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January 2014 Openings and Closings

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Per Chowhound eatinginboston, Pastoral (wood-fired, Neapolitan pizza in Fort Point), Alden & Harlow (Michael Scelfo's first place of his own, in the old Casablanca space), and The Merchant (an "American brasserie" in the Fi-Di with a Craigie alum heading the kitchen) are all slated to open in January.

http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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  1. As reported in the December thread and else where, burgers should be flipping off the grill at the Harvard square Shake Shack tomorrow at 11 am.

    http://www.shakeshack.com/location/ha...

    13 Replies
    1. re: lc02139

      I was in the square over the weekend and checked out the new Shake Shack. It was on par with the Chestnut Hill location, which is to say it isn't very good and not up to par with some of the Manhattan originals (which are pretty good, but can be inconsistent to begin with).

      The standard Shack burger tasted of little but salt. I know a lot of folks like it, but I'm not a fan of the Martin's Potato rolls. If they are under-toasted (as mine was), the roll can be very squishy. The vaunted new handcut fries were soggy and cold. They seemed not ready for prime time, as a soda tasted very watered down. Either it had been poured in advance or the fountain was off. The coffee shake was about the only thing that was good.

      There wasn't a line at 11:45a, and we were able to get a table upstairs. There was a short line when we left.

      I was curious to try Shake Shack, but it won't replace Tasty Burger for me when the area. Tasty Burger is across the board better in quality and taste, and overall less expensive when considering portion size. When walking past Tasty Burger afterward, I was pleased to see it was packed and business has not been affected so far. For my preferences, Harvard Square fast food type burgers would rank (Tasty Burger, Bartleys, Flat Patties, Shake Shack).

      1. re: black_lab

        Interesting. And I would unquestionably put Tasty Burger last in a ranking of those 4 places.

        Also interesting to hear that they are trying out the new fries at the Harvard Square location. When I was at Chestnut Hill about a week ago they were still using the frozen crinkle cut fries and I did not see any option of ordering the new hand cut ones.

        I will also say that I too have experienced the same exact issue with a soda from Shake Shack (Chestnut Hill). I do think they pour them in advance in anticipation of a rush and I find that to be unacceptable.

        1. re: black_lab

          Stopped in to the Shake Shack in HS - enjoyed the standard cheeseburger - I thought it had good flavor. At today's burger prices, thought the $5 for a single patty was fair enough.

          Had the Chicago dog - the toppings obliterated the bun, making it a mess to eat. Although thought the dog itself was too firm and hard to chew through, especially against all the squishy toppings. Did not have much flavor to me, dog-wise.

          The fries at $3 were a total disappointment. Hand-cut but a soggy mess.

          The strawberry shake was very good and the house tap beer was decent.

          Not sure I understand all the fuss, but I will go back and try the 'shroom burger.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I think the "fuss" is in regards to the burgers and shakes. Not the fries and certainly not a hot dog. To me, the Shake Shack regular burger with cheese is easily tops in the fast casual category in the $5 range. Better than Five Guys, UBurger, Smashburger (tried the new one in Natick recently) Tasty Burger etc. Quality beef for the price. Nothing more, nothing less. Certainly nothing worth waiting more than 5-10 minutes in line for. By the way, I usually skip the fries and get 2 burgers (not on the same bun).

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I'm so sad about those stupid hand cut fries. I LOVE crinkles. So I'm actually kind of glad they're awful. Bring back the crinkle cut!

              1. re: maillard

                I'm with Maillard! The crinkle cut worked so well with the cheese sauce!!!! Cheese fries were amazing, and I hope they still have them at Chestnut Hill!!!!!

                1. re: devilham

                  They sure do. Just devoured some on Tuesday.

              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                I went to the Harvard Sq. Shake Shack for lunch today. The service was really good, but the food was not great. I got both a hamburger and a hot dog since I wasn't interested in the non-crinkle fries. I ended up getting some fries for free, though, since they had some trouble with my order (it wasn't even a big deal to me, but nice of them to do that). The added fries made for a pretty huge lunch, so it was a good thing I'd just come from the gym! The hamburger was cooked nicely, but crazy salty in one spot. The hotdog was also cooked pretty well, but what kind of hot dog are they using? It was kind of strange tasting. Not in an off way, just different tasting than most hotdogs I've had.

                The fries were okay. They weren't very hot, but they weren't cold or anything and were an okay mix of crunchy and softer. They were no crinkles, though...

                I thought the staff was really fantastic. Very friendly and helpful and all clearly working their butts off. So I'll give this place another shot just based on that (and nothing I ate was bad, just all could've been a little better).

              3. re: black_lab

                I'm so glad some one else feels this way. I have been to the Shake Shack in Chestnut Hill and in Washington DC. It's fine. It's not the type of food I'm going to go out of my way for. I think Tasty Burger is much better plus (and maybe this is just me) I would rather support a local "chain" than a NYC and now national chain.

                I'm concerned that Harvard Square is getting over-saturated with burgers. I realize they are the current fad, but they won't be forever and there is no way that all of these places can stay in business in such a high rent district. My guess is that Flat Patties closes first. It's too bad.

                www.hungrytommy.com

                1. re: hungrytommy

                  I guess we will have to agree to disagree but I don't see burgers as a "fad." Definitely nothing remotely close to similar food fads. I'm looking at you cupcakes, frozen yogurt etc. Maybe Harvard Square loses one or two burger places over the years but burgers will always be in demand especially in areas flush with students/those on a budget.

