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Somerville’s Favorite Porchetta Sandwich Shop Closes for Move to Food Hall — and More Restaurant Closings

Eater logo Eater 3/12/2020 Rachel Leah Blumenthal and Terrence B. Doyle
a plate of food with a fork: Porchetta sandwich at Pennypacker’s in Somerville © Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Porchetta sandwich at Pennypacker’s in Somerville

Welcome to the Eater Boston restaurant closings roundup; this page is updated weekly, with the most recent updates at the top, highlighting all the restaurants that have bid farewell to the Boston area in recent weeks and the ones that have announced an upcoming closure but haven’t yet closed. Something missing? Email boston@eater.com. (Looking for info on recent restaurant openings? Find that here.)

Check out the late 2019 archive here.

March 12, 2020: A Somerville Porchetta Gem, an Inman Square Mainstay, and More Restaurant Closings

CAMBERVILLE

Not yet gone: Since late 2013, food truck Pennypacker’s has operated a small storefront in Somerville’s Magoun Square (514C Medford St.), serving a rotating variety of porchetta sandwiches, along with salads, soups, and other lunch-y bites. As of March 15, the Somerville storefront will close to the public (although it’ll still be the base of operations for the food truck and catering — “feel free to stop in and say hi!!!!!” as Pennypacker’s noted in the closure announcement on Instagram). But it’s more of a beginning than an ending: Pennypacker’s is one of the vendors at the forthcoming downtown Boston food hall High Street Place, opening this spring. So, in summary: The Somerville storefront will close, the food truck and catering services will remain in operation, and there will be a new food hall kiosk in downtown Boston this spring. Go forth and eat porchetta.

In other Camberville “not yet gone” news, Inman Square mainstay City Girl Cafe will close at the end of May. “We’re pretty sure that you know this, but running a restaurant is really hard!” the team wrote on Instagram. “We are very proud that we were able to keep this little place running for 12 years without compromising on the things that were important to us (fair wages, quality of food, good vibes). However, change is inevitable. We’re getting old, we’re getting poor and it’s about time that we figure out what to be when we grow up.”

From now until the closure, City Girl Cafe will reinstate its Italian dinner service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights — it had stopped serving dinner about a year ago to focus on brunch and catering — and weekend brunch service will continue to the end as well. “Please come out and support us during these last couple of months so we can go out with a bang!” the Instagram announcement continued. “We’d love to see your faces as much as possible because you are the best!”

March 5, 2020: A Classy Cafe by Boston Common, a Newton Mainstay, and More Restaurant Closings

a dining room table: Explorateur, a cafe and restaurant by Boston Common, is now closed to make way for two new Guy Fieri restaurants © Sarah Storrer/Eater Explorateur, a cafe and restaurant by Boston Common, is now closed to make way for two new Guy Fieri restaurants

BOSTON PROPER

While the Big Night hospitality group is mostly known for giant, flashy, clubby venues, it opened more of a subdued cafe and restaurant, Explorateur, about two and a half years ago in the former masonic lodge space across from Boston Common (186 Tremont St.). It was a popular spot for remote workers and served a nice range of beverages, baked goods, and heartier meals. The group closed Explorateur on March 2, though, in order to replace it with two Guy Fieri restaurants, the sit-down Guy Fieri’s Boston Kitchen + Bar and fast-casual Chicken Guy, both expected to open later this year. Wifi-ers will have to work elsewhere, unless they don’t mind their laptops getting drenched with Donkey Sauce.

Not yet gone: In other Boston news, Brighton’s Lincoln Bar and Grill (8 Lincoln St.) will reportedly pour its last pint on March 8 after about six years in business. It had replaced longtime dive bar Hogan’s Run. The writing’s been on the wall for a couple years: The site is slated for redevelopment. Yep, condos.

FARTHER AFIELD

Newton mainstay Lumière (1293 Washington St.) is now officially closed; see February 5 update below for some background. A farewell message on the restaurant’s website says that “it has been an honor and a privilege” to serve its customers for the last 20 years. Chef Michael Leviton founded the restaurant but departed in 2016, selling to Jordan Bailey, who had worked as the restaurant’s chef de cuisine.

