Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Opens Friday (July 1) at Mohegan Sun

Bobby's Burger Palace isn't the only new restaurant opening at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Friday, July 1. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, a New Haven institution that is considered by some to have the best pizza in all of New England, is also opening a new location at the Connecticut casino. According to Pepe's Web site, the new restaurant will open in the Earth Casino by the Winter Entrance escalator.

Thanks to the Greater New Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.visitnewhaven.com/ for bringing the opening of Pepe's at Mohegan Sun to our attention via Twitter.

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Bobby's Burger Palace Opens Friday (July 1) at Mohegan Sun

A new burger place opens on Friday, July 1 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, courtesy of celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

Bobby's Burger Palace, one of a small chain of casual burger restaurants in the Northeast, is the first of two restaurants that Bobby Flay is opening at Mohegan Sun, as Bar Americain, an American brasserie, will be opening up sometime this fall.
Bobby's Burger Palace will feature a variety of hamburgers, as well as chicken burgers, turkey burgers, sides such as onion rings and French fries, and shakes.

Other locations of Bobby's Burger Palace can be found in Lake Grove, NY, Eatontown, NJ, and Paramus, NJ.

More information on Bobby's Burger Palace can be found at http://www.bobbysburgerpalace.com/

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Big Papi's to Open in Framingham

A new restaurant is coming soon to Framingham, and one of the owners also happens to be one of Boston's most well-known sports figures.

According to a job posting on Craigslist, an upscale grill called Big Papi's will be opening in this MetroWest town, with Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz being a part owner. The posting mentions that the menu at Big Papi's will include burgers, seafood, and steaks.

The opening date, as well as the exact address of Big Papi's in Framingham is not known at this time; once this information becomes public, we will post an update.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

The King Opens in West Roxbury

A new Middle Eastern restaurant has replaced a beloved dining spot in West Roxbury. The new place is called The King, and is a sister restaurant of Shawarma King, a Middle Eastern spot on Beacon Street in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline. It replaces Samia's, a popular Middle Eastern restaurant that had been in business since the early 1990s, only to close earlier this year.

According to skordalia, a poster on the Chowhound site, the menu at The King is a bit different from that of Shawarma King at this point in time (most notably there is no shawarma on the menu and kebabs are emphasized). However, it is similar to its sister restaurant in that it looks to be a place that concentrates on takeout while having some tables for those who want to dine on the premises. The Chowhound poster also mentions that The King will be open for lunch and dinner six days a week, but open mainly for lunch on Sundays.

The address for The King is: The King, 1894 Centre Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132. The phone number is (617) 323-5181.

Thanks to skordalia for giving us much of the above information on this new West Roxbury dining spot.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Photos from 2009 Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party, Suffolk Downs

Below are photos of some of the food items offered at the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party at Suffolk Downs in East Boston today. Of the dishes shown, the pulled pork nachos from Willingham's (Tennessee), the boneless rib sandwich from Johnson' Bar-B-Que (Virginia), and the brisket, white bean, cheese, and jalapeno pepper burrito from Jack's Down Home Barbecue (Pennsylvania) were probably the most impressive, but all five dishes that were tried were very satisfying.

Please note that the BBQ Beach Party will also be held on Saturday and Sunday (June 27 and June 28), with the hours being 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM each day. More information on the event can be found at http://bbq.phantomgourmet.com/SD/home.aspx

Here are the photos:



Pulled Pork Nachos, Willingham's (Tennessee)
photo of pulled pork nachos, Willingham's (Tennessee)











Boneless Rib Sandwich, Johnson's (Virginia)
photo of boneless rib sandwich, Johnson's (Virginia)











Beef Sandwich, Joey's (Texas)
photo of beef sandwich, Joey's Texas Thunder (Texas)












Pulled Pork Sandwich, Aussom Aussie (Australia)
photo of pulled pork sandwich, Aussom Aussie (Australia)














Beef and Bean Burrito, Jack's (Pennsylvania)
photo of beef and bean burrito, Jack's (Pennsylvania)

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Reminder About Twitter and Facebook Pages

Just a quick reminder that this blog, in conjunction with the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, now has both a Twitter page and a Facebook fan page. The Twitter page is more of a "micro-blog," where quick updates on reviews, reader postings, restaurant-related questions, etc. are given. The Facebook fan page is a bit more interactive, as it allows readers to add comments about a wide variety of restaurant-related topics.

To become a follower of ours on Twitter, please go to the following link:

http://twitter.com/hiddenboston

And to become a fan of ours on Facebook, please go to this link:

http://facebook.com/pages/Bostons-Hidden-Restaurants/87883173969

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coriander in Sharon Reopens as a South Asian Restaurant

A high-end French restaurant south of Boston that closed earlier this year is open once again, but will be featuring a different type of cuisine this time around. According to a recent article in the Patriot Ledger, Coriander will now be serving a mix of Indian, South Asian, and other ethnic cuisines. The article mentions that the person running the new Coriander is also one of the owners of the highly-regarded Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury.

The address for Coriander is: Coriander, 5 Post Office Square, Sharon, MA 02067. The phone number is (781) 784-5450.

Thanks to one of our emailers (Bruce) for letting us know about the reopening of Coriander.

For more information on the newly reopened Coriander in Sharon, please go to the Patriot Ledger below.

Coriander to reopen on June 1 in Sharon with new menu

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Jasper White's Summer Shack Clambake Coming to Spectacle Island

Famed chef Jasper White is introducing a traditional New England clambake to the Boston Harbor Islands starting today. According to a press release supplied by http://www.deweysquare.com/, a Summer Shack Clambake will be held on Spectacle Island every Thursday from today (June 25) through September 3, offering visitors items such as clams, mussels, lobsters, chowder, and more. The press release mentions that the Summer Shack will also be selling concessions and doing catering events.

