Friday, April 29, 2011

Food Trucks Return to the SoWa Open Market Starting May 1, 2011

Last year, the SoWa Open Market in Boston was home to a Food Truck Festival and eventually, a weekly gathering of food trucks. For 2011, the food trucks are returning, with a number of vendors coming to opening weekend at SoWa on Sunday, May 1.

According to The Beantown Bloggery, the 8th year of the SoWa Open Market begins this coming Sunday on Harrison Avenue from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with the market running every Sunday until the end of October. The blog post mentions that there will now be a SoWa Food Truck Court, with nine food trucks (different trucks each week) setting up each Sunday. The lineup of food trucks includes Bon Me Truck, Clover Food Truck, Grillo's Pickles, Lincoln Street Coffee, M&M Ribs, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, South End Pita, and more.

The SoWa Open Market can be found at 460 Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston. For more information, please go to http://www.sowaopenmarket.com/

Thanks to Grub Street Boston for initially letting us know about this.

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Jaho Coffee and Tea Is Opening in Boston's South End

A cafe with two locations on the North Shore is getting ready to open a third spot, with this one being in the South End of Boston.

According to the South End Patch, Jaho Coffee & Tea plans to open on Washington Street possibly within the next couple of weeks, joining two other spots in Salem (one on Derby Street and the other on Wharf Street). The article mentions that the new place will feature sandwiches, pastries, frozen yogurt, coffee, and tea.

Jaho is moving into the space where Aroa Fine Chocolate used to be until closing last summer.

[May 23 update: According to their website, the new Jaho Coffee & Tea in Boston is now open.]

The address for this new cafe in the South End is: Jaho Coffee & Tea, 1651 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02118.

Thanks to Adam's Hospitality and Tourism Industry Blog for bringing this to our attention.

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Checkers Drive-In Restaurants May Be Coming to the Boston Area

It looks like a chain of double drive-thru restaurants known for its burgers, hot dogs, wings, and fries may be coming to the Boston area.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle (Note: Article no longer appear to be on the site), Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is currently looking to add development agreements to a number of cities, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Boston, and Providence. The restaurant chain, which has more than more than 800 locations across the country, has relatively few in the Northeast at this time, with only one in New England (in Bristol, CT) and some others in New York State.

[April 2, 2013 update: An article in the Boston Business Journal indicates that Checkers is indeed looking to open outlets in the Boston area, with the vice president of franchise development saying that they are looking at potential sites in the Back Bay, the Fenway area, Brookline, Somerville, and other spots in the region. (Thanks to Eater Boston for bringing this to our attention.)]

The website for Checkers Drive-In Restaurants can be found at http://www.checkers.com/

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Four New Outdoor Patios Come to the Boston Area

With warmer days quickly approaching and al fresco dining on the way, four Boston-area restaurants have announced that they now have outdoor patios.

An email sent to us from CBH Communications indicates that Deuxave in Boston's Back Bay, EVOO and Za in Cambridge's Kendall Square, and Pops Restaurant & Bar in Boston's South End all have new patios. The email mentions that Deuxave's patio looks out at Commonwealth Avenue and has 35 rattan wicker seats, while EVOO and Za have more than 120 seats total, along with oversized umbrellas and a view of Kendall Square. The patio at Pops overlooks Tremont Street and has 17 seats, along with flowers and oversized umbrellas.

CBH Communications also states that a few other restaurants--dbar in Dorchester, Masa in the South End and Woburn, and Stella and Tremont 647 in the South End--have added some new features and/or made some upgrades to their existing patios.

For more information on outdoor dining in the Boston area, please be sure to check out a transcript of the outdoor dining discussion from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) at the link below.

Transcript of Online Panel Discussion, April 7, 2011. (Topic: Outdoor Dining in the Boston Area and Beyond)

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A Yelp Poster's Decision to Picket a Boston-Area Restaurant

The reviews posted on Yelp's website can often be rather interesting and entertaining, and a recent one is no exception.

It appears--assuming that the review is for real--that a Yelp poster had his $5 "stolen" from him by a Boston-area restaurant (which shall remain unnamed here) and he wants it back. The poster mentions that the person behind the counter at the eatery gave his sandwich to someone else who ordered after he did and when he complained, the counter person said that he hadn't actually ordered the sandwich. An argument ensued and the poster said he was going to leave (at which point the counter person apparently agreed on this point and told him to leave as well). The poster left the restaurant and claims that the place closed its doors that night hours before it was due to close.

Based on the poster's experience, he states that he is going to picket the restaurant every hour of every day until he gets his $5 back, and encourages others to join him in his protest.

This is just one of several offbeat posts that we have seen on Yelp lately, including some from other parts of the country. Have you read any unusual Yelp posts about Boston-area restaurants? If so, feel free to post links to them in the "Comments" section here.

Thanks to a follower on our Hiddenboston Twitter page for sharing this with us.

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Habanero's Mexican Kitchen to Replace Tango Mango in Waltham

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to Waltham, and it will be moving into the space where another Mexican dining spot had been.

According to a poster on Chowhound, Habanero's Mexican Kitchen is going to be opening on Moody Street where Tango Mango used to be. (It appears that the Newton location of Tango Mango remains open.) A call placed to the space indicates that Habanero's is indeed moving in, and the Chowhound poster mentions that the new restaurant is planning to open in May as a full-service restaurant and bar.

Tango Mango first opened in this spot back in the spring of 2009, replacing the Hungry Coyote and joining the original Tango Mano, which is located on Centre Street in Newton Centre.

[July 20 update: According to a job post within the Craigslist site, the opening of Habanero's Mexican Kitchen is "right around the corner."]

[September 15 update: A post on their Facebook page indicates that Habanero's Mexican Kitchen is looking to open its doors for business at 4:00 PM today.]

