Wednesday, December 26, 2007

T.R. Brennan's in Manchester Destroyed By Fire

A fire destroyed a landmark restaurant in Manchester, NH, Christmas morning. According to the New Hamsphire Union Leader, a fire broke out at T.R. Brennan's around 1:00 AM, burning the restaurant to the ground. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

T.R. Brennan's was a popular restaurant in the eastern part of Manchester, located on Hanover Street just west of where Routes 93 and 101 split. It opened in 2002, offering traditional American fare, including steak, seafood, and chicken dishes, as well as a variety of other entrees.

According to the Union Leader, the owner does plan to rebuild T.R. Brennan's, hopefully opening by St. Patrick's Day.

For more on the fire at T.R. Brennan's, go to this link:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Latest Review: Impastable Dream in Ogunquit

photo of Impastable Dream, Ogunquit, MaineThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is an Italian restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, called the Impastable Dream. A cozy, romantic restaurant located on Shore Road (about midway between Perkins Cove and the center of Ogunquit), the Impastable Dream is favorite among locals, but isn't very well know to tourists and other visitors to the Ogunquit area. The restaurant's menu features a mix of pasta dishes and veal, chicken, and seafood entries, and the prices are mostly decent. To read more about the Impastable Dream, click the link above.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two of Boston's Best New Restaurants for 2007

Every year, a number of new restaurants introduce themselves to the city of Boston, with 2007 being no exception. And 2007 has been a good one for restaurant openings, with dining spots such as Saray in Allston, Coda in the South End, La Verdad in the Fenway neighborhood, Vlora in the Back Bay, and Salvatore's in the Seaport District getting favorable reviews from critics and diners alike. There are two other restaurants that opened in 2007 that particularly impressed Boston's Hidden Restaurants (the parent site of this blog). And while Angela's Cafe in East Boston and Mrs. Jones in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester are little-known dining spots, they can easily be considered two of the best new restaurants that have come to Boston in 2007.

Angela's Cafe is located on the edge of Eagle Hill, a mostly residential neighborhood in East Boston. It is a small place that features authentic Mexican cuisine, including interesting specials every day. Some of the standouts at this family-owned dining spot include an incredibly smooth and mild guacamole and a chicken enchilada plate with an outstanding homemade mole sauce that takes a long time for them to make and simply has too many ingredients to mention here.

Mrs. Jones is one of the few Southern-style soul food joints within the city limits of Boston. It is located in Lower Mills, which borders Milton and is one of Boston's quieter neighborhoods. Mrs. Jones is more of a takeout place than a sitdown restaurant, though they do have a few seats along the side of the place. A number of unique entrees can be ordered at Mrs. Jones (though they are not available every day), including deep fried turkey, oxtails, neck bones, and pig feet, and their pork chops are among the best in the area.

2008 is just around the corner, and with it, even more new restaurants on their way to Boston. Hopefully 2008 will be as good a year for new dining spots as 2007 was, though it will indeed to be rather tough to beat Angela's Cafe and Mrs. Jones.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Papa Razzi to Take Over Old TGI Friday's Location in Boston's Back Bay

Papa Razzi, an East Coast restaurant chain that features Italian cuisine, is planning to move into the old TGI Friday's space on Newbury Street in the Back Bay of Boston. According to the Boston Business Journal, the new Papa Razzi should be open in the spring of 2008.

The Papa Razzi that is presently on nearby Dartmouth Street in the Back Bay will close, according to the executive vice president of the Back Bay Restaurant Group (the corporate parent of Papa Razzi's, Abe and Louie's, Joe's American Bar and Grill, and others), with a new Back Bay Restaurant Group dining spot possibly moving into the Dartmouth Street location at some point in the future.

For more information on Papa Razzi's move to Newbury Street, go to the Boston Business Journal link below:

Review: Santarpio's Pizza, East Boston

The lights may be too bright, the wooden walls might not be real wood, and the waiters may not always be in the best of moods, but for pizza in the Boston area, Santarpio's is tough to beat.

We drove through some exceptionally rough rush-hour traffic last night to grab a few pies at Santarpio's (three to eat there, and two to take with us). It was after 7:00 by the time we arrived, but the place was only about half-full. Two out of the three of us were regulars at Santarpio's, so we didn't even bother with menus, ordering pizzas and beer about 30 seconds after grabbing a table in the side room (the newbie in our group had to scramble to decided what to order, but he did all right).

The pizzas were, as usual, just about perfect; lots of hearty sauce on a thin crust, with just the right amount of cheese on top. And as is the case with Santarpio's pizzas, occasionally there were pockets of garlic that at times nearly overwhelmed, but never quite reached that point.

Prices have gone up a bit at Santarpio's over the years, but the bill came to $80 for 5 pizzas and 8 beers, which really isn't such a bad deal.

So today I have a pepperoni pizza (a 'roni, as they call it at Santarpio's) in my freezer, just waiting to be eaten. I am hoping to save it for a Christmas Eve party that I am going to, but it may not make it, depending on how hungry I am over the coming days.

