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What do people think of Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge?

Looking for people's opinions of this restaurant.

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    1. re: tartandfit

      do a search. there are recent threads.

    2. It is one of the best places to enjoy great food in a warm, welcoming atmosphere is the area. Super talented chef/owner who cares about his customers, community and the world.

      I've been neglecting some of the backbones of really wonderful food in Boston. I have a list of places I plan to get back to in the next couple of weeks.


      1. I'm a big fan and it's well-loved by many of my friends as well. I've never seen or heard any particularly strongly dissenting views of this.

        1. Never had anything at Rendezvous that was less than fantastic. For us, this is a special occasion spot, and I keep trying to produce more special occasions.

          1. one of my favorites - consistently excellent


            1. Loved it-- we had the squid with beans, a very good seared bluefish, and a wonderful entrée with fish in a bisque-like sauce with corn. My only bad memories were: 1) at the time, the walls were covered in photographs of Afghani villagers (!)... suffice to say the dusty, scowling Pashtun visage glaring at us throughout our thoroughly bourgeois meal made us feel kind of gross (awkward laughter did little to alleviate this). And 2) It was summer, one of those 95-degree scorchers, and my elderly mom wanted some ice to enhance the room-temperature carafes of water they provided. The contempt shown by the waiter to my dear mom when he brought her bowl of ice was so crass and so blatant that the Pashtun on the wall must have flinched. Still: the food was fantastic, unpretentious, and about $15 cheaper per person than at some comparable rivals in the area.

              1. CHs are big fans of Rendezvous., and for good reason.He also is a devoted seafood chef and fisherman. The Portuguese sardines are meaty and succulent. If the cassoulet is on the menu, you would likely be thrilled by it. He's also famous for his lemon pudding cake.

                3 Replies
                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Are the sardines on the menu every day or just Sunday?

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Had them this past Monday while indulging in the great tapas deal, & they were great.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      sorry i don't know bec i seem to remember them being not always available but then i seem to remember they went permanent. call and ask i guess.

                      you may well already know this, but i did once eat local Maine sardines (at a N.H. restnt) and they were AWFUL. Muddy blech. The next time we went into Rendezvous, Steve confirmed to me that Portuguese sardines was the only way to go.

                  2. A consistent favorite year after year.

                    Food, decor, service, moderate pricing.

                    1. I've had wonderful meals and experiences on each of my trips there. The pan fried orcheitte with kale and sausage is always a fave.

                      1. will add another thumbs up and admit that whenever i do go, i wonder why i don't go more often!

                          1. This really could be as close to a consensus as I've seen on this board. Mods, close this thread down. It's obviously a fake.

                            Just to add something topical: as much as I agree with everyone that their food is delicious, beware: they have no high chairs. Last time I went, we brought our own travel booster seat. Before someone jumps in and says not everyone has to cater to tiny diners, here are some other places that have a high chair or two stowed away: Sarma, Bergamot, Russell House Tavern, Painted Burro.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Parsnipity

                              Not catering to tiny diners (except people like Auntie Yabai, who's tiny anyway) is one more plus in my book. Never been to Rendezvous (except when it was a BK), but I think I should.

                            2. ok I'll bite.
                              we like it very much. ( i have recc the " sometimes off the menu, yet always available' delicious meatballs)
                              we used to love it- but over the past 3 years have been witness to some nastiness towards guests by the owner. screaming- throwing them out of his place( of course its his place and he has every right to do what he wishes). what we witnessed was unprovoked, and was concerning the female bartender being nasty to the guests( 2 sep occasions)
                              the final straw was the used syringes in the sink, 1st time, informed the hosts, 2&3 times( months apart) hmmm. was told they have 2 hosts on at all times for this is a reoccurring problem.( from outside peoples using the facilities)
                              that said- the food is delicious-- and the service used to be a step above what it is now. of course our 2 favorite servers have departed for Bondir ( new) and some others to follow.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kewpie

                                I've never eaten there, but once saw Steve throw a screaming fit out in the street because a (very genteel and mild-mannered) panhandler, he claimed, was panhandling in front of the restaurant. The pan handler claimed he had been walking back and forth in front of the restaurant, not standing in front of it. I wasn't there to see what provoked the argument, so I can't say--but it went on and on, and I must admit I was a bit stunned and put off.

