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Grille Zone closing 1/26

lergnom Jan 22, 2008 06:26 PM

Received an email that they are shutting down, with the last day being 1/26. Pity. Really good food.

  1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 22, 2008 07:03 PM

    I refused to let myself get too attached: that space is basically Matt Groening's Storefront of Doom. Grille Zone is now the THIRD good-to-great restaurant to last less than a year there.

    9 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
      fragolino Jan 22, 2008 09:05 PM

      It's not that their food was bad, their prices were too high for what it is. A burger, fries, and drink came to $10 the time I visited. I can't imagine too many students forking out that kind of cash regularly.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
        Joanie Jan 23, 2008 03:32 AM

        How long were they open, 5 months? Damn, that was quick. $10 for a full meal isn't that crazy expensive.

        1. re: Joanie
          autopi Jan 23, 2008 06:45 AM

          i thought their prices were pretty par for the course, too. $10 is more than fast food burgers, but the quality was much superior. that's about (give or take a dollar or two) what i'd expect to pay across the street in the super88 for lunch. plus, in the last month or two they had some good promotions going on. however, the last time i was there, they were experiencing some kind of serious service problems--orders getting lost, handed to the wrong people, long wait times, etc--just general confusion. it's too bad, though.

          1. re: autopi
            BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 23, 2008 06:51 AM

            Yeah, the prices were reasonable for the neighborhood. My suspicion when not one but THREE different restaurants fail in the same location, when all of them are serving quality food at popular prices, is that the landlord is simply charging too much for the space and they can't make their margin.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
              lergnom Jan 23, 2008 11:04 AM

              The burger was 1/2 lb. You could buy a 1/4 lb burger with fries and a drink for $5. Cheese was extra on both. They had great wings.

              I think a big problem is that they were too close to BU. Hard to compete with the dorms when a big chunk of your market has a meal plan. West Campus has pretty good food and you can use points at the BU food court.

              The space is also not ideally set up because the food preparation area is up front and the dining area is too small and cramped. Inherited from the Turkish tries.

              1. re: lergnom
                BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 23, 2008 11:16 AM

                I don't think I buy the too-close-to-BU argument: that stretch of Comm Ave also has T. Anthony's, Angora Cafe, Quan's Kitchen and a Dunk: all have been there forever and all of them attract as many or more Allston/Brookline locals as they do BU students. Across the street, Victoria Seafood and Brown Sugar have thrived despite their general mediocrity. If it was just a BU issue, there wouldn't be any successful restaurants around the corner of Comm Ave and Babcock, but clearly there are!

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                  lergnom Jan 23, 2008 03:06 PM

                  Most of the places above are ethnic, which isn't a dining hall thing, while Angora is mostly ice cream and attracts a neighborhood crowd because it is the only ice cream place near that part of Brookline. T. Anthony's is mostly pizza and that's also not the dining hall's thing and you can go out with friends for a pizza. West Campus dining hall serves hamburgers.

                  Now if this spot had a counter with seats like a real grill, then it would have character. If it had a dining room in front, instead of a handful of tables stuck in the back, then people could gather. The space isn't right.

                  1. re: lergnom
                    lergnom Jan 23, 2008 06:01 PM

                    FYI, West Campus' dining hall is known for a burger called the West Campus which has cheese and bbq sauce and which you have to ask for by name because it's a campus "secret" and thus is even more popular.

                    1. re: lergnom
                      fragolino Jan 23, 2008 09:00 PM

                      I guess I'm in the minority here but if I've got $10 to spend eating out, one of the last things I'm thinking of is a burger and fries. If I were to drop that kind of money on them, then it's gonna be something I can't make at home- like a burger from RFO's. Grille Zone didn't do anything unique with the burger and fries, they were just made of high quality ingredients. While that's great and all, I find it hard to justify the payout when I can replicate the same thing at home by shopping at Whole Foods.
                      In that part of town, with $10 to spend, I'd be looking for something more exotic and/or hard to make and there are tons of options that fit this bill. Just my opinion...

      2. hiddenboston Jan 23, 2008 04:47 AM

        Darn. I never had the chance to even get to Grille Zone. But yes, that space does seem to be cursed.

        Maybe they should put some upscale condos in there...

        1. t
          tamerlanenj Jan 23, 2008 01:51 PM

          I guess UBurger wins!

          1 Reply
          1. re: tamerlanenj
            bakerboyz Jan 24, 2008 05:21 AM

            Too bad because only their fries are worth driving for, certainly not their burgers.

