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January 2010 Openings and Closings

Here is a topic to discuss openings and closings in the Boston Area split by month as proposed since past seasonal topics were getting very long. We will have to see whether this new format works as many restaurant openings when they are close take more than a month, heck even waiting for the fire marshall seems to take longer than that sometimes. :-) If discussion of a opening continues to another month, you can use the "permalink" feature to link back previous discussions to be helpful to other hounds. As a reminder, restaurant reviews should be put into a separate new topic.

East by Northeast seems pretty far along, so I'll put that as a maybe for January. Sounds like Ebisuya is another strong possibility (and the fire marshall could walk there!). The new Muqueca and maybe the Cambridge Floating Rock (is there any work going on the "proposed" location) seem a bit further out, but I bet the former could be a winter opening.

I noticed Poboys on 3rd Street in Everett which I think could be a new or (re)opening (there was something always closed in that location, but today it was fully stocked, had some new equipment, and brand new menus on the door). It was closed today either as Saturday or a snow day, but since they were advertising "all subs $3.99" I am guessing that seafood Po'Boys probably are not their specialty but something to find out more later.

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  1. As of a few days ago the "proposed" FR location still said "retail/restaurant space available"

    15 Replies
    1. re: Luther

      Anyone have info on what could be going in Davis Square where the retail store Bowl & Board used to be???

        1. re: Aromatherapy

          Khayam, a Persian-American restaurant opened on Harvard in Brookline.

            1. re: ginnyhw

              Heading towards Allston. It is near Bok Dua, The Butcherie, etc. - JFK Crossing.

              1. re: ginnyhw

                Across Harvard from Dok Bua and Dorado.

                1. re: drewames03

                  Same owner of Jasmine Bistro in Brighton - I'm v. interested! Here's some info - http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/...

                  1. re: CookieLee

                    I think that is Jasmine on Mt Auburn in Watertown roughly across from Stella's, not Jasmine Bistro (it would also make more sense).

                    1. re: itaunas

                      Hmm, I see that, now that I reread the article. Have you been to Jasmine in Watertown? How is it?

                      1. re: CookieLee

                        I have been a couple of times and enjoyed it, but both Aromatherapy and Taralli have hounded the menu a lot further than me so check out their postings for menu ideas.

                        1. re: itaunas

                          I've tried a number of items on their menu. I'm a big fan of anyplace that uses sumac, and they definitely use it at Jasmine. The chicken shawarma is quite good there, and the Persian soup is very nice as well.

                        2. re: CookieLee

                          I have gone a few times for lunch since I work in the area. It is ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go there unless you were in the area. Very basic kebabs, rice, Middle Eastern salad and humus plates for lunch.

                  2. re: Aromatherapy

                    I'm glad the planning board didn't approve the facade changes they wanted to make.

                  3. re: winecafe95

                    former gm of temple bar and grafton st. is the owner. financing and licensing all in place.

                2. Littlenecks in Weymouth closed on New Year's Eve after being in business for a little over two months.

                  Vej Naturals may be opening this month in Somerville after moving from Malden. Actually, they are changing their name to The Pulse Cafe.

                  Stoddard's is opening this week in downtown Boston.

                  Also, not sure about January, but two new restaurants may be coming to Allston: Ariana Cuisine (Afghan) and Basil Asia Cafe (perhaps Thai, though unsure at this time).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    Some decent Afghan food in Allston would be fantastic... hopefully something better than boring Helmand or crappy Annapurna

                  2. actually, it closed in december, but papa's bakery, in eastie next to santarpio's, has closed. windows all papered over, but no info or signage saying anything.

                    1. Just got word that the Seaport Bar and Grille on the Waterfront closed their doors for good a few nights ago.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hiddenboston

                        the atlantic beer garden guys are taking it over.

                      2. Quick update: Stoddard's Fine Food and Ale will NOT be opening in downtown Boston tomorrow. Their opening date has been pushed back to sometime during the last week of January.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: hiddenboston

                          apparently due to "delayed delivery of decor"? lol. what?

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            Maybe the shoeshine stand is coming from Minnesota and the planes were all stuck to the ground? :-b

                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              I guess no one should be surprised when a new restaurant doing major renovations to a space experiences extensive delays to its projected opening (see Coppa), but I have to admit this is the first time I've heard, "The snow ate my homework."

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                so, they are waiting for fishnet stockinged-leg lamps ? missing decor does not delay opening the doors. do their investors have ANY hair left to pull out?

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  LOL! I believe they can get those at Newbury Comics. :-D

                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                Aren't they getting some amazing bar from the UK?

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  I thought they are waiting on an amazing bar from the UK...