For more information on the Summer Shack Clambakes on Spectacle Island, please go to the Web site below:

http://www.islandalliance.org/spectacleclambake.asp

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Latest Review: Indian Delight, Weymouth

photo of Indian Delight, Weymouth, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for Indian Delight, an Indian restaurant in Weymouth. Located on Route 53 just north of the Route 18 intersection (and a short distance from Route 3), Indian Delight is on a busy road that is full of restaurants and other businesses. The atmosphere at Indian Delight is a bit plain but attractive, and the menu has a variety of Indian entrees including a few South Indian dishes, and there are a few Pakistani items on it as well. To read more about Indian Delight in Weymouth, please click on the link above.

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A New Popeyes Coming to Roslindale

Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, a global chain of fast-food chicken places, is opening a new restaurant in the Roslindale section of Boston. According to a job posting on Craigslist, it should be open sometime in early July.

Popeyes currently has two locations in the Boston area: One on Beacon Street in the Kenmore Square section of Boston, and another in the Westgate Mall in Brockton.

The address for this new Popeyes will be: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, 710 American Legion Highway, Roslindale, MA, 02131.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jo Jo's West Opening in Maynard

A new restaurant and bar is opening as soon as this week in Maynard, and the owner is very well known in the Boston area.

According to the The MetroWest Daily News, former Boston Celtics guard Jo Jo White is behind the opening of Jo Jo's West, a sports bar and restaurant that is going into the spot on Route 62 where Christopher's Restaurant and Wine Bar used to be. The Boston Herald mentions that this will be the first of three restaurants that Jo Jo White will open, with others possibly opening in Boston and Saugus this year.

Thanks to one of our emailers (Bruce) for bringing the opening of this restaurant to our attention.

For more information on the opening of Jo Jo's West in Maynard, please go to the MetroWest Daily News and Boston Herald links below.

Former Celtic 'Jo Jo' White opening restaurant in Maynard

Raising the bar with Jo Jo White

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Grassfields Restaurant May Be Coming to Danvers

Another Grassfields may be coming to the Boston area, though it looks to entail name, menu, and cosmetic changes of an existing restaurant than the creation of a completely new dining spot.

According to the Salem News, Nick & Tony's Italian Grill in Danvers may be changing its name to Grassfields and reworking the interior of the restaurant as well as its menu (it would change from Italian cuisine to more tradition American fare). The newspaper goes on to say that although town selectmen approved the changes, another hearing (centering around the liquor license) will be needed before changes can officially begin. [November 19 note: Grassfields in Danvers is open.]

Two other Grassfields presently exist in the Boston area, with one located on Lexington Street in Waltham and the other being on Route 28 in Andover. The restaurants specialize mostly in steak and seafood.

To read more about the possible morphing of Nick & Tony's Italian Grill to Grassfields, please go to the Salem News link below:

Eatery to change its name and menu

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party (Part 2) to Be Held at Suffolk Downs, June 26-28, 2009

The first part of the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party (at Foxwoods) is now over, with the second part coming to Suffolk Downs in East Boston this coming weekend.

The Suffolk Downs event will be held from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28, with the hours being 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM each day. Tickets to get into the event are $5 for a limited time, and $10 at the door. Please note that the cost of food and drink at the event are extra.

As was the case at the Foxwoods beach party, participants at the Suffolk Downs beach party include Aussom Aussie BBQ from Australia, Cowboys Barbeque and Rib Co. and Joey's Texas Thunder BBQ, both from Texas, Porky n' Beans from Florida, Willingham's from Tennessee, Jack's Down Home Barbecue from Pennsylvania, Johnson's Bar-B-Que from Virginia, and Firefly's Bar-B Que from the Boston area.

If you would like more information on the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party at Suffolk Downs, check out the link below:

http://bbq.phantomgourmet.com/SD/home.aspx

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Two New Restaurants in Milton (Abby Park and 88 Wharf) to Open in July

The town of Milton will soon be home to not one, but two new restaurants. Boston's southern neighbor has a new dining spot coming to Milton Landing, as well as one on the way to East Milton Square.

According to a job posting on Craigslist, a restaurant called 88 Wharf will be coming to Milton Landing sometime in July and will be located in a condo complex overlooking the Neponset River. Based on an earlier article in Wicked Local, this new dining spot may turn out to be an upscale bistro with Mediterranean and American cuisine.

Across town, a restaurant called Abby Park will be opening at 550 Adams Street in the former Videos to Go spot in East Milton Square near the Southeast Expressway. According to the restaurant's Web site, Abby Park will feature modern American cuisine and should also be open sometime in July. Their Web site for Abby Park is at http://www.abbypark.com/

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Talk Restaurant Opens in Watertown

A new restaurant featuring mostly Italian-American food has opened on Main Street in Watertown, just west of Watertown Square. According to an earlier Wicked Local/Watertown TAB article, The Talk Restaurant is being run by the same folks who own the Talk of the Town Diner on North Beacon Street, which is just across the square. The menu features a mix of pasta, seafood, steaks, and more. According to a poster on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, The Talk has a capacity of a little more than 80, and features a full bar. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner on weekdays, but apparently may be only open for dinner on Saturdays. (Please note that it is closed on Sundays.)

The address for this new Italian-American restaurant in Watertown is: The Talk, 116 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. The phone number is (617) 600-3417.

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Latest Review: Sandy's Lunch Box, Pepperell, MA

photo of Sandy's Lunch Box, Pepperell, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for a roadside snack shack in Pepperell, MA, called Sandy's Lunch Box. Located at the intersection of Routes 119 and 111 a short distance south of the center of Pepperell, Sandy's Lunch Box is a classic food stand that features a variety of quick-food options, including hot dogs. (One of their specialties is a bacon-wrapped hot dog that comes with or without cheese.) Sandy's is mostly a takeout place, though it does have a few picnic tables for outdoor dining. To read more about Sandy's Lunch Box in Pepperell, please click on the link above.

