Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Sep 14, 2012 11:28 AM

Assembly Row announces the first of the new restaurant leases. Yes, it's Legal.

Very disappointing news for my neighborhood (Ten Hills) - where right across the street (Route 28) we have this exciting new development in Assembly Row. So who's moving in? Legal C Bar, Papagayo Mexican Tequila Bar, and Burger Dive.

Why can't Tim and Bronwyn come over here??? Why can't we get a Casa B or a Bergamot? So disheartening.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I feel your pain, but the places you desire are not going to work well in the mall food court. ;)

    8 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Indeed. But that is not the format for Assembly Row - it is more like a village with brick pedestrian ways and storefront lined streets.

      1. re: Small Plates

        I know your neighborhood well. :-) However, if you look at something like Reston Town Center which is a similar idea there aren't the smaller kind of independent restaurants you mention. They are not all chains, but nothing that wouldn't be out of place in a more touristy area such as things along the lines of Naked Fish, etc. Sweet Cheeks is about as independent as something I have seen in similar projects and its got a lot more backing than the places your mention.

        1. re: itaunas

          Is Naked Fish still around itaunas? I really liked the Chilean sea bass but it seems like they're all gone (I think the Burlington one was the last one - & it's closed).
          Legal's is better than any on the choices they're putting in for the outlet mall near me (in Merrimack, NH) - we're getting Uno's & Ruby Tuesday's - I'd be happy to swap BOTH of those for Legals(or any of the others Assembly Row has)!

          1. re: southie_chick

            Naked Fish are all gone or Chilean sea bass are all gone?

            wait, now that i think about it ....both!

            1. re: southie_chick

              Its gone as a chain, but the last one I knew of was Waltham not Burlington. I don't work out that direction anymore, but it was always so busy so its hard to imagine it not being profitable (the owner talked about converting to some comfort food or take out concept I think overall, but I don't see how that would have worked with the office park and hotel crowd they had in Waltham).

          2. re: Small Plates

            Take a look at any of these similar developments (Legacy Place in Dedham and Patriot Place come to mind). Almost all of the restaurant offerings are chains of varying sizes. Doesn't mean one can't hope for something better but in the end, the economics often don't make sense for anyone but the chains.

            1. re: Gordough

              the economics; I would like to know why you think that? Perhaps that is just what people who go to malls would like to eat?

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                By economics I think the poster is referring to high rents making it difficult for indies vs. chains.

        2. Chains have many advantages over indies: deep pockets (makes new buildouts or remodeling easier, plus is a huge help in Boston if you want a full liquor license, not sure what the costs are like in Somerville), economies of scale (for food and liquor sourcing, insurance, and employee benefits), national advertising and other PR and marketing programs, a career path that makes staff retention easier (a non-trivial issue in an industry with a very expensive employee turnover problem), market research, well-established staff training progams, willingness to cultivate family trade. Those all contribute to a safer business case when you need to attract investors, commit to a favorable long-term lease, get local approvals, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            economies of scale no doubt, but good relations with local government, i would think less so.

          2. Economics in terms of the sky high rents that the developer is probably charging, plus the fact that this is a brand new destination. They probably feel as if they will need "name" restaurants in order to encourage people to visit the area.

            1. I think the area in general is being overwhelmed not just by chain restaurants but with a number of Mexican places. Just up the road at Station Landing there are two (I believe) and across the street in the CVS area there is another one. The entire Station Landing area is full of chain restaurants... Not your average Joe's, Margaritas, BOLO, Pizzazz Regina, 5 guys burgers...

              With the price of rents for any of these locations it is understandable why no mom & pop places can afford to start up in one of these new developments- the cost if prohibitive. I wonder what the Mayor of Somerville thinks now- he made several declarations that he did not want big box stores/restaurants and I understand he put the cabash on Olive Garden coming to Assembly Square... It will be interesting to see what else comes in there especially now that IKEA isn't.