                  1. re: Gordough

                    I'm not saying that burgers will go but there is certainly a very different burger atmosphere than there was even a few years ago. I point to the recent fast expansion of burger only/mostly restaurants (Five Guys, Tasty Burger, Shake Shack, SmashBurger…) Perhaps it is just more people shunning McDonalds et al. Still, I think there is a burger bubble at the moment. There is a big difference between a dessert fad and a meal fad. Dessert fads are almost always short lived, must be something about our desire for sweets, but meal fads, think wraps ten or so years ago, don't go away they just slow down. I think the burger craze is at a high right now. When it softens (unless you are right and it stays as it is) something has to suffer.

                    1. re: hungrytommy

                      People said the burger craze was at a high a few years ago when Five Guys started rapidly expanding in the area. Speaking of Five Guys, they are actually the one burger place that I can see closing locations in a few years. Just too many locations. For example, there is one in Natick and another less than 2 miles away in Framingham. But I truly believe that places like Harvard Square can support 4-5 burger places for the long term.

                      1. re: Gordough

                        I get it and believe me I am wrong a lot. But I think Five Guys was the start and when one rapid expansion turns into many then you really have a fad. Harvard Square is an area where things restaurants come and go (certainly there are some that have stayed around for a long time). The rent is high and if you aren't making a good profit you can't keep up. I don't imagine four burger places with lines out the doors for years to come, but I could be wrong. Time will tell.

                        @hungrytommy

            2. Walked past the former Sushi Island in Wakefield today and the new restaurant that replaced it is now open. There's a bar right upfront near the windows. Didn't see a menu & can't remember the name of the new restaurant.

              Also, while walking down Main St., noticed Italian Kitchen of Wakefield coming soon sign--just across the street from Farmland. They have a website going. Unfortunately, I don't think Wakefield needs another Italian joint; seems like the town is over-saturated, but maybe they'll offer another takeout pizza option, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

              Can someone open a decent coffee place with tasty breakfast pastries in this area? I just moved to Wakefield and I'm still holding out for that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hardi

                The new place that replaced Sushi Island is called Sakura Organic.

              2. Not sure of the timing (it looked pretty far along) but Falafel King is opening a 3rd Downtown Crossing location. The new one is on Summer Street in the old Qdoba space on the corner of Otis/Kingston.

                1. Reports that Leo's Place in Harvard Square is no more.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    That sucks, that place wasn't awesome, but it was an old school greasy spoon of the finest order. I loved the griddled pastrami and cheese, so not good for you. And super cheap.

                    1. re: devilham

                      confirmed - windows are covered in brown paper

                  2. Sel de la Terre in Natick mall is closed. Sel de la Terre is no more. (What was the story with that?)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hsquare2southend

                      I'm not that surprised given that it had the worst location in the mall. I know that the current focus is on La Brasa, but I don't have high hopes. I think that since McClelland decided it was more important to be a farmer than a chef things have been gong downhill for his restaurants.

                      www.hungrytommy.com

                      1. re: hungrytommy

                        I live in East Somerville, so I hope you are wrong about La Brasa. But I suspect you are right on...with a certain temperament, once you get into the field with the growing things, all the bright lights can get diminishing. McClelland might have found his true calling and be forsaking the rest of it. I did love Sel de la Terre, and hope he will somehow merge his callings.

                    2. Oasis in Medford has taken over the old Captain Boston space and has a sign up for a "bakery and cafe." Don't know how far along it is.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                        What fantastic news! I'm a big Oasis fan and considering the crowds (and already large seating area), they can use the space.

                      2. Legal Seafood at the South Shore Plaza will close end of January. Buffalo Wild Wings may be taking the space,

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: jjbourgeois

                          I'm shocked that a Legal is closing, any story behind this?

                          In less shocking news, Ledge Kitchen in Dorchester is in the process of changing ownership. Someone told me it had closed on Sat. and when we couldn't get a bar seat at Steel & Rye that evening, drove to find something else and saw that Ledge was open. They're in a weird transition period where no one knows how much longer they're working there. Not sure what direction the new place will go, it was just okay when we watched the game there on Sat.

                          1. re: total13

                            Legal was a lease situation. they have opened across the street already.
                            the Ledge will have new ownership shortly with a team headed by Eleanor Arpino former Director or Ops for Davio's.

                            1. re: eatinginboston

                              Ate at the SS Plaza location last night, not realizing going in that it was their last day.

                              The guy carrying a coat rack out the door was our first clue.

                              Service was meh, food was slightly better than meh, the help didn't seem too in to it (they've fully staffed the new location, so anyone still working here is being shipped elsewhere).

                            2. re: total13

                              Last time I was at Steel and Rye on a Sat the whole bar was occupied by 5:30. 2/3 of the restaurant, too.

                              And last time I was at the Ledge it was very busy. And word on why it was sold?

                              1. re: total13

                                That's too bad about the Ledge. It's a nice space and the staff is pleasant. Love their dry rub chicken wings and the Mac and cheese with butternut squash. Thir summer patio is one do the nicest around. When I was there a few months ago I felt like they had gotten everything right.

                            3. Eater Boston reports that Enso Sushi in Chinatown has closed. Thought about checking it out a few times, wasn't jazzed by the concept of conveyor-belt sushi. Did I miss something great?