February 20, 2020: A Wine Bar Inside a Fine-Dining Restaurant Inside a Brewery, a Framingham Outpost of a Fondue Chain, and More Restaurant Closings

a chair sitting in front of a store: Tasting Counter remains open, but it has ended its casual wine bar services © John Skibbee Tasting Counter remains open, but it has ended its casual wine bar services

BOSTON PROPER

Boston Harbor Hotel’s Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar is now officially closed. As mentioned in the February 5 update below, the space will be repurposed for private events, and the hotel’s other dining options remain in operation.

Not yet gone: Boston Cheese Cellar (18 Birch St., Roslindale) will close at the end of February. The cheese shop’s owner, Adam Shutes, shared a note with Boston Cheese Cellar’s newsletter subscribers, celebrating the shop’s five years in business and inviting fans to stop in for a final grilled cheese, charcuterie, and conversation over the next couple of weeks.

CAMBERVILLE

Haute Coffee, as mentioned in the February 13 update below, is now officially closed at One Canal Park in Kendall Square. Its older sibling out in Concord remains in operation.

Don’t worry: Acclaimed Somerville fine-dining destination Tasting Counter (14 Tyler St.) isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it’s adding more services. However, it has ended its wine bar services as of February 15 to make way for the addition of more standard lunch and dinner services (beginning in March). The wine bar hours were a way to get a taste of Tasting Counter in a more affordable, a la carte way — the restaurant’s standard services are extravagant tasting-menu-only affairs.

“Wine Bar was a huge departure from our dinner service and it was exciting to create a more casual experience for guests and focus so much on our natural wine program,” said co-owner Ginhee Ungár, via press release, “but over the past couple of years, several incredible wine bars have opened in and around Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville and so the time seems right for us to focus on what drives and inspires us and is ultimately what we set out to do nightly when we opened nearly five years ago.”

FARTHER AFIELD

The Melting Pot, a fondue chain, only has one Boston-area location left (it’s in Bedford) following the recent closure of its Framingham franchise, which was located at 92 Worcester Rd. (Route 9). Plenty of cheese-filled locations are still open around North America.

BonCaldo, a decade-old upscale Italian spot on Route 1 in Norwood (1381 Boston-Providence Turnpike) has closed. A Facebook post on the restaurant’s page reads, in part: “With a heavy and humble heart I wanted to reach out to all of you to let you know I will cherish every memory these last 10 years ... So many of you have touched my soul in so many ways ... I will let you know where I land with the next part of my journey.”

February 13, 2020: A Longtime Mattapan Restaurant, a Cambridge Coffee Shop, and More Restaurant Closings

a woman sitting at a table with a plate of food: Haute Coffee © Haute Coffee/Official Site Haute Coffee

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A market and takeout shop in Boston’s South End has reportedly closed after a few years in business. Muscarella’s Market (570 Tremont St.) sold groceries and offered a takeout menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies, and some breakfast options. Calls to the business went unanswered Thursday.

Lenny’s Tropical Bakery and Restaurant (1195 Blue Hill Ave.) closed on February 8 after about 40 years in business. The owners are reportedly retiring. The restaurant served a wide menu including breakfast dishes, curries, beef patties, and more.

CAMBERVILLE

Not yet gone: A Cambridge location of a Concord coffee shop will close its doors after nearly three years in operation. Haute Coffee Cambridge (One Canal Park) will close following service on Friday, February 14, 2020. A post on the shop’s Instagram page indicated “the weekends just didn’t materialize enough to support the business and we had to make the difficult decision to close.” The original location in Concord will remain open.

FARTHER AFIELD

Wick’s (123 Pleasant St.) in Marblehead shut down following business on Saturday, February 8. The restaurant was known for its brick oven cooking, and was part of the Warwick Place complex that also includes a movie theater and the Dandee Donut Factory, both of which remain open.

February 5, 2020: A Hotel Restaurant, Korean Food in Fenway, and More Restaurant Closings

a room filled with furniture and a large window: Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar at the Boston Harbor Hotel © [Official Photo] Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar at the Boston Harbor Hotel

BOSTON PROPER

Not yet gone: Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar, within the Boston Harbor Hotel, will close after service on Saturday, February 15. The hotel plans to convert the space to accommodate private events, with executive chef Daniel Bruce carrying on in his role for the hotel’s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille and Rowes Wharf Bar. The closure of Meritage will not impact the Boston Wine Festival, which Bruce founded. “Meritage has been an extremely special place for me over the past 17 years,” Bruce said in a release. “I believe that evolution is a key part of the luxury hospitality industry and look forward to the future possibilities within this premier waterfront space.”

