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January Openings and Closings

  • Prav Jan 1, 2011 03:00 AM
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because dec is getting annoying to scroll through.

"porkchop sandwiches!"

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  1. Rocca closed. A shame: I liked the new chef's food better. But they never seemed to knock down their service issues.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    38 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      We were there last week and had a fine meal and service at the bar....the night after the storm. They are still taking reservations on their website thru open table?

      1. re: capeanne

        they were when I was looking for a last minute place yesterday

        1. re: capeanne

          This would not be the first Boston restaurant to continue taking OpenTable reservations at OpenTable.com and its own website despite being out of business. If you're planning on dinner there, call to confirm. Good news: there are plenty of worthy alternatives nearby if you show up anyway to find it shuttered.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: capeanne

            They aren't taking reservations through OpenTable anymore.

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            I just called the restaurant.
            "Closed? We're not closed."
            www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

            1. re: scotty27

              Interesting. My news comes from multiple sources closely connected with the restaurant. I'm obviously chagrined if it's not true. I wonder if it's "closing imminently, if not closed as of today."

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Maybe it is imminent. I'd be surprised. The Sapphire Group has deep pockets and Michela Larson is a vet.

                Check out the Rocca website: No mention of closings...

                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                1. re: scotty27

                  Plenty of talent involved, certainly, but the place has, like many South End restaurants, stood largely empty many weeknights over the past year, despite a consensus that Faison had greatly reinvigorated the menu. FoH staff turnover seemed pretty constant, too.

                  I had written it off in the Fosnot era when I got tired of being served cold food. I gave it another chance once Faison came aboard, really liked her cooking. But a series of dinners there still revealed horribly inconsistent service, to the point where friends I had lured back said, "No más." (One dinner was probably my single worst fine-dining service experience of the year: so bad it was almost funny, until the $170 check came.)

                  It has been a very frustrating restaurant: much to like about it, but very tough to recommend or patronize regularly, my poster child for how crucial consistency is to a restaurant's long-term success.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I understand. I agree. I love the rooms, wanted it to succeed, but haven't been back in a long time for reasons you mention. The food was very inconsistent and the service so uneven that I wanted to help the servers serving, I felt so bad for them: Not knowing the menu, not being to explain the dishes, etc. Weird, because Gary is a good guy. I also liked the effort towards focused, regional Ligurian food and the price point was terrific: It was the restaurant I had hoped Rialto would be. I was comparing it, too, to all other Italian restaurants in Boston and, in comparison to them, it was a cut above. Nowadays, I go to Scampo for Italian food only because it's near the Garden before a Celtics game. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste a dime on Italian food anywhere in town. I thought Marco was so bad as to be silly and Via Matta way overpriced for what it is. I recognize that Coppa is good, but the no reservations policy, the small room, and the unfocused menu are turn offs.
                    www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

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

                    Via Matta
                    79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                    Coppa
                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                    1. re: scotty27

                      Just got confirmation from another very reliable source that last night was Rocca's last dinner service.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Wow. That's really sad.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                      Any word on what faison is moving on to?

                      1. re: jgg13

                        Haven't heard, though her options are wide open and not limited to Boston. Also, I see that Rocca is no longer taking OpenTable reservations.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          I saw that, too.

                          I sent out your posting to chef/owners in Boston & Cambridge, here's one comment from a person: "I REALLY doubt that! But I’ll keep my ear to the ground…"
                          If it happened, and it sounds like it did, must've been sudden. Yikes!

                          ww.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                          1. re: scotty27

                            As I mentioned, it wasn't completely shocking news to locals. Staff turmoil, persistent service issues, and empty dining rooms are never good signs.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I guess.
                              Shocking to restaurant industry pro's, however.

                              1. re: scotty27

                                I guess we're talking to different people. I've been aware of industry rumors of trouble at Rocca for at least six months.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  I think you're right. Different people. I sent your comment to several owners and they were surprised that it closed. Trouble is also different than a restaurant closing, especially suddenly, especially the recent P.R. in the Globe, etc. re the chef on the Food Channel.

                                  1. re: scotty27

                                    Yes, you mentioned that. In retrospect, the PR and TV work kind of looks like Tiffani gilding her parachute.

                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Makes sense though odd that the Rocca team would promote that.

                                      1. re: scotty27

                                        Faison building her own brand helped the restaurant while it was running; hard to say no to it.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        1. re: scotty27

                                          none of the owners are really front and center types. jody had the limelight at rialto too.

                                      2. re: scotty27

                                        there is rarely such a thing as a "sudden closing". owners know and a mostly empty room, most nights should be indicative to both staff and the few patrons still venturing in. empty seats don't pay the rent.

                                        few places give more than a day or two notice before shuttering. otherwise staff would flee and likely loot the place as well before leaving.

                                        it is a shame because michela and gary really are vets, but with all the missteps in the early days and more consistent neighboring options, it's hard to climb back up from underneath that first bad impression.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Tabla, Biba, and Chantarelle all dragged out their closings--weeks and months--so that regulars could say their goodbyes; it can go either way, fast or slow.

