Late last year it was reported that Caffe Nero – a London-based chain that operates 650 specialty coffee shops would open their first US coffee shop here in Boston’s Downtown Crossing this spring.
Rumors are now being whispered that Caffe Nero is also looking at space in the South End. If you’re a coffee lovah like me, the proliferation of coffee shops in the neighborhood is a welcome break from seeing a new bank opening every other week. I’ll circle back with more info shortly.
40 Berkeley, a 206-room hostel in the South End, sold for $17.2 million. According to the Boston Business Journal, the deal on the 80,000 square foot building closed last Friday.
Bruce Percelay, chairman and founder of the Mount Vernon Co., had this to say about his firm’s acquisition and plans for the space, “Given that we already have hotel experience with two properties in Nantucket and one in Portsmouth, NH, this is a business that intrigues us, and we feel there is a real opportunity in Boston to provide an affordable alternative to the more costly hospitality options in the city. The concept of small rooms and very attractive lobbies has taken hold in New York City and is certainly a consideration for us to apply in Boston.” Full story here.
Later this summer Woodmeister Master Builders will be moving into the retail space on the corner of Washington and Waltham Street in the Wilkes Passage building. This will be their fifth location with other stores in New York City, Nantucket, MA, Newport, RI and their home office in Holden, MA.
In related news, word on the street is the PetCo previously reported to open in the space across the street in Rollins Square may now be off. Conflicting rumors make this hard to determine for certain.
Wink & Nod a self-proclaimed ‘craft cocktail speakeasy’ is located near the corner of Appleton and Tremont Street in the South End. They opened for business last month so I suggested to a colleague / friend that we pay a visit to check out the South End’s newest watering hole.
The photos which I pulled from Wink & Nod’s Facebook Page give you a glimpse into this subterranean space that has come together under the guidance of the ever present and friendly General Manager, Curtis McMillan. Gone are the mirrors and modern, clean lines associated with the former tenant, Noche, and in its place are dark and rich colors with comfortable leather banquets, large arm chairs and couches to recline and sip one of the many cocktails or nosh on some of the food chefs Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta seem to crank out quickly.
I have to admit I was somewhat circumspect when Curtis first told me about his vision for the space several months back, but I enjoyed my first visit. The space is comfortable and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Be sure to check out their signature cocktails – all named after notorious cougars. On my first visit I enjoyed a mezcal mixture called the Mrs. Robinson and my friend opted for the Joan Collins. However, if our selections don’t appeal to you fear not – there are plenty of small screen and big screen vamps to seduce you, from the Cattrall which does look tempting to the Raquel that is served in a funny looking tiki mug.
The menu looks interesting, but I didn’t explore it properly on this visit. I do plan to go back and will try some of the food on my next visit. Wink & Nod is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, and I wish it much success. Have you visited Wink & Nod? Let me know what you think.
Wink & Nod is located at 3 Appleton Street in the South End.
The people behind Cathedral Station shared their first press release today. In the release they acknowledge that rumors have been circulating for the past few weeks, but they wanted to confirm that Cathedral Station, a Sports Bar that caters to the LGBT community and neighborhood will be opening at 1222 Washington St in Boston’s South End in May.
It went on to also confirm that the bar will be under the direction of Larry Basile and William (Billy) Svetz, the former GM of Fritz. Other familiar faces from Fritz will include Gary Staples and Joe McGowan. The bar will open following some upgrades being made to the property including an entertainment area with pool table and dart boards. Look for a new Facebook page in the coming days.
Motley has long been one of my favorite shops in the South End but sadly this past week they closed their doors. The owners left a heartfelt message on their Facebook page here.
Although Motley was much more than a t-shirt shop, over the years I posted a number of purchases – Motley always sold some of the best t-shirts anywhere in the city. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tonight The BiNA Family Hospitality Group will open their latest restaurant, Merrill & Co. This is the same restaurant group who also own jm Curley’s, Bogie’s Place, Bin 26 Enoteca and Lala Rokh. However this is their first venture into Boston’s South End. They are located at 1 Appleton Street, formerly the home of 28 degrees. While their menu is not available online (yet), executive chef Jason Cheek (previously with KO Prime) indicated they would focus on local seafood.