In other “not yet gone” news, Korean restaurant Sojuba will close, but not for good: The restaurant will relocate down the road into a huge new space, the former Tony C’s at 1265 Boylston St. The restaurant posted a message to its Facebook page indicating the change in location would result in three times as many space, the addition of rooftop dining, separate lunch hours, and additional menu items, including a whopping 50 new cocktails. Sojuba will share details on its closing timeline and eventual reopening on social media.

FARTHER AFIELD

Cupola in Newton Centre (1231 Centre St.) has closed, with a note of appreciation for customer support and patronage. The restaurant served Italian dishes, including pastas, pizzas, salads, and soups.

Not yet gone: Word that Newton mainstay Lumière (1293 Washington St.) would close landed on December 12, and now the restaurant has a confirmed closing date. The restaurant closes out two decades in business following service on February 29. Chef-owner Jordan Bailey took over from founder and chef Michael Leviton in 2016, having served as the restaurant’s chef de cuisine. Now, the sale of the restaurant is in the works, and Boston Magazine reports the new owners may retain staff.

January 30, 2020: Japanese-New England Food, a Student-Loved Pub, and More Restaurant Closings

a plate of food sitting on top of a wooden table: A grilled chicken dish at Whaling in Oklahoma © Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater A grilled chicken dish at Whaling in Oklahoma

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After about a year and a half, Whaling in Oklahoma has closed in the South End (647 Tremont St.), with partner Brian Lesser telling Boston Magazine: “The restaurant was not doing as well as we expected. We are exploring and considering various options for the space.”

The restaurant was sort of a comeback project for chef Tim Maslow, who laid low in the local restaurant scene for a couple years after closing his acclaimed Brookline restaurant Ribelle in 2016 in somewhat dramatic fashion. In mid-2017 — new to fatherhood, new to pottery, and with a renewed outlook on the hospitality industry — Maslow began searching for a new location, with plans to open something fun, hospitable, and down to earth.

Whaling in Oklahoma debuted in summer 2018, with Maslow working alongside Ribelle alum Matt Hummel in the kitchen, and with another Ribelle alum, Colin Mason, running the beverage program.

That fall, Maslow spoke with Eater about the philosophy behind the menu, describing Whaling in Oklahoma as an “American restaurant with Japanese sensibilities and flavors ... trying to show respect [to Japanese cooking] but ... trying to use what we have available to us locally.” That meant dishes like grilled local chicken that was marinated in shio koji and served with a bonito flack-filled “funky pepper condiment.”

“My goal was to do the second page of a sushi restaurant menu really well,” Maslow said at the time. “Fry, grill, those are two sensibilities we want to focus on.” And he wanted to be judged on the simple things — house-made pickles, rice.

Critics were fairly impressed, with Boston Magazine’s Julia Clancy praising a “luxuriously juicy” chicken dish and a Japanese cheesecake topped with runny cheese that was “a bold swing of opulence so wrong it was extraordinary.” For The Improper Bostonian, MC Slim JB described the restaurant as “an ironically contradictory, occasionally exhilarating experience that clearly reflects the boss’ tortured creative genius.”

Not yet gone: Allston bar T’s Pub (973 Commonwealth Ave.) is apparently slated for replacement by a Korean barbecue chain called Gopchang Story BBQ; representatives for the two businesses have not yet replied to requests for comment regarding closing and opening timelines. T’s Pub has been open since 1971, a popular haunt for BU students and Allston rats, offering its patrons karaoke and trivia nights.

Also not yet gone, mobile operation Bartleby’s Seitan Stand is packing up and heading south next month. The vegan food truck, which started up in 2018, will leave Boston for bigger opportunities and proximity to family in northwest Arkansas, according to a blog post by founder Stephanie Kirkpatrick.