The address for this new Mexican restaurant in Waltham is: Habanero's Mexican Kitchen, 484 Moody Street, Waltham, MA, 02453.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yelp May Be Going Public

A popular user review and local search site is considering going public, with an IPO apparently in the works.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Yelp has decided not to go through another round of financing, instead looking to go public at some point. The article mentions that it is not yet known exactly when the seven-year-old company might go public, and the IPO process has not yet begun. Founded in 2004, Yelp has been offered buyouts from tech giants Yahoo and Google in the past, according to the Wall Street Journal, and last year the company said that if there were to be an IPO, it probably would not happen for several years.

As of early 2011, Yelp was seeing nearly 50 million people on its site each month, with a total of more 15 million reader reviews posted. Yelp's reviews include restaurants, with more than 3,500 dining spots in the Boston area reviewed by its readers. In addition to reviews and local searches, Yelp is also a place to find events, special deals, and more. Its website can be found at http://www.yelp.com/

To read more about the possibility of Yelp going public, please go to the Wall Street Journal link below.

Yelp Plans to Go Public, Despite Booming Private Market

Thanks to Grub Street Boston for bringing this to our attention.

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Tantawan in Watertown Has Closed

It looks like a Thai restaurant in Watertown that has been in business for a number of years has closed its doors.

According to Yelp as well as a poster on Chowhound, Tantawan on Arsenal Street is no longer in business. A call placed to the restaurant seems to have confirmed this, as the number is not in service. Tantawan had been located in a spot that looked a bit like an old diner, with a long, narrow dining room a few feet above ground level. The restaurant featured a mix of traditional dishes and Thai-American fare, including such items as spring rolls, chicken and vegetable dumplings, pad Thai, basil fried rice, curry dishes, and pad see ew. Several years ago, our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) posted a brief blog review of Tantawan, which can be found below:

http://www.hiddenboston.com/blogentries/tantawan-watertown-1205.html

The address for this now-closed Thai restaurant in Watertown was: Tantawan, 356 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472.

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YoBro (A Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Cafe) Is Opening in Brookline

It looks like a cafe featuring self-serve frozen yogurt as well as some other items is on its way to Brookline.

According to the Town of Brookline, YoBro has gotten approval to open on Cypress Street, where it intersects with Route 9 (a bit west of Brookline Village). The cafe's Facebook page indicates that YoBro will feature self-serve weigh-and-pay frozen yogurt (with a variety of toppings apparently offered, according to a source), as well as baked goods, smoothies, coffee, and tea.

It appears that the cafe might be opening sometime later this spring, according to their Facebook page. Once it does open, hours will be 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday, 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM on Fridays, 10:30 AM to 12:00 AM on Saturdays, and 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM on Sundays.

[June 17 update: According to their Facebook page, YoBro is now open, with their grand opening scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, June 18).]

The address for this new frozen yogurt spot in Brookline is: YoBro, 141 Cypress St., Brookline, MA, 02445. Their Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/YoBro/178056472230613

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Boston Kabob Company Opens in Allston

A Middle Eastern restaurant has opened in Allston, moving into the space where a dim sum spot had been until closing last summer.

According to a poster on our Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page as well as several posters on Yelp, Boston Kabob Company is now open on Brighton Avenue, taking over the former Gitlo's spot (Gitlo closed in August of 2010 after being in business for a bit less than three years). Based on Yelp posts, the new eatery features such items as kabobs, freshly-made pita, hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, and falafel.

The Yelp page for Boston Kabob Company indicates that the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The address for this new restaurant in Allston is: Boston Kabob Company, 164 Brighton Avenue, Allston, MA 02134. The phone number is (617) 254-2333.

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Hoshi Ya Opening in Brighton

A Japanese restaurant is opening in Brighton, moving into a space between Oak Square and Brighton Center.

According to their website, Hoshi Ya will open on Washington Street (apparently in the spot where Select Market used to be), bringing to the neighborhood a place to get sushi and a variety of other Japanese dishes. Based on their online menu, Hoshi Ya will feature sushi, sashimi, maki, katsu, noodle dishes, teriyaki, and tempura. Bento boxes will also be available, as well as four different types of party trays.

Hoshi Ya, which appears to be on the verge of opening its doors for business, will be open for dinner from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday, 5:00 PM to 12:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, and 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Sundays. [Please note that one of the website's pages has them being only open for dinner and the another showing it being open for both lunch and dinner. If it does open for lunch, the hours will apparently be 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily.]

The address for this new Japanese restaurant in Brighton is: Hoshi Ya, 529 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02135. The website can be found at http://www.hoshiyaboston.com/

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Dunkin' Donuts Is Serving Up Royal Wedding Donuts to Customers

The world's largest coffee and baked good chain is helping celebrate the upcoming Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton with a special donut.

According to a press release on their website, Canton-based Dunkin' Donuts is offering Royal Wedding Donuts to customers from now through Friday, April 29, which is the day of the wedding. The limited edition donut is heart-shaped and glazed, with white frosting and a chocolate drizzle on top, and can be found at participating Dunkin' Donuts shops.

Baskin-Robbins, which is part of the Dunkin' Donuts company, is also celebrating the wedding with a Royal Wedding Ice Cream Cake.

For more information on the Royal Wedding Donut from Dunkin' Donuts, please go to the link below.

Celebrate the Royal Wedding in Style with Dunkin' Donuts' Royal Wedding Donut and Baskin-Robbins' Royal Wedding Ice Cream Cake

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The Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Food Truck Mystery

Some recent posts on Facebook and Twitter from a Boston-based grilled cheese food truck have been causing people to scratch their heads and wonder--has the food truck been stolen, or is there something else going on here?

According to posts by Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese, their food truck is missing and a reward has been posted on both their Facebook and Twitter pages. One of their posts on Facebook states: "As many of you already know, Roxy has gone missing. Last seen on the Mass Pike heading west bound. We have a national search party trying to find her. Currently searching the highways for trails of cheddar and baby swiss cheese." This post makes us wonder if this may actually be a publicity stunt of some kind. When we find out more on the apparent theft of the Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck, we will post an update here.