                                  1. re: Trumpetguy

                                    They were definitely waiting on the bar and it is now in place. I was in there earlier this week and to be honest, it looks amazing. A couple more final touches and hopefully they can make their mid January opening date.

                                    1. re: WestOnTheRight

                                      The menu does look amazing, I must say. The only odd thing I noted was a rabbit dish, that seemed to include a "rabbi mousse." I'm kind of hoping it was a typo...

                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                          And worse than the cannibalism, they used a possessive comma incorrectly on the "Entrees" heading.

                                          1. re: nsenada

                                            Oh no, I'm gonna have to boycott this place.

                                            Not that most people here care, but 29 Newbury is closed til the 14th (I think) for renovations. Didn't they do that fairly recently?

                              3. Pops Restaurant in the South End is currently closed for renovations, through Jan 13, their sign says. From the street, it looks like they're reconfiguring the front into a bigger bar / waiting area. Some pretty significant carpentry work going on in there. I've heard the chef/owner complain that too many walk-ins simply walk out when they realize they have no comfy indoor place to wait 30-45 minutes at peak times. I'm pulling for them.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  Thanks, MC. I was actually planning on going there tonight. I'll be looking forward to going when they open back up again.

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Back in September I had a chat with their bartender about these renovation plans - they are going to significantly expand the bar/cafe area. Hopefully the renovations will include a way to keep it a little warmer up front.

                                    1. re: heathermb

                                      Well, I hope they get a handle on their staff while they're closed. I had a really unpleasant experience there when they started their tapas menu, and after spending $250 (it was my birthday) was asked to pay the check quickly, as they had someone waiting for the table. Yikes!

                                      1. re: MartyF1112

                                        That reflects two problems there: no place for customers to wait in the old configuration, and high FoH staff turnover. Their opening staff was solid and experienced, but the last time I was in there, I barely recognized a single face; my server was well-meaning but clearly kind of green. Maybe the new configuration will help them on both counts.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                                      I don't see this update anywhere on here, so I thought Id update that Pops has reopened. Apparently, as stated, there was a lot of work done to their bar, and they have over hauled their menu.

                                    3. Fat Cactus on Route 1 in Lynnfield will be opening on January 19 in the old Naked Fish/Lucille's Fine Chicken spot.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                        Bostonville people from up Rt 1 seem to be taking that over. That spot seems cursed but best of luck to them in the Tex Mex biz.

                                        1. re: ipsofatso

                                          Looks like the opening of the place may have been delayed. They took the "January 19" opening date down off their Facebook page.

                                      2. That little spot on Bromfield St. just past Silvertone was dark this morning during prime time - it might be closed.
                                        Would also note a tasty cappuccino and fresh-baked blueberry muffin from downstairs at Marliave this morning .

                                        1. Sal's Pizza has opened in Norwell, this one being the first Sal's south of the city.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                            Do you happen to know where in Norwell?

                                            1. re: amybloo

                                              Sal's Pizza, 9 Grove Street, Norwell, MA, 02061. The phone number is (781) 561-7355.

                                          2. Last I saw here (Winter Openings/Closings topic), The Battery, the fish and chips shop in Brighton Center, was closed for renovations, but I went by today and saw a sign in the window that said "For Lease".

                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                            21 Replies
                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              I don't get to Brighton Center that much so didn't make it, but I thought the general consensus was people were happy to have this place. And wasn't it mostly takeout? I'm surprised it closed.

                                              The long-awaited(?) Robinwood Cafe in JP has opened. For weeks they looked like they were ready and would have the grate up 3/4 of the way but just got going two days ago. And this morning it looked like they were ready to open at 6AM or so. We'll see.

                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                There was always a line when I went to The Battery at prime time, and another crush when the nearby pubs closed. (I liked the fried fish, but thought the chips were weak.) As the Friendly Toast shows, you can be crowded and still run into financial trouble.

                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  What's the financial trouble at the Toast ?

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Wow - what a mess! I find it hard to believe that they cannot take some sort of action against the landlord in NH, though I am sure the lawyers have been over it.

                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                        toscanini's was a tax scofflaw and got their customers to pony up that dough!

                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                          Some of the Friendly Toast's story smells a bit. How do you waste $50K in training costs?

                                                          (All you Hounds who've had lousy service experiences can chime in, "Obviously, they wasted it!", but I've had better luck with both the food and service there.)

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Yeah, I passed by last night too and saw the awful news.

                                                      Since it's all over now, I just want to be a broken record one last time and say that my opinions were the exact opposite of yours. The chips were dead on, exactly right and to my knowledge, one of a kind in the area. The fish batter on the other hand was just wrong: too thick, and often gummy. Fish should be freshly dredged and dipped almost immediately before frying, not partially cooked and re-cooked to order.

