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Ginger Park

is closing this week.

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  1. too bad, I only went once but had lots of fun and the food was tasty. Still a large pricy place for an everyday kin o venue

    1. Weird how this place struggled while the similarly themed Myers + Chang thrives down the street. I like M+C, but thought a lot of the dishes at Ginger Park were more innovative and memorable.

      1. That is sad: I liked the place, thought that Patricia Yeo's food was a big step up from Banq, and thought the amzaing-looking interior was much improved by the few simple changes they made to open up the bar area.

        Given how many weeknights it stood mostly empty, though -- and the fact that the owners never installed a permanent new sign on the exterior -- I can't say I'm totally surprised it is closing. (I believe Thursday is the last day of service.)

        I'm hopeful Yeo will stick around Boston to helm another kitchen.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        10 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Wow. What a lose. I really always enjoyed my meals here except for brunch. But it was always next to empty when I did go. Really going to miss that duck friend rice.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            a shame because she was brilliant back when she ran AZ restaurant in NYC...I went to Ginger Park once and the staff said she was out and the sous chef who was in could/would only execute a small fraction of the menu (namely, the very uninteresting old school Chinese-American dishes), strange

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Hate to have been one of the investors in Ginger Park / Banq... Can't even imagine what that interior cost.

              -----
              Banq
              1375 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Incidentally, call first if you were thinking of heading over tonight. Someone told me Wed was actually their last night: don't know if that's true.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  not verified but heard that the space is for sale $600K without liquor license.

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  Too bad - only went once - thought the food was excellent - and the interior was very cool. Somehow it never had a buzz behind it and maybe it was just too big of a space - it felt lonely and quiet that one visit I had.

                  1. re: AmbigEthnic

                    I always felt like I was in the belly of the whale...

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Or one of those 3d dinosaur/insect puzzles.

                       
                      1. re: viperlush

                        Incidentally, there was a spicy article in the Globe last week about the serious blowup between the two partners that designed the space, and the imminent breakup of their firm, so I guess it was a bad week for everybody.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          True, true...

                  2. Anyone interested in a Open Table groupon-type discount? Act now, going fast...

                    1. really not surprised, went twice, about 3 and 6 weeks after the opening. It was OK but, nothing memorable and the price point was high for what they delivered but, probably acceptable for the area. They never had anything that really popped out at you on the menu. Wonder what's next there.

                      1. Joe V's is definitely moving, relatively soon from what I hear.
                        My understanding is that the buildout taking place at the old Shawmut / Hanson social club is going to be a "healthy takeout" place -- sandwiches, soups, salads I think but details are murky.
                        Food-related things I'd love to see around here: Savenor's and a good pizza by the slice spot. We could use sandwiches to order too -- something like The Federal in Beacon Hill would do well, I think.

                        -----
                        Joe V's
                        315 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: ebaba

                          Yes, the former mobster's social club will be called Wholly Grain, with the concept you describe; renovations are continuing there.

                          The space I was talking about on Shawmut is actually across Milford St (not Hanson) from Coppa, same side of Shawmut. The last time it was occupied, over three years ago now, it was a spa that moved because the owner jacked up the rent, and let his family use it like a private bathroom. The building has been on the hairy edge of condemnation for a while.

                          Most of the things I'd like to see in the South End are low-end places that aren't feasible because of high rents. I haven't run the numbers, but I imagine there's a good reason no one has opened a banh mi stand here.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          -----
                          Coppa
                          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            The economics of selling Bahn Mi at the traditional price point in the South End with South End rents... Maybe if the entire venue was 10 sq feet.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Maybe someone would sublet me some space; I could do a little stand like Lu's inside of a jewelry store or something.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                A similar concept is possibly going into the space that was (long ago) Sallie's Fish Market across the street from the Parish Cafe on Tremont (near Mass Ave). Granted that's the "wrong" side of the South End, so the numbers crunch a little softer but still a good thing for the nabe IMO ......

                                1. re: Nab

                                  Not sure what concept and location you mean, but I know that across Tremont from the Parish Cafe (same side of Mass Ave), in what recently was a video store, is going to be Poe's Chester Square Pub. I'm hoping that helps timid South Enders get used to the idea of crossing Mass Ave. I have to drag people to Darryl's, but once they go, they generally go back on their own.

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Yep, so next door to Poe's. At Tremont and Northampton. Really cool old sign for "Sallie's Fish Market" in the dirty dilapidated building. 784 Tremont. Here's a pic:

                                    http://www.commercial.abgresidential....

                                    1. re: Nab

                                      But what's the concept? Bahn mi?

                                      The sign is very cool btw.

                                      1. re: yumyum

                                        Uzbek street food stand.

                                        1. re: Nab

                                          It would be so great not to have to drive out to metro-west for that!!! Here's wishing them well.

