Friday, January 30, 2009

Restaurants for Valentine's Day

It is hard to believe that Valentine's Day is only two weeks away. Because of the economic downturn that we are in, my guess is that restaurants might not be quite so crowded this year for Valentine's Day, but if you're looking for a romantic spot for February 14, it may be a good idea to make reservations soon. And if you aren't sure as to where you might want to go for an intimate night of dining, you might want to check out our Romantic Boston and New England Restaurants for Valentine's Day page that is a special feature within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. Included in this section are a number of select restaurants around New England that we think are perfect for a romantic meal because of their atmosphere, food, etc.

Also, if you know of a restaurant that you think is perfect for Valentine's Day, feel free to post it here. Thanks!

The Dish Closes in the South End

The Dish, a cozy little New American restaurant on Shawmut Avenue in Boston, has closed its doors. Located in the heart of the South End, The Dish featured upscale comfort food, and had outdoor dining on the sidewalk in front of the place during the warmer months.

The closing of The Dish is only the latest of several South End restaurant closures over the past few months, a list that includes Thai Village and Garden of Eden, both on Tremont Street.

New Restaurants Coming to Braintree, Randolph

Two new restaurants will soon be opening south of Boston--one in Braintree, and one in Randolph. In Braintree, a new restaurant will be replacing the now-closed Bickford's Family Restaurant at 135 Union Street (near the rotary at the Route 3 intersection), while in Randolph, a new restaurant will be coming to the spot at 1160 N Main Street formerly occupied by Legends Cafe.

More updates will soon be coming on both of these restaurants, so be sure to check back over the next few weeks...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Starbucks to Close 300 Stores, Eliminate 6700 Jobs

Starbucks Corporation will be closing more stores over the coming months and will also be cutting thousands of jobs. According to, the coffee shop chain will be shutting down a total of 300 stores (including 200 in the United States) and letting go of 6,700 workers.

Last year, Starbucks closed 600 stores, including seven in Massachusetts. It is not known at this time how many stores (if any) will be closing in the state this time around.

For more information on the closing of Starbucks stores and the laying off of workers, please go to the Bloomberg link below:

Starbucks to Cut 6,700 Jobs After Earnings Fall 69%

New Restaurant Coming to Dorchester: Chateau Kabor

A new restaurant will be opening in the Adams Village section of Dorchester sometime in the near future. According to EveryBlock Boston, Chateau Kabor will be opening at 789 Adams Street in the heart of the village. For those who know Adams Village, this is the spot that was formerly occupied by Mario's Trattoria.

We will post more information on Chateau Kabor as the opening date for this restaurant gets closer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Former Tullio's Owner Opens Orta in Pembroke

A new restaurant has just opened in Pembroke, and the owner's name might be a familiar one to South Shore residents.

According to the Patriot Ledger food blog, Jimmy Burke is heading up this new Italian restaurant on Washington Street (Route 53) in Pembroke. Mr. Burke is the former owner and chef of Tullio's, a now-closed Italian restaurant on Hancock Street in North Quincy that had a loyal following for years.

The menu at Orta features a mix of Northern Italian and Southern Italian dishes, including papardelle with braised lamb; gemelli with marscapone cheese, mushrooms, proscuitto, tomato sauce; veal meatloaf with mushroom sauce; and pistachio and panko-crusted salmon in a wine sauce. Prices for entrees range from about $10 to $25.

The address for Orta is: Orta Restaurant, 75 Washington Street, Pembroke, MA, 02359. The phone number is (781) 826-8883.

Brown Sugar Cafe (Fenway) Replaced by Thaitation

The original Brown Sugar Cafe has officially closed its doors on Jersey Street in the Fenway, with a new restaurant called Thaitation taking its place as of January 22. Thaitation will be serving Thai food (as Brown Sugar did in this location for a number of years), with the menu being quite extensive and featuring both authentic Thai food and more familiar Thai-American dishes.

The Brown Sugar location on Commonwealth Avenue will remain open, as will its sister restaurant the Similans in East Cambridge.

The address for Thaitation is: Thaitation Restaurant, 129 Jersey Street, Boston, MA, 02215. The phone number is (617) 585-9909.

Latest Review: Lewis' Bar and Grille, Norwood

photo of Lewis' Bar and Grille in Norwood, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for Lewis' Bar and Grille, an American restaurant and watering hole in Norwood, MA. Located just west of Route 1A in the center of Norwood, Lewis' Bar and Grille is a local neighborhood joint that has a similar feel to historic Boston spots such as Doyle's in Jamaica Plain and Jacob Worth in the Theater District. The food includes standard pub grub and comfort food, as well as more interesting and unique dishes that are often included in the nightly specials. To read more about Lewis' Bar and Grille in Norwood, please click on the link above.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Paddock Pub in Walpole Center Closes

A bare-bones Irish pub in Walpole that served decent food and was mostly a hangout for neighborhood locals has closed its doors. The Paddock Pub, which was a plain-looking but comfortable watering hole on Route 1A in the center of town, is no longer in business.