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Boston-Area Restaurant Options for Father's Day

Father's Day is nearly upon us, and with it, the oftentimes mad scramble to find a restaurant to go to. Well, there are so many restaurants in the Boston area--and so many different types of tastes--that it would be impossible to list all of the choices for a Father's Day meal at a dining spot in the area. But below are a number of options that might be of help, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the Boston dining scene.

Many people like to go to traditional old-school family-friendly restaurants for Father's Day (as well as Mother's Day, for that matter). A few options in this category include the Mount Vernon Restaurant in Somerville and Revere, Lewis' Bar and Grille in Norwood, Doyle's in Jamaica Plain, the Continental in Saugus, and Anthony's Pier 4 on the Waterfront in Boston. All of these places feature spacious surroundings, familiar American dishes, and reasonable prices.

Steakhouses can be popular places on Father's Day, and the Boston area has a number of options. In the more casual, less expensive category are Jimmy's Steer House in Arlington, the Stockyard in Brighton, and Frank's Steakhouse in Cambridge. If you are looking for a more high-end spot, Grill 23 and the Oak Room, both in the Back Bay of Boston, are great options.

Red-sauce Italian joints seem to be another category especially popular on Father's Day. There are countless options for old-school Southern Italian dining, but a few that stand out include L'Osteria in the North End, Abbondanza in Everett, Rino's in East Boston, Gennaro's in Quincy, and Bocelli's Restaurant and Pizzeria in Medford. Another place that is a very popular spot and has a huge amount of space is the Chateau in Waltham.

If you are looking for more of a pub-like atmosphere for Father's Day (perhaps with craft beers and comfort food in mind), the Boston area has some real standouts, including the Fat Cat in Quincy, C.F. Donovan's in Dorchester, the Highland Kitchen in Somerville, Doyle's in Jamaica Plain (again), Townsend's in Hyde Park, and the Publick House in Brookline.

Finally, if an historic restaurant with lots of character is the planned route for Father's Day, there are many options, especially outside of Boston. Some of these include the Lafayette House in Foxboro, the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, the Barker Tavern in Scituate, the Old Mill in Westminster, and the Colonial Inn in Concord.

These restaurants just scratch the surface of what is out there, but hopefully this is at least a starting point for those of you looking to find a place to go for Father's Day. Enjoy the day!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: Fat Cat, Quincy

photo of Fat Cat Restaurant, Quincy, MAOver the past few years, the city of Quincy has certainly become a top destination spot for dining out. Nearly every kind of cuisine imaginable can be found in Boston's southern neighbor, including Japanese, Brazilian, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and much, much more. But there are also several excellent American restaurants and pubs within the city limits, including a place near the center called the Fat Cat that is certainly among the best dining spots that Quincy has to offer.

The Fat Cat, which is housed in a former market, has a lot of charm and character inside, with exposed brick, a dark wooden ceiling, and a dark carpet that tries (albeit mostly unsuccessfully) to offset the noise level of the place. The layout is pretty simple; a bar runs along the left side of the long, narrow room, while the main dining area parallels it on the right side (a partition separates the two). A semi-open kitchen sits at the back, while a few choice window seats grace the front of the place. The overall effect is that of a sleek, industrial-feeling dining spot that somehow seems both modern and retro at the same time.

The menu at the Fat Cat will certainly interest anyone who loves comfort food. Indeed, items such as thinly-sliced onion rings, BBQ pork nachos, chicken wings that have both sauce and heat options, chili, burgers, fish and chips, and baby back ribs should help satisfy nearly any food craving. All of the food is fresh here, and you can surely tell that by the sheer quality of the dishes on the menu.

On a recent trip to the Fat Cat, we tried a number of items, starting with a wonderfully satisfying basket of bread that included corn bread that had a lot of flavor without being overly sweet (a rarity in the Northeast), a black bean dipping sauce with more than a hint of garlic, and a delicious whipped butter that seemed to have a bit of honey in it. We then moved on to a rather unique appetizer, namely the fried dill pickle slices that came with a fairly mild Cajun remoulade. The pickles were tremendous, and were stacked so deeply in the basket that we could barely finish half of them. For our entrees, the hot dog macaroni and cheese was rich, flavorful, and very filling, with panko bread crumbs placed on top of spiral macaroni elbows and several different cheeses (including Manchego, which is a Spanish sheep's milk cheese) added along with tomato slices. And the Philly cheese steak was every bit as good (if not better), as the steak was of very high quality and it came with a nice mix of shitake mushrooms, carmelized onions, grilled peppers, and a mix of cheeses. The handcut fries that came with the cheese steak were fresh and had so little grease that it almost seemed as if they were baked rather than fried (but they were indeed fried). As was the case with the fried pickles, the portions were so large that much of it was packed away for dinner the following day. All of this food was washed down with some truly great beers, including Smuttynose Pale Ale, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. (The Leinenkugel Berry Weiss was a little less impressive, with a taste bordering on cough syrup.) Service was friendly and personable, and efficient from start to finish. Prices were quite reasonable, with the bill topping out under $50.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Fat Cat is one of Quincy's best restaurants. The only possible negatives are the fact that the place can get packed (even on weeknights), and the noise level is extremely high (probably due to the brick walls, the wooden ceiling, and the closeness of the bar to the dining area). But these are minor points that shouldn't deter anyone from coming to this fantastic little gastropub about a block from Quincy's main drag.

The address for the Fat Cat is: Fat Cat, 24 Chestnut Street, Quincy, MA 02169. The phone number is (617) 471-4363. and the Web site is at: http://fatcatrestaurant.com/


Fat Cat on Urbanspoon

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Falafel Corner Opens in Cambridge

Eliot Street in the Harvard Square section of Cambridge has seen two of its restaurants close of late, namely Shabu Square and Greek Corner. And a new Middle Eastern restaurant called Falafel Corner has just opened where Greek Corner used to reside, offering customers the choice of takeout or sitdown dining.