                                          You're right about missteps, but when one considers other restaurants of lesser quality packing 'em in, makes me wonder.

                                          www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                          1. re: scotty27

                                            I'd call those apples and oranges. Those restaurants all had long stretches of great success, even if they petered out a little toward the end. Rocca was only in business a little over three and a half years and never built a substantial, loyal following.

                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              That's a good point about longevity. Michela & Gary had/have legs and when I was there, the room was filled with restaurant people who knew them back in the day when Larson gave Todd English his first crack at running a kitchen. So here it's apples and apples.

                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                My point is that it's easier to do an extended goodbye when your restaurant has been a great success over a serious stretch of years. Rocca clearly was not that, however supportive Larson's and Sulivan's industry friends may have been.

                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I see your point and it's a good one.

                                                  1. re: scotty27

                                                    none of the restaurants you mentioned closed under financial duress.

                                                    when excelsior closed, staff and guests were told day of, during the dinner shift and not a minute before.

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      wow..that's cold.

                                                      Guests seems less important but the staff has bills and probably need to replace that income on short notice..and may not have the savings to ride a few monhs.

                                                      I've been through a corp bankruptcy and it's not pretty, but at least we had a reasonable chance to find something else before the doors actually closed.

                                                      With a restaurant, seems like you generally have to keep it a secret to avoid a mass exodus.

                                                      Glad I was never a good cust at Excelsior..but had many good times at Biba.

                                                      1. re: 9lives

                                                        a mass exodus and sticky fingers on the way out. owners always think their staff is robbing them blind.

                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                          think?

                                                        2. re: 9lives

                                                          I loved Biba. But i was so much older than that then, I'm younger than that now.
                                                          www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                        3. re: hotoynoodle

                                                          Chantarelle closed because the deal fell through. Tabla: Too few asses in the seats.

                                                          1. re: scotty27

                                                            Tabla had a very successful 12-year run, only slowed in its last year or so. Notable for being the only Danny Meyer restaurant to ever close. I liked it a lot, better in the downstairs bar than the dining room. (And that's some sloppy Dylan quoting.)

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              "Ah, but I was so much older then/I'm younger than that now."
                                                              Now you have the "ah" and and have omitted the "than that."
                                                              Better?

                                                    2. re: scotty27

                                                      as a "restaurant person" familiar with all the principals (nearly accepted a job there before they opened as well), my industry colleagues and myself gave it several shots in the beginning, but that was it. we have too few nights off to gamble on a crapshoot dinner out.

                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                          They told staff last Wednesday.

                        3. Rod Dee in Porter was open when I drove by!

                          1. I think there is a good discussion going about Rocca's closing, but I have to add my few cents. I've lived in the neighborhood and been there off and on since it opened (more since the new chef).
                            The term "veteran restaurant operators" has been used several times to describe Michela Laerson and Gary Sullivan. While they may be vets, it seems as though their time has come and gone. Although Michela had a great run in Boston, primarily for Michela's and Rialto, sadly their last few ventures have not been successful. This includes Blu, Red Clay, and now Rocca. This leads one to ask, are they respectable veterans anymore, or just plain out of touch? The service has been rough at best. I get great service at Gallows and Aquitaine - new and old restaurants with an eye on great hospitality and their finger on the pulse.
                            It seems a little like The Sapphire Group is no longer a group. At this point it only included Rocca. Therefore, the pockets are certainly less than deep or they're choosing to sew their pockets up. Neither looks good if they ever want to open another restaurant.
                            3. In my many experiences at Rocca, there has never been a presence in the dining room by a manager. By this I mean that the owners have never been around much working the room, and the managers I met were nice, but no more professional than the servers. It seemed there was never a strong presence in the restaurant.
                            The restaurant never seemed to be launched correctly. When they first opened in 07, the food was decent, but cold, timing was off. It was busy, but never consistent and then uninspired. Then came the gay club. Club or restaurant?
                            Finally, restaurants don't close in a few months without serious ongoing problems regarding the financial health of the business. The numbers couldn't have been great when Fosnot left. Why recruit a young chef to build her career on a closing business?! Was she the last desperate effort to save a confounded restaurant? I take your point about Faison and her parachute, but seems to me that she's out on her ass without a job too.
                            Just seems like true veteran restaurant people wouldn't leave their whole staff without jobs, but it looks like it wasn't the first time.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: cleve391

                              Great first post. don't know Rocca but have met Michela at Blu way back.

                              "Just seems like true veteran restaurant people wouldn't leave their whole staff without jobs, but it looks like it wasn't the first time"

                              for me, unless there were circumstances I'm not aware of, that's the kiss of death. I've been on the short end of a bis bankruptcy..and the longer, slightly. If you ever want to do business again,you show your emplyoyees, who helped ypu get where you are or were, some respect and dignity. Almost by definition, there may be limited $, but reach in your pocket.or your investors..who'll take a writeoff.