                              2. And I used to hang out in the nabe regularly both day and night 25-30 years ago and thought it fine...

                                22 Replies
                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  Indeed. I've spent a *lot* of time there (as a long time resident & frequenter of local day & nightlife) over the last 15 years and a smaller amount of time off & on for several years before that.

                                  I've only twice actually felt unsafe, and both of those times the issues stemmed from sources that most people wouldn't have been worried about (i.e. preppy, well to do).

                                  That's why I prefer the term 'gritty', it tends to look worse than it is to someone not used to it. Yes, there are some weirdos hanging around that you have to deal with but they're mostly harmless. Annoying, but harmless.

                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                    I went to college in the area 25 years ago and I definitely avoided walking through Central at night. How justified that reaction was I don't know.

                                    1. re: dfan

                                      my takes are only on the past 3 years( the negative stuff)-- we have been going in at" opening" so that might be a factor( weve been guests since day one). we have also known the owner since the blue room (20 yrs) & was on a big fishing trip with 30+ once as well.(1999?)
                                      the OP was asking for opinions---i felt that everything wasnt all rosy( concerning the atmosphere/ etc)
                                      the food is as wonderful as can be. Steve is not cooking / as Gordon is- but Steve runs a tight ship- and departs his place, for a swim, most often, most nights.
                                      yes- i know a lot
                                      (a lot IS 2 words BTW)
                                      of staff. i think , maybe, they arent telling you what happens.
                                      i only know, because i was there when stuff went down and the staff i know informed us of " this happens a lot"
                                      nothing makes this right or wrong. atmosphere factors in " my" dining experience
                                      hell- i'll eat at ...... cuz its pretty!( well... sometimes)

                                      1. re: kewpie

                                        Huh? - is this post cryptic only to me? Maybe it is the random line breaks?

                                        What are you trying to say ?- you know Steve from way back and like the place in spite of him not being there much?

                                        What wonderful dishes do you recommend based on your 3-year(I think) tenure and experience with Rendezvous -- or are you saying it's (this is a contraction for "it has" BTW) jumped the shark and don't bother trying it now? I am confused...thanks for clarifying.

                                        1. re: rlh

                                          see Kewpie's first post on March 4 in this thread.

                                          1. re: Madrid

                                            Thanks - that helps (good meatballs if you ask) - but yikes - kind of makes me think (sadly) "downhill alert"...

                                            1. re: rlh

                                              the BTW is only a grammatical shout out " a lot ( not ALOT) is 2 words--- snarky on my part, yes)
                                              thanks Madrid for the ref...
                                              the OP is seeking opinions of Rendezvous, and everything was extremely positive--- i was adding in my 2 cents.
                                              Someone noted that they thought Steve was tired because he is on the line every night- i happen to know hes not-- but Ben has been his very very capable sous--- i DO NOT feel that the food has suffered, but the atmosphere( owner & syringe discoveries) have suffered.
                                              no " downhill alert"--- just a " heads up"

                                              1. re: kewpie

                                                I find this partly misleading . In the referenced post, I specifically used the term 'steve is in the kitchen every night' (not "on the line")to include his Expediting role (checking that each plate goes out of the kitchen the way it should) where his consistent meticulousness continues.

                                                Heck, working the line or the cold station, expediting or bartending, just being on one's feet all day is exhausting.

                                                1. re: kewpie

                                                  " i am TOLD he is in the kitchen every night"
                                                  thats the exact quote, BTW
                                                  nothing misleading, simply that I KNOW more than I can tell
                                                  .. just answering the OP inquiries of " opinions of R........."
                                                  Expo is expo-- most every chef expos.
                                                  AND AGAIN--- ive NEVER had a diss on the food

                                                  1. re: kewpie

                                                    yep. i was told. told by steve. so i never questioned it.
                                                    no need for snark or yelling. no biggie.

                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                      what do you and others think of his tapas; i have never tried and will do so. any favorite things?