Thanks to Adam's Hospitality and Tourism Industry Blog and Grub Street Boston for this rather intriguing story.

[April 25 update: Based on posts on their Twitter and Facebook pages as well as some other information we have received, it appears that the Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck may currently be traveling the country and it may in fact be involved with the filming of a food truck show. It is probably worth following the Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Truck Foursquare page over the coming days to find out more information on the truck's whereabouts.]

[May 4 update: The Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck has (kinda sorta) been found. According to the Denver Westword site, the truck is on its way to Denver--if not already there--to take part in season two of The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. Thanks to a poster on Chowhound for letting us know about this.]

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Espresso Love Opening in Boston's Financial District

It looks like a cafe on Martha's Vineyard is going to be opening a second location in the heart of Boston.

According to their website, Espresso Love, which is located in Edgartown, is planning to open another spot on Broad Street in Boston's Financial District, with a possible opening date of May 2 in the works. Once it is open, the eatery will be serving breakfast and lunch daily with such items as egg sandwiches, bagels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, and espresso for breakfast and soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and vegetarian items for lunch, along with cookies and other desserts. (It appears that their hours will be 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday and 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends, so folks will apparently be able to do light dinners there as well.) According to their Facebook page, Espresso Love will have seating for 40, along with free wi-fi.

[April 26 update: According to their Facebook page, the opening date for the new Espresso Love in Boston has been pushed back from their initial planned date of May 2; it now looks like a soft opening may take place on Sunday, May 8.]

[May 23 update: A note on their Facebook page indicates that Espresso Love is planning to open on Friday, May 27.]

The original Espresso Love first opened on Church Street in Edgartown back in 1992.

The address for this new cafe in Boston's Financial District is: Espresso Love, 33 Broad Street, Boston, MA, 02109. The website can be found at http://www.espressolove.com/

Thanks to a poster on Chowhound for bringing this to our attention.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City Coming to Somerville, April 27, 2011

A food-based fundraiser for a Somerville-based organization that helps work with the city's immigrant community is coming in late April.

A press release from The Welcome Project indicates that YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City will be held at The Center for Arts at the Armory on Highland Avenue in Somerville on Wednesday, April 27 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. The event will include food from several immigrant-owned restaurants in Somerville, as well as drinks and music. Restaurants that will be participating include Diva Indian Bistro, Fasika, Maya Sol, Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar, Sabur, and Yak & Yeti.

Tickets to YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City cost $40 each and include access to food and local entertainment.

For more information on the 2011 YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City event, please go to the Welcome Project link below.

http://www.welcomeproject.org/

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Rodizio Grill Is Opening in Braintree

A Brazilian steakhouse is on its way to one of Boston's southern suburbs, though it is by no means a done deal as of yet, thanks to licensing issues.

According to the Braintree Patch, the owner of a Melting Pot franchise in Framingham is looking to open a place called Rodizio Grill in Braintree. The restaurant, which would be located at the South Shore Plaza near the Route 128/93/3/1 intersection (the Braintree Split), could be open by the end of the year, though it may be pushed back or scuttled completely due to an alcohol license issue. It appears that the Braintree licensing board revoked the alcohol license held by the now-closed Bickford's in Braintree, with the reason for the revocation being because Bickford's did not give timely notice of its closing to the board. (The owner of Bickford's had been looking to transfer the license to Rodizio Grill.) An appeal of the licensing board's actions is apparently in the works by Bickford's, with the appeals process possibly taking a number of months.

The Patch article indicates that alcohol licenses for restaurants are tough to come by in Braintree right now, though the mayor of Braintree is looking to try to get four to six more licenses, with the licenses only going to dining spots in sections of Braintree that tend to have more independent businesses (rather than chain-heavy areas like the South Shore Plaza).

We will post updates on the planned opening of Rodizio Grill in Braintree as we get them, so keep checking back.

[March 8, 2012 update: According to the Rodizio Grill website, the Braintree location of the restaurant is going to be opening sometime next month.]

[February 21, 2013 update: A message sent to us on behalf of the restaurant indicates that Rodizio Grill is planning to open on March 8.]

[March 11, 2013 update: Their Facebook page indicates that Rodizio Grill has opened in Braintree.]

For more information on this story, please go to the Braintree Patch link below.

Update: Plaza Restaurant Plans Hinge on Bickford's Grille Alcohol License Outcome

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eat Wagon (A New Food Truck) Coming to the Boston Area

The folks behind a series of "pop-up" restaurants in the Boston area are at it again, this time getting involved in the local food truck scene.

An email sent to us indicates that chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge, along with event organizer and well-known Twitter figure Aaron Cohen of Eat Boston, are going to be starting up a food truck called Eat Wagon. The truck, which may be up and running by the end of May, plans to feature such items as burgers, hot dogs, and tacos, with beef coming from grass-fed cows. Eat Wagon has a Twitter page, so if you would like to follow the progress of the upcoming food truck, the link is at: http://twitter.com/#!/eatwagon

Gilson and Cohen have been involved with several pop-up restaurants over the past few months, including pop-ups at the Mizu Salon in the Back Bay, the Boston Center for Adult Education in downtown Boston, Taza Chocolate and Bloc 11 in Somerville, and Mohr & McPherson in the South End.

We should have more information on Eat Wagon over the coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates.

[April 29 update: According to Eat Boston, the new Eat Wagon will be making an appearance in Cambridge tomorrow, showing up at MIT's 150th anniversary celebration from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The food truck will be at the Amherst Street turnaround (off Mass. Ave. by the MIT Chapel).]

