Boston’s dining scene has exploded in recent years, and the design — not just the food — of its newest and trending places continues to test creative limits. Here we look at one design that pays homage to Boston’s supper club past while still being thoroughly modern and another that perfects the aesthetic of a modern sushi bar.

Good food alone won’t turn a franchise into a roaring success. To succeed, an operation needs a solid franchisee support system and, of course, a design that compliments the overall concept. Founded in 2004, Pittsfield, Mass.-based Hot Harry’s Fresh Burritos is a fast-casual concept that proves the point. The chain has been franchising for several years, but has never had more than a handful of stores.

Former Charlie Trotter Alums and Chefs John and Karen Shields opened their first Chicago restaurant in the West Loop neighborhood. The dual-concept Smyth + The Loyalist features a tasting menu, finer dining restaurant (Smyth) with 40 seats upstairs with a more casual, 80-seat restaurant and bar (The Loyalist) downstairs.

James Beard Award-winning Chef Shawn McClain and chef/partner of Sage at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas teamed up with Studio Munge’s Principal Interior Designer Alessandro Munge and Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim to develop the concept and food and beverage menus for Libertine Social, a new, high-end pub inside Mandalay Bay.

Three restaurants put their dry-aging rooms on display. 

As the new editor in chief for restaurant development + design, I’m excited.

At many new restaurants, the best seat in the house is at the bar. 

When news leaked that the Italian restaurant next to Lola, the flagship restaurant of Michael Symon Restaurants (MSR) in Cleveland, might be going up for sale, Symon and his team got busy.