                                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                          hi cd, i discovered sardines (Portuguese only, btw) through Steve and their simple prep i have really enjoyed. His cassoulet is the best i have had in boston (but i'm sure i have not tried all there have ever been here! ) While i usually love lamb, i am not a fan of it in cassoulet (one of the many French renditions that exist),
                                                          and Steve's does not include lamb- hoorah!

                                                          I also discovered Comte cheese through Steve, via his Little lasagna, which i have also enjoyed.(And, ironically, we are smoking almonds, as we speak, at the end of a chicken smoking day, because of Steve using them in that same simple Little Lasagna dish.)

                                                          I see a number of tapas we haven't tried ; maybe we'll scoot over tomorrow. Squash, scallops, lamb riblets, lobster fritters, all look enticing, yes?! (the only tapas i have not liked was the beef tongue, which surprised me. but i think what has worked for me in the past , with tongue, is a many-day soaking in vinaigrette.)


                                                      1. re: kewpie

                                                        thats rich!
                                                        as one says "LOL"
                                                        Ben has been the expo for over 2 years-
                                                        (thats what owners / exec. sous do----)

                                                        Steve leaves to swim 5 nights a week at 5 pm& leaves every thing to his capable staff.

                                                        Steve does make the lemon buttermilk dessert& so can I
                                                        and i wont tell you the recipe& you will never guess the twist!

                                                        1. re: kewpie

                                                          sorry, but i have seen and spoken to him many nights after 5:00 and during service. he is definitely no mia chef/owner.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            I don't go all that often, but I've seen him every time I've been there. I can make the lemon buttermilk pudding as well, and I can also make cassoulet, but when I go out, I want someone else to do the planning, prepping, shopping, cooking, clean up, etc.

                                                            1. re: Madrid

                                                              get in soon though! things are changing up.

                                                          2. re: kewpie

                                                            you said you won't tell, but I will ask.what's the twist to the lemon buttermilk pudding? even a hint?

                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                ahhh! brilliant! I like really really tart lemon desserts, so next time I'll add some. thanks!

                                                      2. re: rlh

                                                        I was there tonight and the Monday only tapas menu had the meatballs.

                                                2. re: dfan

                                                  They didn't call it Central Scare for nothing. But I think it's better now, even if its reputation was always more outsized than the reality. This was no Chicago South Side.

                                              2. Back on track to food, would love to hear more specific dish recs. Have to admit I've never been in to Rendezvous, despite having read its praises on the board over the last couple of years...

                                                Basically, having moved to Cambridge three years ago, the website/menu/physical space have always struck me as pretty all looking pretty dated, so i've vacillated to the newer spots (and, let's be honest, especially this last year, there's been no shortage of good new spots to try).

                                                So with that in mind- sardines, squid, cassoulet (i assume that's gone? which is a real shame because that is a classic dish i'll never pass up)- what else?

                                                And, regarding my concerns, does the place just not do itself justice in how it portrays itself (to me anyway), or *are* there elements of the menu that are dated and skippable? Or, i suppose dated but still delicious! (dated doesn't have to be bad! Just means i walk in a lot more skippable... kind of like Merchant serving duck a l'orange...)


                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: valcfield

                                                  Couple of Mondays ago had the grilled sardines, roasted huge shell-on shrimp, tender fried oysters, meaty roasted lamb ribs, cassoulet of pork, duck & sausage, beef tongue w/fennel salad, etc. all great, except fennel flavor obscured by too much vinegar pickling - plus lemon-buttermilk pudding w/huckleberry sauce, espresso semi-freddo w/chocolate sauce & hazelnut pralines and Bosc pear crostada w/ vanilla bean ice cream & caramel sauce(our fav of the 3).

                                                  1. re: valcfield

                                                    The cassoulet is on the Sunday night menu (don't know if the site has been updated for this coming Sunday), and if it is served on Sunday, available as a tapa on Monday. Tapas are Monday only.

                                                    The tapas menu changes seasonally....I love the Goat’s milk feta, muhummara + marinated olives, the fried oysters, head on shrimp, spicy chickpeas, caramelized carrots. I've enjoyed many others in different seasons. When bluefish is available, it's always great.

                                                    I have never eaten a full dinner there because I like the tapas so much. I don't know if I'd called them dated, maybe they are, but I don't care because I really like them.