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Dining Out for Life to Be Held in the Boston Area on April 28, 2011

An international HIV/AIDS fundraiser returns to the Boston area this month, and once again, a number of local restaurants will be participating.

According to the event's website, Dining Out for Life will be held on Thursday, April 28, with participating restaurants donating 25% of customers' bills to the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts to help provide HIV/AIDS care and prevention services to people in the Boston area and beyond. Some of the restaurants that will be taking part in the event include Bosphorus in Cambridge, Canary Square in Jamaica Plain, Friendly Toast in Cambridge, The Hyde in Hyde Park, Picante Mexican Grill in Cambridge, Savinos Grill in Belmont, and Tasca in Brighton.

Dining Out for Life first started out in 1991 and is now held in 55 cities in the United States and Canada. The event raised more than $3 million last year.

For more information on the 2011 Dining Out for Life (including a complete list of participating restaurants), please go to the link below:

http://www.diningoutforlife.com/boston

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BrickYard Pizzeria and Burger Bar Opening in Woburn

A new restaurant features two floors of dining and drinking is coming to Woburn, and it looks like it will be focusing on pizza and burgers.

According to their Facebook page, the BrickYard is planning to open on Main Street in Woburn Center (across from the rotary) in early May. Based on the sign shown out front, the new eatery will be a combination pizzeria/burger bar. It is not known at this time what else might be on the menu at the BrickYard; as soon as we get a peek at the menu, we will post an update here.

[April 25 update: According to The Woburn Patch, the BrickYard will be serving appetizers and small plates in addition to pizza and burgers, and it will also have 20 different beers available. The Patch article, which mentions a May 3 opening for the restaurant, states that the eatery will have a dining area on the first floor with views of a plaza and waterfall, and the basement will have a spacious lounge. The article also mentions that one of the partners of the BrickYard is the owner of the nearby Tre Monte restaurant.]

[May 8 update: According to their Facebook page, BrickYard Pizzeria and Burger Bar will be opening on Monday, May 9.]

The address for this new restaurant in Woburn Center is: BrickYard Pizzeria and Burger Bar, 371 Main Street, Woburn, MA, 01801. Their Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-BrickYard-Authentic-Pizzeria-and-Burger-Bar/100233750065724

Thanks to both The Passionate Foodie and a poster on Chowhound for bringing this to our attention.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zagat Lists O Ya, Menton As Top Boston Restaurants for 2011/2012

Zagat has just come out with their top Boston restaurants for food, decor, and service, and two high-end restaurants are at the top of the lists.

According to a PR Newswire posting, o ya on East Street in the Leather District was picked as #1 for food, while Menton on Congress Street in the Fort Point neighborhood was picked as #1 for both decor and service. Other area restaurants that came in toward the top of Zagat's 2011/2012 picks include Oleana in Cambridge and La Camapania in Waltham for food, the Bristol Lounge and Sorellina in Boston for decor, and L'Espalier and No. 9 Park in Boston for service.

The results of the Zagat Survey lists come from reviews by nearly 7,500 area diners and includes nearly 1,400 restaurants in Massachusetts.

For complete lists of the top picks for 2011/2012 by Zagat readers, please go to the PR Newswire link below.

O Ya and Menton Capture Top Spots in 2011/12 Zagat Boston Restaurant Survey

The website for Zagat can be found at http://www.zagat.com/

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cafe Fleuri Included in OpenTable's Diners' Choice Awards for Best Brunch

An online restaurant reservations provider has come out with its Diners' Choice awards for best brunch spots, and a hotel restaurant in Boston's Financial District made the list.

According to GlobeNewswire (a NASDAQ OMX company), Cafe Fleuri on Franklin Street was one of 50 dining spots that made OpenTable's Diners' Choice Awards for best brunch. The list, which did not include any other restaurants in New England (though it did feature a number of spots in New York), comes from more than seven million reviews from OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants across the country.

Cafe Fleuri is a breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot located within The Langham Boston that features a mix of American and regional cuisine, including maple-cured salmon, corned beef hash and eggs, burgers, calamari, and lobster rolls. On Saturdays from September to June, the restaurant also features a chocolate bar, with more than 85 chocolate-based items available.

The address for Cafe Fleuri is: Cafe Fleuri (The Langham Boston), 250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110. the phone number is (617) 956-8751. And the website can be found at http://boston.langhamhotels.com/restaurants/best_boston_restaurants.htm

For a complete list of the brunch spots chosen by OpenTable's diners, please go to the GlobeNewswire link below.

OpenTable Diners Name Best Brunches in the U.S.

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Lawton's May Re-Open in New Lawrence Location; Lawrence Famous Frankfurters to Open in Old Lawton's Space

It look like a decades-old hot dog stand in Lawrence that recently closed may be opening in a new location within the city, and a new hot dog place will be opening in the space where Lawton's used to be.

According to the Eagle-Tribune, the owner of Lawton's, which had been at the corner of Canal Street and Broadway for approximately 80 years until closing over the winter, is hoping to re-open the place at the corner of South Union Street and Jamaica Street, with the new name being Lawton's Famous Frankfurters. The article states that if all goes as planned, the new Lawton's will look much like the old one, albeit with an upgraded interior and a little more space. The spot where Lawton's used to be is going to become a new eatery called Lawrence Famous Frankfurters, which will feature hot dogs as well as sausages, salad wraps, BBQ chicken, lobster rolls, and more.

For more information on the opening of these two hot dog stands in Lawrence, please go to the Eagle-Tribune link below.

