It appears as if Whole Foods at the Ink Block in the South End will be open for business starting Friday, January 9th at 10:00 AM. Local chefs will be making appearances the opening weekend including the likes of Joanne Chang-Myers.
Parking is available at the new grocery store and tours are even available this week to get a sneak peek at the newest (and largest) Whole Foods to open in Boston. You can follow them on Twitter for more updates @WFM_SouthEnd.
Despite the fact that I’m currently in Brazil, friendly tips from readers continue to help me keep you posted about life in the South End. Just as I was the first to share with you news about BoMA’s closing earlier this year, I’m happy to be the first to let you know the Elephant Walk South End quietly opened their doors for business this past Sunday evening. News of their opening came to me from two readers, Dave & Owings, who happened to be walking by the restaurant Sunday evening.
While the restaurant has not noted the opening on their website or facebook, and they are not taking reservations on Opentable.com yet, look for these updates in the days that follow. I will be in Brazil through the holidays so at this point I have no further details to offer, but if you do check out Elephant Walk let me know your thoughts about the décor, menu and food.
Congratulations to the owners of Elephant Walk. I want to welcome them to the neighborhood and wish them much success.
Elephant Walk – 1415 Washington Street – (617) 247-1500
Earlier this month UniversalHub and EaterBoston shared news about the new restaurant that Rebecca Roth and Seth Yeffe (from Gallows South End) will open in the space that was formerly occupied by Hamersley’s Bistro.
According to information learned from a licensing board hearing the new restaurant will serve small plates and shared dishes that have Asian and Mediterranean flavors. Sounds delicious but it will need to be with the new Barcelona South End tapas restaurant only steps away. While I think most miss seeing Gordon working behind his kitchen, Rebecca is as savvy as she is sweet and one can assume the restaurant will be a popular destination for South End residents when it opens in 2015.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Ted Tye, Managing Partner at National Development, the firm behind the South End’s Ink Block. In their temporary office across from the Ink Block, he showed me their plans for the new development and hinted at more news to share after the new year.
Ink 1 & 2 will open Feb 1, 2015 and are offering 1 month free rent for all 1 year leases and 6 weeks free rent for all 18 month leases.
Whole Foods is scheduled to open in just a few weeks but Ted was mum about giving an exact opening date in January. Don’t worry about the bad weather since 100+ parking spots are reserved for the store. In addition the Ink Block will offer cool amenities including: underground connectivity to Whole Foods so one needn’t go outside in bad weather; a new gym; pool and outdoor function space to enjoy and host parties. Also look for a new Hubway station and parking for a couple of ZipCars.
When speaking to the team at National Development they were keen to impress upon me their desire to leverage their commercial space for new restaurants (non-chains) that can provide more affordable dining options. They want restaurants because they would like to have tenants that will be open after normal business hours to avoid having the block go dark and to encourage more pedestrian traffic.
Last night one of the South End’s most eagerly anticipated restaurants had a soft opening. Upon entering Barcelona South End, patrons will see a large (26-seat) horseshoe shaped white marble bar that opens to the kitchen behind it. The sterile modern decor of its predecessor is gone – replaced by dark wood ceilings and floors that contrast with the white marble bar and subway tile along the back wall.
The tapas menu will offer plenty of temptations at an affordable price with most items ranging $6-$10. If you want more than tapas their menu has Paella, Meat & Fish and Mixed Grilled options ranging from $19 – $25. The cocktail menu and wine list are equally inviting, which makes me think this will become a favorite watering hole for locals looking for a place where they can catch up with friends and nibble on a few bites during the week.
The bar staff was knowledgeable and clearly excited to be open for business, reinforcing an already friendly atmosphere. The food we tried was quite good but sadly our photos didn’t do the food justice enough so I promise to go back for a more thorough sampling. Look for Barcelona to open in the coming days.
Barcelona – 525 Tremont Street – (617) 266 2600
Wednesday, December 10th from 4:00 – 9:00 pm your favorite South End shops will be open to encourage you to shop and dine in the neighborhood.
You can park for free at 540 Harrison Avenue and free Pedi Cabs will be available from 5-8pm to take you to any of the 32 participating retailers in the South End at no cost – just remember not to be a Grinch and tip your Pedi Cab riders.
A handful of restaurants are also participating in the program so you can grab something to eat after you’ve flexed your retail muscle. For every $25 you spend at a participating store you will be entered to win a massive gift basket which has items from each boutique shop. To find out which stores and restaurants are participating on Dec 10th visit www.shopthesouthend.com.
Big changes are in store for one of Aquitaine Group’s signature south end restaurants. Effective January 1, 2015 Union Bar & Grille, which first opened eleven years ago in the autumn of 2003 will close. Aquitaine Group, which owns Union will retain the space and reopen a new restaurant under a new name with a targeted opening for April 2015. There is no information about the new concept, menu or who will help run the re-branded space. However, the Aquitaine Group understands the competitive South End restaurant industry better than most and have an impressive track record.
A lot has changed since October 2013 when Union opened. They were one of the first restaurants in the emerging SoWa district of the South End. Despite the fact that earlier that year Wilkes Passage and Rollins Square had opened, the restaurant scene in the South End didn’t cross over Tremont Street with but a few exceptions. Union’s presence with their gourmet, house ground burger and 10k Tuna changed all that and shortly after more restaurants followed.
I have a lot of fond memories of Union but the restaurant has lost its way and newer restaurants nearby like The Gallows and Boston Chops have proven to be tough competition for a restaurant that has not been updated in over a decade. I look forward to the new space when it reopens in the spring of 2015 and wish them all the best.