                                          1. re: Nab

                                            Oh! That will be interesting to see here.

                                        2. re: Nab

                                          That sign is cool, and always made me wish the place was still open so i could get a fried fish sandwich ;)
                                          (Since Boston is sorely lacking in takeaway fish n chips spots)

                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                  Every once in a while it looks like something is happening there -- paper on the windows, a work permit, etc. but friends have inquired about the space for non-food-related ventures and have quickly fled in the other direction.
                                  I'd be very happy to see low-end around here -- pizza is pretty low-end, I think. I'd love a proper crepe joint too, by which I mean the options are ham, mushrooms, gruyere, egg, herbs and that's about it. None of those ludicrous broccoli and turkey or bolognese crepes you see elsewhere. You could certainly operate a crepe joint out of 10 sq. feet.

                              2. This is what I heard as well. Apparently last night was their last night, but they plan to re-open (with Patricia at the helm) in a new space next year. What we could be seeing here is not the financial failure of the restaurant, but the result of a breakup between the investors, the space, etc.

                                1. If Hemant is moving back to India, will there be any effect on Mantra? and isn't he partnered in a few other places?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    I thought the Banq folks were a splinter organization from One World Cuisine, no longer affiliated with it.

                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    -----
                                    Banq
                                    1375 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

                                    One World Cuisine
                                    279 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      My mistake. I checkedthe 1 World website and no Ginger Park

                                  2. I couple friends went there last weekend and were severely disappointed to the point of sending back the dishes. Interesting. I really liked and missed BanQ.

                                    The place is beautiful. Maybe another highend sushi/seafood place will fit right in because you feel like you are sitting inside a whale skeleton.

                                    21 Replies
                                    1. re: joebloe

                                      Ginger Park closed because they did not collect from drinkers at the bar. I was there twice for a total of 4 cocktails. I wound up paying for 2 of them.

                                      Please keep in mind that I was trying to pay cash immediately upon being served.

                                      I got a dirty look from the bartenders, NOT the same one, when I did not leave what would have been the sale as a tip.

                                      I applied to tend bar there and I told the manager accepting my application that one of my strong suits was collecting from guests.

                                      "That is exactly the wrong attitude," was the response of the manager.

                                      All too many places have "cocktail programs" that disregard the all-important aspect of charging people.

                                      The "startender" trend has empowered certain bartenders to give away as much as they like thus imperiling the venues they work for.

                                      On the brighter side many people no longer have to pay for drinks.

                                      1. re: postemotional1

                                        This rampant-bartender-buybacks theory is a favorite hobbyhorse of yours, postemotional1. I sure don't see it to the extent you seem to around town.

                                        The simpler, more obvious explanation is that Ginger Park didn't fill its big house regularly enough to be profitable -- it stood nearly empty most weeknights since it opened -- and its investors got tired of pouring money down the drain.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          It is not a "hobbyhorse" but a necessity of business in a time when Grey Goose at $36 a liter is the leading spirit.

                                          10 years ago is an eon in the booze biz. 10 years ago the standard Pouring Cost was 20%.

                                          The standard now is 22.5%.

                                          Bars have tried to stem shrinking margins by having PBR to add a cost-effective choice to their roster.

                                          The higher quality spirits are not cost-effective but any venue has no choice but to appeal to the premium spirits market.

                                          People take their jobs much more seriously than they did even 5 years ago.

                                          This has lessened the number of guests available.

                                          The availability of HD television, high quality take-out and a decrease in urban crime have eroded the advantages that urban eateries once had.

                                          5% promotional sales are a tax write-off. Anything more than that is a loss.

                                          Having said that...I agree with you that Banq/Ginger Park was too large for its own good.

                                          Both of the Fridays I was there had clientele but they looked like BB's in a boxcar due to the large size of the room.

                                          1. re: postemotional1

                                            By hobbyhorse, I mean this seems to be a pet theory of yours: I think I've seen you raise the bartenders-give-away-too-many-drinks notion about a bunch of places here that are still chugging along in business.

                                            Buybacks are a fact of life in Boston bars, though the practice seems far less widespread and programmatic than it is in, say, Manhattan, where I've been in bars that seem to comp every fourth or fifth drink.

                                            I get the occasional comp of a drink because I'm a semi-regular at the bar, a polite customer, and a magnanimous tipper. I don't think that's bad business: it's a simple show of appreciation, a low-cost investment that often yields big returns in customer loyalty. Obviously, out of control freebies will sap a restaurant's profitability, but any competent GM is going to be able to spot bar staff abuses on this score.

                                            In any event, I think we agree that Ginger Park had bigger problems. I have to believe that space, with its jerky condo association overhead, is going to be tough to sell. I'm gratified to hear Yeo is sticking around, would love to figure out what space she's landing in.