The Paddock featured mostly pub grub food, including bar pizza, burgers, steak and cheese rollups, and a few Italian entrees. The bar was mostly a place to grab a pint or two while watching TV or playing darts, though some of the food was actually quite good (the handcut onions rings were particularly impressive).

No word on what might go into the Paddock's space, or if they might try to reopen. Stay tuned as we gather more information on the place...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chipotle Opens in Woburn; New Westborough Location Coming Soon

A new Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened near the Woburn Mall in Woburn. This is just one of several newly opened (or soon to open) Chipotle restaurants opening in Massachusetts, with a new one in Norwood on the way, and another new one in Westborough opening very soon (perhaps within the next week).

The address for the new Chipotle in Woburn is: Chipotle Mexican Grill, 112 Commerce Way, Woburn, MA 01801. The phone number is (781) 933-5450.

Friday, January 23, 2009

No More Lunch at Locke-Ober

Locke-Ober, a dignified old-Boston restaurant that has been popular with businesspeople and the wealthy for well over a century, has decided to stop serving lunch for the time being. According to both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, this Downtown Crossing institution has been hit by the economic recession as so many other restaurant have, and will serve only dinner for now, though they do hope to start lunches back up sometime this year.

Locke-Ober, which is located on Winter Place between Washington Street and Tremont Street near the Boston Common, has been serving diners since 1875 and remains one of the most well-known restaurants in Boston. Its menu features a raw bar as well as a variety of steak, pork, chicken, seafood, and lamb dishes.

For more information on Locke-Ober's decision to stop serving lunch, please go to the Boston Globe link below:

Locke-Ober cancels lunch

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Restaurant Closings and Openings Update: January, 2009

Several changes have come to the Boston-area restaurant scene over the past few weeks, including a few closings as well as a few new restaurants that have hit the scene.

Restaurants that have recently closed include Rio Brazilian BBQ, a Brazilian restaurant in Arlington Center; the Highland Cafe, an old-fashioned Italian restaurant in Malden; and Reef Cafe, a tiny Lebanese restaurant in Allston.

Openings include Rudi's Resto-Cafe, a cafe-style restaurant in the Newmarket Square section of Boston; Taipei Tokyo, a Chinese and Japanese restaurant in Woburn; and BOND Restaurant and Lounge, an upscale restaurant and watering hole in the Financial District of Boston.

To keep updated on restaurant closings and openings, please go to the following RSS feed within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site:

or go to the Boston restaurant closings and openings page:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Latest Review: Cafe Mangal, Wellesley

The latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant in Wellesley called Cafe Mangal. Located on Routes 16 and 135 in Wellesley Center, Cafe Mangal is a long, narrow restaurant with an exotic, classy feel inside. The breakfast and lunch menu at Cafe Mangal features mostly lighter fare, but the dinner menu is what really shines at this restaurant, with a wide variety of tantalizing upscale and high-end dishes offered. To read more about Cafe Mangal in Wellesley, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rudi's Resto Cafe Opens in Newmarket Square

Rudi's Resto Cafe and Catering has opened a second restaurant in the Newmarket Square area of Boston, near where the South End and Roxbury meet. The new Rudi's is located at the Hampton Inn and Suites near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

The new Rudi's will be featuring mostly lighter, healthier fare, including soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

The original Rudi's is located at Rowes Wharf on the Boston waterfront.

The address for the new Rudi's is:
Rudi's Resto Cafe
811 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BOND Restaurant and Lounge Opens in the Financial District

A new casual upscale restaurant and lounge called BOND has opened in the Langham Hotel in the Financial District of Boston.

BOND Restaurant and Lounge will be featuring gourmet sandwiches at lunchtime; coffee, tea, and desserts during the afternoon; and small plates for dinner. The restaurant has dining tables as well as lounge seating, all in an elegant, attractive environment.

The address for BOND (as well as the Langham Hotel) is: BOND Restaurant and Lounge, 250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110. The phone number for BOND is (617) 451-1900.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chef’s Table Series Coming to Boston, February and March, 2009

Boston-area folks who love to cook might want to check out the Chef’s Table Series, an interactive cooking demonstration that will be taking place at a number of restaurants in and around Boston between February 8 and March 30, 2009. Included in the Chef’s Table Series will be the learning of cooking techniques as well as question-and-answer sessions with chefs. Those who participate in the Chef’s Table Series will receive a complementary glass of wine, a free recipe booklet, and the chance to win prizes.

