Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kung Fu Tea to Open in Chinatown

It looks like a group of Asian tea shops with locations across New York City will soon be opening a location in Boston.

Eater Boston is reporting that Kung Fu Tea is planning to open on Kneeland Street in Chinatown, with a spring opening possibly in the works. The tea shop, which will likely offer teas (including bubble tea), coffee, slushes, juice, and something called "jelly wow milk," currently has a number of branches in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. (Their website also states that they have business ventures in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and China as well.)

The address for this upcoming tea shop in Chinatown is: Kung Fu Tea, 32 Kneeland Street, Boston, MA, 02111. Their website can be found at http://kfteausa.com/



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4th Annual Chili Cup to Be Held at Ned Devine's in Boston's Faneuil Hall, February 21, 2013

A friendly competition that focuses on chili--and raises money for a good cause--will be returning to downtown Boston once again, and as always, a number of local dining spots will be participating.

On Thursday, February 21, the 4th annual Chili Cup will take place at Ned Devine's in Boston's Faneuil Hall, with the event starting at 6:00 PM. The competition, which benefits Community Work Services (an organization that helps people who struggle with poverty obtain employment), will have restaurants attempt to create the best chili, with such places as Anthem Kitchen + Bar, Bambara, Clery's, Dillon's, Lucky's Lounge, Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar, The Publick House, Tasty Burger, and others taking part in the event.

Tickets to the 2013 Chili Cup cost $10 and $15 (with the latter price including a Corona-rita with a specialty cup that guests can take with them) and can be ordered at http://bostonchilicup.eventbrite.com



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BerryLine in Boston's Back Bay Closes, to Be Replaced by Forever Yogurt

A local group of frozen yogurt shops has closed their Back Bay location, and it will be replaced by another yogurt shop (with this one being based in Chicago).

The Boston Business Journal is reporting that BerryLine on Newbury Street is no longer in business, though BostonTweet mentions that their other locations in the Fenway and Cambridge's Harvard Square and Porter Square remain in operation. According to the BBJ, Forever Yogurt will take over the space where BerryLine had been, with the new spot opening sometime this spring.

This section of the Back Bay currently has a few other frozen yogurt shops, including Pinkberry, Tasti D-Lite, and Smoothie King.

The address for the now-closed BerryLine (and upcoming Forever Yogurt) in the Back Bay is 303 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, 02115.



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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sixth Annual TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala to Be Held in Boston, February 15, 2013

The folks behind a restaurant show on NECN are going to be heading up a food event once again, with a number of area restaurants and food purveyors participating.

On Friday. February 15, the sixth annual TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center starting at 7:00 PM. The event will feature more then 40 dining spots and vendors serving up their signature dishes, with beer, wine, and liquor being available. In addition to food and drink, the gala will also have music, dancing, and a charity auction. The event will be hosted by NECN's Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson.

Tickets to the 2013 TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala cost $135 online ($150 at the door) and can be ordered through the link below:

http://www.necn.com/tvdinergala



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Kinsai to Open in Boston

It looks like an upscale Chinese restaurant will be opening in Boston later this year, and the person behind it comes from a couple of high-end spots in the city.

The Boston Magazine Chowder blog reports that Jason Doo is planning to open Kinsai by this fall, with the restaurant including a chef's table tasting menu with "20-odd-course" dinners, along with "1930s-Shanghai-style" craft cocktails and snacks. Doo comes from Menton in Fort Point, as well as the now-closed Sensing in the North End (which is now home to Aragosta).

No specific address has been given for Kinsai as of yet; as soon as we receive updates, we will post them here.

Thanks to Eater Boston for bringing this to our attention.



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Johnny Rockets Opens in Acton

A national chain of hamburger places has just opened its fifth shop in Massachusetts, with this one being northwest of Boston.

The Boston Globe is reporting that Johnny Rockets is now open in Acton, joining other locations at Logan Airport in East Boston, Braintree, Burlington, and Six Flags in Agawam. A press release from the California-based company states that the new branch, which is located on Massachusetts Avenue near Roche Bros. and T.J. Maxx, has the same "clean, contemporary" and "trendy" design that the Providence Place location has from its 2011 renovations. Expect to see an array of burgers and sandwiches at the new Johnny Rockets, along with salads, appetizers, shakes, and floats.

The address for this new burger place in Acton is: Johnny Rockets, 371 Massachusetts Avenue, Acton, MA, 01720. The website for the chain can be found at http://www.johnnyrockets.com/



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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Local in West Newton Is Expanding to Wayland and Wellesley

A West Newton gastropub that features regional foods and beers is going to be opening at least two more locations west of Boston.

