Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Few of the Biggest Stories of 2011

We are only a few days away from the end of 2011, and looking back, there were certainly a number of big stories centering on the Boston-area restaurant scene. A few of the most popular stories can be found below, in no particular order:

1) The Otherside Cafe's Roller Coaster Ride
In November, it was reported that The Otherside Cafe in Boston's Back Bay would likely be closing to make way for a furniture chain. Well, the deal apparently fell through, so the eatery appears to be safe in its present home once again.
Update: The Otherside Cafe in Boston's Back Bay Is NOT Closing
The Back Bay's Otherside Cafe and Island Hopper to be Replaced by Room and Board

2) Wegmans Comes to Massachusetts
For a long time, it seemed like this highly-regarded supermarket chain based in Upstate New York would never expand to Massachusetts, but then came the announcement that it would be opening in Northborough. And then another announcement about one coming to Burlington. And then another about it coming to Chestnut Hill. And Westwood? Well, that is still a great big unknown.
Wegmans Market Planning to Open in Burlington
Wegmans Market to Open in Newton's Chestnut Hill Square
Wegmans Market Is Opening in Northborough

3) Kelly's Roast Beef Closes One of Its Locations
To many, the ever-popular Kelly's Roast Beef would not seem the type of place to close one of its restaurants, but it indeed shuttered its Allston location in December, after only a year and a half in business. (The Allston shop apparently did not meet the sales needed to keep the restaurant going.)
Kelly's Roast Beef in Allston Is Closing

4) Farewell, Gargoyles
Speaking of closings, Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville, which was one of the most well-known restaurants in the entire Boston-area, shut down this fall after being in business for about 15 years, shocking many who frequented this New American spot in Davis Square. The catering side of Gargoyles is still in operation, but the dining spot is gone, to be replaced by a Mexican restaurant.
Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville Is Closing

5) Farewell, Rocca
Perhaps as big a deal as the closing of Gargoyles, an upscale South End restaurant called Rocca also shut down, with their closing happening at the beginning of the year. Tiffani Faison of Rocca has since moved on, opening a new spot called Sweet Cheeks in the Fenway section of the city.
Rocca in Boston's South End Has Closed

6) Here Come the Food Trucks!
The food truck trend really exploded in the Boston area over the past year, with the city of Boston setting up 15 new permanent sites over the summer for trucks in several neighborhoods. There was something for everyone among the food trucks, including grilled cheese, BBQ, coffee, seafood, vegetarian dishes, and more.
Food Truck Sites in Boston

7) Celebrity Burgers
A new burger restaurant opened on the South Shore this fall, with chef and restaurateur Paul Wahlberg (Bridgeman's, Alma Nove) behind the Hingham spot. But it also turns out that the two more "famous" Wahlberg brothers (Mark and Donnie) were behind Wahlburgers as well, making this a true family affair.
Paul, Mark, and Donnie Wahlberg Are Opening Wahlburgers in Hingham

8) Is it Curtains for Anthony's Pier 4?
The last big story to be mentioned here is a rather sad one, especially for those who tend to be sentimental about old-school Boston restaurants. Yes, Anthony's Pier 4 is losing its waterfront home after nearly 50 years in business, as a housing and retail complex will be built on the site. There has been talk of Anthony's moving to a new location nearby, but nothing has been confirmed, and it honestly doesn't look good at this point.
Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston to Close; May Reopen in New Spot