The Chef’s Table Series is a charitable series of events, with proceeds from ticket sales going to a charity of each restaurant’s choice. Tickets will cost $40 each, plus gratuity. For reservations and more information, please call (617) 323-0670 or go to

Below is a list of participating restaurants:

Bangkok Cafe, Roslindale
Brickhouse Cafe, Dedham
Delfino’s Restaurant, Roslindale
Himalayan Bistro, West Roxbury
Masona Grill, West Roxbury
Townsend’s Restaurant, Hyde Park
West on Centre, West Roxbury

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sensing Opens at the Fairmont Battery Wharf in the North End

French chef Guy Martin has officially opened his first restaurant in the United States, and it is located right here in the North End of Boston. Sensing, which is a restaurant within a new hotel called the Fairmont Battery Wharf, opened its doors earlier this week, and will be based on Sensing in Paris, according to the hotel Web site.

Guy Martin, who is perhaps of the top chefs in France and has received three stars by The Michelin Guide in 2000, will be bringing a seasonally changing menu to the restaurant. Items currently on the menu include duck foie gras creme brulee and king crab in grapefruit jelly.

Sensing (and the Fairmont Battery Wharf) is located at Three Battery Wharf in the North End of Boston (just off Commercial Street near the Hanover Street intersection). The phone number for the hotel is (617) 994-9000, and the Web site for the restaurant is at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Latest Review: Qingdao Garden, Cambridge

photo of Qingdao Garden, Cambridge, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for Qingdao Garden, a Chinese restaurant in North Cambridge. Qingdao Garden, which is located on Massachusetts Avenue near the Arlington border, is a tiny little dining spot with little in the way of atmosphere, but their homemade dumplings are some of the best in the Boston area. In addition to dumplings and some Chinese-American dishes, much of their menu includes authentic Northern Chinese cuisine. To read more about Qingdao Garden in Cambridge, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rio Brazilian Barbeque in Arlington Has Closed

Rio Brazilian Barbeque, a Brazilian restaurant in Arlington Center has closed its doors. The restaurant had been dark since around Christmas, but there was no indication as to whether Rio was shut for good. Last night, however, we did confirm that they are indeed out of business.

Rio had been located at 473 Massachusetts Avenue in the spot where Punjab used to be (that restaurant is now located in a bigger place a couple of doors away).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Icarus in the South End Is for Sale

One of Boston's most well-known restaurants is up for sale. According to a Boston Herald article and the Boston Restaurant Group site, Icarus is on the selling block, although owner Chris Douglass may try to hold onto it and perhaps make it a more casual restaurant.

The Herald mentions that Douglass is trying to get financing for the restaurant, which has been affected by the economic downturn as so many other dining spots have.

Icarus has been a South End standby for more than 30 years, and remains one of the most popular restaurants in Boston. The menu includes mostly New American cuisine, while the atmosphere is attractive and comfortable. The owner (Douglass) also owns two Dorchester restaurants--the Ashmont Grill and Tavolo.

For more information on Icarus going up for sale, please go to the Boston Herald link below:

Iconic Icarus up for sale

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Latest Review: Malai Thai Cuisine, Randolph

photo of Malai Thai, Randolph, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for a Thai restaurant in Randolph called Malai Thai Cuisine. Located just north of the center of Randolph on Route 28, Malai Thai has a rather plain exterior but is attractive and comfortable inside. The menu features a number of authentic Thai dishes as well as more familiar entrees such as the ever-popular pad Thai. To read more about Malai Thai Cuisine in Randolph, please click on the link above.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ristorante Pavarotti (a New Italian Restaurant) Coming to Reading

A new restaurant will soon be opening in Reading Center. Ristorante Pavarotti, a dining spot that will feature Italian cuisine, will be coming to 601 Main Street, which is about three blocks south of the Route 28/Route 129 intersection. This spot was formerly occupied by Savory Tastes, and before that, Foccaccia (which still has a location open in Wilmington).

It appears that Ristorante Pavarotti will lean more toward upscale Italian, which means that Reading Center will now have two such restaurants in the center of town (the other one being Venetian Moon, which is two blocks north).

We will post more details on Ristorante Pavarotti as the opening date gets closer...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Reef Cafe in Allston Is Closed

Reef Cafe, a Lebanese restaurant located in the heart of Allston, is just the latest Boston-area restaurant to close its doors. The friendly little spot on Brighton Street shut down around January 1, making it that much tougher to find a good Middle Eastern restaurant in the Boston area.