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                I've only tried conveyor-belt style sushi (or rather river-style sushi, plates having been borne to diners on floats in an artificial stream between diners and chefs) once in SF, and it was meh. Frankly I'm not surprised the concept didn't take off here.

                              2. Cafe Du Boston in the Financial District has expanded into an adjacent space, with more seating, fancy coffees and baked goods and pastries. Macarons, mini-cupcakes, tiramisu, etc.

                                The young barista made a right decent macciatto this morning ($2.25) which was at least as comparable to S*ucks.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  Did you try the baked goods? The ones at the original Cafe Du Boston have been pretty poor across the board - maybe freshly-baked, but generally flavorless / mediocre - will have to see if the macarons and tiramisu are a different story (two of my favorites when done well)

                                  1. re: rlh

                                    hope you've been able to get to Violette for her macarons. very big and neat flavors.

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      I'd suggest that "big" is a cause for concern rather than enthusiasm, since it's such a strong variable cooking-wise. Makes 'em flat and there won't be enough supporting scaffolding foam-structure to rise, changing the texture in a less-pleasant direction.

                                      That said, haven't had Violette and I'm generally only interested in macaron science, not the cookie.

                                    2. re: rlh

                                      I will try to gather more data - they were generally priced like they should taste good!

                                  2. It appears the Joshua Tree in Allston is closed. Word on the street is a trader joes is coming. Which makes sense size wise as well as matches up with the kind of gentrifying that is happening on that side of Comm Ave.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: coolaugustmoon

                                      That can't be more than a mile from the Coolidge Corner TJs, though. Wouldn't it just cannibalize sales? Not that I would mind, since it would be that much closer to my house, but still.

                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                        I imagine that doing that math is a well-defined science for the TJ's people. I'd welcome an excuse to avoid the CC TJ's if I lived anywhere nearby. It can be nightmarish, starting with the parking lot.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          The density of population is certainly high enough for this 2nd TJ's. The Coolidge Corner one will hardly be affected. I have heard a variety of responses to this news. Mostly very positive, as unless you have a car you either get stuck on the b line to Packard's corner Shaw's or huff it to the Stop and Shop by WGBH. A few contrarian hipsters have rolled their eyes, but they don't actually have an answer to "what would you like to see there?"

                                          1. re: coolaugustmoon

                                            the parking lot in CC is a nightmare, the only one worse is the sommerville market basket.

                                            Also, would it not be easier for them to stock both, being nearby, and serve two different customer bases? Seems like a wn/win for the business

                                            1. re: coolaugustmoon

                                              i bet the car/T customer breakdown that you mentioned is the/a main reason for the new TJ (if it does evolve). 'Doing the math', as MC calls it-- intrigues me, as i see WF spread "to every neighborhood" in some cases. Fresh Pond- Rt16 Medford--Arlington Ctr -- all a very short drive away from @ other. Maybe the marketing teams for TJ and WF have found that, in this area, the average 'new consumers' are not willing to drive much distance (snow related?) or maybe it's just population density as coolaugmoon said, or many factors probably. But it does seem that the current retail food scene is drastically different from the pre-1990's in many many ways.

                                      2. Something called the Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bar-Café has opened at 141A Newbury Street (Clarendon-Dartmouth block). From the press release, I gather that this is a fancy UK-based chocolatier with a hand in sourcing: it owns a cacao plantation. Call it pod-to-piehole, I guess.

                                        Can't tell from their annoying website if they serve food of any kind for consumption on the premises, despite it being called a cafe and having a "tasting room". Hot chocolate seems to be a thing they do there (or maybe just let you taste). Not a stretch to guess it is very expensive.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          Hmmmm...haven't they been there as a chocolate shop for a few years? Maybe the cafe part of it is new because when I went there last year, it was just a chocolate store not a cafe. They also had chocolate tasting parties you could book as well.

                                          1. re: catsmeow

                                            Here is some info from Boston Restaurant Talk: http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com...

                                            1. re: catsmeow

                                              Judging from Yelp reviews, Hotel Chocolat has been there since Sept 2009 as a retail chocolatier (the company also does a big catalog business). The new aspect is the Cocoa Bar-Cafe, though it's not clear what's on the menu there.

                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                                              But there is that chocolate shop on Clarendon between Boylston and Newbury in that little house that used to be the men's clothing store ... Do we need both steps away from each other?

                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                Maybe the LA Burdick opening around the corner is why Hotel Chocolat opted to open a cafe?

                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                            3. Well I ate lunch at Asian Gourmet yesterday and it was still excellent but I just felt the vibe was different, so I just flat out asked where is Jean and Jet and, yeah, they left. Jet Lee started at Jo Jo Taipei, then went to Formosa Taipei, then Asian Gourmet. I squeezed a bit and got the intel. (No waterboarding of my waitress was used.) They are opening a new place in Newton sometime soon. I was just surprised because I thought they were the owners of Asian Gourmet. I am also bummed because it means that AG may not have a Chinese New Year's special banquet menu.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: tatsu

                                                Any more info on the Newton thing (specifically, where?)

                                                1. re: Ruprecht

                                                  It is near the Biltmore in Newton Upper Falls, located in the former Kosher Chinese restaurant, Taam China. It looks like it will be called Jean and Lee Kitchen.