The Boston Globe is reporting that Frank Santo, who owns The Local on Washington Street, plans to open restaurants in Wayland and Wellesley, with the former being in the Town Center Development and the latter being in the Forest Street space where China Sky had been. While the Wayland and Wellesley locations are the only ones confirmed (with Wayland possibly opening June 1 and Wellesley possibly opening next winter), the article says that more locations of The Local could open as well, with one proposed for somewhere north of Boston at some point.

The new Wayland and Wellesley locations will have slightly expanded menus, according to the Globe.

[March 29 update: According to an article in the Wayland Town Crier, The Local in Wayland is one step closer to opening, as the town has approved a full liquor license for the place. The article also says that the 6,000-square-foot dining spot will have a capacity of 90 in its dining room, another 96 in its bar, and 14 in a seasonal outdoor patio.]

[September 27 update: According to a poster on the Chowhound site (and confirmed by the restaurant's website), the Wayland location of The Local is now open.]

[November 26 update: A Facebook post from The Local indicates that the Wellesley location is now open as well.]

The website for The Local can be found at http://thelocalnewton.com/

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



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Highlights for the Week Ending January 25, 2013

A few more stories and articles centering on the Boston-area restaurant scene came out over the past week, including a chain of cannabis-themed sub shops possibly coming to Boston, a landmark diner being sold, and brick-and-mortar restaurants going the food truck route--while food trucks go the brick-and-mortar route. In addition, our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) included a new review of an Italian restaurant in a Boston neighborhood, a photo of a pasta dish from a Cambridge dining spot, and a question about a classic Thai dish.

Below are links to these and other items from the past week:

Boston Restaurant Talk

Cheba Hut May Be Coming to the Boston Area

Rosebud Diner in Somerville's Davis Square to Be Sold

Tony Maws of Craigie on Main in Cambridge to Open New Restaurant in Somerville

Durgin-Park to Open New Location at Logan Airport

Area Four, Biryani Park Food Trucks Coming; Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Roxy's Grilled Cheese May Expand to Brick-and-Mortar

Boston's Hidden Restaurants

New Review: Tavolo Ristorante in Dorchester, MA

Photo: Lasagna from L'Impasto in Cambridge, MA

Good Pad Thai in Boston?

Updated Review: Waterfront Cafe in Boston, MA

Blog Entry: A Trip to Pakarang and L'Elizabeth in Providence



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Sel de la Terre in the Back Bay of Boston Has Closed

Last spring we reported that one of a trio of three French restaurants in the Boston area had closed its doors. Now we have learned that a second location has shuttered as well.

Eater Boston is reporting that Sel de la Terre on Boylston Street in Boston's Back Bay has closed down, with a rep for the restaurant saying that their Natick location will remain open. The Natick restaurant is now the only branch of Sel de la Terre still in business, as their Long Wharf location closed in April of 2011. The person behind the French eatery is Frank McClelland, who also owns L'Espalier in the Back Bay as well as  the Back Bay's Au Soleil Catering and Apple Street Farm in Essex.

The address for this now-closed restaurant is: Sel de la Terre, 774 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02199. The website for the Natick location can be found at http://www.seldelaterre.com/

[Earlier Article]
Sel de la Terre at Boston's Long Wharf to Close; New Restaurant to Take Over Space



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Friday, January 25, 2013

Charley's in Chestnut Hill Has Closed

A few months after closing its Back Bay location, a saloon-style eatery has decided to shutter its Chestnut Hill outlet as well.

The Newton TAB is reporting that Charley's at the Mall at Chestnut Hill has closed, with a restaurant manager telling the newspaper that it would not be opening back up again. (This has been confirmed via a note on their website.) Last September, the Charley's location on Newbury Street in Boston shut down after failed lease negotiations, and over the past couple of weeks we had been hearing rumors that their Chestnut Hill location was possibly closing down as well, which now is indeed the case.

Charley's was a family-friendly dining spot that featured mostly classic American cuisine and comfort food dishes. They first opened in Boston in 1968.

The address for this now-closed restaurant in Chestnut Hill was: Charley's, 199 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA, 02467.



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Canestaro in Boston's Fenway Neighborhood to Be Replaced by Apartments

An Italian restaurant along the Fenway's "restaurant row" that has been in business for more than 20 years is going to be losing its home.

Eater Boston is reporting (via The Boston Globe) that the Peterborough Street building in which Canestaro currently resides is going to be torn down and replaced by apartments. The article says that the restaurant was given the opportunity to open within the new building, but the owner of the dining spot decided against it.

The apartment project still needs to be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeal, according to the Globe.

Canestaro, which first opened in 1992, has been known as a neigborhood spot that features Italian-American fare. A major fire in early 2009 that gutted much of Peterborough Street's restaurant row spared the eatery (restaurant row is continuing to rebound from that fire).

