinghouse style.

If he is ...

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WTF is he doing in the North End for this experience? Wouldn't he be creeping on his niece at a real Giant Italian Family Dinner?

Interesting concept but...

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Do people book the entire table as a large group? I think parties of 2 would probably not want to share family style bowls of food with strangers. And if you do book as a large group it’s difficult to build regular customers. People may go once but it’s hard to build repeat guests with a format like this.

Whoa, what a concept

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This could be a major Italian Proustian madeleine for me, but only if most of the table yells and argues about religion, politics, medical conditions, why you keep wearing your hair that way, and any other subject you'd rather never discuss. That's how it always was around my grandmother's table. Her meals were so good that the "conversation" was tolerable even to those of us lying low, although some of my sister's boyfriends were scared off.

When you grow up eating well in those conditions, you think it's normal. Now I miss it terribly — and not only the impossible-to-recreate food. All of those loud, crazy, older relatives are gone, except my Dad. He still has his technique but not his energy or volume at 104.

So, yelling or not? And will there be chicken soup? And can we help with the dishes?

75 bucks?

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75 bucks* to share a table with strangers and eat food you can get in about a dozen places within pitching wedge distance for half the price? Hard pass.

*Unless you want eggplant...that’s an extra $15 apparently...and you have to wash it down with ginger ale, until the “eventual” liquor license is procured. Hope better planning went into the menu.

Makes things unexpected and interesting

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This means the kitchen focuses on a single course of dishes instead of having to create various dishes as required. Either this restaurant can survive in Boston or not. But this idea is worth a try.

Sitting with a bunch of people I don't know? What a great way to meet people. Imagine if people sitting get up between courses and join in on conversations where there is an opening for them to join? Oh my god! This could result in an actual evening of strangers actually enjoying each other's company.

Definitely not Boston.


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The people interested in a five course $75 meal aren't likely as interested in family style seating.

The people interested in family style seating aren't likely as interested in paying $75 for dinner.

The intersectionality is likely going to kill repeat business...especially depending on how static the menu/courses remain.

Good luck though. Variety is one of the spices in life. So new restaurant concepts are always appreciated.