Falafel Corner is a tiny place, with the ordering area being at the top of a short flight of stairs, and a shoebox-sized dining room below street level. The menu features such dishes as falafel, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, tabouli, lentil soup, yogurt cucumber salad, chicken shawarma, and kafta kabobs. A variety of rollups are offered, as well as dinner plates, with prices for nearly all entrees being well under $10. Drinks include Turkish coffee and Arabic tea, while the dessert list has cashew fingers, bassma, and a few other items.

The address for this new Middle Eastern restaurant in Harvard Square is: Falafel Corner, 8 1/2 Eliot Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. The phone number is (617) 661-3433.

Thanks to @02138now and @manlyeats on Twitter for bringing this new restaurant to our attention.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 Watertown Grecian Festival to be Held June 26-28

The Watertown Grecian Festival for 2009 is coming up later this month, with all kinds of Greek food being served at the event. It will be held from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28 at the Hellenic Cultural Center on Bigelow Avenue in Watertown. Included will be live Greek music, dancing, a game room, gifts, a raffle, and more. Food being offered at the festival will include Greek salad, grape leaves, moussaka, spanakopita, kabobs, pastitsio, Greek sausage, and baked fish, as well as several other dishes including pastries.

For more information on the 2009 Watertown Grecian Festival, please go to the link below:

http://www.goarchangels.org/

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More on Coppa, a New Restaurant Coming to the South End

We have just received a bit more information on Coppa, a restaurant that chef Ken Oringer will soon be opening on Shawmut Avenue in the South End. According to a press release from Chris Lyons Communications, Coppa will be an enoteca, or Italian-style wine bar, with a mix of small plates, pizza, pastas, and more. Local ingredients will be used as much as possible for the dishes served at Coppa. A beer and wine list will include craft beers and Italian wines.

The press release also mentions that there will be room for 40 diners inside as well as 24 outdoor patio seats (Dish, a now-closed upscale comfort food spot that formerly resided in this location, also had an outdoor patio).

An opening of late August is expected for Coppa.

Ken Oringer's other restaurants include Clio, KO Prime, La Verdad, Toro, and Uni.

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"Food, Inc.," to Open in Boston on Friday, June 19

A new film from Magnolia Pictures about America's food industry is opening this Friday (June 19) in Boston and other cities across the country. "Food, Inc." centers around issues concerning the industrialization of food as well as the importance of local, sustainable food. Filmmaker Robert Kenner, who has produced episodes of such TV shows as "The American Experience" and "The Blues," looks into the role of the FDA and the USDA, the control of the country's food supply by corporations, and food-related health problems. Included in the documentary are interviews with food experts and progressive entrepreneurs.

To learn more about the upcoming film "Food, Inc.," please go to the Magnolia Pictures link below:

http://www.magpictures.com/profile.aspx?id=3e3938d1-b785-4286-9ae0-8eb5952f1480

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party (Part 1) to Be Held at Foxwoods, June 19-21, 2009

The Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party will have a bit of a twist this year, with two parties being held over the course of two separate weekends.

The first event will be held at the MGM Grand at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, CT, from Friday, June 19 to Sunday, June 21, with the hours being 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM each day. Tickets to get into the event are $5 for a limited time, and $10 at the door. (Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price.)

Participants at the Foxwoods beach party include Aussom Aussie BBQ from Australia, Cowboys Barbeque and Rib Co. and Joey's Texas Thunder BBQ, both from Texas, Porky n' Beans from Florida, Willingham's from Tennessee, Jack's Down Home Barbecue from Pennsylvania, Johnson's Bar-B-Que from Virginia, and Firefly's Bar-B Que from the Boston area.

A second BBQ Beach Party will be held at Suffolk Downs in East Boston the following weekend, from June 26 to June 28.

For more information on the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party at Foxwoods, please go to the Phantom Gourmet link below:

http://bbq.phantomgourmet.com/MGM/home.aspx

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Lawton's in Lawrence Closed Indefinitely; In Danger of Falling into Canal

A Lawrence hot dog stand that has been an institution for many decades is in danger of disappearing--literally.

According to a poster on Chowhound and the Eagle-Tribune Online, Lawton's on Canal Street in this historic mill city north of Boston is apparently shifting and could eventually fall into the canal that it sits above. The Eagle Tribune goes on to mention that the beloved takeout stand is closed indefinitely.

Lawton's is known for its fried hot dogs, or "rippers," a relative rarity in Massachusetts as most dining spots in the state tend to either grill or steam their hot dogs. Rippers tend to be a bit more popular in Connecticut and can commonly be found in New Jersey.

For more on the closing of Lawton's in Lawrence, please go to the Eagle Tribune link below:

Lawton's hot-dog stand could fall into nearly empty North Canal as earth embankment settles and canal wall moves

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Friday, June 12, 2009

More upcoming openings: Dorado Tacos, Olecito, Ames Hotel Restaurant, Coppa

A little while ago, we mentioned a few restaurants that are coming to the Boston area soon (including one that just opened, namely Jade Garden Restaurant in Chinatown). A few more places have popped up on the radar over the past week or two, including Dorado Tacos and Cemitas, a Latin American and Mexican restaurant opening in late June in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline. Another new restaurant coming to that town is a second location of Olecito, an inexpensive and casual Mexican spot that features tacos and tortas and whose original location is in the Inman Square section of Cambridge. The new Olecito will be opening soon in the spot at the corner of Cypress Street and Washington Street near Brookline Village where T-Rex Taqueria used to reside. On the higher end, a new boutique hotel called The Ames is coming to Court Street in downtown Boston later this year, and it will feature a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Finally, there is a lot of talk about a new South End restaurant called Coppa, which is being opened by well-known chef Ken Oringer later this summer. It will move into the spot where The Dish used to be on Shawmut Avenue. Coppa looks to be a wine bar with a variety of dishes that are made using mostly locally-grown ingredients.

Thanks to the Boston Globe and Wicked Local for some of the information above.