Weiner wars: Landlord reopening Lawton's hot dogs under new name

Thanks to a poster on Chowhound for bringing this to our attention.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Results of Twitter Cubano Poll

Our latest Twitter poll has just wrapped up, with this poll focusing on the best Cuban sandwich (Cubano) in the Boston area. We have done a number of polls in the past, including a guacamole poll (Ole Mexican Grill in Cambridge won), a bagel poll (Bagel Rising/Espresso Royale in Boston), a French fry poll (The Publick House in Brookline), a steak tip poll (NewBridge Cafe in Chelsea), a bread poll (When Pigs Fly in various locations), a meatball poll (Comella's in various locations), a sushi poll (Douzo in the Back Bay), a steak and cheese poll (Carl's in Waltham), and several others. Below are the results of the Twitter Cubano poll:

1) El Oriental de Cuba, Jamaica Plain (30%)
2) Chez Henri, Cambridge (22%)

Some other spots were picked in the Twitter Cubano poll, including Cafe Latino (Boston), Joe's American Bar and Grill (various locations), Sam La Grassa's (Boston), Luis Tiant's (Fenway Park), Miami Restaurant (Jamaica Plain), Montrose Spa (Cambridge), M.J. O'Connor's (Boston), Publick House (Brookline), Solas (Back Bay), Via Lago (Lexington), and Volle Nolle (North End).

Thanks once again to everyone who has voted in our Twitter polls. We will start another poll in the next week or two, so keep checking back on our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/hiddenboston.

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Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" Boston Episode to Be Shown Monday, April 18

A popular food-based show on the Travel Channel will be airing its Boston episode this coming Monday, and it looks like a number of local restaurants and watering holes will be featured, including a few in South Boston.

According to the channel's website, Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" will take a peek at the city on April 18 at 9:00 PM (EST), with a focus more on lesser-known neighborhood hangouts than popular eateries and touristy spots. The interactive map within the "No Reservations" section of the Travel Channel site indicates that Bourdain visits such South Boston places as Rondo's Sub Shop, Murphy's Law, the Galley Diner, the Quencher Tavern, and the L Street Tavern. Other spots that he checks out in the Boston area include The Snack Bar in Cambridge, Belle Isle Seafood in East Boston, Michael's Deli in Brookline, and Greenhills Bakery (not actually shown in the episode) and the Eire Pub in Dorchester.

In addition to the above restaurants and bars, Anthony Bourdain also heads to South Boston Candlepin and Peter Welch's Gym (both in Southie) as well as the Savin Hill Yacht Club in Dorchester. He also pays a visit to radio talk show host Howie Carr, and spends time at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, where he and his crew stayed.

For more information on the Boston episode of "No Reservations," please go to the link below.

Episode: Boston

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

2011 Food Vendor Lineup for Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway

Last year, a pilot program was set up for 6 food vendors to appear along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston. It appears that vendors will be back on the Greenway for 2011, with twice as many food trucks, trailers, kiosks, and carts setting up this year.

According to The Boston Globe, a total of 12 food vendors will be coming to the Rose Kennedy Greenway this year, including 5 from last year and 7 new ones. The Globe mentions that the following food trucks, trailers, kiosks, and carts will be setting up along the Greenway (from south to north):

BBQSmith (new this year), in Chinatown Park
Clover Food Lab, in Dewey Square Park
DosaMobile (new), in Dewey Square Park
Lefty’s Silver Cart (new), in Dewey Square Park
Equal Exchange Free Range Cafe (new), between State Street and Pearl Street
Silk Road BBQ, in Rowes Wharf Plaza
Grilled Cheese Nation (new), across from the Rings Fountain
Cupcake Cart (new), at Rings Fountain
Beantown Franks 'n Spuds, at Rings Fountain
Going Bananas, at the Carousel
Streatery (new), at the Carousel
Boston Pushcart, at the North End Park

According to the Globe, Clover Food Lab and Silk Road BBQ are already open, with the others looking to start up around Memorial Day in late May.

For more information on the 2011 food vendor lineup along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, please go to the Boston Globe articles below.

Greenway names a dozen food vendors for 2011

More choices for Greenway gourmets

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Legal Harborside Opens in Boston's Seaport District

Nearly two years after we first wrote about it, a new restaurant from the folks behind a chain of seafood spots opens today (in a limited capacity for now) along Boston's waterfront.

According to The Boston Globe, Legal Harborside is opening the first floor of its eatery this afternoon at Liberty Wharf in the city's Seaport District. (The second and third floors may be opening sometime next month.) The article mentions that the new restaurant, which is part of the Legal Sea Foods chain, will become the largest restaurant in the city, with 20,000 square feet of space and a capacity of 600. Each floor at Legal Harborside will be different from the others, according to The Globe, with such items as pizza and small plates served on the first floor, and a fish market and catch-and-release trout pond sharing the space. On the second floor will be a higher-end dining area, while the third floor will feature a deck that has a retractable roof, an oyster bar, and an outdoor fireplace.

[May 25 update: According to their Facebook page, the second floor dining area--and patio--at Legal Harborside opens tonight.]

[June 27 update: A note sent to us by the Legal Sea Foods Twitter page indicates that the roof deck at the new Legal Harborside is now open, though only for drinks for the time being (small bites will come in a few weeks). Please note that it is an all-weather roof deck with a retractable glass roof and walls. Currently, hours for the roof deck are 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM Monday through Thursday, and 2:00 PM to 1:00 AM Friday through Sunday.]

The Legal Sea Foods family of restaurants includes locations within Boston at Long Wharf, Park Square, Copley Place, the Prudential Center, and Logan Airport, with another spot called Legal Test Kitchen being in the Seaport District near the new Legal Harborside. A few other Legal Sea Foods can be found in the Boston area as well (including two in Cambridge), and a couple of Legal C Bar restaurants are located at Logan Airport and in Dedham.

The address for this new restaurant in the Seaport District is: Legal Harborside, 242 Northern Avenue (Liberty Wharf), Boston, MA, 02210. The website for the Legal Sea Foods chain can be found at: http://www.legalseafoods.com/ And the website for Liberty Wharf can be found at http://www.libertywharf.co/

For more information on the opening of Legal Harborside, please go to the Boston Globe link below.