                                                    However, I don't think he's changed the desserts in years. I rarely get dessert, but I love the lemon buttermilk pudding.

                                                    1. re: valcfield

                                                      my take on Steve is that his sights are not set on innovation. I interpret his goal to be the preparation of simple unfussy food with classic components and usually in classic preparations. (When he was at the Blue Room, his food included Asian nods, but not now.) Maybe others will jump in with the stilettos, but i think his menu items and Gordon Hammersley's have a lot in common, though i never had anything memorable at H, and I have at Rendezvous.

                                                      Your interpretation of 'dated' elements at R may be valid. He has been cooking in the Camb. limelight for around 30 yrs., and i am told he is in the kitchen every night; so he is bound to be tired. I don't know- are there chef/owners who are on site every night, after 30 yrs. STILL pumping out the innovation? I'm thinking not.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        And innovation is certainly not a requirement of anyone. All things equal though, maybe it's just when I've had a dish, or similar, a lot, I want the next one to be as good or better, so it feels like a riskier endeavor?

                                                        1. re: valcfield

                                                          sure, understood. If it helps, I CAN say about Steve's cassoulet that i've never had better in Boston (I've tasted alot of them in 30 yrs. because it and osso buco are My Love's fav dishes) though we both know that that still does not insure you a duplicate experience!

                                                      2. re: valcfield

                                                        val,one of the highlights tonight was the scallops with blood orange beurre blanc- light and refreshing dish w/ lovely fresh scallops and shredded belgian endive salad in the center. The cassoulet tonight was delicious but v. meat heavy and surprisingly scant amount of beans. You might want to call and ask about cassoulet, if that's a goal.
                                                        Tonight it was only on the tapas menu but we requested and enjoyed an entree portion.

                                                      3. Enjoy the food and drinks, but menu is too repetitive.

                                                        1. Always love!

                                                          I went for my birthday a few weeks ago(on a Monday) and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I combined ordering from the tapas menu with the regular menu. I had 1/2 dozen oysters, ceviche, grilled sardines, and skate entree. Loved it all, especially the sardines and skate. Sat at the bar and had great service along with a few white wines by the glass. Steve, the owner, was there and always strikes me as very pleasant :)

                                                          1. Rendezvous is in the middle of being sold to a new owner/ operator.
                                                            the current owner will no longer be associated with it.
                                                            new potential owner a cambridge mainstay
                                                            AKA Verns cafe

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: kewpie

                                                              I was hoping someone would shed more light on this very sad news. Anyone have more info to share?

                                                              1. re: zigzag

                                                                Public records indicate that Vern's Cafe, Inc. (Steve Johnson) is the legal entity that has been doing business as Rendezvous since its inception.

                                                                Perhaps kewpie was confused.

                                                                1. re: Luther

                                                                  I'd like others would like to hear any updates on this possible selling of the restaurant.

                                                                  1. re: Luther

                                                                    no confusion- was listing that Rendezvous operates as( aka) verns cafe.
                                                                    a whole separate person(s) are in negotiations. thats all i can say now.

                                                                    1. re: kewpie

                                                                      Last night, I asked Steve Johnson about the rumors that you have been gleefully spreading here. He said he had been exploring options for an "exit strategy" for some time, but has no imminent deal or plans to sell Rendezvous. You seem to be in a hurry to push him out, but I don't think he's in a rush to go.

                                                                      1. re: owades

                                                                        Steve's been in the business and on the line for a long, long time, and I would expect he's been exploring exit strategy, and thinking of retiring to his boat and the ocean. When he does leave, I hope he gives us fans a chance to bid him thanks and adieux. And that the bluefish he catches himself is on the farewell menu. A final and....and that it doesn't happen until after next winter, so I can have the cassoulet again.

                                                                        1. re: Madrid

                                                                          The guy works hard. Often he is the one calling directly to confirm my reservation.

                                                                          1. re: Madrid

                                                                            Say it ain't so Steve-that being said, I tip my hat to one of the nicest and hardest working people in the restaurant business.