                                                      It's a pity really because they appeared to have all the right hardware, and being in Boston probably had access to fresh fish that rivals if not surpasses the likes of Whitby.

                                                      1. re: chickendhansak

                                                        I never had the chance to try the Battery, but I do wonder why we don't have a decent British-style fish-n-chip takeaway spot ANYWHERE in Boston. It just doesn't make sense. They're on every corner in London; wouldn't you think Boston could support just one small little storefront joint? Esp with all the Brits and other europeans in this town? You'd think if there was any US city that'd have one or two really standout fish-n-chip shops, Boston would be it. Maybe one of these days.

                                                        1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                          Not takeaway (well, I guess you could) but the fish sandwich and fish and chips at The Druid are awesome...had the sandwich again today.

                                                        2. re: chickendhansak

                                                          I've never had authentic Irish fish and chips but I didn't know what to make of the par-cooked fish pieces that they kept on display. I only went once, but I got a piece still full of liquidy batter, sent it back, and then got another exactly the same.

                                                          1. re: chickendhansak

                                                            I'm the opposite of an authority on the subject, but my experience was always that the haddock had a nicely crisp, light batter, and the chips were on the soggy side, like the chip fryer was overcrowded or the oil temperature too low. I brought an Irish ex-pat pal along a couple times, and he liked it, but thought the chips were not so great, either. But those visits were all in its first few months. I don't think I've been back since I reviewed in for The Phoenix a year or so ago.

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              I feel the softness / slight sogginess is correct, at least as found at traditional chip shops in northern England and Scotland. I haven't tried them in Ireland. Some northerners and Scots will not accept that the south of England (e.g. London) knows what it's doing, though as a northerner myself I think that's unfair, even if you will typically get the real stuff up north.

                                                              Never having worked in a chip shop it's only my theory, but I think the softness comes from them resting after frying, something which is intensified if you have them wrapped and take them home as the paper wrapping leads to them effectively steaming a little. I don't personally like them straight out of the fryer.

                                                              Anyway, as reported before on CH, earlier this year I created my dream "impossible" meal of burrito and chips. Photo attached. Meal by classic American melting pot circumstances, burritos by Boca Grande, chips by The Battery, RIP.

                                                               
                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                I remember getting some chips at the Pettitcoat Lane flea market and an older lady asked me how they were. I said pretty good but kind of soggy and she goes "that's how they're supposed to be luv".

                                                              2. re: chickendhansak

                                                                Yah, I don't get it. We never got over to the Battery, but why can't Boston sustain places like A Salt and Battery or Chip Shop in NYC? My bro' and I have been to both (he lives there) and I have wondered, why can't Boston sustain such places? Or Belgian frites places as in SF? Particularly given our young college drinking culture?

                                                                1. re: digga

                                                                  Belgian frites are coming. A place called Saus should be opening near Quincy Market in the next month or two.

                                                              3. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                MC add me to the list of people who challenged the fish/chips assertion from your early reviews. The times I went to the battery (all after they had been open for 30 days), the chips were as expected and the fish not up to par (neither haddock nor pollock). I wouldn't go so far to combine a burrito and chips (thats reserved for chourico for me :-), but the best thing they offered was sausage (griddled not battered) and chips which hit the spot.

                                                                I do love double-fried chips and true belgian fries, but I think restaurants in general and particularly of the "new bistro" or gastropub variety take it too far. British Fish and chips shouldn't be served with shoestring potatoes (the original Biltmore had awesome fish with great condiments, but the fries weren't the right and they called it "traditional" F&C). And the flavor of the potato is as important as the texture and in some cases the oil (some olive oil can add a lot of complimentary flavor but doesn't support shortening fry temperatures). When I was on the South Coast this past summer I had some fries (regular, not portuguese) from Terra Nostra which were too light, not very crispy, but full of potato and oil flavor. Within a couple of days I had house cut, thin, bistro potatoes in Boston, crispy but soulless and I ate less than half of them. As long as they keep tastiness (and in the case of F+C think about what goes best or at least don't call it "traditional" and serve with frites) in mind, everything is good, but sometimes the taste is lost in pursuit of the technical objective of a perfect fry which ends up far from perfect. (On the fast food side I would add 5 Guys to this list, they double fry and have fresh potato bags all over the store, but the fries have little or no flavor. The burgers are far from the holy grail, but taste wise I think they come closer to meeting expectations set by their own marketing.)

                                                                1. re: itaunas

                                                                  I do love that Portuguese / Azorean style of pan-fried sliced potatoes, grew up eating those. How is Terra Nostra holding up these days?