Legal goes to the next levels

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pop-Up Dinner Coming to Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center

It looks like the pop-up trend will be continuing in the Boston area, as a pop-up dinner is coming to Cambridge later this month.

According to Callanan and Klein Communications, A Reason to Taste will be held at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center in East Cambridge on Thursday, April 28 starting at 6:30 PM. The event will include a three-course dinner (including wine pairings) from Chef Robert Harris of Season to Taste Catering in North Cambridge as well as music by the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Menu options include deviled eggs, chilled English pea soup, beef short rib, flourless chocolate cake, and more.

Tickets to A Reason to Taste cost $100 and can be purchased online at cmacusa.org or through the box office at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center.

The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center is located at 41 2nd Street, which is about a block south of Cambridge Street.

Over the past several months, several pop-up restaurants have been organized by chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge and Aaron Cohen of Eat Boston, including pop-ups at the Mizu Salon in the Back Bay, the Boston Center for Adult Education in downtown Boston, Taza Chocolate and Bloc 11 in Somerville, and Mohr & McPherson in the South End.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Firehouse Subs Looking to Open 69 Locations in the Boston Area

It looks like a chain of quick-casual restaurants that feature hot subs is getting ready to enter the Boston-area market in a big way.

According to The Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville.com, Firehouse Subs is planning to expand into nine states, including Massachusetts, with 69 franchises proposed for the Boston area alone. The article mentions that the Jacksonville-based chain, which currently has 416 locations, is looking to open 429 new spots, including in Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

[January 9, 2012 update: According to the Back Bay Patch, the first of Firehouse Subs' 69 Boston-area locations might be opening at 545 Boylston Street in the Copley Square area of the neighborhood. (Thanks to Eater Boston for bringing this to our attention.)]

[March 22, 2012 update: The Boston Globe reports that the Copley Square location of Firehouse Subs is definitely going to happen, and that it will possibly be opening in June. The Globe also says that there will be 85 locations of the chain opening in New England. (Thanks once again to Eater Boston for letting us know about this.)]

[March 26 update: The Danvers Patch reports that the first Firehouse Subs to open in New England will NOT be the one coming to the Back Bay, as a location of the chain has already opened in Danvers.]

According to the restaurant chain's website, Firehouse Subs was first established in the mid-1990s by two brothers who come from a long line of firefighters. The chain is very active in community service, especially in areas concerning public safety.

In addition to hot subs, Firehouse Subs also offers soups, salads, cold subs, cookies, and brownies.

The restaurant chain's website can be found at http://www.firehousesubs.com/

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Bom Cafe Opens in Cambridge's Inman Square

A Brazilian cafe has opened in the Inman Square section of Cambridge, moving into the space where another Brazilian place had been before moving (and it appears that the same folks are behind both spots).

According to the founder of How2heroes and posters on the Chowhound site, Bom Cafe is now open on Cambridge Street in the former Muqueca space, bringing to the neighborhood a place to get sandwiches, omelettes, bread, muffins, cakes, pastries, coffee, and juice. Based on information from both How2heroes and Chowhound, the owners of Muqueca (which is now located about a block east of their old place at 1008 Cambridge Street) are also the owners of Bom Cafe.

The founder of How2heroes also mentioned that Bom Cafe has a good amount of seating, and that the place will soon said soon be offering baguettes to diners.

The address for this new cafe in Inman Square is: Bom Cafe, 1093 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.

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Masala Is Opening in Somerville's Teele Square

An Indian and Nepali restaurant is planning to open in the Teele Square section of Somerville, moving into the space where a Thai restaurant used to be.

A check on the space over the weekend confirms that Masala is going to be opening on Broadway in the heart of the square, taking over the spot that was home to Tip Top Thai for about six years before it closed in the summer of 2010. Once it opens, Masala will join several other restaurants in the immediate area that feature at least some Nepali dishes, including House of Tibet in Teele Square, Yak and Yeti in Ball Square, Martsa on Elm in Davis Square, Kathmandu Spice in East Arlington, and Annapurna in North Cambridge.

Currently, there is no specific opening date for Masala; as soon as we get more information on when it might open, we will post an update here.

[September 2 update: According to a spotter of ours within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page, Masala is now open in Teele Square.]

The address for this new restaurant in Teele Square is: Masala, 1127 Broadway, Somerville, MA, 02144.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Fin's Japanese Sushi and Grill to Move into Phoenicia Space in Beacon Hill

A Japanese restaurant with two locations in Boston is planning to open a third spot, this one being in the Beacon Hill section of the city.

According to The Boston Globe, Fin's Japanese Sushi + Grill is looking to open on Cambridge Street, moving into the space where the Middle Eastern restaurant Phoenicia has been for a number of years. The Globe mentions that the new eatery plans to have a capacity of 60 (as well as the possibility of outdoor seating) and looks to serve beer and wine. Takeout and delivery are also in the plans for Fin's, according to the article.

[April 26 update: It appears that Phoenicia is now closed, as a poster on mentions that the windows are now papered over.]

[February 6, 2012 update: According to a poster on Chowhound, the new Fin's Japanese Sushi + Grill in Boston's Beacon Hill is now open.]

Fin's Japanese Sushi + Grill, which currently has locations on Beacon Street in Kenmore Square and Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton, features soups, salads, appetizers, sushi, noodle and rice dishes, and a variety of entrees.

The address for this new restaurant in Boston's Beacon Hill is: Fin's Japanese Sushi + Grill, 240 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA, 02114. The website for Fin's can be found at http://finsboston.com/

Thanks to Grub Street Boston for bringing this to our attention.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Nubar Opening within the Sheraton Commander in Cambridge

A new restaurant and lounge is getting ready to open near Harvard Square in Cambridge, and it will be located within a decades-old hotel.