                              BTW, I own a small chain of restaurants as a PE investor in another part of the country. When 1 isn't working and we've tried everything but it's just a $ loser, everyone gets 1 month severerance, not a kickin the ass. I do it because I believe it's the right thing to do. I want to continue a good rep in the community,and I want to be able to call them if I want to reopen.

                              I''m not ignorant or uninformd about the biz..though my direct experience is at "lower level dining." than a Rocca.

                              1. re: 9lives

                                My parents tried the 1 month severance thing - financed on my father's Amex card - and the staff still robbed them blind. They even stole my mother's extensive cookbook collection.

                              2. re: cleve391

                                rilato had fantastic foh management with people like christopher meyers and esti parsons, rocca never had anybody like that and the original gm was not very experienced, nor did she have the charisma of christopher and esti. inconsistent food can sometimes be forgiven with great service, but the rocca staff never got polished. since the money was no good, it didn't keep staff, nor attract experienced people.

                                as for leaving staff in a lurch, sadly, that is more the norm when a place shutters than severance or notice.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  I only know Chris and Esti to say hello..probably the same as many people here. I always found them to be polite and professional but of course I didn't work for them...

                                  The abuse of rstaurant staff seems horrendous,

                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    Just wondering.. would it be a good idea to have a monthly closing and openings listings thread and also a monthly closings and openings discussion thread, so maybe it would be easier to go through the posts to see whats open and closed, and then discuss those places to our hearts content in another spot??

                                    1. re: chompie

                                      Great idea!

                                      In fact it's been going on for more than a few months.

                                      Juust scroll down for Jan, Dec,Nov, and further threads.

                                2. re: cleve391

                                  They have not paid rent in months and Nicosia wouldn't renew lease.

                                  1. re: cleve391

                                    I am sorry to hear of Rocca.

                                    I am acquainted with 1 of the bartenders and 1 of the servers.

                                    I never received a free drink at Rocca.

                                    However, I did notice several infusions behind the bar.

                                    On my second visit I noticed yet another infusion behind the bar.

                                    My point is that the demands of so-called craft bartending requires the stockiing of basil, mint,
                                    a variety of bitters...and so on.

                                    All of this means that the stock turn is slowed.

                                    The trick to running a bar is turning your stock faster than the 30-day billing cycle.

                                    17 stock turns a year is the benchmark for effective management even with skillful and honest
                                    bar staff.

                                    Often a restaurant is dependent on bar sales to provide a profit.

                                    The bar is further compromised by the increasing preference of guests to use credit cards at the bar thus incurring a 2.5% charge for V/MC and 4% for AX.

                                    Additionally, the South End is seriously crowded with restaurants and marginal operations will inevitably fall.

                                    1. re: cleve391

                                      I applied at Rocca last summer.

                                      I met Michela Larson and she has got to be about my age of 52.

                                      The restaurant racket is trend driven and trend driving and it requires a great deal of agility o stay current.

                                      Sometimes one's moment in the sun...just passes.

                                      1. re: postemotional1

                                        age is not necessarily one's downfall in re-making a brand, or turning one's career in a new direction. jasper reinvented himself with summer shack and became a multi-millionaire in the process. lydia's scampo is packed most nights. neither of them were spring chickens upon the launchings.

                                        (of course what happens at the behemoth that is towne remains to be seen.)

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Chronological age? No.

                                          Cultural age? Yes.

                                    2. Sad to hear Rocca's closing, as the RW meal I had there last year was really good, and the service was fine (not the best, but not the worst, especially considering it was RW). The wife and I were lookng forward to going back to try more of ms Faison's food, but I guess that's not going to happen now, unless she gets another place here.

                                      1. A: Would love to see the Rocca bits pulled into their own thread. Can that be done?
                                        B: Any news on Deluxe Station Diner?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: L2k

                                          L2k, Deluxe Station Diner may be open as soon as Thursday, but if not, this weekend seems almost definite for the place.

                                          Also, for those who still don't believe that Rocca has closed, more proof:

                                          http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                            Devra mentions rumors of several other south end restaurants possibly closing, yikes! I hope none of my favorites are among that group.

                                        2. A friend of mine's large office oarty was planned for Rocca this week and they are scrambing ...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                            They shouldn't have to scramble much in January.

                                          2. I also wonder if what their Rocca's policy will be with all the people who probably bought gift certificates there during the holiday rush?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: elwood henry

                                              Gone, baby, gone.

                                              1. re: elwood henry

                                                Caveat emptor....

                                              2. A few sightings on my way to work today: the former Pho House on upper Mass Ave in Cambridge has reopened as "Yummy Thai." (Hope the food is better than the name). And the new branch of Comella's on the corner of Mass Ave and Lake Street in Arlington is finally open.

                                                -----
                                                Pho House
                                                2261 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                                                1. Big Guys Pizza at Government Center is closed, and has a banner that announces new management, new menu, etc. There is some work going on in the store.

                                                  Meanwhile, Zoup is doing bang-up business...

                                                  (And a friendly reminder that Cafe Latino (in the Plaza Deli) still has awesome P.R. chow. Chicken stew with lots of pimento-stuffed green olives, rice n beans and a small side salad that was very fresh for $7.40 (incl. tax) is a steal.)