The address for Canestaro in the Fenway is: Canestaro, 16 Peterborough Street, Boston, MA, 02215.



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Cheba Hut May Be Coming to the Boston Area

An Arizona-based chain of sub shops may be coming to the Boston area, and the theme of the shops may raise a few eyebrows.

The Boston Herald is reporting that Cheba Hut is talking with a developer about bringing franchises to Massachusetts as well as New York, Pennsylvania, and perhaps Vermont. The article says that the restaurant chain's theme is "cannabis-driven" and "counterculture-driven," with "toasted" subs such as "AZ Homegrown," "Chronic," and "Thai Stick" included on the menu. (The menu also features hemp brownies.)

Cheba Hut, whose name comes from a slang term for cannabis, is found mostly in the Southwest and the West Coast, though one is also located in Iowa. (There are currently none on the East Coast.) The website for the chain can be found at http://chebahut.com/

Thanks to Eater Boston for bringing this to our attention.



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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rosebud Diner in Somerville's Davis Square to Be Sold

The founder of a now-closed group of Italian restaurants--as well as a dining spot on the North Shore--is looking to buy a landmark eatery in Somerville.

The Somerville Patch is reporting that plans are in the works for the Rosebud Diner in Davis Square to be sold to Martin Bloom, who had been behind the Vinny Testa's chain and currently owns the Mission Oak Grill in Newburyport. The article says that while the exterior of the Summer Street diner would remain as is, the interior of both the diner and the restaurant space behind the diner would undergo renovations, and the menu would be updated.

Last February, it was reported that the folks behind Tasty Burger in Boston's Fenway neighborhood were apparently interested in the Rosebud space, but those plans fell through. (Tasty Burger now has new locations in Cambridge's Harvard Square and South Boston.)

The Patch says that the deal for the Rosebud is currently being finalized, and if all goes as planned, the sale would probably become official in late March or early April.

[February 1 update: The Boston Business Journal states that Martin Bloom has signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Rosebud Diner, with the closing of the deal happening this spring.]

[May 1 update: Eater Boston says that the Rosebud Diner plans to close on Sunday, May 12, which is Mother's Day. It isn't known exactly when the diner will reopen under new ownership.]

[May 6 update: Universal Hub Tweeted that the Rosebud Diner will be staying open for awhile longer, as a Facebook post on the restaurant's page says it could be open for the next month or so (or possibly longer).]

[May 8 update: The Somerville Journal reports that the Rosebud Diner will likely be changing hands by Memorial Day, so it appears that the diner will close toward the end of May, with renovations to follow. It still isn't known when the eatery might reopen; Bloom says in the article that he is currently looking for partners and investors for the restaurant, and he also indicates that the structure apparently needs some major renovations because it is in rough shape.]

[May 24 update: A post on Facebook indicates that the Rosebud will have its last show tomorrow night (Saturday, May 25). It also appears the place may be closing on Monday, May 27, but we will try to confirm this.]

[May 25 update: Davis Square Live Journal confirms that the last day for the Rosebud will be Monday, May 27.]

[May 28 update: The Rosebud Diner is now closed, with a note on their Facebook page from yesterday saying that "its time to say goodbye to the Grande Dame of Davis Sq."]

The address for the Rosebud Diner is 381 Summer Street, Somerville, MA, 02144.

Thanks to a poster on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page for bringing this to our attention.



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American Lamb Jam Returns to Cambridge, February 17, 2013

A culinary competition that features all kinds of lamb dishes will be returning to Cambridge once again in February, and as always, chefs from a number of Boston-area restaurants will be taking part in the event.

An email received from Baltz and Company indicates that the fourth annual American Lamb Jam will be held on Sunday, February 17, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at the Charles Hotel on Bennett Street in Harvard Square. The event will have chefs creating lamb-based dishes as they compete for the title of Boston Lamb Jam Master, which will also allow them to compete against other regional winners at the national Lamb Jam Finale in New York City in the fall. In addition to lamb items, guests will also be able to enjoy beer and wine, as well as butchery demos.

Chefs who are participating in the 2013 American Lamb Jam include Brian Alberg (Red Lion Inn), Nuno Alves and Chris Douglass (Tavolo), Franco Carubia (Sel de la Terre), Peter Davis (Henrietta's Table), Rich Garcia (606 Congress), Justin Melnick (The Terrace), Cassie Piuma (Oleana), Brian Rae (Rialto), Brian Reyelt (Citizen), Michael Scelfo (Russell House Tavern), Robert Sisca (Bistro du Midi), and Jim Solomon (The Fireplace).