“Arkansas provides a really unique opportunity for Bartleby’s,” wrote Kirkpatrick. “There is a robust food truck community already established in Fayetteville, our destination, and the warmer climate will allow us to operate comfortably all year long. We are also looking to grow Bartleby’s menu, and in the heart of the south we can be immersed in the type of culinary scene that inspired our first recipes. The vegan lifestyle is becoming more mainstream: there are vegan options available at many restaurants, and a fully vegan restaurant slated to open over the next few months. Though the popularity of plant-based dining is surging in Arkansas, the demand currently exceeds the supply. Enter Bartleby’s.”

The Arkansas plans include establishing a dedicated storefront, starting wholesale distribution, and growing Bartleby’s online store (including shipping food back up to Boston). “We also have plans to bring Bartleby’s back to the northeast in a more permanent way, so this isn’t goodbye,” noted Kirkpatrick.

Catch Bartleby’s at a string of final events in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond over the next several weeks.

FARTHER AFIELD

The Medford location of the Chicken & Rice Guys is now closed, following damage from a late December 2019 burst pipe.

“The flooding ... was so severe that it doesn’t make sense for us to return to the location, and instead use our resources to expand the business in other ways,” the restaurant announced on Facebook. “We are currently looking for possible new spaces, and will keep you all updated on any new openings.”

The Chicken & Rice Guys remains in operation in two downtown Boston storefronts and with an active food truck schedule.

On the North Shore, as mentioned in the January 23 update below, today is the final day for Revere’s Bisuteki Japanese Steak House (407 Squire Rd.), which has been serving hibachi and more for decades. Several sibling spots remain open around the region.

January 23, 2020: Downtown Burgers, North Shore Hibachi, and More Restaurant Closings

a close up of a slice of pizza on a paper plate: A Wheelhouse burger © Wheelhouse/Official Site A Wheelhouse burger

BOSTON PROPER

After about a year and a half in business, Back Bay Italian restaurant Orá Trattorizza (655 Boylston St.) has closed. Located next to the Charlesmark Hotel in the heart of Copley Square, the restaurant featured Neapolitan-style pizza, cooked in a brick oven imported from Italy, as well as sfizi, pasta, and more. Owner Josephine Megwa is also behind Piattini Wine Cafe, which remains in operation around the corner on Newbury Street.

Downtown Boston Irish pub An Tain (31 India St.), noted in the January 2 update below, is now officially closed.

Not yet gone: Wheelhouse (63 Broad St.) is a casual, downtown Boston burger joint, mostly takeout, that has been serving some of Boston’s best burgers for over five years; it’s an immensely popular weekday breakfast and lunch spot for those who work in the neighborhood. Per an announcement on Instagram, the Broad Street shop will close on January 31, but it’s only a brief goodbye — the previously announced food hall location, a five-minute walk away, is coming soon. Wheelhouse will open at the forthcoming High Street Place (100 High St.) around March 2020, along with a sibling fried chicken spot called Haley Jane’s. The restaurants will be open seven days a week, adding dinner hours too.

“The soul that built this place with our let-it-fly attitude, Dr. Dre tunes at 7 a.m., and loyal regulars will be hard to duplicate,” cofounder Jon Chase wrote on Instagram. “We will try, I promise.”

FARTHER AFIELD

In Waltham, Chinese restaurant Sichuan’s Garden (411 Waverley Oaks Rd.) is now closed due to its owner’s retirement; the restaurant had been open since 1995 and featured a buffet.

Not yet gone: Up on the North Shore, Revere’s Bisuteki Japanese Steak House (407 Squire Rd.) will close, ending a decades-long run on January 30. The hibachi spot has siblings in Cambridge, Braintree, Newton, and Saugus, which remain open. (The Cambridge spot is called Bisuteki Tokyo Japanese Steak House, while the others are Tokyo Japanese Steak House.)

January 16, 2020: Alleyway Cookies, Fine Dining With a View, and More Restaurant Closings

a television is sitting on the side of a building: Salem’s Goodnight Fatty cookie shop has closed its alleyway location, but the newer carriage house location lives on © Goodnight Fatty/Facebook Salem’s Goodnight Fatty cookie shop has closed its alleyway location, but the newer carriage house location lives on

BOSTON PROPER

In May 2019, Chilacates owner Socrates Abreu opened the Joint in Jamaica Plain (605 Centre St., Boston), a rebranding/revamping of Grass Fed, the burger joint that closed in early 2018. But burgers weren’t Abreu’s calling, and he closed the Joint late last month, intending to turn it into a boozy, sit-down version of his growing Chilacates chain. Chilacates Cantina, as it will be called, could open this month.

