Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
May 15, 2007 02:19 PM

Vlora, new Meditteranean in Copley

Has anyone heard anything about this place? It's coming to the underground lair below that GNC and the Finagle in Copley Square. A banner advertises, but the site doesn't say much.

ZagatBuzz says: "Vlora, named for chef-owner Aldo Velaj’s hometown, will open in May with a Mediterranean repertoire emphasizing the foods of southern Italy, Greece and Velaj’s native Albania; his wife, co-owner Cindy Tsai, will oversee the front of the house. The Back Bay setting (545 Boylston St., Boston) will also feature a water wall and a late-night lounge."

Anyone know the chef? Albanian could be interesting! So could a water wall...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'll answer my own question. The Herald writes this:

    "Mediterranean fare may seem ubiquitous these days, but Vlora promises to put a new twist on the old favorite. Owner Aldo Velaj, after all, is a native of Albania, which borders Greece and sits on the Adriatic Sea, just across from the heel of the Italian boot. As you might expect, they share many of the same culinary traditions.

    Expect to find standard Greek and Italian fare, with an occasional tribute to his homeland, such as a simple “Vlora-style” salad of cabbage served with olive oil and lemon.

    “We won’t try to impress people with overly fancy dishes or price points,” said Velaj, who studied in Italy and ran several restaurants in Europe before moving to the States in 2003. “We’ll serve what real people eat in the northern Mediterranean.”

    Vlora, named for Velaj’s hometown, is slated to open in early May at 545 Boylston St., Back Bay."

    1. This week's Improper Bostonian has a blurb in the The Word column about Vlora. I bet he knows the Albanian owner of Trattoria Toscana.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Taralli

        I tried checking it out with a friend last night but all I caught was a bunch of rubble inside. Ok, I maybe exaggerating a lil' but I was a bit disappointed that it hadn't opened yet.
        I live close to it so I'll be checking it out soon since the improper article definitely peeked my interest. I remember reading that the chef wants to focus on simplicity; by this I mean a splash of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper while letting the fresh ingredients do the talking - much like Sicilian food.
        The grilled octopus on the article looked promising, but then again it was shot by a professional.
        Can't wait!

        1. re: gypseemoth

          Just called and they're looking to open around August 15.

          1. re: Velda Mae

            Huh. I'd be surprised--when I walked by the other day it didn't look close to being ready, though they were supposed to open 2 mos. ago.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              I walk past it just about every day and I highly doubt it will be ready on 8/15. Or 9/15 for that matter.

              That space is creepy if you ask me.

              Anyone been around long enough to remember the name of it when it was an "upscale" Chinese place in the 1980's?

              1. re: C. Hamster

       of those earlier incarnations was related to what's now Bernard's in Chestnut Hill. Was the Boylston Street one also called Bernard's? Or Mr. Leung's or something like that?

                1. re: Allstonian

                  Yes, it was Mr. Leung's in the late 80's/early 90's. Weird spot, to be sure.

                2. re: C. Hamster

                  It was Friends most recently (a standby when I worked down the block, at least for the Korean food), and Q-Vin (also Korean/Japanese, with a seafood focus, I recall) before that.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    And Ken's By George before that in the early 80s when Ken's Deli was upstairs (ground and second).

                    1. re: Small Plates

                      Now y'all are scaring me!! I have worked around here long enough to remember all of those but Yenching.

                      I walked by last night and they have made a lot of progress. Floor seems to be installed, etc. Aug 15 might be pushing it though.

                  2. re: C. Hamster

                    Was it Yenching Palace (it's been awhile..I may have goofed the spelling of Yenching)? I miss that place!

          2. Tables and chairs went in the other day, but not exactly a beehive of activity there.

            3 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Went past there today. Absolutely nothing happening. No construction, no signs, no obvious furnishings, nothing. That site must be cursed.

              1. re: BBHound

                There ARE tables and chairs set up. I just saw them. Unless they moved them since 11:30.

                But no signage or any semblance of activity. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw anyone working there.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Inside word (from workers) is restaurant should open next week, before end of August. Renovations and new furnishings are beautiful -- no longer creepy. No water wall, yet, though.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Was walking by there today and noticed the sign saying they're now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They've also updated their website with their various menus.
                Nothing too unique, but it's nice to have a sit-down breakfast option in the neighborhood.