Tickets for this event cost $60 each ($75 for VIP) and can be purchased at the link below:

http://boston.fansoflamb.com/



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Tony Maws of Craigie on Main in Cambridge Is Opening Kirkland Tap and Trotter in Somerville

[Ed note: This article was edited on March 15 to reflect a name given for the restaurant.]

The person behind one of the highest-rated restaurants in the Boston area is planning to open a new, more casual spot.

The Somerville Patch is reporting that Tony Maws of Craigie on Main in Cambridge is going to be opening a dining spot in Somerville, moving into the space on Washington Street where the Kirkland Cafe had been until closing about five years ago. The article mentions that the restaurant, which does not yet have a name, will feature dishes made using the same ingredients as that of Craigie, though it will be more rustic and casual with lower prices and a "straight up a la carte" menu. Maws received an alcohol, victualer and entertainment license for the restaurant last night, according to the Patch.

[March 11 update: A Facebook post on the Craigie site indicates that Tony Maws is asking diners to come in this Wednesday to vote for the name of his new restaurant that is coming to Somerville, with results being emailed on Friday. The post also says that "if you vote for the winner you will receive an appetizer on the house in the new spot when we open!" (Thanks to Grub Street Boston for bringing this to our attention.]

[March 15 update: Eater Boston states that the name of Tony Maws' new restaurant will be the Kirkland Tap & Trotter.]

[September 9 update: The Restaurant Hub blog of The Boston Globe says that the Kirkland Tap & Trotter will open on Monday (September 16).]

[September 13 update: A Twitter post from the restaurant indicates that the Kirkland Tap & Trotter actually opened for drinks last night, though it appears that this might not be the case tonight (another post says "on a limited basis, and for tonight only - really!"). As mentioned earlier, the grand opening will be Monday.]

A Mediterranean eatery called Deco had been planned for the Washington Street space, but it appears that this has fallen through.

The address for this new restaurant is: Kirkland Tap & Trotter, 425 Washington Street, Somerville, MA, 02143.

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

[Earlier Article]
Deco Mediterranean Restaurant Opening in Somerville



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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Durgin-Park Is Opening a New Location at Logan Airport

A landmark Boston restaurant that has been in business for nearly 200 years is going to be expanding to Logan Airport in East Boston.

Grub Street Boston is reporting that Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall is opening a second location, with this one apparently being within Logan's Terminal B, according to a post on the Craigslist site. Craigslist also shows that a job fair is being held at the terminal tomorrow (January 24) from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the lower level of Terminal B over by American Airlines. The restaurant, which is known in part for its surly waitstaff, says that it is looking for "friendly, enthusiastic" people to work for them at their upcoming location.

[March 20 update: The Boston Herald says that the new Durgin-Park at Logan Airport has opened. (Thanks to a poster on the Chowhound site for bringing this to our attention.)]

The original Durgin-Park, which first opened in 1827, offers such classic American and New England dishes as chicken pot pie, clam rolls, fish cakes, roast turkey, pot roast, and Indian pudding.



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The Just Crust Is Opening in the Former Upper Crust Space in Cambridge's Harvard Square

One of the Upper Crust locations that recently went to auction is going to reopen under a new name, and the person behind it represented employees of the chain in a lawsuit.

The Harvard Crimson is reporting that attorney Shannon E. Liss-Riordan (who is a Harvard Law School graduate) plans to open The Just Crust on Brattle Street in the Harvard Square section of Cambridge, bringing to the area a pizzeria that will be partly owned by its workers and will "focus more on providing superior food and service than on merely turning a profit." The article says that Liss-Riordan teamed up with Haluk Ozek of Monella Boutique on Brattle Street to purchase the shop at an auction that was held last month, with Liss-Riordan possibly looking to purchase other locations of the Upper Crust chain in the future.

It appears that The Just Crust could be open by March, according to the Crimson.

[April 25 update: Cambridge Day mentions that The Just Crust is now hoping to open sometime in early May.]

[May 29 update: Eater Boston states that The Just Crust has soft-opened.]

[June 10 update: It looks like The Just Crust is now officially open, as Patrick M. of the Server Not Servant site told us this weekend that the place had a grand opening celebration.]

The address for this new pizzeria in Harvard Square is: The Just Crust, 49 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138.

[Earlier Article]
Upper Crust Pizzeria Locations Head to Auction



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Ocean House Surf Shop and Cafe to Open in Swampscott

A combination surf shop/cafe will soon be opening on the North Shore.

The Daily Item of Lynn is reporting that the Ocean House Surf Shop and Cafe is planning to open on Humphrey Street in Swampscott, directly across from King's Beach (a popular surfing beach). The article says that the retail store will sell surfboards, paddleboards, and various accessories and apparel, while the cafe will offer items such as salads, sandwiches, and fruit--and it will have an espresso bar as well.