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    I also love those same potatoes also of my youth, but this was actually with regular french fries and not the Portuguese potatoes. Terra Nostra is really not one of my favorites, but my meal there was really excellent: a bife a portugesa which was exactly the way I liked it (good beef drippings flavor to the gravy, a bit spicy) and they had a nice ripe azorean cheese on the specials menu. I can't remember our other dish which wasn't as good. On Sundays (when we went) they offer the a la carte menu and fixed-price buffet, I think other days they offer the a la carte and several prix-fixe options based on the day -- at least this was how they did it before. I think the quality is a bit better than Sagres (which I like, but does cut corners) and both are reasonable with groups (including picky eaters). Sagres has the larger menu and Fado, cheaper, Terra Nostra has better wine selections. Go elsewhere for real neighborhood dining and Azorean specials (Nab got a good start on this including a visit to Marisqueira Azores). When I was down a friend landed a tuna, so that occupied most diners and so I had to be satisfied with Terra Nostra and a couple of Portuguese lunches in New Bedford.

                                                              4. re: Joanie

                                                                Joanie, I just talked to someone at the Robinwood Cafe and she said that they are indeed open--they opened yesterday, according to her. She also said they will be open until 10:00 tonight (wish I could get there to check it out, but I have to be in Cambridge around dinnertime).

                                                              5. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                Yup--according to a Yelper who posted on The Battery page, as of 12/27 the fixtures were removed and a for lease sign was in the window.

                                                              6. According to UrbanDaddy Boston (a male-focused version of Daily Candy), East by Northeast is opening this Friday.

                                                                These daily email newsletters seem to be fed by PR people, so the owners must feel confident they can make that date or something soon after.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                                                  There were patrons in there tonight so I'm guessing the soft opening has happened. Looking forward to the addition to my neighborhood!

                                                                  1. re: beforesunrise

                                                                    Yes, someone wrote on Twitter that it was open tonight. Someone else posted a photograph of the menu, which seems to have reasonable prices and a nice selection of some favorites like rice noodles in XO sauce (I am not sure if this is the entire menu or not):
                                                                    http://bit.ly/6HFaks

                                                                2. Notice two in the Back Bay that are closed. Joe Tecce's across from the Pru is closed and gone. Globe cafe across from Copley Square is being renovated. Let's hope for something better in each space.

                                                                  La Voile is on vacation until the 14th and then they have a schedule to showcase the food of various regions of France over the rest of the winter and spring. That might be a nice addition to the dining scene.

                                                                  Penny
                                                                  http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: BostonZest

                                                                    you mean vinnie testa's near the pru. amazingly joe tecce's remains open, lol.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      Sorry, yes, you can see how much attention I pay to chains. Thanks for the correction. Wouldn't it be nice to have something other than a food factory go into that space?

                                                                      Boston
                                                                      Penny
                                                                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                      1. re: BostonZest

                                                                        not for january, but across the street, jasper white and patrick lyons are building a restaurant on the street level of the hynes auditorium. could be promising.

                                                                        however with what i suspect the rent must be in the vinny t's space, i'm not hoping for much in the way of indie owners.

                                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        My one time at Vinny's I actually won one of those balls in the big thing and had a gift card for $50. Ha ha, oh well.

                                                                    2. God, maybe we should break this thread down by individual weeks! :-b

                                                                      Just found out that East by Northeast in Cambridge is indeed already open (UrbanDaddy said they would be open tomorrow, but they are definitely open to the public today).

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                        GrubStreet has posted the full menu:
                                                                        http://boston.grubstreet.com/2010/01/...
                                                                        Part of the restaurant's website is also up:
                                                                        http://curthayden.com/exne/main/

                                                                        I was stunned to learn that the chef's family owns A&J in Annandale, VA, a place I make a pilgrimage to every time I'm in DC and which has the best dan dan noodles I have ever had. That's all the credentials Philip Tang needs in my book.

                                                                        1. re: hckybg

                                                                          Ooh, now those are real neighborhood-restaurant prices and that menu looks awesome. I will totally check this place out, maybe earlyish Sunday evening to avoid what's sure to be a huge crush.

                                                                          1. re: djd

                                                                            Tell us how it is if you go! I may not be able to get there until next weekend. The prices are great, even if the plates are on the smaller side. I understand they have specials too. I even heard that Tang is buying whole pigs and using them as he sees fit. Sounds good!

                                                                      2. Sign up at The Daily Catch in Brookline saying tonight is their "Grand Re-Opening Party" and everyone is invited.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: CookieLee

                                                                          Yeah, I walked past this afternoon: the sign says 6-11 p.m. tonight, and the inside looked ready to go.

