Sonsie celebrates 30 years, eyes Miami expansion


“We’re still looking at locations,” said owner Patrick Lyons.

Sonsie on Newbury Street. Courtesy of Sonsie

The perpetually youthful Sonsie turns 30 on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and the beloved Newbury Street restaurant invites everyone to celebrate with special Sonsie classics from the past three decades.

“We’re doing this right to the very day we opened,” said owner Patrick Lyons, who heads the Lyons Group (Scampo, Rochambeau, Bar Enza). 

“We realized we were opening on a posh street,” he recalled. “We wanted to be anti-posh, with reasonable prices. We didn’t want to be a special occasion restaurant, we wanted to be a canteen for the neighborhood.” 

In many ways, little has altered: menus have always changed four times a year, seasonally, and also kept up, if not spearheaded trends. 

“One thing Sonsie created, at least no one around here was doing it, was the burger pizza,” said Lyons. “Another thing we popularized in Boston is the espresso martini. We didn’t invent it, but we did a really good job with the drink.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the chic, classic cozy ambiance. Though new art has been added, Sonsie’s interior is lined with beautiful toffee colored wood paneling that gives the room a warm, amber glow. 

“During the initial demolition,” said Lyons, thinking back to 1993, “we had the idea to take the walls down to the brick, but then we found this beautiful wood. It’s the building’s original birds-eye maple paneling. The wood is extinct now and very rare. It was popular in the 1920s and ’30s,” he adds. 

Until six years ago, chef Bill Poirier headed the kitchen; now, he consults and New Hampshire native Kyle Wallace (Harvest, TRADE) leads the cooking.

As for the future, it’s likely Sonsie will gain a sister restaurant in Miami.

“We’ve been in talks for a while,” said Lyons. “The plan is to open a Sonsie in Miami quite soon. We’re still looking at locations.”

Mee krob at Sonsie. – Courtesy of Sonsie

In Boston, Sonsie will continue to serve nightly dinner and late night menus, and Wednesday through Sunday brunch. The anniversary menu will be offered alongside the current menu on Dec. 6. Proceeds from special menu items benefit The Cam Neely Foundation.

The many dishes on the anniversary dinner menu, like a version of grilled oysters with sriracha lime butter from 2014; butternut squash ravioli with walnuts and sage from 2003; and mee krob, a spicy Thai crispy noodle dish from 1994, which Lyons said remains one of his own favorites, is a veritable timeline of dining trends.

Great food is a given, but Lyons said the recipe for success includes, “a good location, a good landlord, and a good operation.”

“The MVPs behind Sonsie are chef Bill Poirier and our landlord Sam Perry. The street has seen so many comings and goings. He and his family understand it’s important to maintain the building as a service to the neighborhood.”

Sonsie is open for dinner Mon., 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Tues.-Thur., 4 p.m.-midnight; Fri., 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun. 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; and brunch Wed. – Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 327 Newbury St., Boston.