Eventide Oyster Company’s full-service restaurant in Portland, Maine is wildly popular, and in 2017, chefs and co-owners Andrew and Mike won a James Beard Award. The pair, with third co-owner and GM Arlin Smith, wanted to tweak the feel of their “mothership” in Maine to fit into Boston’s Boylston Street, near Fenway Park, by making it sleeker, cooler, and brighter.
The “fast casual” version of Eventide would feature counter service only. Its look would be organic, deep, and rich, while matching its busy, metropolitan vibe. Designing around an adjacent parking garage and managing construction in the city wasn’t going to be easy. And we needed to find and install three absolutely massive boulders—without causing the floor to collapse.
First, the boulders. The original Portland restaurant hums around an enticing display of fresh oysters on ice, sculpted into a giant rock that lends an elemental feel to the oyster station, allowing customers to browse the selection of shells as they mingle near the bar. In order for this element to be seen from busy Boylston Street, it needed to be much, much bigger. The enormous stones used in Eventide Boston were sourced by our “rock whisperer,” a guy with a knack for finding big, beautiful boulders. After a long search, he turned up the perfect trio, and we designed around a structural column to make sure the building could support their considerable weight.
The space is sleek and airy, with blue, fresh, oceanic walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests order from flat screens and pick up their oysters, local brews, and brown butter lobster rolls next to the concrete counter, which was site-cast by the same Maine artisan who worked on the original restaurant. The vibe echoes the modern, minimalist identity developed by Portland branding and design firm Might & Main. We used natural materials to match and balance the polished, pure feeling of the windows and paint color, including zinc, natural wood, concrete, and glass. Eventide Boston is a mellow oasis in the midst of the city, like a cool dip underwater in a protected tidal basin.