According to Grub Street Boston, Nubar is planning to open in the next two weeks or so within the Sheraton Commander on Garden Street (about a block from Cambridge Common). Based on the Grub Street article and the restaurant's Facebook page, it looks like Nubar will be a chic but comfortable place that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and it will feature comfort food as well as a mix of traditional and modern cocktails. Included on the menu will be clam chowder, grilled calamari, a meze plate, flatbreads, burgers, statler chicken breast, steak frites, grilled pork loin, and roasted duck breast.

The Sheraton Commander, which first opened in 1927, had been home to a dining spot called 16 Garden Street Restaurant & Lounge, which Nubar is replacing.

[April 14 update: A phone call placed to the Sheraton Commander indicates that Nubar plans to open today.]

The address for this soon-to-open restaurant within the Sheraton Commander is: Nubar, 16 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. The restaurant's website can be found at: http://www.nubarcambridge.com/

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Taqueria El Rancho Grande in East Boston Has Closed

It looks like a tiny Mexican restaurant in East Boston has shut its doors.

According to a poster on the Chowhound site, Taqueria El Rancho Grande
on Bennington Street in Day Square is now closed. (A call placed to the eatery has apparently confirmed this, as their phone is out of service.) One of many Mexican and Central American restaurants in this close-knit neighborhood of Boston, Taqueria El Rancho Grande featured such items as guacamole, tortas, tacos, enchiladas, flautas, chiles rellenos, and a variety of steak, poultry, and seafood dishes, all at very cheap prices.

Taqueria El Rancho Grande had been in business for approximately 10 years.

The address for this now-closed Mexican restaurant in Day Square was: Taqueria El Rancho Grande, 300 Bennington Street, Boston, MA, 02128.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Feng Shui Restaurant Opens in Natick

The people behind two Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the Boston area (one north of Boston and one south of Boston) have opened a third location, this one being west of the city.

According to their website, Feng Shui is now open in Natick, joining existing locations in Chelmsford and Cohasset (another one is coming to Tyngsboro as well). The new Feng Shui, which is located on Route 9, offers a variety of dining options, including sushi, hibachi, a buffet, tapas, and classic Chinese dishes. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and has a takeout menu for those looking to bring food home.

The address for this new Chinese and Japanese eatery in Natick is: Feng Shui, 801 Worcester Street (Route 9), Natick, MA, 01760. The phone number is (508) 651-1234. And their website can be found at: http://www.gofengshui.com/

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Catalyst Is Opening in Cambridge's Kendall Square

Yet another new restaurant is coming to Cambridge's Kendall Square neighborhood, and this one will be headed up by the former chef at a now-closed Boston restaurant that had been one of the city's best-known fine-dining spots.

According to The Boston Globe, Catalyst is going to be opening at 300 Technology Square (by Main Street), with a possible August opening planned. The Globe mentions that the person behind the 86-seat eatery and function space is William Kovel, who used to be the head chef at Aujourd’hui, a high-end restaurant within the Four Seasons Hotel on Boylston Street by Boston Common and the Public Garden. Kovel is teaming up with California-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities in constructing Catalyst, which will also have a bar and a patio in addition to dining and function areas. The Globe states that the restaurant will cater at least in part to folks who work in Technology Square, as it will be set up for conferences and casual meetings alike.

Back in January we had written about another new restaurant coming to this section of Cambridge, namely Area IV, which will be opening at nearby 500 Technology Square. Several other new dining spots are planned for Kendall Square as well, including Kika Tapas, Abigail's Restaurant, Firebrand Saints, and Meadhall.

[August 17 update: Catalyst appears to be on very close to opening, as its website states that they "will open for dinner soon, lunch in September." Also, their website is now up--it can be found at http://www.catalystrestaurant.com/]

[September 7 update: According to the Thrillist site, Catalyst is hoping to open this Saturday (September 10).]

[September 8 update: More confirmation that Saturday appears to be the day that Catalyst opens, as UrbanDaddy has just posted an article (including a slideshow) mentioning this date.]

[September 12 update: Catalyst did not open on Saturday, September 10 after all, as a note on their Facebook page mentions that they are waiting for a liquor license. As of tonight, this continues to be the case; as soon as they receive the license and are ready to open, we will post another update here.]

[September 13 update: According to a new note on their Facebook page, Catalyst has received their liquor license and will be opening their doors tonight. Thanks to Grub Street Boston for bringing this to our attention.]

The address for this new restaurant in Kendall Square is: Catalyst, 300 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA, 02139.

For more information on the opening of Catalyst, please go to the Boston Globe link below.

Biotech a la carte: Tech-district restaurant aims to be industry clubhouse

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Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe Opening in Jamaica Plain

A Needham-based retail and wholesale coffee company is getting ready to open a cafe in Jamaica Plain, moving into the space where another coffee house had been.

According to the Jamaica Plain Patch, Fazenda Coffee Company is opening a place called Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe on Washington Street (across from the Forest Hills T station), taking over the spot where Java Jo's Coffee House had been for about six years. The Patch and the restaurant's Facebook page mention that Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe will feature sandwiches, pastries, and coffee, and that they plan to roast their own coffee on the premises, as well as do coffee tastings.

A recent note on the Fazenda Facebook page indicates that the cafe should be opening "very shortly." [April 12 update: According to their Facebook page, Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe is now open.]

Java Jo's, which recently closed in the upcoming Fazenda spot, also had a cafe in East Milton Square, but it was heavily damaged in a fire back in the fall of 2007 and it never reopened.

The address for this new cafe in Jamaica Plain is: Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe, 3710 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130. Their website can be found at: http://www.fazendacoffee.com/

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

El Centro Opening in Boston's South End, Replacing Siraj

Another Mexican restaurant is on its way to Boston, this one moving into the South End spot where an Indian and Greek eatery had been.