                                                  -----
                                                  Plaza Deli
                                                  2 Center Plz Rear A, Boston, MA 02108

                                                  Cafe Latino
                                                  2 Center Plz, Boston, MA 02108

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                    The pernil asado is my favorite at Cafe Latino, a great Chowhound find.

                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                    -----
                                                    Cafe Latino
                                                    2 Center Plz, Boston, MA 02108

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      That was looking really good today - actually everything was...

                                                    2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                      I made into that big guys place twice w/ some coworkers. The first time was when they had the food truck cookoff thing, but we didn't want to wait in line. The second time was because one of said coworkers really liked it and wanted to go back. Me, I can see why it closed - it was alright, but not something that I was going to walk 10 minutes to get to, particularly with options lik Zo, Latino, burger king (i kid, i kid), etc right in the same area.

                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                        I agree. I worked at the courthouse over the summer, and I would much rather walk the extra .25 miles to pizzeria rico on Bromfield then eat at BG pizza.

                                                        This thread makes me miss Zo and Cafe Latino so much now :(. I might have to take a half day and make my way down there for lunch!

                                                        -----
                                                        Pizzeria Rico
                                                        32 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

                                                        Cafe Latino
                                                        2 Center Plz, Boston, MA 02108

                                                    3. Any idea when Michael Schlow's new restaurant, Tico, is set to open?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Blumie

                                                        Late Feb. per the Improper

                                                        1. re: Blumie

                                                          Pardon me, Grubstreet.

                                                        2. Heard on pretty good authority that Dandelion Green in Burlington is closing soon.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: hoohah

                                                            Sad! I realize it's a relic, but getting that salad bar with the bread, cheddar, and golden raisins and a french onion soup is an amazing lunch.

                                                            1. re: hoohah

                                                              I also heard this rumor, that's a shame.

                                                              1. re: hoohah

                                                                This is ridiculous, when you have a 25 minute wait for Pizzeria Uno on a weeknight after the holidays, across the street at the Burlington Mall. God forbid you should have to dine at The Cheesecake Factory...make your reservations in the morning you plan to go, otherwise wait over an hour.
                                                                Never had a bad meal there. Had corporate functions there. Nice service.
                                                                Hope this is only a rumor.

                                                                1. re: hoohah

                                                                  Drove by early on Saturday night and the building was very dark. Sign on the door says "We are now closed. Thank you for your patronage."

                                                                2. Not an opening - just noticed that Pulse Cafe between Porter and Davis has changed its menu - it has seriously expanded - was once one page - now nearly three - however, they have pretty much dumped the more expensive entrees and seem to be focusing more on sandwiches and veggie burgers. There is also an entirely new section of breakfast offerings - lots of variations on the tofu scramble.

                                                                  I also wanted to note that, despite the temperature in the room being quite frigid, we had a very nice meal there last night. Buffalo tofu bites were a generous portion, crispy fried and a very good tangy/spicy buffalo sauce. Accompanied by a chunky miso dressing (instead of blue cheese - they are 100% vegan) and celery - the dressing was good, although it was playing with my mind at first because visually, I was seeing and thus thinking blue cheese. Also, a bowl of flavorful if not very spicy chili, a really nice looking salad, and a veggie burger with fries (I do not believe the veggie burger was housemade if that's important to you.) Burger itself was sort of meh in that bocaburger kind of way, but the bun was grilled, fresh veggies, and the fries were very good. Overall, we were a little hesitant at first, but really happy with the meal. Those items + soda and tea came to $32. I know a few people have commented that the product was not very good in the past, and I would tend to agree - things were sloppy - but it might merit a return visit if you are in the neighborhood.

                                                                  1. Jogged by Qingdao - hard to tell in the pre-dawn light, but looks like there was still a lot of work going on in there.

                                                                    Don't know if money is a problem, but maybe interested chowhounds can get together and make a loan to Qingdao and Floating Rock, which is having money problems apparently.

                                                                    Totally serious about this - my stomach has a vested interest in the renovations of both restaurants.

                                                                    EDIT: Having looked up the term, "microloan" is inappropriate in this context. I should say simply "loan."

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Floating Rock
                                                                    485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                      A microloan? Maybe we could buy shares in each place? (I have no idea how that works.)

                                                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                        Q: How do you make a million in the restaurant business?

                                                                        A: First you start with $2 million...

                                                                        1. re: postemotional1

                                                                          "I made a small fortune in the restaurant business. Of course, I started with a large fortune...."

                                                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                            winery owners have the same investment philosophy, lol.

                                                                      2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                        Wonder if Kickstarter can set up for restaurants...

                                                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                          Kickstarter is absolutely funding restaurants. Take a look at "Temporary Restaurants" yesterday in the NYTimes Dining section. Actually, the title may have been "Here Today."

                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                            Didn't Hungry Mother have their "fans" make "contributions" to help build the restaurant? Maybe someone there (or, who knows how they set up their plan) can help out Floating Rock do the same.