[December 8 Update: Two restaurants that we had mentioned in this article are still not open--Coppa and Olecito. It does appear that Coppa is very close to opening, however. DECEMBER 9 UPDATE: Coppa has just opened.]

[May 16 update: According to a poster on the Chowhound site, it looks like Olecito in Brookline is planning on opening tomorrow (Monday, May 17).]

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Few Boston-Area Restaurant Mysteries

It seems that lately (or in the case of C.F. Donovan's in Hyde Park, NOT lately), there have been some questions concerning the Boston restaurant scene that are seemingly very difficult to answer. If anyone in the know has some information you can give us on some or all of the questions below, please post a comment here, thanks!

All right, here goes:

1) Is Banjos Restaurant in North Cambridge ever going to open?
This roast beef place was supposed to take over the old KFC building at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Walden Street awhile ago, and things seemed to be progressing (albeit slowly) until about the time that the Banjos in Weymouth closed its doors. Now it appears that all work on the place has stopped.

2) Is Basta Pasta really going to open at the old Tullio's site in North Quincy?
Back in February, a local newspaper reported that this highly-rated Italian restaurant in Cambridge was going to open a second location in the spot on Hancock Street where Tullio's used to reside. Some work has been done to the building here and there, but there are still no real signs of life.

3) Is Sala Thai in Arlington closed, or are they just on a really long vacation?
Several months ago, Sala Thai on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Heights closed for the evening and never opened back up. The sign for the restaurant is still up, the tables are set, and there are no signs in the windows or on the door indicating that changes are about to happen to the space. And NO ONE seems to know anything about it, even folks who work in nearby stores in the Heights.

4) Is C.F. Donovan's still almost ready to open in Hyde Park?
This has been going on for at least two years now, but C.F. Dononvan's, a friendly little restaurant and bar in the Savin Hill section of Dorchester, has been trying to open a second branch in Hyde Park for a long time now, and the place always seems to be on the cusp of opening. But for some reason, it never does.

5) Will Little Q Hot Pot remain open, move, or close down?
A lot of conflicting reports seem to be getting thrown around about Little Q Hot Pot, a beloved Asian restaurant located in Quincy Center. Some of the rumors include the Burgin Parkway cutting into Quincy, forcing the restaurant to move, the building being torn down, again, forcing them to move, a possible move to the Financial District of Boston, and finally, their fighting any kind of move or closure.

If anyone can shed some light on any of the above questions, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

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Special Prix Fixe Dinner at Icarus for Its Final Days

Icarus Restaurant, a South End institution that has been serving food to diners since 1978, will be closing its doors at the end of this month. In a note from owner Chris Douglass on both Facebook and the restaurant's Web site, Icarus will be celebrating its last days and thanking its customers by having a prix fixe three-course dinner for only $31.00. A few of the options available for the special dinner will be polenta with braised mushrooms, chili-glazed pork loin with watermelon salad, corn, and poblano peppers, and passion fruit baked Alaska.

The address for Icarus is: Icarus Restaurant, 3 Appleton Street, Boston, MA 02116. the phone number is (617) 426-1790. Hours are 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM (Monday to Thursday), 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Friday), 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM (Saturday), and 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM (Sunday).

The Web site for Icarus is: http://www.icarusrestaurant.com

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Upper Crust Pizzeria Opens in West Roxbury

The Upper Crust Pizzeria continues to expand, with a new dining spot opening today in West Roxbury near where Centre Street and the West Roxbury Parkway meet. This is the second Upper Crust to open in the past few weeks, with the popular local pizza chain opening one on Boylston Street in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston in late May.

The Upper Crust Pizzeria now has fifteen locations in Massachusetts, including six within the Boston city limits and one each in Brookline, Cambridge, Hingham, Lexington, Newburyport, Plymouth, Salem, Waltham, and Watertown.

The address of the new Upper Crust is: Upper Crust Pizzeria, 1727 Centre Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132. The phone number is (617) 323-6400. And the Web site is at: http://www.theuppercrustpizzeria.com/

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Recent Closings: Shabu Square, Cafe Latino, T-Rex Taqueria , and More

Over the past couple of months, the Boston area has seen its share of restaurant openings, but also a few very notable closings (Great Bay, for instance, as well as Aujourd'hui and Icarus, both of which will soon be closing). In addition there have been several closings that have happened rather quietly, a few of which we will mention here.

Harvard Square has seen a couple of restaurants shut down recently, with both being located on Eliot Street--Shabu Square, an Asian hotpot place, and Greek Corner, a second location of a popular Greek dining spot (the original on Mass. Ave. remains open). A short distance up the road in Davis Square, Somerville, Green Tomato 2 on Elm Street has closed its cafeteria-style restaurant (the original Green Tomato is still open in Reading). Across the Charles River in Brookline, T-Rex Taqueria, a Mexican dining spot on Washington Street in Brookline Village, is gone. And in the Government Center area of Boston, Cafe Latino, a tiny Latin American place in Center Plaza that focused mostly on takeout, has apparently been replaced by a Greek restaurant.

Thanks to several sites for bringing these closings to our attention, including Chowhound, the Brookline Tab blog, and Somerville Voices.

If you know of any recent restaurant openings or closings, please contact us at the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site to let us know. Thanks!

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Linda Bean's Opens along Nantasket Beach in Hull

A new seafood shack has opened along the Nantasket Beach strip in Hull. Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll recently opened a new spot in this seaside town on the South Shore, and is the first one in Massachusetts (Linda Bean's has several locations in Maine and one in Florida).

In addition to its lobster roll shacks, Linda Bean's also has a mail-order business, shipping live lobsters, peeled shrimp, and lobster stew around the country. Orders can be made at the following Web site:

http://www.lindabeansperfectmaine.com/

Linda Bean's is based in Port Clyde, Maine, a scenic fishing village located on a peninsula south of Rockland in the Midcoast region of the state.