                                                  1. re: Posenose

                                                    Wow, that's pretty back-woods. Hope they can make a go of it there.

                                                    1. re: Ruprecht

                                                      Saw a grand opening sign driving by today.

                                                      1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                        Mr Bigglesworth, a grand opening for Jean and Lee Kitchen? Do you know anyone who's tried it yet? They have NO online presence at all, which seems so strange these days.

                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                          I would assume it's the spot in question (right next to Clark's) and a block from the Biltmore. I'm tempted to drive back, stop in and get a menu. I searched online and couldn't find anything.

                                                          1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                            The address is 108 Oak Street, Newton Upper Falls. Haven't been yet, myself.

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              Just got a menu in the mail. Some interesting Taiwanese mixed in with classic Chinese dishes. Believe the menu is on their FB page. Will try soon and report back.

                                                          2. re: hiddenboston

                                                            http://www.jeanandleekitchen.net/

                                                            Not much content yet.

                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                              I tried it for lunch yesterday, with my sister. It wasn't bad, but I have to say I wasn't impressed. I also ordered a rather skewed selection of things, though; maybe Asian Gourmet regulars could suggest other things to order? And they have a special dim sum menu on weekends, which I didn't try. (There are only a few different dishes on the special menu, though.) If I worked nearby I would probably still go there regularly for lunch since there is a lack of similar restaurants in the area.

                                                              XLB: ok -- juicy, and the skin wasn't too thick. Not very flavorful, though.

                                                              Scallion pancake: I actually meant to order the sliced beef wrap in scallion pancake pancake, and pointed to that on the menu while saying "scallion pancake with beef" when I was ordering, but apparently the (older) waitress didn't see me point and didn't hear me fully. Afterwards when I complained, she said I had ordered scallion pancake and that's what I got. I didn't complain more, but that certainly annoyed me. Anyway, the scallion pancake itself was normal -- not bad, but not much texture other than fried. (Homemade scallion pancakes have a chew to them.)

                                                              Pan fried pork buns: I thought there wasn't enough filling, and considering that they were pan fried I thought the bottoms weren't nearly crispy enough; they were just browned, but not really crispy at all. But the flavor was fine.

                                                              Sesame seed flat bread: a large, thick, puffy, layered bread. Enjoyable, but you might want to share it among a few people since it's just bread.

                                                              Pan fried daikon cake: my sister said these were better than average because they were more tender than average. I agreed that they were tender. I kind of wished there was a little more flavoring inside, though.

                                                              Boba milk tea: the tea was somewhat weakly flavored, and the boba were very overcooked (too soft), and already all one congealed mass when I got it. That said, again, if I was craving boba milk tea and was stuck in Upper Falls for days on end I would still get this.

                                                              They didn't have anything else from their "Fresh Smoothie/Snow Slash" section on the menu. They said something about still not having gotten the equipment for it yet.

                                                              Sorry I didn't take any photos! Also, FYI, the "fried crispy bean curd" is made with fermented bean curd. I had been hoping for Gourmet Dumpling House-style crispy fried tofu, but no such luck.

                                                              I got a menu in the mail too. I'll try scanning it in later.

                                                              Finally, everything definitely left that MSG-laden taste in my mouth. That too is somewhat normal, though.

                                                              1. re: wu12

                                                                Regular and Dim Sum menus. They also had leftover their Chinese New Year menu, but I neglected to take it with me.

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                  2. Mission Cantina in Brookline has closed.

                                                    23 Replies
                                                    1. re: nightsky

                                                      The Buddhist Cultural Center place on Mass Ave between Harvard and Central is closed. A sign said "New restaurant coming soon." The sign announcing all the renters in the building, said "Dumpling House."

                                                      1. re: femmevox

                                                        I think the Buddhist Cultural Center restaurant temporarily closed over the summer and never reopened? I could be wrong about this--does anyone know? And yes, a dumpling house will be opening in its space.

                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                          It temporarily closed last December (2012) and has not been opened since. Originally it was their usual holiday break to travel to Asia, then extended through Jan, then through Feb, and no news until sign for a new place recently. The previous tea house was some of the best Chinese (and vegetarian in general) fare in the area. It's a shame it closed.

                                                          1. re: black_lab

                                                            I work around the corner from the Buddhist place and frequented the cafe. One of the monks told me, before the move, that they were relocating to Concord Ave past Fresh Pond, where they found a cheaper space.

                                                      2. re: nightsky

                                                        When I searched "mission cantina closed", this came up:

                                                        "The Cantina will be closed tonight due to an emergency repair!"

                                                        Or is there something else going on?

                                                        1. re: total13

                                                          I'm gonna assume it's definitely closed. Their entire web presence is gone -- website, facebook, twitter, etc.
                                                          http://www.missionbrookline.com/

                                                          1. re: huuvola

                                                            Didn't it just open? Like 4 months ago? Yikes. Nothing can seem to stay in that spot which is very surprising given the location.

                                                          2. re: total13

                                                            I just talked with the folks at Mission Cantina in Amherst. The Brookline location is definitely closed for good.

                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                              Yours is about the last post about this place I have seen. Is anything going in there? Haven't heard any news since January. We no longer live up the street but every time we visit we hope a new restaurant will open. It's a great spot.

                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                Ummm, I heard that a certain place might be moving in, but it apparently fell through. I can't mention the place here, but bottom line is, I don't think we'll be seeing anything open there soon.