                                                                      3. Burke's Seafood/N. Quincy closed for vacation (I think for the month). Call ahead. They really do have the best fish, and I love their cole slaw. Guess I'll have to dine out tonight.
                                                                        Enjoy,
                                                                        CocoDan

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: CocoDan

                                                                          Dick Burke is a great fish man everybody on the pier knows him and he only buys the best he has great retail store

                                                                        2. Any word on when the new pizzeria Otto is opening in Harvard square? Supposed to be early January.

                                                                          1. I just walked by the future Bosphorus, in Inman Square. It looks very close: booths, bar, stools, lights, and floor are all in place. From the interior, I'd say it seems a little fancier than average. Akimenko Meats doesn't appear to have made any progress, but perhaps there is life behind the papered windows.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: hckybg

                                                                              Bosphorus will open tomorrow (Sunday):
                                                                              http://www.urbandaddy.com/bos/food/12...

                                                                            2. Mo Da Mi (I'm pretty sure I have some of those vowels wrong) which opened for about ten minutes in the old Kayuga II space in Arlington Center appears to now be closed.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Kayuga
                                                                              1030 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fantundo

                                                                                The Midami folks appear to be on vacation; should be opening once again within the next week or so.

                                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                  Thanks. That's the trouble with drive-by reporting: you can only get so much information without causing an accident!

                                                                                  1. re: fantundo

                                                                                    Especially in the clusterbleep that is Arlington Center.

                                                                              2. Unless someone else has reported this, Good Food Cafe (Mass Ave, N. Cambridge) is papered over.

                                                                                1. Pescatore in Ball Sq has dropped its weekend lunch hours. Whether for good or for the season, no idea.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Pescatore
                                                                                  158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                                                  1. Does anyone know when the McGrath Sav-Mor will re-open?

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Tonality666

                                                                                      They hope today. Talked to the manager this morning, as a matter of fact. Water damage - working on it - he said to call later. We work close by and will probably just stop in on the way home.

                                                                                    2. A Facebook friend reported that Modern Pastry in Medford is currently "closed for renovations", windows papered over. Website says it will re-open Jan 17.

                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Modern Pastry
                                                                                      20 Salem St, Medford, MA

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                        Wish they would renovate their hours to stay open later - would totally make the trip there for some dessert and espresso but I think they close at 6 or 7 every night.

                                                                                      2. According to the bistrobroad blog, Dharma Buns in Lowell will close on Friday. This particular high-concept restaurant, with it's Beat Generation theme, might have been a better fit in Cambridge or somewhere else with a larger collegiate demographic. Jack Kerouac's being a Lowell native wasn't enough to fill the seats.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                          14,000 UMass Lowell students weren't enough of a collegiate demographic?

                                                                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                            My impression is that at UML, there is a higher percentage of commuter students with less disposable income than in the major collegiate hub areas in Boston and environs. There's not all that much in Lowell center to encourage students to hang around there. The menu items - craft beers, Belgian fries, burgers and sandwiches made from house-prepared roasted meats - certainly have broad appeal. The place has very limited street parking; though there's a parking garage nearby, you've passed it by the time you reach the restaurant, and for some people, having to circle around again on one-way streets to get there is a deal-breaker.

                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                              it's also a giant space, with an enormous kitchen. the kitchen could have pumped out food for hundreds with enough staff. db is surrounded by lots of section 8 and elderly housing and for most of lowell's downtown residential demographic a $12-$15 lunch was simply too expensive. certainly too high for the average student, most of whom live across the river anyway.

                                                                                              the owner of dharma buns said to us that 2 other downtown watering holes are at death's door as well.

                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                In his Lowell Sun interview, the owner claimed he made money....."just not enough money"
                                                                                                Once the Hamilton Canel project opens (not this year), we will see if more professionals in the downtown really make a difference.
                                                                                                I am 10 minutes from downtown Lowell in Chelmsford, and never had a chance to eat there.

                                                                                                1. re: Lighthousehunter

                                                                                                  my b/f is a couple minutes walk from db and went several times a month. if he had to drive, i don't know that it would have been a true destination spot, but he was keen to support an excellent local business. we held a fund-raiser for the merrimack valley food bank and the owners happliy ponied up a gift card for us for the raffle.

                                                                                                  will definitely be interesting to see what happens in 2012 with the courthouse etc. it's staggering how many empty storefronts abound all over downtown lowell.

                                                                                        2. Is that dump, Conga, in Harvard Square, gone already? Where Shabu-ya used to be? I believe I gave it six months, and if the reviews in Yelp are any indicator (they are hilarious, by the way), it should be gone already. Anybody can confirm?

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                            We walked by on Saturday evening - there were people in there but it was not open.

                                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                              So I would assume not open on a Saturday evening means it is a goner, unless there was a sign on the door saying otherwise...

                                                                                              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                                I just called Conga and was told that the number has been "temporarily disconnected." Probably not a good sign.

