Bin 26 Enoteca Closing As Its Co-Owner/Chef Azita Bina Is Retiring

Special to the  Times

Bin 26 Enoteca, which opened in 2006 in the Beacon Hill Neighborhood of Boston, will serve its last meals on Saturday June 1. Azita Bina-Seibel, co-owner and chef has decided to retire at the end of the month.

Azita, the co-founder/co-owner of BiNA Family Hospitality, is a pioneer in bringing some of the first restaurants of its kind to the city of Boston. In 1982, Azita opened the first Northern Italian restaurant in Beacon Hill, Ristorante Toscano, opening up a second location in Providence, RI in 1987. In 1990, AZiTA Ristorante was the first trattoria to open in Boston’s South End. This was followed in 1995 by Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, the first Persian restaurant of its kind anywhere. And, finally, she opened Bin 26 Enoteca, a true Enoteca with the largest wine selection by the glass.

Azita’s impact in Boston’s culinary world was recognized by Gourmet Magazine in 2015 naming her as one of five women chefs (along with Lydia Shire and Jody Adams) who utterly changed Boston’s culinary landscape. The James Beard Foundation invited her to present the first Persian dinner to its members in New York in 1997, an event of resounding success. Azita’s involvement in Boston’s art community cannot go unrecognized. She and her husband’s passion for the arts spans over four decades. The two have been supporters of such organizations as the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, The Lyric Opera, the Handel & Hadyn Society, to mention but a few. Selections from Azita’s important collection of contemporary Iranian women artists have been shown in a number of exhibitions at the MFA. Her unique imperial Qajar-period Persian manuscript cookbook, from which she occasionally cooked at Lala Rokh, is currently featured in the exhibition “Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Some of the most memorable times I have had with my sister have been with her in the kitchen and I on the dining room floors of AZiTA in the South End and at Lala Rokh” says her business partner and brother, Babak Bina. He goes on to say that “She is one of the most brilliant business people I have ever known. If it weren’t for her, we most likely would not have survived the many recessions and the pandemic. Being in the same room with Azita and Julia Child while the two chatted back in 1996 at Lala Rokh is utterly unforgettable. I will miss sitting down with my sister at the end of an exhilarating evening, exhausted from a busy service period, sharing a glass of wine.”

“l will miss creating menus and taking care of our guests, but I have a big bucket list of things I would like to do, particularly travel” says Azita. “I am grateful to all the wonderful people I worked with over the past 40 years as well as the legions of guests who kept encouraging and supporting us”

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