                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                            1. re: postemotional1

                                              "The availability of HD television, high quality take-out and a decrease in urban crime have eroded the advantages that urban eateries once had."

                                              Aside from maybe the takeout part, I can't even begin to understand this line of reasoning. People eat in the city less because there's less crime?

                                              1. re: robwat36

                                                Yes, I think that the lessened perceived danger of the South End has diminished the cache of the area.

                                                At one time, prior to the Big Dig, there was a certain adventurous aspect to South End dining.

                                                As the South End became more of a mall restaurants are judged more on the quality of their food.

                                                Yes, people are more judgemental of the South End now.

                                                I stand by my remarks.

                                                1. re: postemotional1

                                                  I think the exact opposite is true. The reduced crime rate in the South End has not diminished its cachet, but made it much, much more attractive as a dining destination.

                                                  The kind of people that venture into dodgy neighborhoods for the sake of excellent food do not keep fine-dining restaurants in business.

                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    And how is the South End (dining or other) like a mall? Because there is one Starbucks? I don't get it. And I agree with MC.

                                                    1. re: hsquare2southend

                                                      I think his "mall" jab may be about the homogenization of the South End. Certainly gentrification has priced out a lot of the artists, musicians, drag queens and other assorted bohemian characters that made it a much more diverse and interesting neighborhood demographically 10 to 20 years ago.

                                                      But to suggest that this has adversely affected the restaurant scene just flouts some obvious facts. There are now about 60 moderate to fine dining options within a ten minute walk of my place (not counting pizza and other quick-service options), and there were fewer than half that ten years ago when I moved here. You have crowds of non-resident pedestrians walking around in search of drinks and dinner on weekend nights here: that is quite new.

                                                      I can understand a romantic attachment to the idea of the old South End, but it's a vastly superior neighborhood for dining out than it used to be.

                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        I am not romantically attached to the South End of the 90's.

                                                        The South End has so many dining options that each venue is getting a smaller slice of the pie.

                                                        No smoking and the omnipresence of texting mean each venue has to fight that much harder to attract a customer base.

                                                        As markets become saturated the net profitability of all venues will fall to zero.

                                                        Dining options have expanded faster than the customer base.

                                                        1. re: postemotional1

                                                          Texting, huh? How does that affect anything?

                                                          The logical error I see is the assumption that South End dining is a zero-sum game, like there's only a fixed number of diners that can come here, and every venue must share. I'd argue there's more of a network effect at work: the more restaurants and bars in the area, the more reasons people have to show up, the easier it is to make an evening hopping around. They don't even need reservations, as they can find something worthwhile just by walking around for a few minutes.

                                                          Any downturn has zero to do with too many free drinks, too many dining options, or the smoking ban (which affects all restaurants equally). The explanation is much simpler: the recession and accompanying unemployment. Not complicated.

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Based on the ability to find parking in the South End on the weekends (or weeknights for the matter), I would argue that it is very much a zero-sum game. :)

                                                          2. re: postemotional1

                                                            Clearly everyone is too busy texting to bother going to Coppa, Franklin Cafe, Toro, Hamersley's, The Butcher Shop, Gaslight, Oishii, or The Gallows, which sit empty, night after night.

                                                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        I agree. I feel totally safe parking by Gaslight and walking pretty much anywhere at night. Not so 10 years ago.

                                            2. re: joebloe

                                              No one has mentioned the fact that, while the food at both BanQ and GP was good, the service was HORRIBLE. I live in WIlkes (unfortunately no food allowed downstairs in our building, MC) and wanted to love this place since it's so close, but every time I went there, I couldn't get over how bad the service was. Just poor in every way (waiting forever for someone to come over after sitting down, no offers for additional drinks, water glasses refilled, I could go on and on). If you are trying to have an upscale restaurant, you need professional service. All of the servers there acted like it was their first ever job waiting tables AND they had no idea what was going on with the food. As neighbors, my husband and I have spent hours discussing why GP sat empty every night while other places nearby are hopping (Stella, Gallows, Gaslight, M+C). I think the reason is that locals don't want Asian fusion every night, but they might want simple comfort food every night. This has certainly worked so far for the Gallows, where Sage did not. My thought is that maybe BanQ and GP's food was too "themey" - good to try once or twice, but not something you would want to eat 2 or 3 nights a week if you could. I don't know. I am still trying to figure it out. The space is gorgeous so I hope something fun and hip moves in to fill it up. Oh, and while I am adding my 2 cents, I can't wait to see the Bombay Club go next! (As long as something else moves in!)

                                              1. re: hsquare2southend

                                                As I understand it, there's nothing stopping a restaurant from opening in Wilkes. I'm told that many places have considered it: remember rumors of the South End Diner? That was supposed to go in the front corner space near Peters Park. But apparently the builder failed to install water service big enough for a restaurant, and thus any incoming restaurant would have to pick up the $40K+ expense to install a new main themselves.

