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Forest Cafe to close

Sadly, this Cambridge institution is closing.
It will probably remain open until the end of Nov.
Sold to a group of folks who are turning it into some health food store or vegan joint.

After 75 years in the area, it's sad to see this local, family-run establishment close its doors.

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  1. I never quite figured out what the appeal of this place was, but it is sad nonetheless to see an old standby go out of business.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Yabai

      Garlicky green beans were part of the appeal for me. Also the dumpy divey atmosphere was just plain comfortable. I'm sad to hear they are closing. :-(

      1. Sad. First place I ever got a pink can of Tecate and decent Mexican food together; loved those salty ejotes. Was good, then bad, then they got the original chef back and it was good again. Far eclipsed by places that have opened since, e.g., Angela's, but I had a lot of really enjoyable meals there over the years. (I have to admit I preferred the old, dumpier version; the remodeled place was too cheery.) I will miss it.


        1. WHA?! HUH?! We haven't been 'round in some time because we are old and don't go out anymore :) , but we love that place! I have had many interesting conversations at the bar that preceded the food at times. Plus, it's fun getting hit on by the old-school Cantabridgians that populate the bar. I will stop by this week. Thanks for the info oystershucker.

          1. Crap. Not a highly recommendable place generally, but good for a junk-faux-Mex fix. Certainly better than most of Boston Mexican places, not that that's saying much, but still.

            1. I just let out a gasp when I read this.....so bummed. This place is a mainstay for me and a group of friends. We love the garlicky green beans... and the Forest 'ritas....and the yummy hot salsa they serve with the chips.... bummer! Indeed, hate it when a local, family run establishment closes. (sigh)

              1. :-(

                Sad. It was a fun place to have a beer and some ok grub.

                I'll try to swing by before they shut down.

                Anyone know why they are closing?

                1 Reply
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Agree about the beer. I have gotten over at least one heart-break with a Dos XX or three and a long lunch.

                  I will be stopping in to pay my respects before the vegans arrive.

                2. Thanks for getting the word out! I love this place, it will be missed. Good people, good food. Great bar to strike up a nice chat! Very sad loss...

                  1. This is my single favorite place for saturday afternoon drinking (maybe it is the accepting attitude of my margarita intake?) and will leave a serious void!

                    1. I had no problem with Forest Cafe as a place to have a couple of beers, but the food was awful. This really isn't a huge lose from a culinary perspective...although if it's becoming a health food joint it's a net loss in terms of coolness.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: bradlohaus4life

                        Dive bars with bad Tex Mex are a dying breed here. I still recall the El Phoenix room.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          We were all talking about the El Phoenix a few nights ago. Oh, how I miss that place. The food wasn't great, but there's something really neat about washing down burritos and enchiladas with lots of beer.

                          1. re: hiddenboston

                            I think I recently mentioned it in another thread, but I actually miss the austin grill in central square. Sure, it wasn't very good, but it satisfied a niche (mediocre-to-bad tex-mex & booze) that isn't in high supply here and was replaced by a joint who has a niche (mediocre-to-bad faux irish bar) which we have far too many of.

                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              I loved that place (El Phoenix Room) when I was a student. I always seemed to get a little queazy after eating there but returned regularly nevertheless.

                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                Ah yes, the hubcap full of enchiladas with white sauce inexplicably dumped over it. Very good for leaching the toxins out of the drinks.

                                I miss a special the Forest Cafe used to have (or it may have been the Porterhouse) of sausages with some kind of custardy vanilla sauce.

                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                  I had my first Margarita there on my 25th birthday and dragged people there for years for my birthday dinner. I loved the food too.

                                2. re: C. Hamster

                                  I still remember a line from Robert Nadeau's Boston Phoenix review of the place back around 1978 or so: "Yes, some of the food comes from cans. But they're the RIGHT cans!"

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    I remember that review - just about right!...

                              2. I was at Forest Cafe last night - bar staff told me that they will close after Thanksgiving....

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: scubajane

                                  Which could have made tonight the last night, but it didn't have the feel of a place having its last night. Wonder when the last night will be.

                                  1. re: chickendhansak

                                    I talked to someone over there via phone earlier this week, and he kind of chuckled and said that they would be open for awhile longer, whatever that means.

                                2. Walked by tonight around 6:30pm...it most definitely looked closed. Farewell, Forest Cafe.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: digga

                                    I'm checking on it right now, but I think the Forest Cafe may still be open. Perhaps it was just closed last night for some reason. But I'll try to find out for sure today.

                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                      Ok, the scoop is that the Forest Cafe IS still open. And the person I talked with there (the same one who I talked to a few weeks back) still says that he doesn't know when they will be closing.

                                      This is kind of like the opposite of Lord Hobo's countdown in Cambridge from awhile back or perhaps CF Donovan's three-year "opening soon" talk in Hyde Park. Maybe someone can start a site called istheforestcafeclosed.com

                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                        Well, alright then. I will have to get on over for one (more!) last round of Forest 'ritas and garlicky green beans. And yes-- such a website would be helpful (ha!)

                                        1. re: MissCheese

                                          Drove by today and saw a big dumpster in front of the Forest Cafe. Usually when that happens on the heels of a closing it means someone else is moving in. Did they officially close? If so does anyone know what's going on here?

                                          1. re: Chowzmeister

                                            No, they are still open. I asked someone there this morning if they have a closing date and they said that they didn't.

                                  2. See today's Cambridge Chronicle - http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/...

                                    Sold, to the folks who run the Clear Conscience Cafe in Central Square (not heard of it), no closing date but the new place is aiming for a February opening.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                      clear conscience (c^3) is the coffee shop inside the harvest co-op