Jan 8, 2024 - News

Why Barbara Lynch's restaurant empire is shrinking

A photo looking into the window of Menton, a Boston restaurant owned by Barbara Lynch, with diners sitting in the background/restaurant.

Diners eat inside of Menton, owned by Barbara Lynch. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Even famed chef Barbara Lynch can't keep her restaurants open in Boston.

Catch up fast: The Barbara Lynch Collective announced on Friday it will close three of its Fort Points restaurants — Menton, Sportello and Drink — because of an "uncooperative landlord," WBUR reported.

  • The company also plans to sell The Butcher Shop and Stir in the South End to former proteges of Lynch.
  • Just three of Lynch's restaurants remain in operation: No. 9 Park on Beacon Hill, B&G Oysters in the South End or The Rudder in Gloucester.

Why it matters: The closures affect some 100 workers, and they deal a blow to Lynch's restaurant empire in her home city.

What they're saying: "Boston is no longer the same place where I opened seven restaurants over the last 25 years," Lynch said, per the Globe.

  • "Properties have been flipped and flipped and the landlords just want the rents that only national chains can sustain."

Between the lines: Lynch's team argues the closures are the result of landlord issues and prior restaurant managers failing to "respond to post-pandemic realities," as Lorraine Tomlinson-Hall, a turnaround specialist Lynch hired in the fall, described in a press release.

  • But the closures also come months after the famous chef faced allegations of creating a toxic workplace, which the South Boston native has denied.

Zoom out: Down the street from Lynch's shuttering restaurants, Barlow's and Oak + Rowan used to draw customers to A Street.

  • They've closed in recent years, along with Blue Dragon, in part because of pandemic-related stresses.

What's next: Any future expansions will likely happen on the North Shore, where Lynch opened The Rudder last year.

Protip: Patrons who bought gift cards for the closing restaurants can use them at one of the remaining restaurants.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more