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Gene Chinese Flatbread in Chelmsford to close soon...

Want to let people know that the town of Chelmsford is seizing the land that Gene's resides on, and is turning the area into an affordable housing community.

Gene is slated to close sometime around May, but the exact date is still unclear.

He thinks they will relocate to Woburn, but he had little details to share on that venture. Ideally he would like to stay in Chelmsford, as he considers it his home and he has a big base of customers here already. However, there is little to nothing in the way of commercial space for him to move into.

For those interested in getting their fill before he moves, go sooner rather than later!

He still has the Boston location too, but I will be very sad the day he is forced to shut his doors here in Chelmsford.

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  1. Drat! I was afraid of that. Thanks for the update, Mike. I'll be sure to go there before April ends.

    Maybe some of Gene's Chelmsford customers will come up with some leads for alternate locations there, or closer than Woburn. AFAIK, he lives in Burlington so ideally a new location would not be farther north than Chelmsford, but Lowell might have some affordable space, though parking can be more of an issue there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      People have tried to help him, including ME! A call for help was also posted on the Chelmsford patch - that got nowhere.

      Great idea tho, if anyone knows of a place, let Gene or his wife know!

      At least Woburn is within striking distance. It will just make it that much more special!

    2. Sorry for Chelmsford and all who love him where he is located now, but would be thrilled if he does come to Woburn!


      2 Replies
      1. re: mcel215

        Another thing is that he draws groups of Worcester area college students who are Chinese nationals. Woburn would add an hour to their dinner trip, which might well mean losing that customer base. Woburn might prove a more lucrative location, but mensch that Gene is, I'll bet he'd be sorry to deprive them of a taste of home.

        1. re: mcel215

          Have to say my sentiments are similar. I'm sorry he's being forced to move, but yay Woburn! That's much more convenient for me.

        2. This is sad. I hope he finds something comparable. It was especially nice to have a bit of outside seating and be very close to Kimball's for post noodle ice creams.

          1. Can anyone comment as to quality differences between Chelmsford and Boston?

            3 Replies
            1. re: trufflehound

              I have experienced no quality difference in their handed pulled noodles or the lamb stew. Everytime I've been to the Boston location either Gene or his wife was behind the counter. The lamb skewers are also good in Boston, but not cooked on a charcoal grill, of course. I just wish they were open for dinner on the weekdays and open at all on the weekends in Boston!

              1. re: lipoff

                I have never been to the Chelmsford location, as I live in Boston, but can say the noodles (I like the #4) are outstanding at the Boston outpost

                1. re: lipoff

                  i was under the impression though (haven't been, but this may be of interest to you Truffle) that the chelmsford location has a much larger menu. Is that correct?

              2. I was at RituKiRasoi last night so I thought I'd ask Ritu if she knew of any possible upcoming restaurant closures in the area. She mentioned the Indian restaurant in Woburn center across from Hot Breads. I assume that's the one Gene is considering.

                BTW, RKR might be expanding. She mentioned that space adjacent to it may be available come December, and though she doesn't need that large an area on a daily basis, she would like to have more dining area for the special occasions when the place is jam-packed. So, maybe more room there for Diwalis to come.

                1. Hearing this I had to go up for a #4 for lunch today and had a chat with Gene. The old Liberty Bell location in Woburn is a strong possibility, but nothing is final. I would love to see him in Woburn. I think the hand pulled noodles have gotten thinner since he first opened but it;s still a delicious dish even if I discard half the garlic.Busy as usual and both Gene and his wife was working.


                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Ferrari328

                    I love the #4 (Boston version), it's just a perfect dish

                    1. re: Ferrari328

                      I think Liberty Bell in Woburn had even less space than he has now in Chelmsford, not to mention that parking is at a premium there, with cars taking up street spaces all day long, a lot of traffic making pulling in and out a challenge. The lot on the hill on the opposite side is smaller than it once was, since an apartment building was added.

                      I say this having delivered mail in Woburn for over 20 yrs, having to go through the center twice daily en route to and from the areas I delivered.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Good amount of empty spaces around i think. Not sure if it has to be a previous restaurant or not but i am sure he will find something.. I can think of several empty spaces on 119 in littleton/acton(close to ibm).. Also on 111 in boxborough.(close to cisco).. Also several empty spots between Kimballs and where he is now i think.

                        1. re: hargau

                          so many empty spots in lowell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        2. re: Ferrari328

                          Ah those are so beautiful. I get a garlic breath overload just from looking at them. Here's hoping Woburn works out!