                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                            I went to the party at the Daily Catch last night and it was absolutely amazing. Got there at about 8:30, and they had plates of black pasta, calamari, clams casino, and shrimp going around for the next hour that I was there, not to mention the wine was flowing. And it was all FREE! The black pasta with calamari was perfectly cooked, and although I'm not typically a puttanesca fan, I was a fan of theirs last night. I will definitely be back.

                                                                        2. What's the word with the new Muqueca - change of location or additional location?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: stargaret

                                                                            Moving (across the street) to a larger location, possibly with entertainment/live music as well.

                                                                          2. Milestone has opened in the old Vidalia's spot in Wellesley. Looks like a mix of Mediterreanan and Southern European cuisine.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                              Is it actually open to the public yet? I was there Friday night, and the bar was filled with d-bags dressed in black (hope I haven't just called funeral dinner attendees "d-bags"), with nary a host or hostess in sight. Waited five minutes and gave up.

                                                                              1. re: nsenada

                                                                                I believe they were only open for lunch earlier this month, so perhaps they are getting ready to open for dinner now? I'll try to check this.

                                                                            2. There's a lot of work going on at the old Spring Blossom restaurant at VFW Parkway in W. Roxbury. No signs indicating what's coming though.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: pemma

                                                                                A Lebanese restaurant is going into the old Spring Blossom. Not sure it has a name yet, though.

                                                                              2. Anyone know what's up with Hamersly's? Obviously, I'm sure if there was any chance of closing we'd know about it, but the windows have been papered for over a week now. Not vacation....so I'm guessing some type of renovation as well?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                  He closes every year at this time for a few weeks. I don't know if it's for maintenance or renovations but he always closes in early Jan for a bit. Considering Boston is a ghost town that time of year seems like good business.

                                                                                2. Sign on Blue Asia Cafe (Brighton Ave between Linden and Harvard, Allston, next to Second Cup) said it was opening tomorrow (Saturday, 1/9) afternoon.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                    Interesting... looks like a Korean/Japanese/HK style place right out of the Super 88 food court (instant ramen with a pork chop, rice plate with bulgogi, chicken leg rice plate, milk tea)

                                                                                  2. Denian's, the steam bun takeout place in Lexington, has a "Temporarily Closed" sign in the window, and the website is "down for maintenance". Not looking good.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: bear

                                                                                      I am not surprised. It was not very good. If you advertise yourself as a bun place, the buns ought to be better than what you can get in the frozen section at H Mart.

                                                                                      1. re: bear

                                                                                        i hope that's temporary; i like their buns, and was hoping to go back soon. they are just a bit out of the way, though.

                                                                                        1. re: bear

                                                                                          Denian's sadly was pretty hit or miss. The chicken and red bean paste buns were consistently good, but they were often sold out. The noodles and salads never quite hit their stride, and the boba was the icky powdered kind. I'm sad to see a family run business go under, though. I do wonder if the H Mart opening hurt them. We definitely cut way back on buying our buns at Denians when we started buying them frozen at H Mart. I would argue that the quality of the fresh was definitely better at Denian's, but not enough to make us leave the house, when it's just as easy to pop the frozen ones in the steamer and be assured of the variety you want in 20 minutes.

                                                                                          There is a new sign up - Formosa Taipei, coming soon. Fingers crossed for deliciousness!

                                                                                          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                                                                            Denian's was a favorite of my veggie son, since he could inexpensive takeout for himself and make his his non-veggie friends happy as well. It never blew me away. He was sad that it closed, but you're right about the convenience of the frozen buns from H Mart.

                                                                                            Formosa Taipei...sounds promising. I wonder if it's the same family and they're just changing concepts. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

                                                                                        2. Someone posted what looks like a letter from the owner of Little Q in Quincy on my FB page, and it states that they closed on Sunday. Can anyone confirm this? I thought they were going to close this Friday, but perhaps they decided to close earlier.

                                                                                          1. Drove by the old Jury Room in Quincy tonight. It''s re-opened as the Kama Lounge. Looks like the only change is the horrible orange color has been replaced with black. That's all I know so far. Tried finding a website, but only hit I got was the transfer of the licqour license from the Jury Room.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jjbourgeois

                                                                                              This place is owned by the same people who own the nearby Fuji on Hancock Street. I'm going to try to get more info on the spot this morning....

                                                                                                1. re: Chowzmeister

                                                                                                  Yup, and the place is going to actually have two options--Chinese cuisine at Bistro Chi, and tapas and drinks at the Kama Lounge. Here's the site (and as you say, kind of, LOL) for Bistro Chi: http://www.bistrochi.com/

                                                                                                2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                  Hmmm, we stopped going to Fuji 1546 because the food and service became so spotty. I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

                                                                                              1. Walking down Salem Street in the North End this evening, I was surprised to see signs up for a rebirth of Lulu's Sweet Shop: given that the original location on Hanover was the Jay Leno Show of cupcake shops (long since replaced by a far superior Lyndell's outpost), I can't imagine why they're giving it another go unless they just have that much more money to waste.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                  Weird - I thought Lyndell's bought them, including some of the "rights" to their cupcakes.