          2. v
            vanna f.k.a. babette Jan 24, 2008 04:56 AM

            Damn! I really love that burger. I just had one on Saturday, en route between locations teaching fitness classes. THAT'S how much I love that burger. I still had it on my breath for yoga training. And I just introduced the mister to that burger, and we were discussing the absence of "burger-hangover" - that heavy nasty feeling in the belly an hour after ingesting. I never got that from Grill Zone. Guess I'll have to try uburger.

            1. k
              KnifeCarrier Jan 28, 2008 06:40 PM

              I am so sad they are gone. They really did make one of the best burger's I'd ever had. They were indeed quite expensive though. I'm sure this was much in part due to their use of great ingredients but my guess would be that its not easy nor more importantly cheap being green. I was thrilled the last few weeks there where they were selling full meals for $5. I thought they were just trying out an aggressive new pricing scheme :(

              3 Replies
              1. re: KnifeCarrier
                Joanie Jan 29, 2008 04:16 AM

                I was surprised to see the article on them in the Globe Food sectin about using no trans fats, but no mention of them closing (I don't think at least). Not very up to date. Then again, they ran that article on Bhutto in the Parade magazine, so they're having problems.

                1. re: Joanie
                  Allstonian Jan 29, 2008 05:06 AM

                  Yeah, I noticed that as well (it was in Sunday's City Weekly section, actually, not the Wednesday Food section.) It's a shame - clearly Grille Zone could have used the publicity!

                  Parade Magazine, however, is a national publication - the Globe isn't responsible for that gaffe.

                  1. re: Joanie
                    hiddenboston Jan 29, 2008 05:28 AM

                    Once again, leave it to Chowhound to be the most up-to-date site for changes in the Boston restaurant scene. I know that Chowhound is pretty much my best source for closings and openings of restaurants around Boston; I bet it probably is for the Globe, the Herald, and other publications and sites (including Zagat Buzz) as well.

                2. j
                  jcool617 Jan 29, 2008 04:47 PM

                  I actually was there on Saturday, they ran out of burgers, so i had the chicken sandwich - not bad. I'm hoping they do open up in another location, hopefully there is enough cash flow left because it was a great concept and something our planet needs. It was a bad location and a small place. B-Good just opened down the street in Brookline across from Anna's so that took away the wealthy Brookline clients. The price was high for college kids when they could go to Angora or T-Anthony's for more variety. Not sure if Grill Zone had delivery but that is a must to survive in a college-town. If Grill Zone opens up in Brookline or near Kenmore, they would get more foot traffic and wealthy clients. Babcock already has enough restaurants only a starbucks could survive there, and they closed at Shaws. Also, I'm surprised at the new Turkish place next to Cookin Cafe at the old Beckett's pub, I don't think that will last long.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jcool617
                    another_adam Jan 29, 2008 05:58 PM

                    Yeah, I'm also really hoping they have enough reserves to reopen somewhere else! It sure was a hasty closing, and they didn't seem to announce it, particular (no sign on the door as the day approached, for example)

                    Though I certainly understand budgetary considerations quite well, in this case I don't really buy the griping about price, when it's a few dollars difference and the difference in quality is so huge (not to mention the green angle!) It's true that burgers are simple enough to make at home for less money, but I for one am not going to start frying up fries, making some combination of burgers and veggie burgers at different donenesses, and getting the toppings together on a whim on a weeknight :)

                    IMHO, if B-good can stay open in brookline with its sorry tasteless burgers and veggie patties and UBurger can keep coasting, GZ has about ten times as much going for it--so here's hoping...

                    1. re: jcool617
                      Joanie Jan 30, 2008 03:12 AM

                      But it's not really a bad location. I don't understand why this space seems to have problems, but the actual location seems good to me, on the block with all those little restaurants and across from Brown Sugar. And you don't think you end up spending almost $10 at Angora for a sandwich, chips and drink?

                    2. b
                      bakerboyz Jan 30, 2008 05:08 AM

                      Rumor has it that UBurger had a deal with Grille Zone to take over Grill Zone's space. Manager from Grille Zone implied that they hoped to be back somewhere else in the future...I hope so.

                      1. s
                        shraquel Feb 20, 2008 01:03 PM

                        It is also possible that the opening of 'Rhett's', a burger joint in one of BU's main dining halls further removed clientèle from the Grille Zone. The burgers at the new place are pretty terrible, but it is convenient. I am SO SAD to see the Grille Zone go.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: shraquel
                          tamerlanenj Feb 20, 2008 02:45 PM

                          I wouldn't call Rhett's burgers "terrible," just sort of mediocre. The convenience of being in the GSU has got to help a lot. Most college students aren't PARTICULARLY discriminating about a burger and fries.

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