                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                  Thanks for speedy reply! The bad luck vibe goes on.

                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                    I get the sense that many places in Brookline turn over restaurants quickly because the rent is just too damned high.

                                                                    In the case of Mission, I suspect a front-of-house partnership with owners who had just failed in that same spot was maybe not the best recipe for success. I liked the kitchen's food, but the service was truly appalling.

                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      So true about the rents and don't get me started on the management there- his specialty was firing anyone who showed any interest in good customer service. But that spot has been considered bad luck by the locals ever since there was a murder outside the kitchen, back in the late eighties when it was a Thai restaurant. A co-worker stabbed the cook and his wife, who was a waitress there, and she died.

                                                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                                                        Ugh, I remember that sorry incident, murdering a pregnant woman in a parking space dispute: so senseless. The husband survived the attack. The restaurant was called Pattaya.

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          3. re: nightsky

                                                            Wow, that was quick.

                                                            1. re: nightsky

                                                              I liked the food at Mission Cantina, especially one of the few rotisserie al pastors I've seen around Boston. But the service was pitiful, really inept. This was a place I had intended to review for The Improper, but it was such a clusterfuffle I opted for Plan B, assuming the market would speak soon enough.

                                                              I'd lay this one at the feet of FOH management, the same folks behind predecessor Beacon Street Tavern.

                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                Why can nothing make it in that location? Right on the T with abundant free parking behind it.

                                                                When I first moved to Boston years ago I lived across the street and it was a longtime ladies lunch spot named Brown's I think.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                  It also has a great patio and hordes of baseball fans walking by on their way to Fenway in season and lots of nearby BU students.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                  A haunted location? More likely, this is what restaurateurs get for opening places that are indifferent to their patrons--maybe the thinking is that college-aged students don't merit top-notch service. Can't understand how a restaurant can open with so little reserves that it can't last until word of mouth (positive, of course)draws attention to it.

                                                                  1. re: carneyvore

                                                                    Nothing worked at the Posto location for years too, until Posto came in and delivered a good product. Ergo, location is not the issue.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                      maybe not bob. But it could be that when Posto moved in, they found and removed the voodoo doll that had been buried in the cellar wall, placed there by a disgruntled employee who had been stiffed on his paycheck many lifetimes ago. )

                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                        I find it charming and amusing that the bricks on the outside of Posto still say "Carberry's" on them :)

                                                                        All of the other businesses that moved in there relied on heavy foot traffic -- and frankly, that's a terrible spot for foot traffic. Posto smartly made themselves a destination with unique offerings, and it's paid off well.

                                                                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                          I was really cheering for Au Natural's since it's kind a hike up to Dave's for the only decent sandwiches in Davis if you're on the Porter side of things with a short lunch break. They seemed to do well with foot traffic in that area- my understanding was the failure had something to do with Stonyfield's internal financial decisions. I know, I should just let it go...

                                                              2. Biryani Park in Malden is closed. According to their website, they are looking for a new location.

                                                                1. It looks like Barrio Cantina in Fenway has closed. There was a note on the door saying "We will be closing on Sunday, Jan. 12th. I don't think the restaurant has been open very long.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: MtVernon

                                                                    Barrio lasted less than a year. Mission only lasted 7 months. Upscale Mexican bubble appears finally to have reached its maximum extent. Burger bubble to burst next?

                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      Not sure, but im betting several of those now ubiquitous "Five Guys" will not make it to 2015

                                                                      1. re: hyde

                                                                        Of all the chains that have broken out in the recent burger surge, Five Guys is the worst in my experience. I know people love it, but three crap burgers at three different locations around here has me saying, "No more."

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                          Five Guys has good fries. Sometimes I eat their large fries for lunch. Beats MickeyD's and that is all that counts.

                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                            Couldn't agree more, I just feel so greasy after eating there. I have been liking Shake Shack, and their (soon to be extinct...boo!) crinkle cut fries, as they work best for the cheese sauce. Yum!

                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                              That middle ground, between the "two whopper jrs, no cheese, no mayo and value fries" which clocks in at under 700 calories and under 5 usd in 5 minutes and the Curley/Lineage type at 14-15usd and, god knows what caloric damage as a designated meal , (lets accept CragieBurger as an outlier), is a way too crowded field.

                                                                              Somethings gotta give.

                                                                              Honestly, im never sure if its the place or my palate when, say, a place like Lee's in Newton goes from wow to meh in a period of time. I guess I just dont eat enough burgers to be discerning.

                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                I also totally agree that Five Guys is terrible. I hate the fries, too.

                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                  I dislike their fries but in the handful of trips I've gone there I find the burgers to be about the same as the other "better fast food burger" type of spots, and better than some (Griddlers, I'm looking at you). That said, I'd rather go to the local chains in that space both because they're local and they're more convenient for me.

                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                  I'm glad to hear someone else who doesn't like Five Guys. I can't stand the place, yet my friends keep trying to drag me there. I get major indigestion from the greasy burgers and the soggy nasty fries. I do not understand the attraction of that place, sorry. I'm also not a fan of 5-Napkin burger for that matter. Totally unimpressed.

                                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                oh pleeeese let it be the cupcake bubble. oversweetened white flour baked goods need to go out of favor, like smoking.

                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                  Coming soon: cupcake patches. Electronic cupcakes.