                                                                                            2. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                              been closed for weeks -something new is in that space

                                                                                              1. re: LauraBear

                                                                                                Conga was definitely closed, but I was wondering if the space was still in limbo because last Saturday night they had people in there and were projecting a film on the wall. Like a private party or someone associated with the landlord had a key (or even the conga folks themselves), etc. If something else was opening soon, you would think they would paper the windows if they wanted privacy or put up some kind of sign to call attention if they want Hiddenboston tweeting and facebooking it to the masses. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: LauraBear

                                                                                                  What's the new place where Conga used to be? Haven't been able to find anything on it.

                                                                                              2. Panera Bread is now open at the corner of Huntington Ave & Gainsborough St, across the street from Huntington Theatre/Jordan Hall. I'm not sure if it opened back in Dec or in Jan.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: y2000k

                                                                                                  Didn't that used to be a Burger King?

                                                                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                    And before that a McDonalds.

                                                                                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                      Yes. Although it's another chain, at least Panera offers healthier options.

                                                                                                  2. Great wall in JP closed. They were tearing down the signage yesterday. Comming soon!!
                                                                                                    Super Fusion sushi.

                                                                                                    gutteman

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: gutterman

                                                                                                      Well that's a bummer. Where will that kid do his homework, now?

                                                                                                      1. re: skc

                                                                                                        lol. That is excellent news as super fusion is ok inexpensive sushi and great wall was...crap.

                                                                                                    2. Arrow Street Crepes, in Harvard Square, apparently closed last week (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/201...) but they will sell crepes at the owner's other restaurant, Canteen (on Mass Ave) and are looking to reopen. I always liked that place but admittedly haven't been there in oh, about ten years...

                                                                                                      1. towne has reduced its hours and is now closed on sunday nights.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                          Quicker than I would have bet.

                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                            Back Bay Social Club is killing them in an act of fratricide.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Back Bay Social Club
                                                                                                            867 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                                          2. Not that either would be any big loss but both the Shangri La and the Subway on Cambridge St in Boston have been closed for a few weeks now. They both have signs noting electrical issues.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                              That entire block of Cambridge Street could use a face lift.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gordough

                                                                                                                I like uptown cafe, i like annas and i like villa mexico. If there's a day sox game i'll pop in at the hill for an overly long liquid lunch to catch as much of the game as i can. When in need of a serious hangover helper i'll go into the Shang (and always wish i hadn't). I have no use for anything else in that entire stretch - it isn't until you hit Zo & Cafe Latina that I care about anything (for lunch purposes I mean) sticking around.

                                                                                                            2. Change my note in the December o's and c's for Cafe Aristo from closed for renovations to just plain buh bye - retail space for rent banner in the window.

                                                                                                              1. Per Universal Hub, JP's venerable, inimitable, brutally cool mid-century-looking Hi-Lo Foods is closing. Looks like it will be replaced by a Whole Foods Market. I'm dying a little inside at this news. We all lament the disappearance of Old Man Bars; this is one of the last of the Old Man Supermarkets.

                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                  aw that STINKS. they had some items I can never find elsewhere. bleh.

                                                                                                                2. I think both are December openings, but the Everett Restaurant Depot (corner of vine and rt 16) has opened and Las Brisas in Somerville at McGrath and Pearl is also open. Still haven't been able to figure out exactly what foods Las Brisas servers ("Italian, American and Spanish"). They appear to have done a nice job on the conversion from Sweet Brazil to Las Brisas, but although they built out a bar area I was under the impression that they never got a liquor license in any form. They were initially rejected for a beer & wine license, then rejected for full liquor license (along with Istanbul'lu), then passed over for beer & wine. I do think that a dining oriented central american restaurant would be a bonus for the area.

                                                                                                                  1. Gregg is taking a few days off from the Speed's Hot Dog Wagon. He told me he took a fall and is staying home to recover. He hopes to be back on Monday but call before you head over.

                                                                                                                    http://www.bostonspeeddog.com/

                                                                                                                    Penny
                                                                                                                    http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                                                    1. Does anybody know the status on Joe V's in the south end? I've heard it was closing and that a yakitori place is opening for months but everytime we walk by, it's still open and serving food.

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

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: BlueTrain84

                                                                                                                        I'm wondering, too, but the deal is apparently a fait accompli, just not certain of the timing.

                                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                          My wife exchanged a few messages yesterday with Jimmy, the owner, and he told her end of the month. Joe V's has always had a good neighborhood vibe with a fun and friendly waitstaff that has had virtually no turnover in 5+ years. Many find the food just passable, but I, for one, will miss the place.

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

                                                                                                                      2. La Mama on Brighton Ave appears to have closed, as there were new signs up out front that say "UFood Chef" when I drove by today.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: BlueTrain84

                                                                                                                          Ufood Chef? Is this another kind of Brazilian/student food place like Uchef one block over?

                                                                                                                          1. re: BlueTrain84

                                                                                                                            La Mama is still open. You were looking at the wrong corner. Uchef is on Brighton Avenue at the corner of Park Vale. It replaced Burritos on Fire a few months ago. La Mama is a block away - at the corner of Brighton and Quint Avenue.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                              Oh geez, thanks for the heads up! It can be hard to see through the bus windows once the salt builds up in the winter, sorry for the incorrect info.

