The Frogmore, a coastal Carolina-style restaurant and bar, has adopted the pineapple as a symbol of how it hopes to integrate into Hyde Square. For southerners, the pineapple means hospitality. The pineapple is also a sign of the Latino culture in Hyde Square, and you'll see it displayed prominently on signs around the neighborhood.
On Tuesday, the Frogmore held a preview for friends, family and media. The 365 Centre St. restaurant opens to the general public on Thursday.
The Lowcountry kitchen succeeds Centre Street Sanctuary, which closed in March. Sanctuary's owner, Adam Rutstein, is part of the team launching The Frogmore. The Frogmore retains the church pew seating and choir box bar from Sanctuary's interior.
"We were trying to keep some of the hominess," Rutstein said while visiting tables during the preview night.
Other co-owners also mingled Tuesday as the first dishes came out of Chef Jason Albus' kitchen.
The rest of the ownership team comes from Brookline's Fairsted Kitchen: Andrew Foster, Steve Bowman and Alex Homans.
Foster said while The Frogmore aims to attract diners from across the city and nearby suburbs, that it will also strive to be a neighborhood place where JP residents can drop in. To that end, they plan to always keep a few tables reservation free.
"You cook for the community you want and the community you have," Foster said.
Diners should feel a "warm embrace" when they come in to the space, he said.
The owners say they're hiring as many JP people as possible for the 20 to 25 jobs that will initially be needed. A survey of front of house and back of house staff seemed to bear that out, with almost all saying they live in or very close to JP.
Co-owner Homans, who for years lived on nearby Oakview Terrace, said the Southern restaurant aims to fit in as part of JP's diversity. For instance, he sees a resonance between the fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood in their dishes with the same sorts of ingredients that animate the Caribbean cuisines on offer in JP.
"We are first and foremost a neighborhood restaurant," Homans said.
Oh, and about the name. Frogmore stew is a Lowcountry classic. You'll find the sausage, corn and shrimp dish at the center of the new spot's menu. Also known as Lowcountry boil, the Frogmore's version contains crab.
For a look at the restaurants planned opening menu, click over to Eater Boston.