Santarpio's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 17, 2007

Latest Review: Punjab Cafe in Quincy

photo of Punjab Cafe, Quincy, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is an Indian restaurant on the Southern Artery just east of Quincy Center called Punjab Cafe. Located on a busy road with little parking, Punjab Cafe is worth making the effort to go to, as its mostly Northern Indian cuisine is among the best south of Boston. It is a small restaurant, with perhaps 15 tables or so, but Punjab is not well known, so it is rarely crowded. To read more about Punjab Cafe in Quincy, please click on the link above.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dunkin' Donuts to Have Self-Service Kiosks in Hess Gas Stations

Dunkin' Donuts, has announced that a number of convenience stores located within Hess gas stations will soon offer coffee and donuts via self-service kiosks. According to the Dunkin' Donuts Web site, Hess stores, mostly outside of the New England area, will start adding their self-service stations in January, 2008. Dunkin' Donuts, which is based in Canton, MA, also said that they will offer hot chocolate along with coffee and donuts.

To see the Dunkin' Donuts press release on this story, please go to the link below:

Reminder About Favorite Hamburger Poll

A quick reminder that the Boston Restaurant Talk blog has a December poll that asks the question, "What is your favorite place for hamburgers in the Greater Boston area?"

If you would like to vote for your favorite burger place, please go to the following page:

Results will be given on this site around the beginning of January. And once again, thanks for your vote!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Legal Sea Foods Opening in Old Jimmy's Harborside Location

According to the Boston Business Journal, Legal Sea Foods will be opening a restaurant at 242 Northern Avenue in the Seaport District of Boston, the spot where Jimmy's Harborside resided since the early 20th century. The restaurant, which will apparently be an upscale complex, will be more than 20,000 square feet in size, and will include a roofdeck. The restaurant is slated to open in 2010.

For more information on the opening of Legal Sea Foods in the Seaport District of Boston, go to this Boston Business Journal link:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lynn Fells Parkway Christmas Lights

photo of Christmas lights, Lynn Fells Parkway, SaugusWe took a trip up to Revere tonight for dinner. We had been looking for another restaurant off of Broadway, but couldn't find it so we decided to go to Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs on Route 60 in Revere instead. It turned out to be a good choice, as the food was terrific there, with excellent steak tips, loin ribs, and bourbon steak. Appetizers were also very good, and the prices were reasonable. Overall, I thought it was a great place, though perhaps not quite up to the level of Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington. We will probably write about Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs in more detail within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, so stay tuned.

photo of Christmas lights, Lynn Fells Parkway, SaugusAfter leaving Uncle Pete's, we took a drive up to Saugus to do our annual Christmas lights viewing along the Lynn Fells Parkway, as well as a few of the roads that lead off of it. For those of you who haven't gone up to see the Lynn Fells Parkway displays, you are definitely in for a treat, as it is one of the best places in the Boston area to see people's Christmas decorations. And there is one house in particular on the Lynn Fells Parkway that stands head and shoulders above most, if not all of the others as far as Christmas lights (the photos shown here are of that house).

photo of Christmas lights, Lynn Fells Parkway, SaugusThe house shown here, which is near the start of the Lynn Fells Parkway (and across from the road that leads into the Breakheart Reservation), is lit up so well that airplanes must be able to see it even from 40,000 feet. But it is not just the house that is decorated; the yard is full of all kinds of figures, lighted trees, and so much more. Indeed, it rivals the house in Jamaica Plain that everyone seems to be talking about these days. To see pictures of that house, click the "Christmas lights" label below. Also, click the pictures here to see larger versions of the photos.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Best Restaurants of 2007

Just a reminder that Boston's Hidden Restaurants has posted its Best Boston Restaurants of 2007 page. The restaurants listed include the best little-known Boston and New England restaurants of the year in the opinion of the site. A few restaurants mentioned are Shanti in Dorchester (Indian), Dok Bua in Brookline (Thai), the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph (pizza), and the Farm Grill in Newton (Greek).

If you have a favorite restaurant from 2007, feel free to post a review within the Readers' Favorite Restaurants section within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. And please don't hesitate to contact the site about their picks for 2007.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CBS Scene Restaurant and Bar Coming to Foxboro

The Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots, have announced that they will team up with CBS to bring a restaurant called the CBS Scene Restaurant and Bar to the new Patriot Place.

According to WBZ-TV, the three-story restaurant and entertainment complex should open sometime next fall, and will have broadcasting facilities for WBZ, WBCN, and CBS Sports.

Patriot Place, a unique new development located next to Gillette Stadium, is presently home to many other restaurants, as well as a hotel, a theater, and a number of shops.

For more on the upcoming opening of the CBS Scene Restaurant and Bar (including images), go to the WBZ link below:

Latest Review: Winthrop Arms, Winthrop, MA

photo of the Winthrop Arms, Winthrop, MAThe latest review that is within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is a dining spot within a grand old hotel along the Winthrop coast called the Winthrop Arms. The Winthrop Arms, which is on the first floor of the hotel by the same name, is a charming, cozy restaurant with traditional American food, along with some Italian dishes. Prices are decent and the seating is comfortable, making the Winthrop Arms a good place to go as a family. To read more about the Winthrop Arms in Winthrop, please click on the link above.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fire Damages El Pelon Taqueria in Boston

A fire broke out at El Pelon Taqueria in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston yesterday, shutting the popular Mexican restaurant down for the time being. At this point in time, it is not know when--or if--El Pelon will open up again.