Temporary closure: Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro (25 Charles St., Beacon Hill, Boston) has been gearing up for a redesign for a while, and now it is officially closed, temporarily, to make it happen. The hotel is around 20 years old, although its building is historic.

“It is bittersweet that we announce that we have closed for renovations,” the venue posted on Facebook. We truly appreciate all of your loyalty and friendship, and are so excited to be creating a new space to share with all of you in the coming months. Stay tuned here and on our website for more information!”

Signage on the building reportedly promises a “new look but the same smiling faces” and a summer 2020 reopening.

Not yet gone: Known for its 52nd-floor views of the city, the decades-old Top of the Hub will close in April 2020. Read more here.

As noted in the January 2 update below, downtown Boston Irish pub An Tain (31 India St.) will close, and its liquor license will go to a Seaport District hotel. Now there’s an official closing date: January 17 (tomorrow). There are “tons of drink and food specials” until the end, the bar promises on Facebook.

CAMBERVILLE

Not yet gone: Salt & Olive Market — a six-year-old specialty shop selling oils, salts, vinegars, and more — will close by the end of February 2020. In mid-2019, the market had moved from one Harvard Square space (1160 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge) to another (36 JFK St., Cambridge).

“The reasons are myriad, but led by the need to focus on family,” owners Mary Taylor and Lee Phenner wrote on Facebook. “We move ahead with wonderful memories, and the belief that Salt & Olive created a delicious experience for the past 6 years. We’ll be forever grateful for your support, and for doing something that we loved in the wonderful City of Cambridge. Please stop in and help us clear out inventory!!!”

FARTHER AFIELD

As mentioned in the January 2 update below, the space housing Grassona’s Italian (1704 Beacon St., Brookline) — the two-year-old revamp of Fairsted Kitchen — will soon be home to Ivory Pearl, cocktail king Ran Duan’s newest venture. Now Grassona’s is officially closed for regular service, but the restaurant will host a final goodbye party on January 21, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., with cocktails, snacks, and Sicilian slices.

Up on the North Shore, Salem has seen a couple closures in recent weeks:

Stella’s, a wine bar that had just celebrated its first anniversary, closed at 94 Lafayette St. (Previously, the address was home to a barbecue restaurant, Smokin’ Betty’s, that closed after an even shorter run.) Stella’s served raw bar items and other seafood, pasta, and more, as well as a very long wine list.

Plus, Salem cookie business Goodnight Fatty has shut down its unusual but popular alleyway location — a conference room at the end of an alley that the team converted into a cookie shop (complete with games) every weekend for the last several years. But the newer, more permanent carriage house location (1 Washington Sq., Salem) lives on.

January 2, 2020: Southern Food in the South End, a Century-Old Seafood Restaurant in the Seaport, and More Closings

a bowl of food: Fried chicken at Southern Proper, now closed in the South End © Sarah Storrer/Eater Fried chicken at Southern Proper, now closed in the South End

BOSTON PROPER

Another decades-old standby is gone: No Name Restaurant (15 12 Fish Pier St. East, Seaport District) closed abruptly at the end of 2019 after over 100 years in business in some form or another, from its early days as a no-name seafood stand for fishermen to its later years as a full-service restaurant. The restaurant reportedly filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.

Boston also lost a younger restaurant this week: Chef Jason Cheek’s Southern restaurant Southern Proper (600 Harrison Ave., South End) closed at the end of service on New Year’s Eve after just under two years in operation. The attractive restaurant served critically acclaimed fried chicken as well as other Southern-inspired food, such as shrimp and grits, smoked sausages, and hush puppies.

Plus, multiple Boston locations of casual chain Cosi have reportedly closed, including downtown locations at Milk Street, Federal Street, and South Station. New Jersey and Virginia also saw closures around the same time.

