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Jun 14, 2011 06:52 AM

The drinks before TW Food post lends this question...

If zoning laws and neighborhood approval were not an issue, what does that neighborhood need. I live there and its either a 20 minute walk, wait for a infrequent bus or drive. It is densely populated enough to support a restaurant and or bar. Not even a cafe between Sarah's and the hotel Starbucks. I don't personally mind the area being empty of options, in reality Harvard,Porter, Davis and Fresh Pond are all really close but I would love a Highland Kitchen type place. Fine for regulars at the bar and for date night as well. I guess TW adding a bar and bar menu would be the real pipe dream.

Highland Kitchen
150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

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  1. You totally have that place already - Trattoria Pulcinella... ;)
    or talk the Gran Gusto guys into expanding their bar area into the back hallway - I see a concept of Italian tapas and Serie A streaming 24/7....

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      The Gran Gusto idea would be great. I work for native born Irishmen, the "beautiful game" is always on somewhere there, so maybe F1 and cycling on the box. Pulcinella is such an odd duck. Barely any signage, some nights almost no one in when I walk by at 7 or 8 pm. No real chow presence. But loved by the few who know of it. One of the children's clothing stores in Huron Village must be ready to close and be taken over by a restaurateur. Unlike the rest of the city, Huron is car-centric. I'm surprised Fresh pond area hasn't become more "suburban chain/big box" then it already is. My apartment may be nicer then when I lived in East Cambridge, but other then Formaggio being a walk instead of a bus trip, my Chowing has become more labor intensive.

      Gran Gusto
      90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        surprised that Gran Gusto only has beer/wine, no amaro, grappa etc which a place like that should

      2. I think Lord Hobo's travails in getting a liquor license *transfer* (not a new one, just taking over the B-Side's license from that same spot) show that the City of Cambridge, abetted by NIMBY neighbors, has gotten very hostile to the notion of granting a license to any new establishment that is not primarily a restaurant.

        The tortured accounting gymnastics that bar/restaurants must employ to meet this new standard (at least 50% of revenues generated by food) resulted in Lord Hobo's inflated food prices. It sort of looks like Meadhall had to do the same thing, which is silly, as its immediate neighborhood is pretty commercial.

        Hard to imagine overcoming those obstacles in Huron Village.

        Lord Hobo
        92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

        4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

        6 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Huron Village neighbors would be brutal. I'm surprised they let Formaggio bbq on Saturdays. Living in Cambridge has spoiled me, I'm crying about being 15 minutes away from good food. Still, if TW could do some bar seating...

          1. re: KilgoreTrout

            Well they don't mind Formaggio barbecuing on Saturday, because they do all their grocery shopping at Formaggio on the weekdays :).

            1. re: hckybg

              I know that there have been complaints about the FK BBQ from neighbors. Huron Village people are quite capable of wanting to eat their cheese and not have others have their BBQ.

              1. re: FoodDabbler

                I live within 75 yards of the place. The daily double parking is far worse then the Saturday afternoon crowds. That is where I get the bus. I wish Cambridge would allow me to ticket bus stop parkers. The Saturday afternoon folks are couples with their kids etc... not like rowdy pit kids lost on the way to Harvard Sq.

                1. re: KilgoreTrout

                  When you buy *all* your groceries at Formaggio, what--you expect them to have to walk their stuff to a parking spot around the corner? Gasp...

                  1. re: KilgoreTrout

                    I'm on your side. But not all FK neighbors are as reasonable as you, or take the bus. (What's a bus, anyway?)

          2. It doesn't have a bar, or meet the "date night" criteria, but back when I lived there, the Village Kitchen was better than Sarah's. It was a bit uneven, but I had some pretty decent pastas, and the antipastos were good.
            The little Jamaican place just couldn't keep up with the rent I think, unfortunately. It is tricky without a liquor license.

            Village Kitchen
            359 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            2 Replies
            1. re: cpingenot

              I miss the goat from Ortanique.... :(

              On the other hand, isn't becoming a regular at Paddy's an option? :)

              370 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA

              Paddy's Lunch
              260 Walden St, Cambridge, MA 02138

              1. re: okra

                I wish I had the time and liver function required to become a regular there.

            2. Personally, I think the old Guido's spot is crying out for a Highland Kitchen/Trina's-type turnaround.

              Don't really see the point of bar seating at TW... it's tiny!

              Bob D: I don't think Pulcinella has a full bar license, does it? Either way, no stand up bar that I can remember.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Alcachofa

                Only beer and wine(perhaps cordials as well). As for TW, I realize space is the issue, however imagine what bar snacks would be like there.

                1. re: KilgoreTrout

                  Sure but still, I think the old Guido's spot is crying out for a Highland Kitchen/Trina's-type turnaround.

                  (I realize I just said that but I really REALLY want that to happen.)

                  1. re: Alcachofa

                    That whole strip near Guido's is crying for something. The number of places to get food is high enough so people are eating in that hood. The more I think about what you said, the more I agree. Highland is exactly what that street needs. Greg's and Conley's aren't going anywhere, but with Sofra and a Highland type place nearby maybe they would up the ante chow wise.

                    1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138