"What would I want my home to feel like if I had a place close to the water?"
That was the question Chef Michael Scelfo asked himself when he envisioned Waypoint, his newly opened restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"A place like that needed a little bit of sparkle and a little bit of shine."
And shine, it does.
From the jellyfish-like pendant lights to the sea glass-inspired tile backsplashes, Scelfo's second restaurant in the Cambridge area (he's the man at the helm of the wildly successful Alden & Harlow) offers a glimmering peek into his own experiences with the coast.
"When you’re at the water, the sun flashes off the water and you get that lens flare in your eye," says Scelfo. "I wanted a little of that vibe here; I wanted a lot of things that catch the light."
The "Au Nid Du Dore" neon fish sign came from an old motel in Quebec, says Scelfo. "Au Nid Du Dore" translates to "Golden Nest.
A semi-circle-shaped expanse of operable windows at the front of the restaurant floods the space with light and fresh breezes, something that's highlighted by the grasses sprouting up throughout the restaurant and atop the Carrara marble raw bar. "When the wind comes through the windows, the grass moves a little, like it would if you were by the water," says Scelfo.
That pursuit of authenticity – for the restaurant to look like the coast that Scelfo knows – is seen in every aspect of the restaurant's design, from the exposed driftwood-like beams to the monolithic concrete bar.
"You think of the ocean, and you think blue, but I think green and gray and taupe-y," says Scelfo. "That, to me, is what the coast is."
The chef's go-with-what-you-know ethos applies to Waypoint's menu, too.
"Boston is a seafood town; it's a coastal community," says Scelfo. "But I think there’s still a lot of room here for fresh takes on seafood and that coastally driven cuisine."
At Waypoint, those fresh takes are seen in Scelfo's elevations of the classic Italian dishes he grew up with: gemelli is given a squid ink-and-swordfish overhaul, while traditional pizza toppings are swapped with whitefish or chopped clams.
"All of this, from the menu to the design of the restaurant, comes from what I’d want at home," says Scelfo. "I like to take things that I grew up on or had along the way...and then give it those extra key elements that make it worthy of a restaurant."
"I put a lot of thought into what I wanted Waypoint to be," says Scelfo. "It's a lot more than creating a menu. It’s about creating a space that people love. I’m creating an experience – that’s what I’m trying to do here."
And from what we've seen, we'll call Scelfo's mission a success.
In the Boston area? Make your reservation for Waypoint here.
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