Got Beantown on your shortlist of gay destinations to visit soon? Now there’s one more reason to move this vibrant city right to the top. Karen Akunowicz, award-winning queer chef and former star of Bravo’s “Top Chef” has just debuted Fox & the Knife, a new Italian bistro located in South Boston.

The move to open her very own venture comes after a whirlwind few years that saw Akunowicz rise quickly in the ranks of the food world. During her long stint as executive chef and partner at Myers + Chang, also in Boston, she took a seven-week break to film season 13 of “Top Chef.” In 2017, Akunowicz co-authored her first cookbook, Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery, and last year, she won the prestigious James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast.

As her career skyrocketed, Akunowicz says she never strayed from her commitment to be outspoken about her identity, especially on “Top Chef.” In an interview with Food & Wine, Akunowicz opened up about the importance of being a highly visible member of the LGBTQ community. 

“The decision my spouse, LJ Johnson, and I made was that if I have the opportunity on such a massive scale, it was important to me not just to be out, but to say I’m a queer femme married to someone who identifies as genderqueer, and to use those words and pronouns, and to be clear about it,” she told the magazine.

LGBT travel junkies will find a succinct menu of mouthwatering Italian creations at Fox & the Knife, where Akunowicz puts to good use the pasta-making skills she acquired while working and living in Italy.

Appetizers include fried chili chickpeas and housemade ricotta, plus salads such as the chard with burrata, drenched in a warm walnut vinaigrette and topped with crispy shallots. Main dishes include unique dishes like tagliatelle Bolognese with wild boar, thyme, and parmigiano, and favorites like spaghetti with clams, tossed with saffron, fennel, and tomato butter.  There’s a healthy list of wines and a few beers on draft, plus craft spins on classic cocktails.

Aside from an inventive menu and that irresistible star factor, Akunowicz’s Fox & the Knife has another thing going for it—the restaurant is just a stone’s throw from South End, a popular gay and lesbian neighborhood filled with gorgeous Victorian row houses, pretty residential parks, and trendy gay-friendly bars. Boston Eagle might be the most famous of them all, but other beloved LGBTQ watering holes include Cathedral Station, Trophy Room, Club Café, and Machine Nightclub.

See our full Boston gay travel guide for our recommendations on dining and nightlife from a gay travel perspective.

Where to Stay: Our Favorite GayTravel Approved Luxury Properties

Eager to get to Boston to sample the fare at Fox & the Knife and delve into the city’s arts, culture, and nightlife scenes? Once you’ve created your must-do list, consider choosing one of these sumptuous gay-friendly hotels as your urban base.

5-Star Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf

This luxe waterfront property is located on the historic Rowes Wharf Harbor, and lavish rooms offer either twinkling city views or panoramic water views. Gay travelers with high-end tastes won’t be disappointed—the Boston Harbor Hotel boasts an upscale spa with a sauna and a 60-foot lap pool, a fitness center, a 34-slip marina, and a restaurant and wine bar led by Chef Daniel Bruce.

5-Star XV Beacon

A beautifully appointed boutique hotel housed in a splendid Beaux Arts building, XV Beacon is a treat for the eyes. Rooms are adorned with art created specifically for the hotel, and discerning gay travelers will love the rainforest showerheads, gas fireplaces, 400-thread-count linen, White Italian marble bathrooms, and thoughtful touches like fresh flowers and nightly turndown service. Best of all, guests can make use of a courtesy in-town Lexus service.

All food photos and photo of Karen Akunowicz credit to Brian Samuels
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