                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                  Happy's and Barrio Cantina both gave their bartenders carte blanche to give away as many drinks as they liked. 1000's of customers, 100's of $$$. when is Michael Schlow going to learn that you must charge for alcohol. You can get away with comping food but letting bartenders give away the store is a recipe for bankruptcy. Oh yeah, they have a cocktail program.

                                                                                3. re: MtVernon

                                                                                  The restaurant before Barrio only lasted a few months, too...

                                                                                4. More New England board, but the Spencer Trappist monks have opened a brewery making Trappist ales...first one outside of Europe. This was on the bostonrestaurants blogspot. Sounds awesome!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                    Sounds like stores will start receiving the beer this week. They produced a ton of this stuff, so you should be able to find it at any decent beer shop in MA.

                                                                                    It's $17-$19 / 4 pack. Price seems a little steep, but I'll at least grab one to give it a try.

                                                                                    1. re: mkfisher

                                                                                      Please report back!. For anyone else wondering it's St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer.

                                                                                      1. re: mkfisher

                                                                                        I can't wait. people: please report back on where you find it! I'll be haunting Publick House in the meantime ...

                                                                                    2. Fig's in Charlestown CLOSED may have been seized by the city......

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: eatinginboston

                                                                                        No answer on their phone during normal business hours: sure sounds closed unexpectedly. "Forgot" to pay the tax bill, maybe? Didn't keep up the payments on the liquor license?

                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                          Update: Eater Boston reports: "An employee answered when I called a few minutes ago and said they're open. A tipster says beer & wine is gone, though."

                                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                        2. re: eatinginboston

                                                                                          Don't know what you are talking about. Had a great lunch there today. It is very open.

                                                                                          1. re: Patina

                                                                                            Welcome to Chowhound, Patina. Did you happen to notice if they are still serving beer and wine?

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                        3. Looks like Fritz closed recently as the windows were covered.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: MtVernon

                                                                                            Yep, it's getting a major facelift and will re-open as The Trophy Room. Not sure if it will still primarily be a gay bar or not.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              http://www.edgeboston.com/nightlife/b...

                                                                                          2. Per Hidden Boston, CurlyCakes, the Todd English / Todd English's daughter's Beacon Hill cupcake shop, is now closed "for renovations".

                                                                                            Any bets on how long it will be before the Figs Beacon Hill's beer/wine licence gets seized and sold to pay off Deadbeat Todd's outstanding bills at Olives and Kingfish Hall? I'll bet the license at the Logan Airport Bonfire is in play, too.

                                                                                            The Figs Charlestown has definitely lost its beer/wine license. I wonder if it can remain a viable business without alcohol profits.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              How can the cupcake place already be closed for renovations, when it took them like three years to open it up in the first place? Given père Todd's recent history, this doesn't bode well.

                                                                                              1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                                                I think that's why it's "closed for renovations" and not close for renovations.

                                                                                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                                                  It likely has to do with the fact that English's former landlords at Faneuil Hall won a civil judgement against him last summer to the tune of almost $1M, and in trying to collect have taken action to seize most of his Boston-area restaurants' assets.

                                                                                                  This is why the Figs Charlestown doesn't serve beer and wine anymore: the County seized its malt license for sale to defray English's debt, mostly back rent and damages at Kingfish Hall. With the Olives Charlestown full license also a target, Legal looks ready to back out of its deal to take over that space with an Italian seafood concept. Todd will still leave plenty of locals holding the bag for his recent failures, but it looks like at least one of his creditors has figured out a way to claw back some of their own.

                                                                                                  Universal Hub did a very nice job reporting the judicial backstory here: http://www.universalhub.com/2014/todd...

                                                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                              2. A new Lebanese place called "Shwarma Falafel" has opened in the old Chacerero space on Province street. Have not tried yet but hope theylast longer than the previous french cafe.

                                                                                                1. A 3rd Falafel King is open on Summer St, in the space that QDoba had.

                                                                                                  The pizza/sub shop directly across the street from Gene's Flatbread on Bedford St has a Korean menu including fried chicken. Haven't tried it but had some customers at about noon when I walked by on my way to New Shanghai. I think the name is InBoston, but the old sign is still up, so not certain.

                                                                                                  1. Hidden Boston reports that La Verdad is no more. No word on the new concept or if an ownership change is afoot.

                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      Wow, maybe we ARE finally seeing the end of Mexicanesque!

                                                                                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                        I'm unclear as to how their food was "mexicanesque"? I thought he was going for authenticity.

                                                                                                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                                          Perhaps in the sense that Epcot is "authentic."

                                                                                                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                        La Verdad will probably be replaced by another generic bar with forgettable food. The problem on Landsdowne is that there really isn't much incentive to do anything other than a bar serving sub par bar food considering the clientele 90 or so days/nights a year. But maybe someone will have the vision to at least try and draw customers the other 260 nights of the year.

                                                                                                        1. re: Gordough

                                                                                                          I liked La Verdad alright, but after KO Prime closed, it was clearly the weakest link in Oringer's empire, notable only by the very low standards of the Fenway Park adjacent, not remotely worth the premium over my traditional favorites in Eastie and Waltham.

                                                                                                          At the end of the day, this is a Lyons Group establishment. Despite occasional associations with real chefs like Oringer, they are mostly saloon-keepers. Nothing wrong with that, but it helps to bring very modest expectations about the food to most of their many outlets.