                                                                            1. re: owades

                                                                              hmmm. no " glee" whatsoever. not in a rush to push anyone out.
                                                                              "exit strategy" is the new term

                                                                    2. Was there a few weeks ago. Over a terrific Red Hook cocktail and those lovely crackers, I asked for the skate. They said it had been sold out for the season just an hour before. Told them I'd had my taste buds arranged for that dish during the 6 hour drive from Maine. Somehow 1 more skate dish was found. I was one happy camper. I've never had less than an amazing meal there and as a single diner have always been treated very well by the owner, bartenders, and other staff. I'm very upset that it's being sold.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Luther

                                                                          Kewpie's post. Sounded real but I hope not.

                                                                          1. re: msmimish

                                                                            It doesn't sound real because the entity proposed to be buying the restaurant is the one that has owned it all along.

                                                                            1. re: Luther

                                                                              hmmm, have no idea but now i'm wondering about the veracity of the other unsavory stories related above.

                                                                          2. Looks like the speculation about Steve Johnson selling Rendezvous is true: http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com...

                                                                            Greg Reeves, (formerly of Upstairs on the Square, B&G Oyster/Butcher Shop and Green Street) and Mark Young (of Green Street and Spoke Wine Bar) will take over in late June, close briefly for renovations, reopen in late summer; Johnson will focus on a forthcoming restaurant in Tiverton, RI.

                                                                            "Reeves and Young are planning on using the existing wood-fired grill for a Mediterranean themed menu focused on local ingredients and housemade pastas. Beverages will focus on Old & New World wines, artisanal beer, and an in-depth cocktail program."


                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                Sorry to hear it, but good to know how long Steve will still be there. Thanks for posting, Slim. I wish Steve the best and I"m glad he'll have more time with his boat.

                                                                                1. re: Madrid

                                                                                  Doesn't sound like Johnson will have much time to relax. His new venture in RI looks pretty firm.


                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                  Teary-eyed, I raise my fork to Steve and look forward to his Tiverton venture.

                                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                    i had gotten confirmation a few weeks back, but was asked to keep mum til it was public.

                                                                                    i REALLY like steve, his ethos and his food. he will be missed.

                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                      He was well ahead of the curve on local sourcing, worked to encourage his peers to support it, and continued to do it quietly and assiduously while other restaurants were trumpeting the concept like they invented it yesterday.


                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                        and he is truly kind to his staff, unlike so many of the tyrant chefs for whom i worked.

                                                                                  2. I love it but sadly it's being sold :(. The owner and chef Steve Johnson is always there. He once even served my appetizer

                                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: mmmjv

                                                                                      we were there on Monday, day before they closed. Just for the occasion. We got three tapas, all of which were excellent, as usual. Only caught a brief glimpse of Steve when he was standing at the host stand for a few minutes. He looked really, really happy.

                                                                                      So glad that he was such a pioneer opening in that part of Central when he did. I know it must have been very difficult, especially at the beginning, and wish him well in his next, more relaxed venture! Also best wishes to his staff, who are all so wonderful and experienced they will have not trouble finding jobs when they are ready.

                                                                                      lots of great food and memories, thanks Steve!

                                                                                      1. re: Madrid

                                                                                        I loved Rendezvous but just to clarify, Central was pretty similar when he opened. There are a few new (middling) food places on Mass Av now, but the overall ambience was about the same when the location was a BK. We're not talking 1985 here.

                                                                                        1. re: Luther

                                                                                          my memory is, when he opened,the neighborhood was much rougher...there were still prostitutes and drug dealers obviously on the street.

                                                                                          1. re: Madrid

                                                                                            I lived in central from several years before he opened until 2 years ago, and spent plenty of time in central before I lived there as well as plenty of time currently.

                                                                                            there was a bit of a transformation around 2000 or so, but other then that it was more or less the same. It's slightly different now than it was when he opened, but not much.

                                                                                            Anyone who thinks he was blazing a trail into some wretched 'hood is:
                                                                                            a) deluding themselves as to how bad of an area that was at the time
                                                                                            b) deluding themselves as to how much the area has improved since
                                                                                            c) deluding themselves as to how much of an impact Steve had on the situation

                                                                                            That said, I'll miss Rendezvous.

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              Totally agree. Heck the neighborhood really isn't THAT different then it was when I moved to Boston in '88 imho.

