A James Beard Award-winning chef wanted to open a new Izakaya-style restaurant with a whimsical, retro, rock & roll vibe. The venue would be connected to the Verb Hotel, a newly-transformed boutique hotel occupying an old Howard Johnson’s in Boston, just a block away from Fenway Park. The new space needed to be durable enough to withstand crowds from the dinner rush through their midnight menu, flexible enough to host private parties, pop up events, live music, and fundraisers, and cool enough to make Hojoko a destination and a perennial favorite.
We designed a high energy, rock & roll Japanese tavern that can seat two hundred and keep the action coming. A playful 1960’s surf vibe is irreverent, and the Hojoko experience shifts depending on how deep you venture into the restaurant. An outside seating area on Boylston Street features live bamboo walls in charred wood planters made of Shou Sugi Ban, a durable, rot-resistant material that can endure weather and heavy use.
The eclectic interior features reclaimed wood, funky graffiti, rock memorabilia, classic diner-style laminate, and pop culture artifacts, including an authentic Pac-Man table and hair dryer seats saved from a local, defunct salon. The drinks bar, sushi bar, and grilling station introduce themselves one by one as you progress toward the outdoor pool near the “Dick Van Dyke Lounge” at the back. The space is sassy, unique, and engaging—a perfect platform for inventive, creative, fun food and craft cocktails.