Monday, November 09, 2015

Ipswich Custom in Boston's South End Closes; Merrill & Co. Back in Space

A South End restaurant that opened last month has disappeared from the landscape, and the dining spot that it replaced is back, though its reopening--and concept--appears to be a bit of a mystery, just like its closure was.

According to a Facebook post from Drew Starr, Ipswich Custom is no longer in operation, with its Appleton Street space now being home to Merrill & Co. once again. The current plan appears to have the people behind food trucks work the kitchen at the revamped Merrill, and possibly have a bartender running a bar program as well, though the plans seem to be in their early stages at this point in time. (A Facebook post from the dining spot mentions a #TruckAndMortar dinner series starting up, where at least 2 food trucks offer bar food to patrons.)

Jake Elmets of M.F. Dulock in Somerville, Husk in Nashville and Reynard in Brooklyn opened Ipswich Custom in early October, several months after Merrill & Co. vacated the space and subsequently showed the message "Who wants to be a restaurant owner?" on its site. The note was apparently a reference to a contest where five prospective restaurant owners would face off against each other to see who wins, though it looks like this competition never got off the ground.

The address for the reopened Merrill & Co. is 1 Appleton Street, Boston, MA, 02116.

[November 9 update: A Craigslist job post gives a bit more information, saying that the "Truck and Mortar" concept is a collaboration between the Bina Group and Stock Pot Malden, with the former running such places as Merrill & Co., jm Curley, Bogie's Place, and Lala Rokh and the latter being a "culinary incubator" that rents kitchen space and offers consulting services. The post also mentions that the plan is to have a year round competition in which food trucks share the kitchen at Merrill and rotate on an ongoing basis "as a function of their culinary and commercial success" with customers of the place.]

[November 10 update: Eater Boston adds more to the story, saying that Ipswich Custom was actually a popup according to owner Babak Bina, and that it will not be back. As for Merrill & Co., it is indeed back in its old space with few changes made, and alcohol is being offered along with food from the food truck operators. (EB also says that in the long term, the space could become an incubator of sorts that helps out food truck operators and brick-and-mortar restaurant owners.)]

[Earlier Articles]
Ipswich Custom Opens in Former Merrill & Co. Space in Boston's South End
Merrill & Co. in Boston's South End Is Closing

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[A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area]