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Feb 22, 2008 04:24 AM

Worst local spinoff ever?

Another local Hound's bemoaning the weakness of the food at Sunset Cantina, sibling to the much-better Sunset Grille and Tap, got me thinking: what other well-regarded Boston restaurants have spun off inferior secondary concepts? For example, I think Ashmont Grille is a worthy second restaurant from Icarus' chef/owner, but a lot of Dot Hounds clearly dislike it. I genuinely miss Rouge, a plank in Tremont 647's ill-fated brand extension scheme, but not enough other folks liked it well enough to keep it in business.

I concur that the Sunset Cantina's food is vastly inferior to the merely-passable food at the Sunset Grille, and would add a few more ugly sibings to this list:

* All non-original Pizzeria Regina outlets

* Bonfire (compared to the original good-old-days Olives, anyway)


I know I'm forgetting some others.

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  1. The Sel De La Terre, in the "Natick Collection" is a lackluster drag (I've only been to lunch). None of the special quality of the original location.

    2 Replies
    1. re: onefineleo

      Even the bread?

      I live close to the original, so I'm not going to Natick for the knock-off anyway, but I'd think their bread should still be excellent there.

      BTW, one of the best lunches in the city is the Salad Nicoise at the bar. Yum. And I'm not even a salad guy.

      1. re: Bostonbob3


        Yes, even the bread. I couldn't figure that out.

    2. Kelley's RB Fried Clams- I think it's the old fryalators.
      Dunkin Dognuts- I seem to remember they were good once upon a time.
      Filene's Basement- Remember the hot dog/ice cream? (keeping on topic)

      5 Replies
      1. re: trufflehound

        Ah memories....Filenes basement hotdogs. I remember that smell (and occasional taste) well.

        1. re: catsmeow

          Yes, I fondly remember the smell. My mother used to to take me there to keep my happy while she dragged me through the Basement. It was called the Frosty Corner.

          1. re: tamerlanenj

            Heh heh, something tells me that wasn't an accidental misspelling. I do concur!

            1. re: hiddenboston

              Our friend Foodperv is also fond of that spelling. Gets a chuckle out of me every time. :)

        2. How about 608, the B Side Lounge spinoff?

          Mission of Burma came out retirement and played there first, that's about all that happened there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ponyboy

            No, I saw a great show by Tender Trap and the Orange Peels there. But I remember absolutely nothing else about the place.

          2. Afew that come to mind..

            Michela Larsen's...Blu

            Frank Depasquale..Mare, Bricco

            Stan Frankenthaler....Salamander/Red Sky? in the first Finale space

            Tony Ambrose..Ambrosia to Blackfin

            Mantra has never lived up to it's initial "fine dining"..more a nightspot.

            6 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              I liked Salamander when it was in Cambridge.

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                I did too..never seemed to catch on in Back Bay.

                The original Jae's in the SE was great..the branches never seemed to live up to the original..especially the 4 story place bordering on Bay Village

                1. re: Bostonbob3

                  I used to love Salamander when it was in Cambridge (at the bottom floor of that office building). I think his other place was Red Herring though.

                  Off subject but I would have put Stan Frankenthaler against any chef in New England when he was at his peak at Salamander (even when he was manning the kitchen at Jasper's while Jasper wrote his first cookbook).

                  1. re: RandyL

                    I work in that office building, and no one misses Salamander more than everyone who worked near it. Now there's some crappy Rebacca's Cafe-run coffee stand and a bunch of empty tables.

                    1. re: bobot

                      I can certainly empathise with you. Just the smell of those wonderful breads baking in the oven would have driven me wild there. I hope you were able to partake quite often in the close proximity of having such a great restaurant steps from your office. Of all the long gone restaurants in Boston, I miss Salamander (and the original Jasper's) the most.

                    2. re: RandyL

                      yes Red Herring was the name. I had a decent meal there; but it just never caught on. I'd rather have it back than Finale..which I'm not a fan of.

                      Pignoli was a failure after Lydia Shire's great success at Biba.. This was in the space that's now Via Matta.

                2. Interesting thread. Siro's at Marina Bay comes to mind. Was real good when it first opened. Then they opened 3 other location which didn't cut it. Now the original Siro's is only a shadow of it's original self. Great location and view, with just passable food.