The Ocean House Surf Shop could be open by the second week in February, with the Ocean Shop Cafe opening a few weeks after, according to the Daily Item.

The address for this upcoming place is: Ocean House Surf Shop and Cafe, 140 Humphrey Street, Swampscott, MA, 01907.

Thanks to North Shore Dish for bringing this to our attention.



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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Area Four, Biryani Park Food Trucks Coming; Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Roxy's Grilled Cheese May Expand to Brick-and-Mortar

It looks like two Boston-area restaurants are getting ready to move into the food truck business, while two food trucks may be looking to open brick-and-mortar dining spots.

Eater Boston is reporting (via information from a post on the Hub Food Trucks site as well as an article in the Boston Business Journal) that Area Four in Cambridge's Kendall Square and Biryani Park in Malden are planning to set up food trucks, and that the Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Roxy's Grilled Cheese trucks are thinking of opening permanent restaurants. It also looks like there could be many more trucks hitting the streets of Boston this year, with proposed new trucks including Fugu, Jimmy's Ice Cream, Mother Juice, Taco Party, and others.

For updated information on food trucks coming to the Boston area (as well as food trucks possibly looking to expand to brick-and-mortar) over the coming weeks and months, please go to the Hub Food Trucks Facebook page below:

https://www.facebook.com/HubFoodTrucks



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Cobblestone Cafe Is Opening in Boston's North End

The person behind three dining spots in the North End of Boston is going to be opening a fourth, with this one being in the space where another restaurant had been until closing last month.

Eater Boston is reporting (via NorthEndWaterfront.com) that Cobblestone Cafe is looking to open on Hanover Street, taking over the former Hot Tomatoes Express site. The two articles say that the owner of the upcoming eatery is Carla Gomes, who also runs Antico Forno, Cafe Lil Italy, and Terramia, all of which are located on nearby Salem Street. Cobblestone Cafe plans to serve casual fare such as salads, sandwiches, and kabobs, with takeout being the focus (10 seats are planned for the place) and breakfast, lunch, and dinner apparently offered.

[April 30 update: The Boston Hospitality and Tourism Industry Blog states that Cobblestone Cafe is now open.]

The address for this new restaurant in the North End is: Cobblestone Cafe, 227 Hanover Street, Boston, MA, 02113.

[Earlier Article]
Hot Tomatoes Closes (Again) in Boston's North End



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Shanghai Social Club Is Opening in Allston

[Ed note: This article was edited on January 22 to reflect more information on where the restaurant will be.]

It looks like a new restaurant and bar is coming to a busy Boston neighborhood, and one of the persons who will be working there comes from a eclectic Boston dining spot as well as a now-closed restaurant and market just north of the city.

According to a post on Facebook, Shanghai Social Club is going to open in Allston, with Bob Botchie of Myers + Chang on Washington Street in the South End and the former Kirby's Kitchen on Broadway in Everett being the Chef de Cuisine at the place. Botchie, who also comes from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, has no further details on the dining and drinking establishment at this point in time, though a database search on the City of Boston website shows that Shanghai Social Club is owned by "Music Hall Dining Inc." The City of Boston website also lists a Brighton Avenue address that is the same as the White Horse Tavern, but we have confirmed that the new restaurant will be located on Commonwealth Avenue, not Brighton Avenue.

As soon as we find out the exact address for the Shanghai Social Club, we will post an update here.

[February 19 update: A podcast from The Skinny Beet Dinner Party gives more information on Shanghai Social Club, including an address for the restaurant (1277 Commonwealth Avenue in Allston) cuisine (Shanghai street food and upscale American Chinese fare), and when it might open (possibly within three months). Thanks to Eater Boston for bringing this to our attention.]

[August 21 update: Eater Boston reports (via the restaurant's Facebook page) that Shanghai Social Club is planning to open by the weekend.]

[August 22 update: Shanghai Social Club is now officially open.]


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Monday, January 21, 2013

Highlights for the Week Ending January 18, 2013

Several more stories and articles focusing on the Boston-area restaurant scene came out over the past week, including a chocolate festival on the way, a pizzeria near BU closing, and a Mexican restaurant in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood getting the official word that it has to leave its home. In addition, our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) included an updated review of a family restaurant south of Boston, a photo of a pastry from a cafe in the SoWa section of the city, and a blog entry about our Pinterest community board.

Below are links to these and other items from the past week:

Boston Restaurant Talk

Chocolate Festival to Be Held in Cambridge's Harvard Square January 25-27, 2013

Sicilia's Pizzeria in Boston Has Closed

Villa Mexico to Lose Its Home at the End of Month; Move Still Possible

Happy's Bar and Kitchen Has Closed; Will Become Mexican Restaurant

Wheeler del Torro to Battle Biz Markie in Brighton Food Competition

Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Updated Review: Foley's Backstreet Grille in Stoughton, MA

Photo: Chocolate Buttercream Cupcake from Mohr & McPherson Cafe in Boston, MA

Favorite Restaurant in Allston, MA?

