Ours is a simple endeavor. We are a neighborhood restaurant doing our own thing with great ingredients and a lovely gathering of people. “Asian-ish,” if you need a label. Just trying to do the simple things every day. Like being sweet to each other, saying “yes”, “welcome back”, and “thank you” as enthusiastically as we can.
11 years later.
An honors graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Joanne left a career as a management consultant to enter the world of professional cooking.
She started as garde-manger cook at Boston’s renowned Biba restaurant, then worked as a pastry cook at Bentonwood Bakery in Newton, and in 1995 was hired as Pastry Chef at Rialto restaurant in Cambridge.
Joanne moved to New York City in 1997 to work in the cake department of the critically acclaimed Payard Patisserie and Bistro. Returning to Boston a year later with dreams of opening up her own pastry shop, she brought her French and American training to Mistral where she was the Pastry Chef until summer of 2000.
In 2000, she opened Flour, a bakery and café, in Boston’s South End. Flour features breakfast pastries, breads, cakes, cookies, and tarts as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads. There are now 8 locations of Flour in Boston and Cambridge.
In 2007 she and Christopher opened Myers+Chang to bring the food that she grew up with along with the hospitality that Christopher was known for to Boston. Myers+Chang was awarded 4 stars by The Boston Globe in September 2017 at their 10th anniversary.
She is the author of four cookbooks: Flour, Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery+Cafe and Flour Too, Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe’s Most Loved Sweets and Savories, Baking with Less Sugar: Recipes for Dessert using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar, Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery, and currently working on her fifth cookbook Pastry Love, All my Favorite Recipes, which will be available Fall 2019. Joanne is the winner of the 2016 James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker.
Christopher Myers is the co-owner of Myers + Chang restaurant and Flour Bakery + Cafe with his wife and business partner, Joanne Chang.
Christopher has been in and out of the hospitality business for 40 years, in LA, NYC, and Boston. Prior to opening Myers+Chang in 2007, he created and co-owned 4 iconic and award-winning Boston area restaurants: Rialto, Radius, Via Matta, and Great Bay. Rialto and Radius both earned rare 4-Star reviews for excellence from The Boston Globe, and all four received Best New Restaurants of the Year awards from Esquire magazine. Myers remains grateful to Esti Parsons, Michela Larson, Jody Adams, and Michael Schlow for their partnerships in these enterprises.
Myers’s education in restaurants began at 18, traveling from Boston to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. The timing of this pursuit coincided, luckily, with the early days of the California cuisine explosion. The “explosion” part suited his personality perfectly and the career path took hold. Stints at Charmer’s Market, Michael’s, Mr. Chow, and Central Park embedded an unexpected but lifelong vocation. “There’s one thing that can be said about my acting career, I was one helluva maitre d.”
In 1985, attempting another escape from the industry, while pursuing a doctorate in literature at Harvard University, Myers discovered that a well-stacked shelf in Widener Library just doesn’t compare to a well-stocked wine cellar. A birthday lunch at Michela Larson’s restaurant Michela’s led to a lengthy chat with Michela, and a friendship and eventual partnership with Larson and chef Jody Adams was created. He left academia for the third and last time. At last check, academia, like Hollywood, has been doing just fine.
Christopher began a partnership with Joanne Chang in 2006 and they created a second Flour Bakery. What wasn’t expected was Myers+Chang, as they were both committed to leaving behind restaurant nightlife. However, one night at home, Joanne made dinner inspired by her mother’s Taiwanese cooking. It was a simple salmon dish; slightly sweet, delicately seasoned, with a subtle chili heat off set by cooling cucumbers and cilantro. Christopher loved it. They decided that Boston might adopt a restaurant that offered a fresh and personal style of Asian cuisine. In 2007, Myers + Chang opened its doors.
Myers has always derived his greatest satisfaction in providing an atmosphere for his guests that possesses a sense of wonder, theater, and originality. “The best part of this life is in choosing a team that works to actively inspire hospitality. Creating a hospitable culture is an entirely proactive and creative process, one that makes for great dining and, often, lasting friendships. It’s not so much a serious endeavor as it is a curious lark.”
Myers has been involved with many local and national charities including Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Share our Strength and No Kid Hungry, The Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Sister, Big Brother, YMCA, Room to Grow, The Pine Street Inn, Community Servings, and Project Place. His opinions on hospitality and business management have been featured in Time, Inc., Business Week, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Restaurant Hospitality, Santé, Food and Wine, the American Express Manual for Restaurateurs, and Fast Company.
Other momentous career highlights proving a life well lived, include: offering taxi service and hi jinks to Bob Dylan; lunch with Bono; over-hard eggs to Richard Nixon; a front and center table to OJ Simpson, (lovable, cuddly, Hertz OJ); draping a color perfect pashmina over Sophia Loren’s perfect shoulders; tweaking the cheek of Marcia Marcia Marcia; accidentally knocking a bottle of wine on Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol in the VIP section of Mr. Chow’s; a full blown shouting match with Sumner Redstone, who threatened to purchase the building the restaurant was in so that he could personally fire him; a crowning achievement– painting Ava Gardner’s bedroom a dusty mauve; and lastly, a near death experience brought on by smearing butter on John Gotti’s wife’s chinchilla boa.
Ashley Lujares is the Executive Chef at Myers+Chang. She attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and immediately segued into a rigorous externship at Boston’s famed Radius restaurant.