                                                                                                2. El Pollo Loco in Chelsea is all boarded up - it was not my favorite - but pretty decent chicken (and salsas) for cheap - I guess pollo campero was just too much competition...

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: AmbigEthnic

                                                                                                    Their location and just not generating interest I think were what worked against them. Campero certainly got more press, but its a international phenomenom, which Loco isn't.. and Campero chose a location favorable for foot traffic. But, for instance, El Charrito (which is worth a visit) directly across the street from Campero still has no problem doing great business even selling Salvadoran fried chicken. In fact I think Campero has increased their business.

                                                                                                    1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                      There was an El Pollo Loco in Chelsea? I had no idea!

                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                        It was behind the McDs in the Home Depot mall which is sandwiched between Rt 16 and Webster. They opened before Campero, but almost nobody noticed.

                                                                                                      2. re: itaunas

                                                                                                        That and rather extraordinary franchisee fees and requirements.

                                                                                                        1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                          They appear to have done (or half done, and even overdone) the site on wix. I personally prefer the Under Construction or Coming Soon option. I hope that they're not paying for webdesign.

                                                                                                          1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                            They should rename that section of Chelsea for the permanent chicken smell.

                                                                                                            1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                              That is certainly a lot better than H2S from Gaseline Alley or anything originating from Kayem (they seem to have improved, though), so give the newer residents credit! I would much rather smell charcoal grilled pollo from El Chalan on one side and the pressure fryer from Campero on the other! In any case, I'll still probalby go to Charrito much more for the shredded beef with eggs but now that the traffic has died down Campero isn't inconveniencing anything.

                                                                                                        2. 54 Harvard Ave (Harvard and Farrington, next to Seoul Bakery), which over the years has been home to a number of truly wretched pizza shops, is about to get a late-night kebab shop called Azama Grill. Sign claims they'll be open until three a.m. and promises shwarma, kebab, baba ghanouj, hummus, felafel and something called "Egyptian Barbecue," which go figure.

                                                                                                          If this place is even one-quarter decent, it will make money hand over fist. Why there's not at least three late-night kebab shops in the neighborhood already is a mystery to me.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                            Is this place open yet? I am dying to try it!

                                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                Update: Azama Grill is open as of this afternoon. Cash only at the moment, which is a drag because I didn't have any on me.

                                                                                                          2. The Cafe at Mohr & McPherson on Harrison Avenue looks like it will be opening before the end of the month. Definitely sounds like an interesting place (it's within a furniture store).

                                                                                                            1. FYI, Bom de Boca Grill on Washington in Somerville is closed due to damage incurred when an adjoining house caught fire. Its not known if they plan to reopen.

                                                                                                              1. Seabra Markets has taken over the Somerville and Framingham Mundial (formerly Gol) Markets. I haven't been but that is a positive improvement and convenient as the closest Seabra in the past was in the Attleboro area. We'll also see if they have done some retraining for the staff, although on my most recent visit to the Somerville Mundial I did actually get good service from the Butcher.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                  Not knowing the reputations of Gol, Mundial and Seabra, would you mind elaborating a bit on what positives Seabra hopes to bring?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                    The Somerville "Brazilian Supermarket " opened as an independent store many years ago, they put a lot of effort into the bakery, the acougue (butcher) was good, they had some very useful non-food items which were harder to get and the weak Brazilian Real allowed for a lot of good imports at low prices. Their opening was a big deal for the Brazilians. At the time there were a lot of decent smaller food stores and Demoula's was getting into the Brazilian foodstuff. They hired a proficient "locutor" (announcer) who rattled off specials and did some humor like Supermarkets in Brazil. Unfortunately it went downhill pretty quickly, along with the US dollar which caused the supply of specialty items to dry up too. They basically kept hawking the same old expired items and anything they restocked, the bakery sold old bread, Demoula's basically carried for the same or less. So Brazilians bought their food at Demoulas, meat at a specialized butcher, and bakery items from a bakery.

                                                                                                                    Gol was a Supermarket chain from Florida, I believe they were the ones which opened the Framingham chain. It also was fairly inexpensive and well done when it started, they were pretty serious about testing butchers, etc. They took over the Somerville market and made a brief attempt to improve it (and added Portuguese Piri Piri, etc) and I believe the owners moved to Florida. In Somerville they ran into labor law issues and were also cited several times by inspectional services, eventually closing. Not certain what happened from there out in Framingham.

