By Ginger DeShaney
When Rachel Titcomb was growing up, she started her day with Petula Clark. Now she wants her Southie neighbors to start their day with Petula’s.
“My mom really loved Petula Clark,” Rachel said. “She would blast Petula Clark every morning to wake me and my siblings up. It put us in such a good mood.”
That’s the idea behind the name of her new restaurant at 81 L Street: Petula’s.
“My sisters and brothers have flashbacks. There was a lot of Petula Clark going on in my house,” she laughs.
Petula’s will be an all-day restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is set to open in early May, starting with dinner service, and by June, breakfast and lunch will be added.
Rachel, the spot’s operating general manager and partner, has had her eye on this location for a while. “I think it’s really cool. I love single-story, corner locations; they are pretty rare to come by.
“I think this side of the neighborhood doesn’t have a ton going on for restaurants,” said Rachel, 35, who has lived and worked in Southie for 13 years. “I thought there’s a need for a daytime place, too; there’s a lot of great bars, but this is going to be breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Petula’s will feature healthier options but also craveable staples, Rachel said.
The food is American fare and will include sandwiches, salads, pizza, and small plates. Chef Dan Haley, who lives in South Boston, is coming to Petula’s from Nautilus in the Seaport District.
Rachel has been part of Southie’s restaurant scene for years. She started as a server at Lincoln and has worked her way up the food chain. She helped open Loco with Mike Shaw, Fat Baby, and Nautilus. She is partnering with Mike again to open Petula’s.
Rosie Craig is coming from Nautilus to be part of the management team.
Travis Robitaille from Gray’s Hall will be doing Petula’s beverage program along with Gray’s. The restaurant has a cordials license and the crew is coming up with creative cocktails and selecting all-natural, organically farmed wines.
“When you leave here, you will feel good,” Rachel said.
Rachel wants Petula’s to be the place people want to be and hopes they see it as an extension of their homes. “They can pop in and grab lunch and hang out until dinner or use it however they want,” she said.
She envisions it as an easy come-and-go, laidback, fun spot. Guests can come in yoga pants or get dressed up for date night.
“It’s meant to be a space that’s loose and built for the neighborhood,” she said. “I think especially this side of Southie could use something like this.”
Construction is still going on but Rachel is happy with the progress being made. The former Sixth Gear location was a bit dark, so Rachel’s crew has turned it into a light, open, airy space.
The restaurant will have 10 bar seats and 50 seats in the dining room. Rachel is hoping to have outdoor seating as well. In June, a takeout window will open where patrons can pre-order and pick up.
The location sees a lot of foot traffic and a lot of people live in the area, Rachel said. Even during construction, people have popped in to see the progress. “There seems to be a lot of excitement around this.”
Rachel knows there’s a lot of Southie pride here, which she loves. “There’s a lot of energy here, a lot of support. Southie is special. It’s such a great neighborhood.”