According to Zagat Buzz Boston, El Centro is planning to open on Shawmut Avenue, serving both lunch and dinner once it opens, as well as a weekend brunch. The new dining spot will be taking over the space where Siraj Cafe resided for approximately six years until shutting its doors recently. Zagat mentions that the chef and owner of El Centro is from Hermosillo, which is located in the northwest Mexican state of Sonora (south of Arizona), and that the menu will feature Sonoran-influenced dishes as well as other items. Most menu items will be under $20, according to the article.

Once it opens, El Centro will join a number of other Mexican restaurants that have recently opened--or are soon to open--in Boston, including Jalapenos, Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar, North of the Border, Papagayo, Temazcal Tequila Cantina, and Tico.

[May 20 update: According to UrbanDaddy, El Centro is planning to open a week from today (Friday, May 27).]

[May 26 update: CBH Communications sent us a preview of the menu at El Centro (which is still due to open tomorrow), and it includes such dishes as quesadillas, flautas, guacamole, tamales, chimichangas, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, chicken in mole, grilled skirt steak, charcoal-grilled beef spare ribs, chicken in chipotle sauce, shredded roasted pork in achiote sauce, and whole fish in Veracruzana sauce.]

The address for this new Mexican restaurant in the South End is: El Centro, 472 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA, 02118.

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Sbarro Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

A chain of pizza restaurants with a handful of locations in the Boston area has gone the Chapter 11 route.

According to Bloomberg, Sbarro filed for bankruptcy this week, listing assets of $471 million and debt of just under $487 million. The article mentions that the restaurant chain, which has been in financial trouble for a few years now, is planning to restructure its debt with the hopes of coming out of Chapter 11 at some point.

The Sbarro chain, which is based on Melville, NY (on Long Island), first started out in 1956 and today runs more than 1,000 restaurants in the United States and other countries, including three outlets at Logan Airport in East Boston, another at the Longwood Galleria on Longwood Avenue, and a couple of others in Braintree and Natick. Sbarro focuses mainly on pizza, but also offers pasta dishes and other Italian items.

For more information on Sbarro filing for bankruptcy, please go to the Bloomberg link below.

Sbarro, Mall Restaurant Chain, Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Hungry Mother in Cambridge Wins Munch Madness 2011

An annual restaurant "tournament" created by The Boston Globe has just wrapped up, with a Cambridge eatery winning this year.

According to the Globe, Hungry Mother on Cardinal Medeiros Avenue in the Kendall Square section of the city is the winner of Munch Madness 2011, defeating East Coast Grill (last year's winner), another Cambridge dining spot that is located on Cambridge Street in Inman Square. Hungry Mother had defeated Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain/Cambridge to make the finals, while East Coast Grill had beaten another Cambridge restaurant, Craigie on Main.

A total of 64 restaurants took part in Munch Madness 2011, with a few top spots not making it out of the first round, including o ya near South Station, Sorellina and Clio, both in the Back Bay, Menton in the Fort Point district, and Gargoyles in Somerville.

To view the Munch Madness 2011 "bracket," please go to the link below:

Munch Madness 2011

And to read more about the tournament, please go to this link:

Hungry Mother is champion of Munch Madness 2011!

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Jason Santos of Gargoyles Is Opening Blue Inc. in Boston's Financial District

The Executive Chef at an upscale restaurant in Somerville's Davis Square will be leaving the eatery so he can open a new restaurant along the eastern edge of Boston's Financial District.

According to The Feast, Jason Santos of the New American restaurant Gargoyles on the Square on Elm Street in Somerville is planning to open an as-of-yet-unnamed restaurant on Broad Street by the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The article indicates that the upcoming spot will have a full liquor license as well as a 2:00 AM license, and may be something along the lines of a burger bar during the day and a quirky American eatery at night.

The Feast mentions that Jason Santos is leaving Gargoyles after Easter Sunday, which falls on April 24 this year.

[April 20 update: According to The Boston Herald, Jason Santos is asking Herald readers to name his upcoming restaurant, which will be located where Lobby Bar and Kitchen presently is at 131 Broad Street. The article mentions that the new 1,800-square-foot eatery will have a capacity of 50 inside the place with 28 additional seats on an outdoor patio.]

[April 27 update: According to today's , the name of the new Jason Santos restaurant will be Blue Inc. The Herald mentions that Santos picked this name (actually submitted as "Blue Ink") from more than 500 suggestions emailed to him. A few other suggestions for names included "Bluejay," "Cerulean," and "Elemental." It appears that Blue Inc. will be opening sometime in June, according to Jason Santos's Facebook page.]

[June 30 update: It appears that Blue Inc. is very close to opening. The Feast has posted more info on the place, as well as a menu, for those who would like to see what kinds of items will be served at the restaurant.]

[July 11 update: According to Grub Street Boston, Blue Inc. is opening today at 5:00 PM.]

[August 1 update: Blue Inc. is now serving lunch.]

If you would like to follow Jason Santos on Twitter (which is where the news apparently first came out) for more information over the coming weeks, you can find him at: http://twitter.com/#!/chefjasonsantos

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El Triunfo Opens in Boston's North End

A Mexican and Salvadoran restaurant in the South End of Boston has just opened a second location, this one being in a section of the city known for its Italian eateries.

According to several sources, including posters on Chowhound and Yelp, El Triunfo is now open on Prince Street in the space where the vegan dining spot Grezzo used to be, and before that, the Italian restaurant Sage. El Triunfo, whose original location is on East Berkeley Street, features such items as burritos, tacos, quesadillas, papusas, tamales, and enchiladas--expect similar items at the new Prince Street location, which appears to have opened over the past weekend.

An article within the NorthEndWaterfront.com site indicates that the new El Triunfo in the North End is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with hours being 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

The address for this new restaurant in the North End is: El Triunfo, 69 Prince Street, Boston, MA, 02113. The website for the original location can be found at: http://www.eltriunfo-boston.com/

Thanks to food writer MC Slim JB for initially bringing this to our attention.

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