The address for Linda Bean's on Nantasket Beach is: Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll, 163 Nantasket Avenue, Hull, MA, 02045.

Thanks to fluffernutty, a poster on the Chowhound site for letting us (and others) know that Linda Bean's is now open.

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Dunkin' Donuts Introduces 99-Cent Breakfast Wrap

Canton-based Dunkin' Donuts has added a new food item to its menu this week, boosting their meal options with a 99-cent breakfast wrap. According to a press release from the popular doughnut and coffee chain, the Wake-up Wrap is a round tortilla filled with a scrambled egg and American cheese and has fewer than 200 calories. (Cherrywood-smoked bacon can be added to the wrap for an extra 50 cents.)

The Wake-up wrap joins the popular oven-toasted flatbread sandwiches and hash browns on the menu, which were introduced in the winter of 2008.

Dunkin' Donuts is the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain, with nearly 9,000 stores globally.

To see the Dunkin' Donuts press release on the introduction of the 99-cent egg and cheese wrap, please go to the link below:

https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/press/PressRelease.aspx?viewtype=current&id=100147

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Exotic Sushi and Tapas Opens in the Financial District

A new sushi and tapas bar has opened in the Financial District of Boston. Exotic Sushi and Tapas opened sometime around early May on High Street next to International Place in the heart of the Financial District. The restaurant features sushi, tapas, and sashimi, as well as a variety of drinks, including sake.

Exotic Sushi and Tapas is open for lunch and dinner during the week, with dinner also served on weekends.

The address for this new restaurant in the Financial District of Boston is: Exotic Sushi and Tapas, 184 High Street, Boston, MA 02110. The phone number is (617) 272-9978. And the Web site is: http://www.exotic-sushi.com/

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Review: Jasper White's Summer Shack, Cambridge

photo of Jasper White's Summer Shack, Cambridge, MAJasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge is a place that I have been to a number of times (though the last time was several years ago). And while I have always wanted to love this spacious seafood restaurant across from the Alewife T station, I have never had a meal there that has knocked my socks off. That is, until this week, when we had what was truly a memorable dining experience from start to finish.

The Summer Shack in Cambridge is located in a warehouse-type building that was formerly home to the Aku Aku, an icon of sorts from long ago that featured greasy Americanized Chinese and Polynesian food, impossibly strong drinks in tacky cups, mugs, and bowls, and a bar that felt like it might be out of a Mad Max movie. Well, the Buddha statue still sits at the entrance, and the slowly rotating sign along Route 2 is still there (though now it says "Summer Shack," of course), but mostly everything else has been replaced or fixed up to make this restaurant look like a real seafood shack with only the water views missing (unless you feel like taking in views of the rather sad-looking pond across the street). Strings of lights hang from the ceiling, a colorful tile floor brightens up the room a bit, and the oyster bar and lobster tank within the place add some character to the spot.

We arrived at the Summer Shack early in the evening and were led to a moderately comfortable booth toward the back. We started with drinks and some bread and rolls, with the corn bread being a bit dry in spots and a tad too sweet for my liking, but otherwise ok. We then moved on to an appetizer of crab and cheese pupusas that was really satisfying; the two stuffed flatbreads were filled with deliciously fresh crabmeat and a good amount of cheese, though not so much as to overwhelm the sweet taste of the meat. Our entrees soon came out, and they were admittedly quite different, as the corn dog and the roasted salmon contrasted in a nearly humorous way on our table. But both were terrific; the Pearl Kountry Klub dog was juicy and flavorful, and the cornbread batter was moderately thick and seemed a bit more tasty than the aforementioned cornbread that we had at the beginning of our meal. The fries that came with the corn dog were pretty basic, but the pickle was salty and delicious. And the roasted salmon? Well, the Summer Shack is known for its seafood, and for good reason, as this piece of fish was tender and fresh, and came with a green pea sauce that went perfectly with the dish. We somehow found room for dessert, and it turned out to be perhaps the highlight of the meal, as the ultra-rich pecan pie with homemade whipped cream (which was on special) was overflowing with flavor, while the Mexican chocolate almond tart had a spicy kick that made it an unforgettable dish.

Our server was friendly, efficient, and enthusiastic from start to finish, and the prices were pretty good, especially considering that a celebrity chef runs the place.

So my overall impression of Jasper White's Summer Shack has gone from pretty good to excellent, even outstanding, in one meal. I hope that this streak will continue in the future, as I would love to be able to further distance myself from the ok-but-not-great meals I have had at this popular West Cambridge restaurant in the past.

The address for Jasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge is: Jasper White's Summer Shack, 149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02140. The phone number is (617) 520-9500. and the Web site is at: http://www.summershackrestaurant.com/Locations_Cambridge.asp


Jasper White's Summer Shack on Urbanspoon

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2009 Xtreme Eating Awards Include Some Popular Dishes

The Xtreme Eating Awards for 2009 are out, with the list including nine particularly unhealthy appetizers, entrees, and desserts from a handful of national chains that can be found in the Boston area.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the worst offenders include an appetizer with nearly 70 grams of saturated fat, an entree with just under 4,000 milligrams of sodium, and a dessert that supplies nearly 3,000 calories. Restaurants that are included on the list are the Olive Garden, Applebee's, Chili's, the Cheesecake Factory, the Red Lobster, and Uno Chicago Grill. The dishes that made the list tend to be popular items, such as the half rack of baby back ribs at Chili's, the fried macaroni and cheese at the Cheesecake Factory, and the Tour of Italy at the Olive Garden.

For detailed information on the particular dishes that made the 2009 Xtreme Eating Awards list, please go to the Center for Science in the Public Interest article below:

Xtreme Eating Awards 2009

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Latest Review: Kabab and Tandoor, Waltham

photo of Kabab and Tandoor, Waltham, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for Kabab and Tandoor, an Indian restaurant in Waltham, MA. Located in the downtown area on Route 20 near the Moody Street intersection, Kabab and Tandoor features Hyderabadi Halal cuisine, a relative rarity in the Boston area. Both vegetarian and meat dishes are served at this attractive spot, with the menu having a wide variety of appetizers and entrees. To read more about Kabab and Tandoor in Waltham, please click on the link above.

