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Forest Cafe to close

oystershucker Nov 1, 2009 06:57 AM

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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    Uncle Yabai RE: oystershucker Nov 1, 2009 07:00 AM

    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
      yumyum RE: Uncle Yabai Nov 1, 2009 07:11 AM

      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. re: Uncle Yabai
        StriperGuy RE: Uncle Yabai Nov 1, 2009 10:19 AM


      2. MC Slim JB RE: oystershucker Nov 1, 2009 07:24 AM

        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. digga RE: oystershucker Nov 1, 2009 01:49 PM

          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. Alcachofa RE: oystershucker Nov 2, 2009 06:58 AM

            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. m
              MissCheese RE: oystershucker Nov 2, 2009 07:47 AM

              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. C. Hamster RE: oystershucker Nov 2, 2009 07:53 AM


                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
                  yumyum RE: C. Hamster Nov 2, 2009 07:59 AM

                  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. m
                  Mo D RE: oystershucker Nov 2, 2009 08:18 PM

                  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. c
                    crazycrazypete RE: oystershucker Nov 3, 2009 07:14 AM

                    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. b
                      bradlohaus4life RE: oystershucker Nov 3, 2009 07:17 AM

                      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
                        C. Hamster RE: bradlohaus4life Nov 3, 2009 09:25 AM

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

                        1. re: C. Hamster
                          hiddenboston RE: C. Hamster Nov 3, 2009 10:56 AM

                          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
                            jgg13 RE: hiddenboston Nov 3, 2009 11:12 AM

                            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
                              Northender RE: hiddenboston Nov 3, 2009 11:14 AM

                              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
                                nsenada RE: hiddenboston Nov 3, 2009 11:46 AM

                                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
                                  ginnyhw RE: hiddenboston Nov 3, 2009 12:40 PM

                                  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
                                  BobB RE: C. Hamster Nov 3, 2009 11:41 AM

                                  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
                                    Northender RE: BobB Nov 3, 2009 03:03 PM

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

                              2. s
                                scubajane RE: oystershucker Nov 22, 2009 09:49 AM

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

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: scubajane
                                  chickendhansak RE: scubajane Nov 25, 2009 07:10 PM

                                  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
                                    hiddenboston RE: chickendhansak Nov 27, 2009 07:20 AM

                                    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. digga RE: oystershucker Dec 7, 2009 05:26 PM

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

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: digga
                                    hiddenboston RE: digga Dec 8, 2009 06:29 AM

                                    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
                                      hiddenboston RE: hiddenboston Dec 8, 2009 07:07 AM

                                      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
                                        MissCheese RE: hiddenboston Dec 8, 2009 09:14 AM

                                        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
                                          Chowzmeister RE: MissCheese Dec 16, 2009 04:49 PM

                                          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
                                            hiddenboston RE: Chowzmeister Dec 17, 2009 05:56 AM

                                            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. s
                                    Splendid Spatula RE: oystershucker Dec 17, 2009 08:44 AM

                                    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
                                      jgg13 RE: Splendid Spatula Dec 17, 2009 09:34 AM

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

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