In June, Karen Akunowicz announced she'd be leaving Myers + Chang after seven years as executive chef (and a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast.) Now, she's revealing details on her first, highly-anticipated solo project, which she plans to open in November, and we finally have a name.
"It's called Fox and the Knife," Akunowicz told Food & Wine at the James Beard Foundation Taste America kick-off event in New York City on Wednesday. "It is an Italian-inspired neighborhood enoteca that is just a warm, welcoming neighborhood joint."
The 75-seat restaurant, which is located in Boston's "Southie" neighborhood, has an open-kitchen and good energy, according to the Top Chef alum. And it she's made an effort to make the prices at Fox and the Knife accessible, so the restaurant feels welcoming to a wide range of people.
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"It’s not a big, fancy new space," she said. "I bought a restaurant—the owners moved across the country. I’m just doing a little redesign. It’s in an old building in Southie. It has a lot of love and character. It's not the biggest or brightest or fanciest, but I think we can come into a neighborhood that’s in the middle of a lot of change—Southie is definitely someplace that is in the middle of all this crazy gentrification—and hopefully be something for everyone. Everybody can come in at a price point that people can afford and some place that feels warm and friendly for everyone."
Despite grappling with some standard pre-opening setbacks, Akunowicz is excited to share the restaurant with the world.
"It’s going to be amazing," she said, beaming. "It’s going to be crazy, like everything always is."
The chef, who was nominated for Best Chef: Northeast every year since 2015 for her work at Boston's Asian-inspired small plates hotspot Myers + Chang, won the honor this year.
"Twenty years ago I was a waitress at a diner in Jersey so even just being invited here is a big deal," she said after winning the award.