Wink & Nod shall open this Saturday, according to G.M., Curtis McMillan. BNV has remodeled the space that had previously been home to their subterranean restaurant and lounge, Noche. Although they’ve not shared much about the menu, Boston.com featured a write up last week announcing that the chefs would be Philip Kruta and Jeremy Kean – best known for a North End pop-up restaurant.
I’m happy to see these spaces coming back to life and bringing more dining options to the neighborhood.
Last month Andy Husbands restaurants’, Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel, rolled out another cheap eats option with their MacDaddy Happy Hour, that takes place every Friday from 5:30 – 7:00 PM.
For just a buck on Friday you can enjoy burgers, fries, and fried pies. What a friggin’ bahgain.
Taste of the South End (TOSE) will take place next Tuesday evening at The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. Curious to see which restaurants are participating in this years Taste? Click here.
All proceeds raised at this casual event go to benefit the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Purchase tickets while they remain.
Tickets to the Taste of the South End
General Admission: 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm / VIP Admission: 6:00 pm
The Boston Center for the Arts 539 Tremont Street, South End
When Francesca’s closed this past August, it was rumored the owner wanted an upscale cafe or bistro to replace Francesca’s but space limitations may have made that business model impractical.
Earlier this month I heard rumors that a national coffee chain would open at 564 Tremont Street. This week BostonInno confirmed Peet’s Coffee will open in the space formerly home to Francesca’s. While I’d prefer an independent cafe, I’m relieved to read Peet’s will be opening. At the moment, I don’t have any details on when they may be opening to the public.
Are there some new restaurants in the South End you’ve yet to try? Chances are those restaurants will be at this year’s Taste of the South End on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 so mark the date in your calendar and buy your tickets today because this event sells out every year.
Buy your tickets here: Taste of the South End
Not familiar with this event? Check out my video from last year’s event.
I stumbled upon a couple of really nice renderings of the Ink Block – a large, mixed use development just blocks from my home in Boston’s South End. I believe this photograph is a rendering of what the corner of Harrison Avenue and Traveler Street will look like when the development is done. Below I snagged an image of the former Boston Herald building (courtesy of Google Maps) that the Ink Block is being built upon. Under the former Herald building is an aerial view of the entire project. Seeing these images makes me very excited. When done, retail and commercial space as well as a couple hundred apartments and condos will replace what had previously been under used and mostly vacant space.
Cafe Madeleine, a French patisserie offering coffee, baked goods and sandwiches is looking to open at 517 Columbus Avenue (formerly Amsterdam Cafe which closed in April 2013). The owner has indicated the cafe will have an open kitchen, 6 window seats, 8 patio seats, and will be open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Cafe Madeleine’s owner, Frederic Robert, his sous chef, Hana Quon, and their zoning attorney are appealing to remove a condition limiting take-out that the former Amsterdam Cafe had been subject to. The zoning appeal meeting date has not yet been set, but the owners have asked for the support of the neighborhood association and residents. Stay tuned for more details.
Over the weekend it appeared as if the popular South End, cheap eats restaurant, Delux Cafe, had closed. Dig Boston posted this photo of the restaurant on their Twitter account @DigBoston on Saturday. Soon after @deluxcafe sent a Tweet assuring everyone they will reopen in February. The restaurant had been sold to a long time employee so one would expect Delux will remain same as it ever was; perhaps it is just getting a much deserved (and needed) cleaning.
The news of Delux closing did result in a lot of hand wringing initially as residents bemoaned the closing of yet another longstanding popular, cheap eats restaurant. Fortunately, that isn’t the case but it does provide everyone an opportunity to think through why (despite the popularity of such dining establishments) there are so few remaining in the South End. And what – if anything – will the neighborhood do to help encourage more restaurants like this to open in lieu of $20-$30 counterparts (or even worse more banks and real estate offices).
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross which owns the parking lot at 600 Harrison Avenue has leased development rights to allow for 160 apartments (with 21 affordable units and 3,600 square feet of retail or restaurant space) as well as enough underground parking to accommodate the Cathedral’s existing 79 spaces and more for residents.
More Details about 600 Harrison Avenue Project
While board approval awaits, there has been little push back from the community. Hopefully this will greenlight the project and move it forward.