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Free Donuts at Dunkin' Donuts (National Doughnut Day)

Today (Friday, June 5, 2009) is National Doughnut Day, and to celebrate, Dunkin' Donuts is giving a free donut out with the purchase of a cup of coffee or any other drink. According to the Boston Globe, this deal will be held at participating Dunkin' Donuts, and there will also be an announcement of the winner of the "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest.

For more information on National Doughnut Day (and free donuts being given out at participating Dunkin' Donuts), please go to the Boston Globe link below:

Dunkin': Buy joe, get free Donut Day sinker

And to read more about the "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest, please go to the Dunkin' Donuts press release below:

DUNKIN' DONUTS ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF "CREATE DUNKIN'S NEXT DONUT" CONTEST; "TOFFEE FOR YOUR COFFEE" DONUT IS GRAND PRIZE WINNER

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Federal, A Gourmet Pizza and Sandwich Place, Opens in Beacon Hill

A new restaurant featuring custom sandwiches and gourmet pizza has opened on Cambridge Street at the foot of Beacon Hill in Boston. The Federal replaces the Venice Cafe, an Italian restaurant that closed earlier this year, and looks to be a popular place for takeout food, with "build your own" sandwiches and pizzas as well as salads.

For the "build your own" sandwiches, The Federal offers a wide variety of breads, meats, cheeses, toppings, and spreads; for the "build your own" pizzas, everything from mushrooms to artichokes to pineapple to pepperoni to steak tips to salami is offered.

Specific sandwiches listed on the menu at The Federal include pulled pork, a Cuban, chicken cordon bleu, and grilled eggplant. Specific pizzas include a margherita, Mediterranean, and buffalo chicken.

The address for this new Beacon Hill restaurant is: The Federal, 204 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114. The phone number is (617) 391-0025.

Thanks to the Boston on the Go blog for letting us (and others) know that this place is now open.

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Bobby Flay to Bring Bobby's Burger Palace to New England

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will soon be opening another burger place, with this one being in New England. In an interview on Worcester radio station WAAF today, the restaurant owner, cookbook writer, and Food Network personality said that he would be opening a new Bobby's Burger Palace at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Southeast Connecticut in early July.

Bobby's Burger Palace is a small chain of fast casual burger restaurants with locations currently in Paramus, NJ, Eatontown, NJ, and Lake Grove, NY. In addition to hamburgers, customers can also dine on turkey burgers, chicken burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes.

Mohegan Sun is located in Uncasville, CT, just east of Route 395 and about 10 miles north of New London.

Bobby Flay also has a number of other restaurants, including Bar Americain in New York City and Mesa Grill in Las Vegas.

For more information on Bobby's Burger Palace, please go to the Web site at http://www.bobbysburgerpalace.com/

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South Street Diner to Open 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week

A popular late-night diner in the Leather District of Boston has decided to keep its doors open 24/7. The South Street Diner, which is located on Kneeland Street near Chinatown and South Station, will now be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more, all day and all night, seven days a week.

The South Street Diner (which used to be called the Blue Diner) is housed in a Worcester Dining Company car that was built back in the 1940s. The quirky dining spot has become known as one of the few places to go for after-hours food around downtown Boston.

The address for the South Street Diner is: South Street Diner, 178 Kneeland Street, Boston, MA 02111. The phone number is (617) 350-0028. And the Web site is
http://www.southstreetdiner.com

Thanks to one of our emailers (Patrick) for letting us know about the change in hours for the South Street Diner.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Update: Alma Nove Coming to Hingham in the Spring of 2010

[Note: This article has been updated since it's original posting, in part because Esti's, another restaurant that was supposed to open at The Launch, will not be opening there after all.]

A restaurant with a well-known name behind it will be opening within a massive new bayside development in Hingham in the spring of 2010.

According to The Launch at Hingham Shipyard site, Alma Nove will be opening in the redeveloped Hingham Shipyard, with Paul Wahlberg behind the place. Paul Wahlberg is the brother of music and movie stars Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and has been the executive chef at the highly-rated Bridgeman's across from Nantasket Beach in Hull. A press release from The Launch at Hingham Shipyard indicates that Alma Nove will feature a mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

[January 21, 2010 update: According to the Boston Globe, the original location for Alma Nove didn't work out, but the new location (unlike the old one) will be on the water, with a capacity of well over 100 and a wood-fired oven within the place.]

[June 4 update: According to an article in The Patriot Ledger, Alma Nove will be opening this weekend.]

The Launch at Hingham Shipyard, when complete, will be well 1 million square feet in size and will include dining, entertainment, shopping, and recreation options, along with a number of luxury condos available.

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Five Guys Burgers Is Now Open in Swampscott

Five Guys Burgers has just opened another location in the Boston area. The burger chain is now open for business on Route 1A in Swampscott, according to the Chowhound poster bluesjack and the Lynn Daily Item.

Five Guys Burgers presently has four locations in the Boston area, including Dedham, Foxborough, Marlborough, and the new one in Swampscott. Another location will be opening in Randolph soon.

The address for this new burger joint in Swampscott is: Five Guys Burgers, 980 Paradise Road (Route 1A), Swampscott, MA 01907. The phone number is (781) 595-1300.

For more information on the opening of Five Guys Burgers in Swampscott, please go to the Daily Item of Lynn link below:

New eatery a hit in Swampscott

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Starbucks to Offer Salads, Rework Existing Food Items

Starbucks, a chain of coffee shops found across the United States and around the world, will soon be adding new items to its menu, including low-calorie salads. According to Reuters, the chain will be introducing salads and other new items sometime around the end of June, as well as healthier versions of breakfast sandwiches, breads, cakes, and cookies.