                                                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                          oh noooo. this is bad. nowhere else in town to get fire grilled carne asada or haddock fried fish tacos . bummmmer.

                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                            Those fish tacos are great, but after my last two failed attempts to get some (due to closing early because of lack of customers) I'm not sorry to see them close.

                                                                                                        3. I think i read about it in the Globe, but would someone plse remind me where the Curleys people are opening a new place in the SoEnd in the future? thx.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                            Yep, Merrill & Co, in the old 28 Degrees space.

                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                          2. Per Boston.com: Aurum, featuring Lebanese meat pies among other things will open in Hyde Square JP tomorrow---in the old Kennedy's Fried Chicken place. Definitely seems like an upgrade.

                                                                                                            http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/j...

                                                                                                            1. Anyone know if Pho Dakao in Framingham has opened yet? The one food-related item missing from the MetroWest is some good Vietnamese food. Their website still shows opening January 2014.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jpeezey12

                                                                                                                Doesn't look like it's going to open anytime soon. Lots of stuff still covering the windows, not much construction activity and no sign above the place yet.

                                                                                                                1. re: daikon

                                                                                                                  Looks like it's opening on Saturday! https://www.facebook.com/PhoDakao

                                                                                                              2. I read on facebook that Sapporo Ramen plans to open a branch in Central Square Cambridge switching from Chicken broth to Pork broth. (Pre-2009 they were pork.)

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                  It's going to be in the new H Mart. I haven't walked by in a month or so, but last I heard was that it was probably going to be a late January opening at the earliest

                                                                                                                  http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/c...

                                                                                                                  1. re: mkfisher

                                                                                                                    I gaze at it longingly every morning while waiting for the bus, but it doesn't look super close to opening quite yet. Though hard to tell from the outside. Hopefully soon!

                                                                                                                    1. re: maillard

                                                                                                                      I saw them working on it last week. How long can it take to turn a grocery store/ cafe into a grocery store/ restaurant?

                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                        I thought the issue was NSTAR had to rewire the whole block for them?

                                                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                          jgg13, I found the article you must have seen to in Cambridge Day.
                                                                                                                          (great news source)

                                                                                                                          http://www.cambridgeday.com/2013/04/2...

                                                                                                                          Penny
                                                                                                                          http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                                                        2. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                          Forever, apparently. I peered in the windows the other day and it doesn't look even a tiny bit close to being anywhere near done. Alas. :(

                                                                                                                          1. re: maillard

                                                                                                                            They are now saying April.

                                                                                                                  2. Sugar Restaurant and Bakery in Roslindale has closed. Bakery locations attached to Real Deal are still open, though.

                                                                                                                    http://www.universalhub.com/2014/aw-s...

                                                                                                                    1. Aoi in Framingham has closed (sadly, the only ramen place in the metrowest).

                                                                                                                      Handwritten door sign says they hope to open somewhere else soon.

                                                                                                                      1. Anyone know the timeline on Abbey on Mass Ave in Cambridge (between Porter and Harvard)?

                                                                                                                        1. BurgerFi, a South Florida Shake Shack style chain is opening next to the Paradise in the Qdoba space. Ive had their burgers, fries, rings, and dogs a few times in Delray Beach... Pretty good for that style albeit a bit pricey.

                                                                                                                          Edit: I guess the prices are on par with Uburger and Shake Shack, around $9 for a burger and fries.

                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                            Late to the party, good luck to them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                              The one thing they may have going for them is if they have a beer/ wine license... I for one wouldn't mind grabbing a quick beer and burger before a show at the dise.

                                                                                                                            2. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                              I wandered in this afternoon (second day open) and wandered back out when it became clear that the registers had gone down and no one seemed to know how to reboot them. I might try again for a hot dog and/or a shake sometime. but I burst out laughing when I saw one of the hamburgers on someone's table. The burgers and buns are literally the size and thickness of an old-fashioned McDonalds single, the ones that used to cost 29 cents. The "free" toppings add height, but seriously, the burger itself is about 3.5 inches across and 1/4-inch thick. It's a joke.

                                                                                                                              Uburger has absolutely nothing to worry about.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                wow!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                  judging from the McD's burgers my son gets, they are still that size and they cost $1 now.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                                    Still a better bargain than $4.50 for the same burger at BurgerFi!

                                                                                                                              2. Looks like Delux in the South End is no more. The sign on the door is a big drawing of a tombstone with "2014: RIP DELUX" on it.

                                                                                                                                As an artist who works in this neighborhood, it's a particularly sad loss. Now there's nowhere near the BCA that's truly affordable for drinks and food.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: litchick

                                                                                                                                  Ugh. That one hurts.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: litchick

                                                                                                                                    Anyone know the story behind this closing?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Unfoodie

                                                                                                                                      Facebook friends are reporting a rumor from an unnamed bartender that it was sold and will reopen shortly with a very similar concept.

                                                                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                        My wife works with the cousin of the owner, so I am sending out some feelers as we speak...mind you if it's a personal thing, I won't be able to comment, but if I can get some insight I will

                                                                                                                                        1. re: devilham

                                                                                                                                          So my wife spoke to the owners cousin, and the scoop is he is just burned out, he has young kids and just doesn't have the time to invest in two businesses anymore (I guess he owned another south end joint as well, Rendezvous I think she said??). I can get that, as running one joint can be hard enough with kids. As I understand it he will sell the place and consult with the new owners, and as Slim said, keep the concept similar

                                                                                                                                          1. re: devilham

                                                                                                                                            Globe confirms: http://www.boston.com/blogs/ae/restau...