Blog Entry: Join Our Pinterest Community Board

Photo: Cupcake from Flour in Boston, MA



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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chocolate Festival to Be Held in Cambridge's Harvard Square January 25-27, 2013

An event that chocolate lovers won't want to miss is returning once again to Cambridge later this month.

A post on the Harvard Square Facebook page indicates that a three-day chocolate festival is going to take place in Harvard Square from Friday, January 25 through Sunday, January 27. Included will be tastings, pairings, chocolate-based cocktails, a "chocolate spa treatment," a Dining in the Dark event, and much more.

Restaurants and food purveyors that will be offering samples at this year's event include Bertucci's, Evelyn & Angel's Candy Shop, J.P. Licks, Lizzy's, Sweet, Uno, and Zinneken's.

For more information on the 2013 chocolate festival in Harvard Square, please go to the link below:

http://www.harvardsquare.com/Home/Articles/Warm,-Dark,-Sweet-and-Luscious--Chocolate-Festival.aspx



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Sicilia's Pizzeria in Boston Has Closed

A pizzeria near Boston University that was known in part for its different styles of pizza has closed its doors.

A phone call placed to their Providence location indicates that Sicilia's on Commonwealth Avenue is no longer in operation, confirming a question about the place's status from someone on LinkedIn (as well as calls placed to the eatery that wouldn't go through). Sicilia's featured three types of pizza--thin crust, regular crust, and stuffed--along with calzones, sandwiches, pasta dishes, seafood, and more. It appears that their other locations in Providence and North Providence will remain open.

The address for this now-closed pizza place near BU was: Sicilia's Pizzeria, 840 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215. The website for their original location in Providence is at http://www.siciliaspizzaprovidence.com/



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Taste of Eastie Coming to Hilton Boston Logan Airport Tonight (January 17, 2013)

A culinary event returns to East Boston tonight, and as always, a number of restaurants will be participating.

The Hilton at Logan Airport will be hosting the 17th annual Taste of Eastie this evening from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, with more than 30 dining spots being at the event along with a cash bar, live entertainment, and a live auction and raffle. Tickets cost $35 at the door, with proceeds benefiting East Boston Main Streets.

More information on Taste of Eastie can be found at the link below:

http://www.ebmainstreets.com/events/tasteofeastie/tasteofeastie.htm

Thanks to a follower of the hiddenboston Twitter page for bringing this to our attention.



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Espresso Pizza in Medford Is Open Once Again

A popular pizza place in Medford that closed down a couple of years ago is back in business.

The Medford Transcript is reporting that Espresso Pizza is open once again on Boston Avenue, with the late owner's sister reopening the restaurant. The article mentions that in September of 2010, owner Anthony Salvato Jr. passed away, and the pizzeria ended up closing in January of 2011. Last month, Salvato's sister Patty Moore reopened Espresso Pizza and has added some upgrades, including wi-fi,  a new stove, and new ceiling panels, and she is planning to add new flat-screen TVs as well, according to the Transcript.

For now, Espresso Pizza is open only for dinner Monday through Saturday, though it should start opening for lunch at the beginning of February.

The address for this reopened pizza place in Medford is: Espresso Pizza, 336 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA, 02155. Its website can be found at http://espressopizzamedford.com/



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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Salvatore's Offers "Feel Better Boston" Kits to Diners

A local group of Italian restaurants is offering a new takeout special that is geared toward the many Boston-area folks fighting the flu (and other winter illnesses).

According to a post on the BostInno site, Salvatore's is selling a "Feel Better Boston" kit that includes chicken soup, fresh bread, a beverage (ginger ale, orange juice, or water), and a packet of tissues. The pack, which goes for $5.99, comes in a brown paper bag and is sealed with a "Feel Better Boston" sticker, according to the article.

The kit from Salvatore's is available at their five locations in the Seaport District, downtown Boston, Medford, Andover, and Lawrence, though be aware that it isn't on their menu--you have to ask for it when you place your order.

The website for Salvatore's can be found at http://www.salvatoresrestaurants.com/



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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cafe Polonia in Salem to Close

A pair of Polish restaurants in the Boston area will soon be down to just one, as its North Shore location is going to be closing.

The Salem Patch is reporting that Cafe Polonia in Salem will shutter on January 31 after being in business for a bit more than two years. The article states that while the Washington Street spot will soon be gone, the original location of the eatery on Dorchester Avenue in South Boston will remain open.