                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                Central Square has been "not actually as scary as it looks" for as long as I can remember - when I was unfamiliar with the neighborhood in my high school years (early '70s) I was afraid to wait for a bus there after nightfall. Then I lived in the area from 1977-80 and found my fears were largely unfounded.

                                                                                                (I am aware that my qualms were ironic given that my own neighborhood is arguably at least as "gritty," as jgg13 puts it below. One fears what one doesn't know, obviously.)

                                                                                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                    I used to think I was super tough back when I was in high school and would go to see shows and such but other than that I largely agree. A long time ago I took to describing it as "gritty" as an attempt to capture the notion that it looked, well, gritty - but really there was very little to be scared of.

                                                                                                    I feel that there was a slight gentrification wave around the dot com era although it did retreat somewhat after the collapse.

                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                      I grew up in NYC in the 1970s... now that was gritty.

                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                        I've lived in Central Square for the past thirty years. It is now a mix of seriously gentrified off of Mass Ave (at least in the Cambridgeport direction) and insanely scruffy and weird on Mass Ave itself. Everyone pays lip service to the delightful "diversity" of Central Square, though most people without really well-paying jobs can no longer afford to live in the area. It's a big conundrum in my mind.

                                                                                                        1. re: femmevox

                                                                                                          cities have gotten more popular among people with money.

                                                                                                          i guess diversity does not include diversity of incomes.

                                                                                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                      I moved to the area in 1987 and I think Central underwent a large transformation in the late 90s or so. When Central Kitchen opened (I don't remember exactly what year that was) I remember thinking "Really? Here? OK, good luck."

                                                                                                      I do agree that by the time Rendezvous opened we were already in the "modern age".

                                                                                                  2. re: Madrid

                                                                                                    My son would likely say the scariest thing about the part of Central where he lives is the neighborhood association. Just ask Tasty Burger.

                                                                                                    1. re: bear


                                                                                                      I think that goes to femmevox's conundrum. We want affordable housing but no new development!

                                                                                                  3. re: Luther

                                                                                                    There's no question that right till the very end, the Burger King that Rendezvous supplanted was a drug dealers' hangout and place to transact business.


                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      A lot of the riff raff tried to move over to Wendy's, but Wendy's resisted. At least for a while

                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                        I think a lot has changed in that area since Rendezvous opened. I distinctly remember a younger me being SHOCKED that a nice restaurant had opened in the Burger King.

                                                                                                        Craigie opened in Nov. 08 for comparison. I think Central Kitchen is just a bit older. Right around when Green Street stopped being Green Street Grill and serving Caribbean food. Economic diversity was certainly greater. Rent control hadn't been lifted all that long (1995), and they had just a few years earlier torn down the shops at Mass. Ave. and River/Western to build condos (2000?). Real estate prices were definitely on a big upswing but hadn't quite spiraled totally out of control yet.

                                                                                                        I also made it for the last Monday night tapas, had an excellent red dwarf cocktail, shared feta/muhammara, grilled sardines, bluefish cake/cuke salad, chicken with dukkah crust, lobster risotto, strawberry shortcake and rabarbaro zucca. Excellent as always. A few weeks earlier we had the other half of the menu.

                                                                                                        I had many enjoyable meals there, meals with my parents from out of town, meals with friends, some special occasions and some weeknights. I will miss it. I don't think I will make it to Tiverton very often, but I will definitely make a pilgrimage on occasion to his new spot, the Red Dory.


                                                                                                        1. re: CportJ

                                                                                                          The area has changed and not changed. It was never as bad as it looked, as many have said. But, there were no nice restaurants, no decent place to buy groceries, no lots of things. Now there are many nice restaurants, a real supermarket, and other look&feel improvements. Also gentrification, perhaps best symbolized by the nice apartment tower on the corner of Mass and Western, where an old feminist bookstore once was (darn it, can't remember the name). Central Kitchen opened in 1998, and I recall it as the first yuppy culinary incursion; now it's old guard.

                                                                                                            1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                              You can't evict the spirit!


                                                                                                              Maybe that's the problem that Cambridge is currently having with figuring out what to do to activate that plaza.

                                                                                                            2. re: CportJ

                                                                                                              I believe the tear down was in 2000, maybe late 99