                                                                                                                    Mundial was the original owners of the Somerville market, when they reopened it they added some Peruvian items, but didn't do much with the stock. The butcher was generally lower quality than casa de carnes solucao, but they had some frozen and bulk specials. I had trouble getting any service there on a number of visits. They did improve the bakery more recently and I had one good experience with the butcher.

                                                                                                                    Seabra's I am hoping will be an improvement but have not visited. Its a Portuguese owned chain based in Newark's Ironbound district and their flagship store is amazing for both Portuguese and Brazilian products. Their Fall River store is not the same, but its pretty decent having additional Brazilian produce in the fall and some decent specials, I have heard some bad things about some of the other stores but can't really substantiate those. But I am hoping that they would be able to bring more selection of Brazilian and Portuguese items, while improving on customer service and keeping the stores clean. I still think it will be a challenge at least in Somerville for them to compete with Demoulas + the local acougues, but they have access to more importers in New Jersey. Plus Somerville already has Tony's Foodland and La Sultana which do pan-Latino, so they really need to get the Brazilians in. But hopefully they can succed along the lines of Compare in Chelsea, Price Rite in Lynn, HiLo in JP, Lord Jeffs, etc.

                                                                                                                    1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the detailed history! You oughta write a book...
                                                                                                                      Will pop in to see how the place looks...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                        Bob I think its better to spare everyone the book, but I think writing about the original Brazilian supermarket in Somerville was one of my first CH posts as a non-lurker, so it was fun to write a longer history. Wish I had an editor, though, because among other editing errors " In Somerville they ran into" was really talking about the Gol in Framingham which had Super88 like problems with the Attny General and Dakshin like problems with the town (the mods don't like going into details). I think both communities deserve better, but larger ethnic markets can be a tough business.

                                                                                                                        1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                          itaunas, I'm just curious (and please flame me if I've asked this before): If you had to choose 3 of your favorite places to eat, which would they be? Actually, this would be kind of a neat topic among the frequent posters, as I'm curious about this with a few others on CH as well as you.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                            Great idea for a separate post. Why not start one?

                                                                                                                            1. re: bear

                                                                                                                              I just wonder if it would seem too exclusive--and subjective, as who really is a veteran poster and who isn't.

                                                                                                                              Ahh, what the hell. When in Rome, as they say. (Getting ready to start thread...) :-)

                                                                                                                          2. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                            If I write a follow-up on my "supermarkets of Somerville" bos.com article I am definitely giving you a call!

                                                                                                                  2. Just talked with someone at Bistro Chi and the Kama Lounge in Quincy. Both places are open (sounds like they may have had some sort of soft opening a few days ago) and both are located in the old Jury Room spot. Bistro Chi focuses on Chinese cuisine, while the Kama Lounge focuses more on small plates and cocktails.

                                                                                                                    1. Cala's in Manchester is closed, the windows are papered over and it says 'closed for renovations' and it will reopen in January as a re-invention of Cala's, maybe Cala's Pub? Also says "It's a GIRL!" so...anyway maybe they are down-scaling to more of a pubby place which is fine by me.

                                                                                                                      1. Noticed last night that Cafe Lola on Highland Ave in Somerville has papered over windows with signs that announce renovations and new management. The place really never grabbed me, so we'll see if anything comes of the renovations.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                          I guess you've lived in a place for a while when such a post spurs the thought "oh, new-new owners?"

                                                                                                                        2. Its not exactly an opening, but I also haven't tried enough for a full review so maybe this fits.

                                                                                                                          House of Bread/Casa de Pao on Rt 60 in Medford has been pretty disappointing for years, basically pretty soon after they opened. I tried them again a little over a year ago for a large order at the suggestion of a friend, when we showed up to pick it up, they were just starting to prepare the order and told us to wait over an hour. So since that time, I regularly drive by wishing it was a decent option, but seething about their past incompetence. I noticed some changes in their menu offerings recently and in looking into it, they have new management and a new baker from Brazil. I tried a few things and it was an improvement. Among the changes they are offering a "PF" (prato feito -- simple takeout option, where you choose one of several fixed meat options, which come with beans, rice, sometimes fries. Broadway Cafe in Everett is one of my favorite options for this kind of food, the Brazilian bakery in Lowell also used to do a decent one) and some other food, delivery... I am glad I no longer have to grimmace every time I pass it, but want to check it out a bit more. They can do combinations of pastel fillings, which is one particularly good improvement (choosing your own combination also guarantees its fried to order).