                                                I shared your service experiences at Banq and Ginger Park until I realized that the bar service was just fine, and abandoned the dining room.

                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                1. re: hsquare2southend

                                                  Lots of comments on the whale bones interior, they were nice but, inedible like most ambience.

                                                  1. re: hsquare2southend

                                                    At Stella upon ordering my cocktail I was immediately told what the price was and my cash rung in and the change counted back to me with all of the bills faced.

                                                    Stella prevails because the bar staff has been trained to take money.

                                                    1. re: postemotional1

                                                      The other explanation for Stella's success is that they do an unchallenging but solid menu of Italian and Italian-American favorites at competitive prices for the neighborhood in a chic-looking setting.

                                                      Or it could be the no-free-drinks thing, sure.

                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                      1. re: postemotional1

                                                        Hmm. I've gotten free drinks at Stella many times. Guess they must be slipping. Either that, or they appreciate good customers.

                                                        1. re: postemotional1

                                                          Funny, I had a comped drink at Stella in the last two weeks.

                                                          Moreover, I, like many folks, dislike bars that won't let me hold a tab and make me pay after each drink. I can't think of many non-student-dives in Boston that do that.

                                                          Your theory doesn't stick.

                                                    2. This is Patricia Yeo's third restaurant to close in ten years. Weird, huh? Her food is really singular. You have to wonder what keeps going amiss.
                                                      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: scotty27

                                                        I think her last few NYC restaurants included one conceptual failure (Pazo) and another (Sapa) that was pretty well-received but had a first-time owner and significant management issues. Monkey Bar was a fiasco with many mothers, including owners more accustomed to chain-restaurant operations.

                                                        At Ginger Park she was well-regarded for her food, but the overall package (more first-time owners, a huge space) didn't work. I think her next restaurant, which looks to be smaller and something she has an ownership stake in, will be more telling.

                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          That's interesting. I forgot about Monkey Bar. She's a character, for sure. Her ex-sous chef Pino Maffeo has had the same problems keeping a place open. Both really good cooks. What a shame. Patrick Lyons, are you listening? I mean I wish she could team up with someone who knows how to run a place, who knows that it's never just the food: Scampo, Towne, Rocca.
                                                          www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                          -----
                                                          Scampo
                                                          215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

                                                          1. re: scotty27

                                                            I liked some of Maffeo's cooking here -- I thought his more molecular cooking at Restaurant L was pretty interesting, even if, as he said, "no one but food writers or chefs seemed to care about it". Boston Public was a far less successful concept, in my estimation, deadly pricing among its drawbacks. That one ended particularly badly, not that many failed restaurants end gracefully.

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              I liked L, too. I wrote it up for Robb Report. Never went to Boston Public. He told me he wanted one day to open a simple Neapolitan osteria, "but Boston wouldn't understand it." I hope he changes his mind!
                                                              www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                                Does anyone know where Maffeo went? I haven't heard a thing about him since Boston Public's abrupt, unhappy closing. Stories like this one suggest he might have difficulty finding financial backing for a new venture in Boston: http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/tria...

                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                  Good question. I think he is enormously talented and an all-around cool Eastie.
                                                                  That's an awful story!
                                                                  www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                                  1. re: scotty27

                                                                    Talented, surely. Someone you want to give money to start a restaurant? Different question, especially after the Boston Public fiasco outlined in that Herald story.

                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      Innocent until proven guilty, but I hear ya.
                                                                      Chefs need business partners.
                                                                      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                We enjoyed our meal there. This was lunch and not much molecular..but a fine meal.

                                                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...

                                                                1. re: 9lives

                                                                  Nice photos!

                                                                  Yeah, Maffeo had given up on evangelizing molecular cooking with the L concept: Boston Public was more Asian-flavored steakhouse.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    I really liked both Restaurant L and Boston Public. Not perfect restaurants, but I always thought his cooking was a great addition to the Boston scene. I don't know how East by Northeast is doing business-wise, but I hope there's room for restaurants like this in Boston.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    East by Northeast
                                                                    1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                        2. I received a gift certificate to Ginger park for Xmas ( it was on a list of restaurants that have online GC purchase that I gave to an out of state relative in October).

                                                          The phone number has been disconnected, and the website is unupdated. Does anyone know what's up? Or have a suggestion of what to do? This is a first for me, what is protocol? Caveat emptor?

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: pierce

                                                            I'm sorry to say it's probably a loss. This is why I tell people not to buy restaurant-specific gift certificates.

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: pierce

                                                              you're stuck. whomever purchased it may try to contact their credit card company for a refund.

                                                              1. re: pierce

                                                                Suitable for framing, sad to say.
                                                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com