                                                                                                                          2. According to today's Globe, "Locke-Ober closed after dinner last Saturday and it's not clear when, or under whose management, it will reopen. David Ray, who 10 years ago gave control of the restaurant operations to celebrated chef Lydia Shire and Paul Licari, has once more taken control of the property. Ray's rep Tom Lee told us yesterday the landmark restaurant will be closed 'for a matter of weeks, not months' while license issues are sorted out."

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Stride

                                                                                                                              i sniff lawsuits in the air there.

                                                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                Yes!

                                                                                                                                Without being privy to inside information it seems as though a cash call was made to minority investors who had formed a sub-corporation and the cash call was refused.

                                                                                                                                Yes, hotoynoodle this will inevitably result in litigation.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Stride

                                                                                                                                That's a shame, but has anyone actually been there recently? Last time I was there was ages ago and it was like being in a museum.

                                                                                                                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                                                                                                1. re: scotty27

                                                                                                                                  I applied for a bar job there and went back on a follow-up visit and I noticed that a lot of decor had been removed in the 2 weeks intervening.

                                                                                                                                  That is usually equivalent to a Catholic priest mumbling a few choice words at one's bedside...

                                                                                                                              3. Kashmir Indian market in Coolidge Corner seemed to be empty and torn apart when I tried to stop by earlier today. (There was a paper sign saying "Closed" in the window when I tried to stop by late in the afternoon once a week or two ago, but if they were already empty by then, I didn't notice it. Now there's no signage at all mentioning renovation or anything, just an empty-looking interior).

                                                                                                                                On the bright side, although I've usually found that Madras Masala across the street has higher prices and more limited selection, I did get some fantastically green and beautiful curry leaves there last week!

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: another_adam

                                                                                                                                  Now, which of these are which? I can never remember the names of these two markets. One is about a block from the Stop and Shop, and one is on the other side of the street nearer to Coolidge Corner.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                    Kashmir is (was?) the one closer to Coolidge Corner, by Chef Chow's. Madras Masala is the one by Corrib, the laundromat, and Gari (a block from the Stop & Shop).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: another_adam

                                                                                                                                      Thanks. I've always tended to have better luck at Madras Masala, although I only ever go to either when I don't have time to hit Moody Street.

                                                                                                                                2. Mass Ave is now open on Mass. Ave. (hee hee)

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                    Between Newbury and Commonwealth. Former site of Match, Mo Jo, Blue Cat, ...... Newbury Steak House....

                                                                                                                                    Goodness, I'm sure there are more but they have slipped from the memory card.

                                                                                                                                    Penny
                                                                                                                                    http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                                                                    1. re: BostonZest

                                                                                                                                      You know, the Newbury Steak House was there for 700 years, it went away, and then the rotation started. I've seen that in Boston a lot, where some place is there for an eternity, the owner dies or the son/daughter is not interested, place closes, and then it rotates forever and ever. Another site of this ilk is the former police station that originally housed Division Sixteen, and has gone through a half dozen iterations since it closed.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                                                                        I remember a fire at the Newbury Steak house but don't recall if it reopened after that event or not.

                                                                                                                                        I had a dear Uncle who used to take me there and later I took him there. It wasn't about the food. It was sort of "our place" and any visit there seemed to make him very happy!

                                                                                                                                        Penny
                                                                                                                                        http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                                                                          I'd be happy if Division 16 went back there - never knew why they left since business seemed to be doing pretty good. Really miss those wings ..........

                                                                                                                                          1. re: southie_chick

                                                                                                                                            break-up of partnership, but one half of it later held absentee majority stake in grillfish, (now davinci) also now gone. back then she had places in miami, where she had her primary residence. lost track of her after grillfish closed.

                                                                                                                                    2. The unfortunately-named "Beat Da Wrap" on Waverly Ave. in Waltham is opening tomorrow. I stopped in to pick up a menu (they only had a temporary one), and it actually looks promising for take-out. Casual place, fast-food atmosphere from what I could tell, but I didn't really look around much.

                                                                                                                                      The menu is huge, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but they have some decent-sounding brick oven pizza offerings including a scallop and bacon with white sauce option. House-made rolls, hand cut regular and sweet potato fries, turkey and steak tips and some good-sounding sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                      Post if you check it out. I'll do the same.

                                                                                                                                      1. The logoed "Akimenko Meats" brown paper disappeared from the windows of the site on Cambridge Street that was to house the butcher. Seems a little ominous given the length of time that has passed without an opening, but maybe it is a sign of progress instead? I will say that a view through a crack in the window covering shows almost no construction has taken place.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: hckybg

                                                                                                                                          I know that I see him mentioned by various restaurants & events (e.g. Journeyman) as having supplied butchered meat. At the very least, he's got *some* sort of B2B enterprise going on.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                            Have you seen any mention by a restaurant other than Journeyman. As things look now, they collected a bunch of kickstart$ which may have gone into a black hole. The complete lack of progress on the space is disappointing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                                              He's been keeping up his Twitter stream with tidbits about butchering for Journeyman and lots of events around town, but he hasn't mentioned anything about his physical space for many months. As one of the people who donated via Kickstarter, the silence is worrisome.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                                                                                Now that you guys mention it, I guess it's just been events and such beyond Journeyman.

