New local eatery, Juliet, set to romance Union Square

On June 11, 2015, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times
Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri. — Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri. — Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

By Haley ED Houseman

Much has been made of Union Square’s transformation in recent years: is it all uninvested hipsters, or growth that is made to last? In the case of the new restaurant Juliet, the focus is on community building and investment by two young restaurateurs who have deep convictions about being involved in the neighborhood.

Fledgling owner Josh Lewin, chef, and Katrina Jazayeri, operations manager, have been in and around the Boston hospitality scene for a few years, apprenticing and developing their chops in local institutions. At Beacon Hill Bistro, Lewin began as sous chef and became the executive chef just two years later. Jazayeri worked with local Somerville meal delivery Cuisine en Locale and later at Belly Wine Bar. The two joined together to create Bread & Salt Hospitality, which created pop-up dining experiences before finding a home at the restaurant incubator program at the Wink and Nod, in Boston’s South End.

Now Bread & Salt has moved on to open their first restaurant, Juliet, named for Jazayeri, the owner’s middle name. “With such a personal restaurant meant to be a strong cornerstone of the company, we thought we should name it after one of,” Lewin notes, “No one wants to eat at a cafe called Josh!”

The new cafe will be housed in the former Sherman Café space in Union Square. They hope to revive the space as friendly neighborhood restaurant, retaining the spirit of the old inhabitants. The restaurant, a European-style cafe with take-away options and casual dining, will hopefully open sometime this year. Though there isn’t a firm date, the chef explains, “We are in construction planning now. We are working hard to open as soon as possible.” At the moment, Jazayeri and Lewin are “full time fundraisers,” until next month when renovations begin.

Jazayeri and Lewin both take pains to explain their commitment involving the community of Somerville and building local support. To this end, they’ve chosen to fund the development of the restaurant in part through a Kickstarter campaign, which runs for another week. They’re not excluding investors, but are hoping to build community investment and support into the founding of the restaurant, not as an afterthought. And this way, Lewin explains, they don’t have to take a loan or mortgage part of business. “It’s a more natural way,” he adds, to become part of the community before the doors even open. By living in Somerville, investing in local community, the two hope the restaurant can be a step in ”creating a foundation in our neighborhood, for our neighborhood,” says Jazayeri. “We’re excited to be part of the change in the food culture of the city.”

The pair was prompted to move from a pop-up style to a permanent concept and location by a desire, Lewin said, to “bring the food we love to the community we are investing in.” Both of the owners are Somerville residents; Lewin was born and raised in the Boston area. Coming from a variety of influences—Jazayeri has an Iranian-American culinary background, And Lewin is training in French cuisine—they hope to bring offerings that will delight and surprise the taste buds. The food will incorporate flavors and spices that the couple hope will “change and expand the experience of familiar food,” bringing together personal influences and creative interpretations. They also plan to draw on their mutual experiences sourcing food locally, operating guided by season and the relationship to the people behind the source.

“We’re going to be cultivating local sources and local relationships, looking for similar outlooks,” adds Lewin. “We’ll be at the farmer’s market, meeting people and introducing ourselves. Come say hello!”

Juliet will be located at 257 Washington Street, Somerville. Visit Juliet’s website at: http://www.julietsomerville.com/#eat-together. You can also visit the Juliet page on Kickstarter at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2084864198/juliet-0 and follow the development of the restaurant via their blog here: http://www.julietsomerville.com/news/.

 

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