For more information and photos of El Pelon Taqueria after the fire, please go to the below (from the Phoenix Phlog):,guid,08983185-841a-4398-ba6f-228a712bcca5.aspx

UPDATE: El Pelon Taqueria was destroyed in another fire on the morning of January 6, 2009. Five other Fenway-area restaurants were also gutted in the fire. For more details, please go to the link below:

Several Restaurants Destroyed in Fenway Fire

New Restaurant Coming to Boston's Seaport District

Michael Schlow, who runs several Boston-area restaurants, including Great Bay, Radius, and Via Matta, will be opening a new restaurant at the upcoming Marriott Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District next month. It will be located at the intersection of Congress Street and D Street, across from the World Trade Center.

No name has been given to the place yet, but according to the Boston Business Journal, it will have a chef's communal table, an exhibition kitchen, and outdoor seating.

Information from this story has come from the following Boston Business Journal link:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dunkin' Brands Sells Togo’s Sandwich Chain

Dunkin' Brands has announced the selling of its sandwich shop chain to a private equity firm. According to the Quincy Patriot Ledger, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts has sold Togo's to Mainsail Partners, a firm based in San Francisco.

Dunkin’ Brands, which has its headquarters in Canton, MA, had put Togo's on the market more than a year ago. The company also owns Baskin-Robbins, an ice cream chain.

Smokey Bones Barbeque To Be Sold

Smokey Bones Barbeque, which has nearly 75 locations in the United States (including locations in Taunton, Stoughton, and Tyngsboro, MA), will be sold by Darden Restaurants to Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sun Capital owns a number of restaurant chains, including Bruegger's Bagels, Boston Market, and Friendly's.

It is unknown at the present time how many of the Smokey Bones locations, if any, will close once the sale goes through.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Poll: Vote For Your Favorite Burger in Boston

What restaurant or burger joint do you consider to be the best place for a hamburger in the Boston area? Let us know by placing a vote on this page! Choose from the list below or feel free to write in your own pick. (Results will be listed on January 1, 2008.)

[ED NOTE: This poll is now closed. To see the results, go to To find more current polls (or view other polls that are now closed), click the "polls" link in the labels section below).

Audubon Circle, Boston

Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, Cambridge

Bristol Lounge, Boston

Charlie's Kitchen, Cambridge

Costello's, Jamaica Plain

The Druid, Cambridge

Eagles Deli, Brighton

Flat Patties, Cambridge

Flippin Burgers, Newton Centre

Fuddruckers, various locations

Miracle of Science, Cambridge

O'Sullivan's, Somerville

UBurger, Boston

Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude, 2007

photo of Kennebunk Prelude, 2007The 2007 Kennebunkport Prelude began this past weekend, with many more events scheduled for next weekend (December 8 and 9). We headed up there on Saturday afternoon for a few hours (we were staying in nearby Perkins Cove for the weekend). It was cold, but well worth going to (and every bit as fun as it was last year), with stores lit up, parades through the town, people dressed up in all kinds of costumes, and restaurants absolutely jam-packed with people. This last point is why we dined mainly in Wells and Ogunquit rather than in Kennebunkport, going to the Bull N' Claw in Wells, and the Front Porch and the Impastable Dream in Ogunquit. Later this week, I will write in detail about these dining spots in the Boston Restaurant Blog, the blog which is within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site.

Results of November Pizza Poll

The Boston pizza poll that we had up on the site for November is now closed, with the results being of no great surprise. First place went to Pizzeria Regina in the North End, with about 19.5% of the vote, while Santarpio's in East Boston and Emma's in Cambridge were tied for second place, each with about 13% of the vote.

Here are the top five finishers in the Boston pizza poll:

1) Pizzeria Regina, North End, 19.5%
2) Santarpio's, East Boston; Emma's, Cambridge [TIE], 13% each
4) Lynwood Cafe, Randolph, 8.5%
5) The Paddock, Somerville; Upper Crust, various locations [TIE], 6.5% each

Other places that received votes were CF Donovan's in Dorchester, Taso's Euro Cafe in Norwood, Picco in the South End, Town Spa in Stoughton, Pinocchio's in Harvard Square, Beauty's Pizza in Cambridge, Louie's in Woburn, Monte's in Lynn, Armando's in Cambridge, Joe V's in the South End, Kelley Square Pub in East Boston, and Ernesto's in the North End.

Thanks to everyone for participating in the pizza poll!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Latest Review: Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale

photo of the Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is an old-fashioned Italian restaurant and pizza joint in the Roslindale section of Boston called the Pleasant Cafe. The Pleasant Cafe, which is located on Washington Street near the West Roxbury border, is an historic dining spot that has been around for many decades. The pizza is considered by many to be the best in Roslindale, and the Italian food is of the classic red sauce variety, and is very reasonably priced. To read more about the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale, please click on the link above.