Bar Volpe

Location: 170 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127

Completion Date: 2022

Client: Karen Akunowicz

Size: 5,200 SF

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Bar Volpe—designed for James Beard Award Winning Chef Karen Akunowicz—encapsulates Southern Italy in both form and fare. The 5,200 SF restaurant includes a large dining lounge that accommodates 110 guests; a glass-encased pastificio where guests can watch the pasta making process; a 25-seat main bar; and an intimate wine bar that acts as a daytime market for take-home items.


The space was formerly home to Backyard Betty’s, a retro American-themed eatery with a backyard-cookout-meets-mechanic’s-garage vibe. To transform the space into Bar Volpe, the interiors team executed a front-of-house facelift by ‘designing by subtraction’. The team began by assessing the space to identify existing design elements that could be repurposed in the new restaurant. Despite the contrasting design concepts of the former restaurant and Bar Volpe, the polished concrete floor, banquettes, and wooden chairs were able to be utilized in the new space which reduced renovation costs and minimized waste. From there, Italian-inspired design elements like venetian plaster, glazed ceramic tile, antique mirrors, and marble bar tops were used to create the allure of an Italian bistro.


In true Italian fashion, Bar Volpe reminds us that dining out is meant to be more than a meal—it’s an experience; one that is celebrated with good company and never rushed. Guests are encouraged to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and conversation at the main bar and move to the cozy and intimate back bar for post-dinner aperitifs and desserts.