                          1. re: Ferrari328

                            I've been playing with the idea of asking them to go easy on the garlic. Has anyone done this? How was it received? Was it an insult?

                            1. re: Alcachofa

                              It comes as a heap on top of the noodles so it's easy to remove parts of it. Never thought to ask ;-).


                              1. re: Ferrari328

                                Yes, a heap is easier to remove. I've only seen it with the garlic more spread out. I still scrape some off, but one time I bit into a huge chunk.

                                I can handle the garlic but my wife cannot! But still, like mjg, I'd rather not have just a huge pile of raw garlic.

                                Still love almost everything there.

                              2. re: Alcachofa

                                I have been asking for no garlic for awhile now. I like garlic, but not a big pile of raw garlic. I find the oil has some garlic in it, enough for me!

                                Insulted? Nah, a sale is a sale!

                              3. re: Ferrari328

                                Ferrari - love your blog.

                                I think it may have been a one off thinner batch. I once had a thinner batch awile ago...but...I go often and this is not the norm...

                                1. re: Ferrari328

                                  Hearing this *I* had to go up and who should be in the kitchen but Gene. He says he's signed the papers on the Liberty Bell location (466 Main Street Woburn) and is still eyeing a site in downtown Chelmsford that needs a lot more work and of course a good lead chef.

                                  Gene pulled my noodles and the lamb with onion and cilantro was right on target so I had to order a #4. The noodles were indeed thinner than before, but I think that's actually just random variation.

                                  1. re: KWagle

                                    Yayyyyyy! Did he say when Chelmsford closes for good? Super excited to have him moving to Woburn!

                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                      Basically he said that he doesn't know when the current location has to close, but the new one should be ready in June or July.

                                      1. re: KWagle

                                        I live about a 2 minute walk from the new location in Woburn and am thrilled for us. I am sad for Chelmsford area folks though.


                                        1. re: mcel215

                                          You're lucky, because parking in that area can be a challenge, unless things have changed a lot since I retired several years ago. I drove through the Center daily en route to and from my west side mail route and on occasion would have liked to pick up a Liberty Bell sandwich on the way out, but most often there was no place to park. I always maintained that there should be metered parking on Main Street. People park in front of the shops where they work and leave their cars there all day, though it would be better for business if they used the limited lot spaces behind the main drag, leaving street parking for customers.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Funny Grey, I used to work in Woburn and we used to hit Marco's Italian cold cuts 4x a week. We loved his food there. I modeled my meatballs after his recipe - he shared it once. You ever been in there?

                                            1. re: mjg0725

                                              Not often. But I know it was THE place the window clerks got their lunches.

                                            2. re: greygarious


                                              Behind Main St., there is a large municipal parking lot and another smaller municipal lot next to The Restaurant (across the street from the old Liberty Bell). Also, there used to be a big Blockbuster store and now it's a bank, with extra parking in that lot. I've never had a problem parking in the lot behind Main St. There is also a big area, with steps coming down from the lot onto Main St, right next to The Brickyard restaurant.


                                  2. Eri's wings, Liberty Bell, Louies Pizza, Marco's and now Gene's?

                                    How did Woburn end up becoming home to a bunch of my favorites?

                                    (Though I probably know exactly why as a denizen of Moody Street)

                                    1. I stopped in for takeout this afternoon, when they were not busy, so Gene had time to chat. They still don't know for sure when the original site will close and Woburn will open. The other Chelmsford location that they might take over is Hong&Kong, in Parlmont Plaza near the high school baseball field on rte. 110.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Not in the actual Hong Kong Grey - in the strip mall near the Hong Kong (across from the PO in Chelmsford). The Hong Kong is a monstrosity - its an old fashioned stand alone building at the end of the strip mall- he just needs a small storefront. The smallish unit he is looking at is near Jimmy's Pizza and it needs a lot of work on it in order to be rented to a restaurant owner, so they are not sure it will happen.

                                      2. Gene sadly closes his Chelmsford location this week (Saturday is the last day I believe)! GO now, or drive to Woburn for your fix. Wait! I will be doing that anyways...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: mjg0725

                                          When he's ready to open maybe we should have a Chowdown at the new place so he can give his crew some practice!

                                        2. Gene's final day in Chelmsford is June 15th (Sunday) and he'll be opening in Woburn in (he hopes) two weeks. So eat soon! And, the sign at the Boston store is being replaced, but the store is doing fine.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: KWagle


                                            I still have to pinch myself to believe he will be opening in Woburn in two weeks.....

                                            I'll be there on opening day!