                                                                                                                                                I'd wager a good sum of money that if one wanted some butchering at a scale that was worth his while that he'd do it mercenary style. But yeah, that's not the same thing as a store front.

                                                                                                                                        2. Opening mid-April per TV Diner, the Uno Chicago Grill chain is launching a new fast-casual concept with a store at Summer and Arch Streets in Downtown Crossing. The so-called Uno Due Go allegedly will focus on pizza and healthier foods like salads. I guess any new business in DTX is good news.

                                                                                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                            Must be the bottom floor of what used to be Power Fitness?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                              Uno Chicago Grill lost their clientele by expanding too far from their signature product.

                                                                                                                                              Then came the ill-fated "bankruptcy".

                                                                                                                                              They should go back to the Pizzeria Uno name as it defined their appeal nicely.

                                                                                                                                              I am a veggie and i thought their Veggie and Spinnocolli pies to be quite good.

                                                                                                                                              It seems as though companies think that because McDonalds can expand seemingly the offerings endlessly that they can do as well.

                                                                                                                                              Uno Chicago Grill is an example that this is not always the case.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                                                                Funny you should mention McDonalds - I thought that was where they were putting the Uno Due Go since the basic plumbing/AC is already in that site. Haven't really gone to Uno's since they took off my fave pie - the Artepeggio (artichoke, roasted red pepper, feta - hold the eggplant).

                                                                                                                                                1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                                                                  mcdonald's is increasing profits solely through the sales of items like coffees and "sweet tea", which cost them next to nothing, compared to the ever sky-rocketing cost of beef.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                    I agree with you partly.

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I am sure that coffee and tea sales are contributing a lot in terms of Food Costs as the ingredients are relatively cheap and McDonalds' can command leverage in discounting with their massive volume.

                                                                                                                                                    However, Asian Chicken Salad brings new markets into the door that wouldn't be there otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                    The McDonalds on Mass. Ave. near Berklee seems to have more of the newer menu items than other locations

                                                                                                                                                    I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the mass. Ave. location is a test marketing location.

                                                                                                                                                    The bottom line is a win-win for Mickey D's.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                      There was a recent WSJ article on McDonald's which credited their new coffee drinks and low-cost food items (snack wraps, etc.) as being the engines of their current turnaround and favorable performance against their competition during the recession.

                                                                                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                        thank you.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                                                                      Are they even allowed to use Pizzeria Uno? I've long since lost track of what has transpired in the legal wars between the Boston based chain and the original Chicago eatery

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                        Not sure about the lawsuit, but the Uno Chicago Grille chain is indeed headquartered in Boston. Their website mentions Ike Sewell as inventing the deep-dish pizza, but not his original Pizzeria Uno.

                                                                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                          The Uno chain very little in common with the original Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due locations (one block apart) in downtown Chicago. The menu and pizza are quite different. The pizza at the original flagship locations remains high quality and some of the best deep dish in Chicago.

                                                                                                                                                          I believe that the first franchised locations were located in MA, which helps explain why the chain is based here. As with most chains, the restaurants of the Uno chain suck and I expect the new concept will be no different.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                                                            I remember the first time I ate in a franchise operation, having first tried the original Uno and Due locations back in the days I lived in Chicago. It's kind of like the difference between Regina and its mall franchises: shocking, and not in a good way. It sounds like the Sewell originals licensed the right to their name and came to regret it, resulting in the current name and corporate rendering of the history, which sounds like the product of lawyering.

                                                                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                              My experience was chronologically opposite - I was brought to the original Uno after years of having eaten at the chain. Boy, was I surprised! (although I still like Gino's better!)

                                                                                                                                                              Yeah - I've heard so many variations of the story regarding the chain & the original that I no longer know what exactly to believe. There definitely was licensing of the name & logo, there definitely was regret. What happened after that, I ain't sure anymore. I've heard (and a quick look on wikipedia confirms that at least wikipedia believes this story) that the chain now owns the originals but doesn't monkey with them.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                      If I want pizza in DTX, I am going to Pizzeria Rico. Wonderful owners (or at least the managers?).

                                                                                                                                                      Still, your right, any new retail at DTX is a blessing. Now if they could just get going on the filenes sight.

                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                      Pizzeria Rico
                                                                                                                                                      32 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                        "uno due go"?

                                                                                                                                                        what a thoroughly horrible name.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Otto, the new pizza place in Harvard Square with Portland, Maine origins, opened this weekend. It in the space on Mass Ave formerly occupied by C'Est Bon Cafe and Finagle a Bagel.
                                                                                                                                                        http://www.thecrimson.com/article/201...