Reuters also mentions that the company will be testing a reworked Frappuccino this summer in Dallas, Texas.

Starbucks is the world's largest coffee shop chain, with well over 10,000 stores in the United States, including more than 100 in the Boston area alone.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Boston's Hidden Restaurants Is Now On Facebook

First it was Twitter, and now it is another social networking site. The Boston's Hidden Restaurants site now has a fan page on Facebook that will eventually give updates on restaurant reviews, blog entries, and restaurant closings and openings, as well as a variety of other related topics.

If you are already on Facebook, it is easy to connect with the page. Go to the link below and simply click "Become a Fan." From that point on, you will receive updates on Facebook concerning not just the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, but this blog as well.

Here is the link:

Facebook Page for Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Thanks for becoming a fan!

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Review: Prince Pizzeria, Saugus

photo of pizza at Prince Pizzeria, Saugus, MAAs most Bostonians know, the stretch of Route 1 that goes through Saugus is almost legendary in its tackiness and cheesiness. And amidst all the cheese is some really good stuff, including a pizza joint near the Lynn Fells Parkway intersection that has been around forever, and still serves up some very tasty pies. Sure, Prince Pizzeria might initially look a bit over-the-top with its "leaning tower of pizza," but it is a friendly, comfortable place that is extremely popular with locals, big groups, and families.

A group of us went to Prince Pizzeria over the past weekend for a late lunch/early dinner. We went up to the counter and ordered a variety of items, including Caesar salads, an antipasto, chicken tenders, and, of course, pizza. I always order a pizza that isn't even on the menu at Prince--the margherita pizza--and this day was no exception, as I love the mixture of tastes coming from the basil, oregano, romano cheese, zesty tomato sauce, and crisp, greasy (but not too greasy) crust. Everything else we ordered was terrific as well, with the antipasto being a meal in itself, and both the pepperoni/mushroom pizza and the veggie pizza appeared to be big hits, though I didn't get to try either of them. We took our time eating, soaking up the rustic atmosphere that has seen little in the way of changes over the years (there are still wagon wheels on the ceiling and cans of olive oil along the walls). Eventually, we made our way out of the place with full stomachs and smiles on our faces, vowing to return to this Saugus institution as soon as we possibly can.

The address for Prince Pizzeria is 517 Broadway (Route 1) in Saugus. The phone number is (781) 233-9950.


Prince Pizzeria & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Suffolk Grille Opens in Canton

A new restaurant recently opened in Canton just north of the Route 138/128 intersection near the edge of the Blue Hills Reservation. The Suffolk Grille is an upscale restaurant that features mostly American food, including steak, seafood, chicken, burgers, and pizza. According to an article in the Milton Times, the restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. There is also a bar on the premises, which the newspaper says will be open until 1:00 AM.

The address for this new restaurant in Canton is: Suffolk Grille, 2790 Washington Street (Route 138), Canton, MA 02021. The phone number is (339) 237-4700.

Thanks to a poster (drboom) on the Chowhound site for letting us know about the opening of this place. For more on the Suffolk Grille in Canton, please go to the Milton Times link below:

Fine Dining Comes to Area with Opening of Suffolk Grille

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Skara Grill Opens in West Roxbury

A new Greek and Mediterranean dining spot called Skara Grill has opened in West Roxbury. According to Universal Hub, the Centre Street restaurant had a soft opening about a week ago, with their grand opening over the past weekend.

Skara Grill will be open for lunch and dinner, with breakfast served at least on the weekends for now.

The address for this new Greek and Mediterranean restaurant is: Skara Grill, 1985 Centre Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132. The phone number is (617) 327-1114. And the Web site is http://www.skaragrill.com/Welcome_to.html

For more information on the opening of Skara Grill in West Roxbury, please go to the Universal Hub link below:

Skara Grill: Yassou, West Roxbury!

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Upcoming Restaurant Openings: Abby Park, Post 390, Amanda's, Pejamajo Cafe, Bobby's American Grille, Jade Garden

With all the news of notable restaurant closings in the Boston area lately (Great Bay this past weekend, Aujourd'hui soon), it also should be mentioned that a number of restaurants are apparently going to be opening up in metro Boston over the coming months. Some of these include Abby Park, a restaurant coming soon to East Milton Square that looks like it may be an upscale American dining spot; Post 390, an upscale comfort food restaurant that will be opening near the corner of Stuart Street and Clarendon Street in the Back Bay of Boston; Amanda's, a dining spot that may be opening in the Readville section of Hyde Park where La Cheminee used to be; the Pejamajo Cafe, a crepe place that will be opening soon in the center of Holliston; Bobby's American Grille, an American restaurant that will be opening on Route 16 near the Wellesely/Newton border just west of Newton Lower Falls; and Jade Garden Restaurant, a Chinese dining spot that may be opening on Tyler Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston.

Credit goes to EveryBlock Boston, Chowhound, the Boston Globe, and the Improper Bostonian for helping us keep up to date on some of the above listings.

If you would like to see a list of recent restaurant openings in the Boston area (as well as recent closings), please go to the following link, which is located within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site:

http://www.hiddenboston.com/closings-openings.html

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Flavors of Boston to Be Held Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A culinary charity event called Flavors of Boston 2009 will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at Artists for Humanity on West Second Street in South Boston. The event, which benefits the American Liver Foundation, will include a number of top area chefs preparing five-course meals for guests. Participating chefs include such well-known names as Barbara Lynch, Emily Spinazola, and Stephen Brown. There will also be a live auction at the event.

Tickets cost $300, with a reception being held at 6:00 PM and dinner being held at 7:00 PM.

For more information on Flavors of Boston, please go to either the American Liver Foundation site or the Artists for Humanity site, both of which are posted below:

http://www.liverfoundation.org/chapters/newengland/events/477/

http://www.afhboston.com/

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