NEWTON - When Michael Leviton first opened Lumière in 1999, West Newton was hardly the thriving culinary and cultural mecca it is today. Back then, it was a rough and tumble suburban outpost, populated by steely-eyed Lacrosse Dads, SUVs and the sort of gritty insularity that tells you 'I am West Newton.'
Today, it’s a rough and tumble suburban outpost, populated by steely-eyed Lacrosse Dads, SUVs and the sort of gritty insularity that tells you 'I am West Newton. Please park your Camry where the neighbors can’t see it.'
But Leviton came with an impressive pedigree, including eight James Beard nominations and a stint under Daniel Boulud at Manhattan’s fabled Le Cirque, and he needed it. It meant contending with the likes of Les Sablons, Brasserie JO and L’espalier—all of whom helped establish Boston not only as a hub for French cuisine on the East Coast, but as a dominant force in the restaurant industry nationwide.
But all three are now gone. As is Le Cirque. Leviton sold Lumière to his partner, Jordan Bailey, in 2015. Now, just five years later after his departure, Lumière has announced its final meal at the end of the month.
"We've been there 20 years, and the restaurant has run its course,” Bailey told the Boston Globe earlier in December. “The market has changed quite a bit as far as upscale stuff goes in the suburbs....It's hard to get out of that box.”
Change is an inevitable part of any food culture, and it's not always dictated by either palate or economic factors alone. Nor should any metropolitan city be judged by the turnover in outlying suburbs. It’s not that Boston’s French (excuse me, “French-inspired”) restaurant is exactly moribund, as the recent openings of Bar Lyon and Rochambeau indicate. But Bar Lyon is part of the Columbus Hospitality empire, alongside Mistral, Sorellina and Ostra. And Rochambeau is a Patrick Lyons venture. The same man who’s guilty of foisting King’s Lanes upon the world. That means hospitality group money. Hospitality group marketing. And hospitality group taste.
As for Lumière, they’re not closing until February 29. On February 20, Bailey will be hosting a “Last Supper” for the restaurant featuring an eight-course meal of his favorite dishes. Boston magazine reports the restaurant is in the process of being sold and may maintain all its employees.
Until that happens, méfiez-vous des hommes riches avec bad toupees et bowling alley-themed nightclubs.
Lumière is located at 1293 Washington Street in Newton and is open Tuesday - Thursday from 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm, Friday - Saturday from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm and Sunday from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit Lumière.
Image via Yelp/Sarah A.