[February 8 update: The Salem Gazette mentions that Cafe Polonia's last day in operation in Salem will be Tuesday (February 12).]

Cafe Polonia offers an array of Polish and East European dishes, including goulash, pierogi, kielbasa, and crepes.

The address for this soon-to-close restaurant in Salem is: Cafe Polonia, 118 Washington Street, Salem, MA, 01970. Their website can be found at http://www.cafepolonia.com/

Thanks to North Shore Dish for bringing this to our attention.



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Potbelly Sandwich Shop to Open Second Location in Downtown Boston

A Chicago-based chain of sub shops that has started to expand into the local area is planning to open a second location in downtown Boston.

The Boston Hospitality and Tourism Industry Blog is reporting that Potbelly Sandwich Shop is seeking a common victualler license to open at One Federal Street in the city's Financial District. If approved, the restaurant would join a nearby location on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing, as well as a shop at Logan Airport.

 [July 30 update: Eater Boston states that the new Potbelly at One Federal Street is going to be opening on Tuesday, August 6. (Also note that since this article was posted, the chain has also opened shops in Braintree and Burlington.)]

Potbelly features "originals," "bigs," and "skinnys" among its sandwiches, with meatball, ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken, and tuna being a few options available.

The address for this new sub shop in the Financial District is: Potbelly Sandwich Shop, One Federal Street, Boston, MA, 02110. The website for the chain can be found at http://www.potbelly.com/



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Cafe Province Comes to Downtown Boston

A new cafe that features French dishes is now open in downtown Boston, taking over the space where a couple of other eateries had been over the past two years.

The Downtown Crossing Facebook page mentions that Cafe Province has opened on Province Street, moving into the spot where Bella Drew's Cafe and Chacarero had been (Chacarero can still be found on nearby Arch Street). The note says that the new dining spot is a "piece of France in historic downtown Boston," featuring crepes, quiche, croissants, and more. Takeout is available at the new spot.

The address for this new restaurant in downtown Boston is: Cafe Province, 26 Province Street, Boston, MA, 02108. Their phone number is (617) 248-8900.

Thanks to the Boston Hospitality and Tourism Industry Blog for bringing this to our attention.



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Villa Mexico to Lose Its Home at the End of Month; Move Still Possible

Nearly two years after getting word that they would eventually have to leave their home, Villa Mexico in the Beacon Hill section of Boston has been given a final date.

A note from the eclectic little eatery indicates that construction will soon begin on a new building at the Cambridge Street space that Villa Mexico currently shares with a gas station, and that they will need to leave by January 31. The note does mention that the family behind the restaurant is hoping to move into a nearby space (also on Cambridge Street) that is owned by Mass Eye & Ear, though nothing has been finalized as of yet. In the meantime, they will be selling salsa through their website and possibly in specialty food stores, and will continue their catering service.

A going-away party will be held at Villa Mexico on Friday, February 1, celebrating six years of business for the place. More information on the party can be found via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VillaMexicoCafe

[February 1 update: According to a post on their Facebook page, the farewell party that Villa Mexico was going to have today has been canceled, because, according to the restaurant, their landlord "just told me that 'THE STORE WILL BE CLOSED BY 1:00 pm BECAUSE THATS THE WAY IT SHOULD GO.'" Villa Mexico goes on to say that "This was very unexpected because we were told that we could have our farewell party today" and that "I do {apologize} but our party should be cancelled because we are not going to expose our customers and friends to an inconvenient situation."]

Villa Mexico has been featured on our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) as an under-the-radar spot for Mexican fare, with the review being at the following link:

http://www.hiddenboston.com/VillaMexico.html

The current address for the soon-to close (or possibly soon-to-move) Villa Mexico is: Villa Mexico, 296 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA, 02114. Their website is at http://www.villamexicocafe.us/



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Monday, January 14, 2013

Ginger Explosion 4 to Be Held in Somerville, January 28, 2013

A culinary event that centers around ginger is returning to Somerville once again later this month, and as always, several local food places will be taking part in the event.

On Monday, January 28 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, Ginger Explosion 4 will be held at P.A.'s Lounge on Somerville Avenue, with the event including samplings of ginger-based food dishes and ginger cocktails. Participants this year include Dosa N Curry, Mei Mei Street Food, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, and Staff Meal, along with Domaine de Canton (which will be involved with the ginger cocktails).

Tickets to the event cost $13, with proceeds helping to support the Somerville Arts Council's ArtsUnion project, which helps increase the cultural economic development of Somerville's Union Square neighborhood. More information (including the purchase of tickets) can be found through the link below:

http://wheretoeat.in/calendar/63/31-Ginger-Explosion-4/

The address for P.A.'s Lounge is 345 Somerville Avenue, which is on the western edge of Union Square.