                                                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                  2. Any updates on Alden & Harlow? I walked by Scelfo on Sunday as I was heading to brunch at Puritan & Co, which led to way too long spent looking at his Instagram feed. Really excited for this place to open.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mkfisher

                                                                                                                                      this weekend!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mkfisher

                                                                                                                                        They're in friends and family mode, so it must be very close.

                                                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                      2. India Samraat on Mass ave is closing on January 31st. This is a very hard hit for me because it was high on my regular list of places for take out and to meet up with friends.

                                                                                                                                        According to their facebook page, " Our business will continue from the Brookline location, Curry House, at 1335 Beacon Street."

                                                                                                                                        Penny
                                                                                                                                        http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: BostonZest

                                                                                                                                          Holy moly. That is right across the street from my apartment. My wife will be crushed. Any word on what might fill the space?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BostonZest

                                                                                                                                            Yeah - bummed about this. Just had take out Monday :-(

                                                                                                                                            An excuse for me to *finally* try India Quality in Kenmore.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rozziegirl

                                                                                                                                              I gave India Samraat some regular takeout business when I lived nearby -- only restaurant I ever knew where the owners kept their kid in a playpen in the dining room -- but I think you'll find that India Quality's food is better across the board. In those days, it was India Quality > Bhindi Bazaar > India Samraat > Kashmir > Bombay Cafe and that other bygone Indian place over near Symphony.

                                                                                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                            2. re: BostonZest

                                                                                                                                              Sad to see them go. Such lovely owners.

                                                                                                                                            3. More of an expansion then an opening but the tasting room at Jack's Abbey in Framingham has expanded its space, offerings and hours. They are now open Wed-Sat until 8pm and you can order pints to drink while they fill your growlers.

                                                                                                                                              1. Pan-Asian / American / whatsis Ki Bistro has opened near Packard's Corner, per Eater Boston. Menu includes a kimchi burger, a ramen burger (bun made of a fried nest of noodles, the kind of thing that makes kids in Brooklyn crazy with desire), summer rolls, rice and noodle plate, and french fries.

                                                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                1. John Dewar in Wellesley has closed: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/w...

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Taralli

                                                                                                                                                    Whoa. I figured this would eventually happen after Newton shut down, but it's still surprising. Pricey as it was, Dewar was one of the elite butchers in the area. Glad I used up an old gift card for a holiday roast rather than having it go to waste.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Taralli

                                                                                                                                                      After a poor experience, I haven't been to Dewars in three years and instead stop at WF when I'm in the area. As much as I appreciate a true "butcher" and am willing to pay more for it, I expect something for the higher price (ideally both higher quality service/skills and hopefully higher quality meat). I was never enamored with them the way I am with a place like MF Dulock.

                                                                                                                                                      That said, I can understand pressure from the Whole Foods a block away which has a very impressive meat and seafood section. I've found the WF meat/seafood people much friendlier, more willing to cut things to order/do basic butchering work, and the prices the same or lower than Dewars.

                                                                                                                                                      Of course, now I wonder how much longer Captain Marden's fish market will last.

                                                                                                                                                    2. There's a shiny new sign for a schawarma joint in Davis, next to Domino's.

                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                                                                                                        Is this Noor, the place Opinionatedchef posted about in this thread:
                                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/961670

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                                                          No, some place that apparently replaced Wing Works. Looks to be called The Shawarma Place.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                                                                                                          A friend of a friend is opening it. He will have falafel too. He ran Moody's Falafel for a couple years.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                            I will be hopeful!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                              tats, where is moody's? will you ask if he/she plans to make his own schwarma mixture or just buy it in? i wonder why anyone would think they could offer falafel as good as 2-blocks-away-Amsterdam's. (p.s. not trying to start a war or anything, it's just that to me, A's falafel is a very superior package.)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                the place in central square.

                                                                                                                                                                after the most recent ownership change i wouldn't go there unless it is after 2am and you're very intoxicated. And really, from personal experience, i wouldn't even go then (speaking as someone who often went after 2am and whilst very intoxicated0

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                                  well darn. delete that one from my brain. Thnx.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                    My friend is a falafel fiend, and both him and his friend (the new owner of Shawarma Place) are Palestinian. Moody's was a temporary thing, I think he was renting it or something. He is definitely making his own Shawarma and he's very confident about his Falafel. I like Amsterdam quite a bit too, even though I don't like self-serve. I like Fordee's better, and so does my friend. On a good day, the Falafel balls themselves are about equal at Amsterdam and Fordee's but to me, Fordee's make a better sandwich, lettuce makes it refreshing, and the Amsterdam way is just a P.I.T.A., and I'm not talking about bread.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                                      The OPEN sign was lit last evening.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                                        Stopped in for a beef/lamb schwarma rollup to go. Very nice, I'd get one again. Distinct but not intrusive cinnamon (I like cinnamon in savory).

                                                                                                                                                            2. Cocobeet opened at City Hall Plaza yesterday. It's vegan, does some raw and gluten-free stuff, and features juices, smoothies, soups, salads, sandwiches and such. Juicing not going yet.

                                                                                                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/