After garnering national attention and accolades for its oysters and its brown butter lobster roll, Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co. is planning to expand to Boston.

The new Eventide is planned for a space on Boylston Street in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.

Mike Wiley, one of the three owners, said Monday that long lines at the Middle Street restaurant are the main reason for expanding. The owners picked Boston, he said, partly because they have friends there and because of Boston’s larger, more steady customer base.

“It’s less seasonal down there,” said Wiley. “If you’ve seen the lines we have, you know there’s room for growth.”

Wiley did not want to discuss other details, and referred questions to a public relations firm, Marlo Marketing.

A statement from the firm said Wiley and his co-owners, known as Big Tree Hospitality, are “actively involved in securing space for a new restaurant concept at 1321 Boylston Street in Boston.”


Erin Mack, account director with Marlo Marketing, said in an email that the restaurant’s owners are aiming for a spring opening in 2017. She said they also will open a commissary kitchen in Biddeford to “streamline” production for both the Portland and Boston restaurants. The new restaurant will be called Eventide Fenway and will offer “Eventide Oyster Co.’s greatest hits. A concise and creative seafood menu in a casual counter-service setting,” Mack said.

Besides Wiley, Big Tree Hospitality includes chef Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith, the general manager. They own three restaurants in the same building on Middle Street.

The group bought Hugo’s, which opened in the late 1980s, in March 2012. Eventide opened two months later. They opened The Honey Paw in 2015.

News of Portland chefs expanding their businesses out of state is rare and is an example of how strong the city’s restaurant scene is right now, said Steve Hewins, president and chief executive of the Maine Restaurant Association.

“Often we’ve imported a lot of chefs, though we’ve grown a lot, too,” Hewins said. “But to export our restaurants shows that this new wave of Maine chefs includes people doing some great things.”

The owners of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, which had a national reputation, expanded to Boston in 2014 with a restaurant called M.C. Spiedo in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. It has since been replaced by a new restaurant.


Eventide’s reputation is already known in the Boston area, thanks to media coverage and because of all the “food tourists” from Eastern Massachusetts who come to Portland regularly, Hewins said. The restaurant blog on Boston magazine’s website referred to Eventide recently as “one of New England’s hottest restaurants.”

The restaurants have been written up in national food magazines, as well as by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

For their work at Eventide, Wiley and Taylor were nominated for James Beard Awards for the past two years in the Best Chef: Northeast category. The awards are like the Oscars for chefs. The pair did not win.

This year, Eventide was listed as one of the 38 “most essential restaurants in the nation” by the national food blog

Hewins said he hopes that Eventide’s expansion could have a bigger effect, helping to expand the reputation of Portland’s restaurant scene overall.


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