                                                                                                                          Not certain if I mentioned in one of the earlier threads that Joe Pizza II next door had closed and opened as something else, but I didn't have the name and its Eddy's Place. Sounds like its related to Nick's Place in Winthrop and an option for greek style roast beef sandwiches, so if its good thats an improvement over Joe for me (the original Joe Pizza is still open on the Arlington line for fans, but I prefer Amici's up the road from it).

                                                                                                                          1. Looks like Sacco's Bowl Haven in Somerville has officially closed their doors. But according to the Davis Square Live Journal blog, they may be reopening as soon as February 6 (which would mean the opening of Flatbread Company, which is moving into the spot).

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                              In case it's not clear, the reno of Sacco's is a gut job, but it will be a ten-lane bowling alley when it reopens as a Flatbread Co. (Per the recent Globe story, now's your chance to pick up several thousand pairs of used rental bowling shoes.) I wonder if it will still be candlepin, or they'll convert to tenpin.

                                                                                                                              Incidentally, I've had the Bedford outlet's pizza on a regular basis, and it's very good.

                                                                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                Ahh, this makes me truly sad. I had come around on the prospect of the place changing and having pizza available, but if they are ripping out all the retro decoration it is a little tragedy. That place had some irreplaceable authenticity to it. If they make it ten pin then it is definitely going to become a big snazzy destination and less fun for an adventure.

                                                                                                                            2. The Beacon Grille is opening in Woburn tomorrow.

                                                                                                                              1. The Salvadoran restaurant in a trailer on Beacham Street in Everett thats been closed for several years has been replaced with "Middle Eastern and American food" (approximate), advertising kebabs, falafel -- I caught the name but in the few days that have passed promptly forgot it. That actually could be a pretty smart location with all the cabs that take the back route on the way back from the airport so they can pocket the toll money. I think those would be more likely patrons than those who frequent the venue across the street, or truck drivers either (probably some overlap in clientele between those groups).

                                                                                                                                1. On twitter and on the Boston Vegan Association website I saw that Life Alive Cafe in Lowell (http://www.lifealive.com/) is supposedly opening a location in Inman Square. There is no indication when or where. I am not vegan but would like a place with good juices nearby!

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: hckybg

                                                                                                                                    Just confirmed that Life Alive is looking to open in Central Square, not Inman Square (this is from the restaurant itself).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for checking that out! Have you been? Is it something to look forward to?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: hckybg

                                                                                                                                        Someone I know who is a vegetarian was raving about the one in Lowell, so I'm curious about the place, but no, I haven't personally been yet.

                                                                                                                                  2. Bostone Pizza is opening a branch in <liberty <sq in the <financial <district

                                                                                                                                    1. Firefly (on Dartmouth St next to Back Bay Station) has closed and reopened as Six Burner, "serving Inspired Comfort Food." I was at Firefly right before Christmas, had no idea this was in the works. I'll probably be checking it out tonight (it's a convenient location for meeting friends) and I'll report back.

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: laura jean

                                                                                                                                        Wasn't there a place in Allston called Six Burner, next to Herrell's where the Korean restaurant is now?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                          I believe that place was called 6 Burner (numeral rather than spelled out). That was a really long time ago, wasn't it? God, I feel old.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                            Oh, god, 6 Burner. Where I was served the absolute WORST iteration of corned beef hash ever at a Sunday brunch with Allstonian and her folks back when we were first dating. It was an insult to the concept of hash. I would have preferred the canned cat-food version over this.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                              Not exactly a good trip down memory lane, eh? My bad! :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                They had legal problems. Nice concept but not well executed.

                                                                                                                                        2. Wee Angel to open in Zon's space. Scottish pub, serving haggis. There is a heeeelarious reaction post to the news here --> http://andrew.wandernote.com/2010/01/...

                                                                                                                                          1. I imagine no one will be surprised to hear that Sp√ľn's window is papered over.

                                                                                                                                            1. Looks like Banjo's is officially ready to open in the KFC on Mass Ave in Cambridge.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                I walked past Stoddard's and saw action and wiped my eyes in disbelief - pr person outside with a room full of people. I'd expect them to open next week.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, that was a preview night for media types. Current Stoddard's plan (they're up to about version 9 now, and I wouldn't bet against another postponement) is for a soft opening Feb 8, wide opening Feb 16.

                                                                                                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                              2. Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but Pho Hoa appears to have re-opened. Also looks like some extensive work being done on the old Imperial Seafood Restaurant space near the arch.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                  The Imperial Seafood spot looks like it's going to be a hot pot place. Last I heard, it was going to be called Hot Pot Buffet.

                                                                                                                                                2. Just got some interesting news: The old Cedar Crest Restaurant, which closed last year after being in Lawrence for 70+ years, is going to reopen in North Andover.