In Chinatown, the previously announced closure of BLR by Shōjō (13 Hudson St.) came to pass on December 21, with the team shifting focus to its other restaurants — Shōjō, Ruckus, and a forthcoming new place, also in Chinatown.

And in Boston beer news, Backlash Beer Company (152 Hampden St., Roxbury) has closed its taproom, which had been open for a little over a year, the brewery announced today. But the company will remain in operation, contract-brewing like it did before opening the Roxbury brewery and taproom.

Temporary closure: The Baseball Tavern (1270 Boylston St., Fenway) officially closed on January 1 (see December 12 update for more information), but not forever: It will reopen in about two years in the new development slated for its space, minus a roofdeck, plus a patio.

Not yet gone: As recently reported (see November 21 update), Coppersmith (40 West Third St., South Boston) will close due to redevelopment of its building, but the huge restaurant has been granted a reprieve from its January 2020 closing timeline — it will now last through late 2020, giving fans one more summer to enjoy its rooftop dining.

In other not-yet-gone news, downtown Boston Irish pub An Tain (31 India St.) will close around the middle of January 2020, with its liquor license transferring to a Seaport District hotel.

CAMBERVILLE

The Biscuit (406 Washington St., Somerville) is now closed after 15 years in its original location, but the cafe plans to reopen at a yet-to-be-announced address nearby. Owners Greta and Andrew Platt blame an “unreasonable landlord” who wasn’t even interested in upping the rent or negotiating. The landlord “wants [the Washington Street space] empty and fallow, like the majority of their other properties in the neighborhood,” the Platts wrote on Indiegogo, where they’re running a fundraising campaign to help with the move. (As of press time, they’ve raised a little over $15,000.) Here’s a bit more on the Camberville mainstay from Dig Boston.

Over in Davis Square, Jae’s Cafe (243 Elm St., Somerville) closed on December 28, according to posted signage at the restaurant that was shared in the Davis Square Facebook group. The Asian fusion restaurant opened in early 2019, a revamp and partial ownership change for Korean restaurant Meju. Jae’s also served as a reincarnation of a small local chain that had previously disappeared a few years earlier.

In Kendall Square, Cafe Artscience (650 Kendall St., Cambridge) has closed after five years, although founder David Edwards plans to open a restaurant in its place called Senses. While Artscience went through several changes over the years along with several large staff turnovers, it typically adhered to a style of fine-dining that reflected Edwards’ science background (he’s an inventor, professor, and scientist who’s behind several food-related creations, such as WikiPearls, edible food packaging) without being an over-the-top homage to molecular gastronomy.

And the changes to Harvard Square keep coming:

Burger shop Flat Patties (33 Brattle St., Cambridge) is now closed. The closure wasn’t unexpected; Flat Patties owner Tom Brush told Scout Cambridge a year ago that the restaurant probably wouldn’t be open past 2019 due to rent increases, and downtown Boston sandwich shop Foumami confirmed to Eater in September that it would expand to Cambridge, taking over the Flat Patties space.

Also in Harvard, bao shop Tom’s Baobao (84 Winthrop St.) is now closed after three and a half years. It was the first international location of the China-based bao chain GanQiShi from owner Tom Tong. It later expanded to Providence, where it closed in mid-2019.

FARTHER AFIELD

In Worcester, Deadhorse Hill sibling Simjang (72 Shrewsbury St.), a Korean-American restaurant, is now closed (see December 12 update for details.) Its new sibling Luci’s Taco Shop and Margarita Bar will take over the space, and Simjang will reopen elsewhere in Worcester later this year.

As noted in the December 12 update, December 22 was the final day for Cohasset Italian restaurant Simply Smith’s (1 Pleasant St.), which had been open for about three years. Owners Greg Smith and Jean Sullivan plan to open a new restaurant elsewhere; they’ll post updates on Facebook as plans progress.

Not yet gone: Grassona’s Italian (1704 Beacon St., Brookline), the revamp of Fairsted Kitchen that has been open for two years, will apparently close at a yet-to-be-announced date, likely by spring, to make way for Ivory Pearl, the forthcoming project from Ran Duan (Blossom Bar, Baldwin Bar). Duan reportedly told Brookline’s select board that he hopes to begin construction no later than spring 2020, with construction expected to take only about three months.

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