A perfect place for college students and others looking for fresh, healthy cheap eats, Reef Cafe had some outstanding dishes, including a tremendous falafel sandwich that was made with falafel balls, tomatoes, yellow peppers, pickles, and tahini sauce.

We will personally miss Reef Cafe very much. It was certainly one of our favorite Middle Eastern restaurants in the Boston area.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

House of Blues Opening on Lansdowne Street in February

The House of Blues, a small chain of blues clubs that feature live music and Southern cuisine, will be opening a new location on Lansdowne Street (across from Fenway Park) in February.

After more than five years away from the Boston area (their Harvard Square location closed in 2003), the House of Blues is returning with a new, much larger location that will feature a concert hall with a capacity of nearly 2500, a full-service restaurant, and a retail store.

A job fair for the House of Blues will take place on January 13 and 14 from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM at the Absolut Clubhouse at Fenway Park (72 Brookline Avenue). More than 200 jobs will need to be filled.

The official opening for the House of Blues will likely be in mid-February.

Here is a link from the Passionate Foodie with more information on the job fair for the House of Blues:

The Passionate Foodie: House of Blues: Job Fair, Jan.13-14

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Several Restaurants Destroyed in Fenway Fire

Six restaurants in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston were destroyed in a four-alarm fire early this morning.

The fire apparently started at Thornton's Fenway Grille, a popular breakfast and lunch spot on the corner of Peterborough Street and Kilmamock Street, and quickly spread eastward along Peterborough, hitting a total of seven businesses, including six restaurants. According to Universal Hub and other sources, the restaurants that were gutted by the fire were Thornton's, Greek Isles, El Pelon Taqueria, Sorento's, Umi, and Rod Dee. This is the second time that El Pelon Taqueria was shut down due to a fire; it was closed for awhile after a fire damaged the Mexican restaurant in December 2007.

According to WBZ, no one inside any of the buildings was hurt, though two firefighters were injured when they fell on some ice. WBZ also mentions that 100 firefighters were used to contain the fire, which started around 2:00 in the morning.

For more information on the fire that hit the Fenway section of Boston last night, please go to the following links from WBZ and Universal Hub:

Fire Destroys Fenway Restaurants

Fenway restaurants, dry cleaners go up in flames; residents evacuated

Monday, January 05, 2009

Highland Cafe in Malden Closes Its Doors

The Highland Cafe, a Malden institution that served pizza and Italian food for many years, had closed.

An old-school neighborhood place and Malden's oldest restaurant, the Highland Cafe served countless meals mostly to a loyal working-class crowd over the years, with one of the specialties at the Highland being its simple thin-crust Italian pizza.

No word as of yet on what might be going into the Highland Cafe, which closed around the New Year. Once we hear anything, we will post an update here.

Poll Results: Effect of Proposed Toll Increase on East Boston Restaurants

Here are the results of the poll we took on the effect of a proposed toll increase on East Boston Restaurants:

Substantial: 30%
Moderate: 35%
Minimal: 13%
None: 9%
Don't Know: 13%

The original poll question can be found here:

Poll: Effect of Proposed Toll Increase on East Boston Restaurants

To all who voted, thanks again!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Franklin Cafe Ceiling Collapse Injures 11 Diners

Part of the ceiling at the Franklin Cafe in South Boston collapsed on Saturday night, injuring 11 people and sending 8 of them to the hospital.

According to the Boston Globe and several other news outlets, a 100-square-foot section of the ceiling fell while people were dining in the Franklin Cafe, which opened only a few weeks ago in the Allele building on Dorchester Avenue in Southie. The Globe mentions that diners complained of head, neck, and shoulder injuries.

The restaurant will remain closed until further notice.

There are two other Franklin Cafe restaurants, with one in the South End of Boston and the other in Gloucester.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Latest Review: The Squealing Pig, Boston

photo of The Squealing Pig, Boston, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Web site is for The Squealing Pig, an Irish pub in the Brigham Circle neighborhood of Boston. Located just off of Huntington Avenue on a narrow side street, The Squealing Pig is just enough off the beaten path to make it a hidden gem of sorts. The pub consists of an open kitchen and two separate rooms, and features a menu that is a mix of Irish entrees and pub grub. To read more about The Squealing Pig in the Brigham Circle neighborhood of Boston, please click on the link above.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Update: Brown Sugar Cafe to Remain Open Until Mid-January

A quick update on the Jersey Street location of the Brown Sugar Cafe: According to someone who works at the restaurant, they will remain open for approximately two more weeks (mid-January).

The original Brown Sugar Cafe, a Thai restaurant which is located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, has been slated to close for a little over a month now. The Brown Sugar Cafe on Commonwealth Avenue will remain open, as will their sister restaurant, The Similans, which is across from the Cambridgeside Galleria in East Cambridge.