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Support local eateries vs. downturn: List yours

Hello Chowhounds... I'm new to the board but not to good food. I have been thinking about our economy and how it is getting really rough for restaurants out there. I want to propose that we support the best locally owned eateries to help them survive the recession/ depression that is looming. Local businesses support our communities and if they have a good business with streamlined expenses they are more likely to survive and to provide us with good food that is nearby (when Peak Oil hits before long).

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  1. Toraya of Arlington

    I would like to support Toraya japanese restaurant as it is in my view simply the best sushi I have had. Mr. Toraya is a perfectionist and I have been amazed at the quality. No faddish flavors (which are great sometimes) but just perfect sushi every time. It is very small and has few employees, so it should be able to survive. It is very small and at times you may have to wait, but if you go early or late that is avoided.

    890 Massachusetts Ave
    Arlington MA 02476

    1. I propose we all patronize Whole Foods. Disclosure: I hold a significant amount of WFMI.

      You can guess if I'm joking or not.

      1. Wholeheartedly agree. I spent many years without a nice restaurant to walk to (Oak Square, Brighton) and truly value what I have now. Our neighborhood go-to place is Vee Vee in Jamaica Plain. We went there the first night they opened and get there once or twice a month. It fills a niche for us of mid-priced comfortable place where the food is better and more interesting than we usually make for ourselves. We are almost always pleased and occasionally delighted.

        1. Green Street. One of the best nabe hangs around -- good food, good drink, good vibe.

          Pho & I on Huntington. Very good bun and drunken noodles, and just about the nicest owner in the world. A great spot in a neighborhood that should support more great spots, but doesn't.

          Qingdao Garden, the new Zoe's, and Shangri La don't seem to be in danger of losing patrons, but since I'd be VERY sad to see them go, I'll put them on my list as well.

          (Ditto on Toraya.)

          1. I can think of a number of good locally-owned restaurants that don't seem to get the crowds and might need some help to survive this downturn. A few that come to mind include:

            Grain and Salt in Allston--excellent Indian/Pakistani spot.

            Thai Moon in Arlington--perhaps my favorite of the three Thai spots in Arlington.

            Something Savory in Arlington--funky little Caribbean-influenced spot in Arlington Heights.

            Genki Ya in Brookline--one of the best Japanese restaurants I've been to in the Boston area.

            Angela's Cafe in East Boston--they do get the crowds occasionally, but I still worry about this outstanding Mexican spot.

            9 Replies
            1. re: hiddenboston

              Genki Ya, huh? That place belongs on the thread about restaurants that never get talked about on this board - I did a search and found only 4 mentions including this one. Tell me more!

              1. re: Allstonian

                Outstanding sushi, good Japanese entrees, very friendly people, modern and clean spot, slightly high but not-too-terrible prices. The sweet potato tempura roll I had there was out of this world...

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  Is this the place in Coolidge Corner, next to a Chinese place?

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    I'm pretty sure there is a Chinese place either right next door or very close. It is more or less across the street from Dok Bua.

                    1. re: hiddenboston

                      Oh; I was thinking of the place, also newish and Japanese, more or less across the street rom Rod Dee. What used to be a Mexican place....

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        GG: If I'm not mistaken, the one you're thinking of (on Beacon) is Gin Ga

                        1. re: another_adam

                          You are correct, Sir....
                          Any reports there?

                          1. re: galleygirl

                            I stopped in for lunch once about a year ago and had yamakake soba--it wasn't necessarily stellar, but it was competently executed, and refreshing on a hot summer day. Pretty good tempura, too, IIRC. Didn't try the sushi though (I generally maintain a "no sushi east of the rockies" policy)

                            I've seen that they still have a 20% lunch special banner, so I imagine business must be slow. It's a small and pretty cute space (nicer than what Taqueria Mexico had done with it), so someone should check them out and report back on how they're doing nowadays! :)

                    2. re: galleygirl

                      Nope, it's on Harvard, on the same block as Kehillath Israel (the big temple.)

              2. Not eating at restaurants. Lost job weeks ago, buying things on sale and in bulk to save $.

                3 Replies
                1. re: AHan

                  Good point. Thank you for putting things in perspective. Do you have any favorite bang for your buck recommendations?

                  1. re: bluestbluesea80

                    Pretty much Market Basket covers most of our needs at big savings. Cutting out coupons and looking at the circulars for specials, for example Roche Bros had hummus on sale for $1 each, picked up about ten of them. Tending to base the menu according to what's on sale rather than deciding what to make and then just going out and buying it.

                  2. re: AHan

                    And for you, I recommend the mark-down carts at the Stop and Shop in Framingham...great deals on fruits and veggies, if you're in the neighborhood....
                    I've gotten fresh boxes of gourmet mushrooms there for short $$$....

                  3. La Morra is a great locally owned restaurant. A husband and wife team with adorable children too. I love their food and I like the fact that they are a small family business. I want to see these kind of places survive during these difficult times.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: macadamianut

                      Never been to La Morra but just looked at their web site on your recommendation. I have to say that this place looks promising. Great menu, nice wine list, and the chef has a good background. I'm going to take your advice (supported by others as well) and get over there soon.

                      Benatti is a place that I keep hearing good things about... also recommended on this thread... that's been on my short list for a few months.

                      1. re: macadamianut

                        Wow, somehow I've never heard of La Morra (spend too much time on the other side of the river I guess)
                        I lived in Milan for a while and the menu looks like it hits all the right notes of Northern Italian cuisine that somehow get lost over here. Suddenly I'm ravenous.....

                      2. Great thread! I waver between eating out less and wanting to help the restaurants survive. Because you're right. It is going to be a very tough road for restaurants. But I live in JP, which has an abundance of locally owned eateries. Among the places I will continue to patronize (as often as I can) are:
                        Wonder Spice
                        Ghazal (new Indian place)
                        Centre Street Cafe
                        Bon Savor

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TheScribe

                          ALWAYS go local! Who needs chains when you have this much local talent??

                          Gargoyles--Somerville/Davis Square
                          La Morra--Brookline/Rte. 9
                          Drink--Fort Point
                          Dave's Fresh Pasta for takeout, wine and pasta making classes, AND they'll be expanding into a local grocer soon! Cannot rave enough about the fabulous staff and Dave himself!!!

                          1. re: TheScribe

                            Don't miss Benatti on Cambridge Street in East Cambridge: amazing, perhaps the best pasta this side of Italy - and fantastic sauces. This is a must stop restaurant.

                          2. I don't think I have eaten in a chain restaurant for abou 20 years. But, I don't eat out that often and when I do, my budget isn't going to keep anyone open. The few places we frequent include Quindao, Taco Lupita, Wang's, Courthouse Seafood and when the craving hits, a gyro sandwich from the Greek Corner.

                            Where my dollar really counts is the local markets where I buy my food. Food is an important part of my budget, but I spend it on ingredients more than dining out.

                            1. I've been supporting a number of local Quincy places since I'm in the midst of a kitchen remodel and everything is torn up. Gennaro's is my take out place for chicken pot pies (Wednesdays only); and baked ziti; the bar at Cafe deParis for their haddock; tenderloin steaks or pizza is another regular stop . Their pizza actually comes from Darcy's kitchen. For Americanized chinese it's Chop Sticks and Indian it's Punjub although I really miss Classic India. So I guess I'm doing my part.