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Update: Happy's Bar and Kitchen Has Closed; Will Become Barrio Cantina

[Ed note: This article was updated on February 4 to reflect a name given for the place.]

A casual American restaurant in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston has closed its doors, with the owner soon reopening the place as a Mexican dining spot.

The Boston Magazine Chowder blog is reporting that Happy's Bar & Kitchen on Boylston Street is shuttered after being in business since last May, as owner Michael Schlow has decided to open an eatery that will feature such items as quesadillas tacos, enchiladas, margaritas, and tequila. The space will also be re-done, and Chowder says that it will become a smaller eatery during the slower months and a larger spot during the baseball season (Fenway Park, which is home to the Red Sox, is within walking distance).

No name has been given for the Mexican restaurant as of yet, but it could be open as early as early February.

[February 4 update: Grub Street Boston mentions that the name of the new restaurant will be Barrio Cantina, and it should be opening later this week. Thanks to @WendyPierce for bringing this to our (and Grub Street's) attention.]

[February 6 update: UrbanDaddy states that Barrio Cantina opens today at 5:00 PM.]

Michael Schlow is also known for such restaurants as Tico, Radius, Via Matta, and Alta Strada.

The address for the now-closed Happy's Bar & Kitchen (and upcoming Mexican restaurant) is 1363 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02215.



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Highlights for the Week Ending January 11, 2013

A few more stories and articles centering on the Boston-area restaurant scene came out over the past week, including a group of pizza places starting up a food truck, a North End restaurant getting a new concept, and a burrito competition coming to the Back Bay. In addition, our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants) included a new review of a Middle Eastern spot in Allston, a photo of a pastry from a South End cafe, and an updated review of a restaurant and bar in Lynn.

Below are links to these and other items from the past week:

Boston Restaurant Talk

Fresh Truck (a Mobile Farmers Market) Is Coming to Boston

Sweet Tomatoes to Bring a Food Truck to Boston

Nick Varano's Famous Deli in Boston's North End to Change Its Name, Menu

ManRay May Be Returning to Cambridge

Burrito Bowl III Is Coming to Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake February 2, 2013

Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Updated Review: Garlic 'n Lemons in Allston, MA

Photo: Chocolate Roulade from Flour in Boston, MA

Question: Best Steak Tips (Other Than New Bridge Cafe)?

Updated Review: Monte's Restaurant in Lynn, MA

Photo: Spicy Potatoes from Garlic 'n Lemons in Allston, MA



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Eddie Merlot's to Open in Boston's Seaport District

It looks like a new steakhouse is on its way to the Seaport District of Boston.

The Boston Herald is reporting that Eddie Merlot's is planning to open a 300- to 400-seat restaurant at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel on Summer Street. The Indiana-based group of steakhouses is currently wrapping up lease negotiations and is hoping to open its Boston location sometime in 2014. Presently, Eddie Merlot's has eight locations in the Midwest, with more on the way over the coming months. Their first restaurant opened in Fort Wayne in 2001.

The address for this upcoming steakhouse in the Seaport District is 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA, 02210. The restaurant group's website is at http://www.eddiemerlots.com/ while the website for the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel can be found at http://www.westinbostonwaterfront.com/



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Wheeler del Torro to Battle Biz Markie in Brighton Food Competition

The person behind an ice cream and dessert cafe in Brighton--and a series of pop-up restaurants--is going to be taking part in a food competition later this month, and his opponent will be a well-known rapper and entertainer.

On Saturday, January 26, chef Wheeler del Torro of 3 Scoops Cafe will face off against Biz Markie at the Washington Street eatery starting at 7:00 PM, with the theme being soul food (the event is celebrating the kickoff of Black History Month). The hour-long Iron Chef-style competition will have each chef creating a dish that uses a secret ingredient, with the dishes being judged by a panel of food experts and celebrities.

Biz Markie is known in part for his hit song "Just a Friend" as well as Nick Jr.'s show Yo Gabba Gabba. He also teaches healthy cooking classes through Living Social in Washington, DC.

Tickets to this event cost $70.00 and can be ordered at the link below.

http://bizmarkiechefbattle.eventbrite.com/

The address for 3 Scoops is 403 Washington Street, Brighton, MA, 02135, and its website can be found at http://3scoopsboston.wordpress.com/



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Friday, January 11, 2013

Video: Invisible Drive-Thru Customer Prank

A video has recently been making the rounds through social media of late, showing a hilarious prank that was pulled by Rahat the Magician Prankster. In the video, Rahat uses a "car seat costume" to give the illusion of a driverless car and pulls up to several drive-thru windows to order food. Needless to say, the reactions of the restaurant workers are priceless.

The video, which was posted on Yahoo news (via Gawker) can be seen below.






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