                                            1. re: mcel215

                                              Two weeks is only approximate. :-/ He said he'd post the exact date on his web site.

                                          2. I'm thinking about a final noodle run on Sunday, especially if the weather is nice enough to sit outside without losing the cilantro to the wind. Everyone's invited. :D

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: KWagle

                                              I did just that last night, but takeout. If you are serious about Sunday, post a time.....there will probably be like-minded hounds up for it. I'd suggest everyone write a "C" on a post-it and pin it to their shirt, to identify who's who.

                                            2. Had my "farewell to Chelmsford" noodles today which will hopefully tide me over until Woburn is up and running. As usual I ended up wearing part of my meal and have chili-vinaigrette stains as a souvenir. I got there pretty early to score some liang pi ("#6") and the joint was already lively despite the weather. Gene's wife said they were crazy busy last night and I'd expect that to continue through the weekend.

                                              17 Replies
                                              1. re: T.B.

                                                I still haven't tried #6. Maybe I should call now and have some saved for me tomorrow. If I manage to make it I'll be there around 7. I don't think it'll be that hard to spot other CHers, since every time I've been there I've been the only non-Asian.

                                                1. re: KWagle

                                                  Ahem....you might want to edit that a bit. There are plenty of Asian Chowhounds on this board. Most of the times I've been to Gene's there are other non-Asian customers in the restaurant.

                                                  1. re: KWagle

                                                    when i have been to gene's in boston; most of the patrons were Asians.

                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                      That's not the point. The issue is that KWagle's post suggests that suburban Boston's Asians don't participate in CH, which is wrong.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        And that Chowhounds who go to Gene's will all recognize each other because everybody "else" there is Asian. Implying that there are no Asian chow hounds.

                                                        1. re: Madrid

                                                          True enough, I guess I'm being misled by almost every CH poster I've met (mostly in DC) being white, American, and older, while literally everyone I see at Gene's is young and Asian.

                                                          In any case, I did call to reserve the liang pi and if the weather is nice enough plan to be eating outside around 7.

                                                          1. re: KWagle

                                                            all the people i have seen eating noodles in their car have been white.

                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                              Heh. I'm actually technically not 'white' despite being from Indiana. My picture is in my profile specifically because I want other CHs to recognize me.

                                                              I wonder how many other people eat noodles in their car. I've done it at least once, I think, when I ordered a second round after closing time and wanted to eat it fresh.

                                                              1. re: KWagle

                                                                Ive done it too.

                                                                But it was mostly a leetle joke about assumptions and observations and the " very serious business" of chowhound.

                                                                1. re: hyde

                                                                  I ruined a shirt in my car eating noodles once. It was worth it though.

                                                                  1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                    I manage to do that while eating at tables. Right now it's not crowded at all and there were a couple of non-Asian parties, but I'm guessing they weren't CHers because they didn't know Gene was moving. But sadly due to a miscommunication they didn't have my liang pi. I may have to resign myself to never being able to try that. :-/

                                                          2. re: Madrid

                                                            I should add, the assumption seems to be that everyone there who is a CH is white. Implying that there are no non white chow hounds.

                                                          3. re: greygarious

                                                            Greygarious, I wanted to thank you for bringing Gene's to my attention while it was in my Chelmsford locale. It was an unexpected culinary highlight. We're really going to miss being able to pop over to see Gene for a Friday night noodle fix. Thanks again!

                                                            1. re: tomatotomato

                                                              You're most welcome. I *may* have been the one who got the ball rolling a couple of years ago, when I first discussed the place on CH. It was mentioned on Yelp before then but I do not know if the newspapers were aware of it. One of the people who attended the chowdown I organized there knew someone in the resto section of the Boston Globe and intended to refer them. With reason or without, I feel personally invested in Gene's success. I used to work in Woburn and know people there, so I am spreading the word.

                                                          4. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                            I've been there once (the Boston location) and from a quick glance it was 50-50.. definitely some local businessperson people wandering in..

                                                          5. re: KWagle

                                                            Sad to see the place close, but happy that there will be one closer to me (not that it's all about me or anything).

                                                        2. I just called Gene's in Boston and a lady with an accent answered. I told her I was waiting for them to open in Woburn and wondered how much longer. :)

                                                          She said "another week". Good news Wobunites (and others, close by).


                                                          1. Gene's is listed at 466 Main St., Woburn now. I called the phone number, but no one answered, so I called the Boston location once again.

                                                            They said it should be open this Saturday, July 12, 2014. Yay! I'll be there for sure.