By my estimates, the South End will have 18 functioning coffee houses when the U.K. coffee chain Caffe Nero and Cuppa Coffee open.
The map I created shows only five of these businesses are international coffee chains. I hope for the sake of the neighborhood that all these establishments are successful, but I’d especially like to encourage people to support the local, independent coffee houses here. I’ve included links and addresses to all the shops; apologies if I’ve left anyone out. #BuyLocalCoffee shops in red font indicate they are national / international franchise or chains. Black font indicates they are either independent or a small, local chain.
1 – Render Coffee 563 Columbus Ave, Boston
2 – Cafe Madeleine 517 Columbus Ave, Boston
3 – Starbucks 627 Tremont Street, Boston
4 – Appleton Cafe 123 Appleton Street, Boston
5 – South End Buttery on Clarendon 37 Clarendon Street, Boston
6 – Berkeley Perk Cafe 69 Berkeley Street, Boston
7 – Caffe Nero 564 Tremont Street, Boston
8 – Peets Cafe at Capital One Ink Block, Boston
9 – Cuppa Coffee 55 Traveler Street, Boston
10 – Dunkin Donuts 1138 Washington Street, Boston
11 – Mohr & McPherson Cafe 460 Harrison Avenue, Boston
12 – Wholy Grain 275 Shawmut Avenue, Boston
13 – South End Buttery 314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston
14 – Green Light Cafe 560 Harrison Avenue
15 – Stella Cafe 1525 Washington Street, Boston
16 – Flour Cafe 1595 Washington Street, Boston
17 – Jaho Coffee & Tea 1651 Washington Street, Boston
18 – Dunkin Donuts 616 Massachusetts Ave, Boston
It is surprising to me how few people in the neighborhood seem to be aware of Cinquecento’s patio bar which is made from a repurposed shipping container. The 12-seat bar complete with comfortable patio furniture is Sergio and my favorite place to grab a drink outside.
Boston Magazine had a great write-up about their bar in June; complete with far better photos than the one I asked Sergio to take on my iPhone (when will the iPhone come with a decent camera?) If you’ve not checked out the bar, I’d suggest giving it a try. It is the only outdoor bar that I know of in the neighborhood.
Rendering of “Siena” loft residences at the Ink Block
National Development shared this image for Siena, a new 79-unit condominium building on the corner of Albany Street that will begin construction in 2016 and open in early 2017. The building is the sixth in the complex better known as the Ink Block; where the Boston Herald building previously stood.
National Development pointed the interest in their other condominium building, Sepia, at the Ink Block which opens in November of 2105, when they introduced Siena. According to the release, the building will include studios, one, two, and three bedrooms, as well as the maisonettes, which they describe as a new concept to Boston living – loft-style units with ground floor terraces.
The building will also have something called their rooftop “Sky Lounge“, although I’m really not sure what that is. It sounds like a bar but if it is only open to residents then it may just be a fancy name for a roof deck, which considering its location could probably provide you with the best traffic updates for the Southeast Expressway and the Mass Pike in the city.
An exciting urban intervention program is set to take place under the I-93 highway overpass near Traveler and West 4th Street to help turn this underutilized 2.5 square mile area dividing the South End and Southie into an outdoor Urban Innovation Gallery. The Design Museum Foundation has a 7 minute video describing the intent behind this program, which you can view here.
If you are interested in learning more about this program there are three ways you can get involved.
Volunteer and help transform the Neighborhood Border Zone into an Urban Innovation Gallery by helping with events, design, installation, and more — Volunteer Form
Sponsor this project to help make it a success — Sponsorship Form
Form an Urban Innovation Festival team to take part in a 3-day Urban Innovation Festival next summer, start thinking about your team and stay tuned for a Call for Teams, coming soon.
Last June the Archdiocese of Boston put the Holy Trinity Church up for sale. The ne0-gothic church and rectory first opened in 1877 but has been vacant since it closed in 2011. Last week the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved plans to transform the church and rectory into 33 new housing units. The $47 million project will involve demolition of the existing interior space to accommodate a new 8-story building that will also include 28 basement parking spots.
The new design attempts to marry modern steel and glass elements while preserving the historic character of the existing structure and exterior masonry. Lighting features will enhance the church’s spire and highlight the classic architecture of the building.
While many in the South End have been fixated on the development at the Ink Block and Troy Boston along Traveler and Albany Streets, just a few blocks down the road are two large properties that will be developed in the coming years.
Last month The Boston Flower Exchange shareholders approved the sale of their 5.6 acre property (shown above) after receiving a $35 million dollar offer. Their vote has cleared the way for another large development in the neighborhood. Couple that with the news that last fall Boston Medical Center sold three buildings to Leggat McCall Properties along Harrison Avenue and East Canton Street and this section of the South End looks like it will be transformed; potentially bringing thousands of new residents to the neighborhood.
Leggat McCall Properties met with the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association in May to discuss their plans for future development of this area. Stay tuned; more information is expected to be forthcoming.
Merrill & Co. was an eagerly anticipated (and hyped) South End restaurant that opened in March 2014 with quite a splash. For about three months it was the “IT” place to dine, but after an initial honeymoon it didn’t have the staying power and earlier this month several food blogs published what everyone in the neighborhood already knew — nobody eats at Merrill & Co. All one had to do was walk by on a weekend evening and you could see the place half empty.
Merrill & Co. will close Friday, June 19th
In an interesting twist the owners are creating a competition to find the right person to take over the space. While I don’t pretend to know how to run a successful restaurant or even what the rent there might cost here are some thoughts on what I think one needs to do to succeed in that space.
- The neighborhood doesn’t need anymore small plates restaurants.
- Unless you are going consistently crank out amazing food (and not just claim to) bring your average entrée price down to $18-$22.
- Do great comfort food or something ethnic the neighborhood doesn’t have to stand out. Some suggestions include: Greek, Moroccan, or a Japanese Noodle Bar — I’m thinking Ramen and Karaoke Bar.
- Create great bar scene at your restaurant where people can pick from a number of easy to eat options bar side.
- Do something with that beautiful patio while the weather is warm.