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Cambridge’s Automatic closes, Brookline’s Dumpling Daughter opens, and new takeout abounds

Restaurant news you can use.

Dumplings at Dumpling Daughter in Cambridge.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/file

Openings: Weston’s popular Dumpling Daughter has opened a branch in Brookline (1309 Beacon St. at Harvard Street). Owner Nadia Liu Spellman is a daughter of Sally Ling, the longtime Boston restaurateur who pioneered Chinese fine-dining at Sally Ling’s inside Cambridge’s Hyatt Regency. Order dumplings, buns, noodle soups, and rice bowls for pickup, plus only-in-Brookline menu items like spicy chili lo mein noodles.

Dumpling Daughter owner Nadia Liu Spellman.Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff

Coming Soon: Mary Dumont (Cultivar, Harvest) has partnered with Pat McAuley, founder of Quincy’s Rewild pop-up plant-based beer hall, to open Plant Pub this summer. They’re finalizing a brick-and-mortar location. In the meantime, get Boston-area delivery of plant-based pub snacks, from stuffed potatoes to fries with cashew curds and smoked kelp bacon.


“We think it’s even more important to launch in this fashion to bring people food and coincidentally provide jobs for people at a time when there's a lot of uncertainty,” Dumont says.

Closings: Morano Gelato has permanently closed its shops in Chestnut Hill and in Hanover, N.H., owner Morgan Morano tells the Globe.

The closure has drawn media attention, Morano says, perhaps because she has opted to shut down despite outward appearances of success. Both stores enjoyed a devout following; Forbes even speculated that she sold the “best gelato in America." Morano, who trained in an Italian gelato lab, released a cookbook in 2015. Until recently, she planned to expand further.

“I think we’re the first wave,” she says. “I think there are a lot of businesses hanging on and being advised to hang on. I don’t think we’ve hit the wave of massive business closures that most likely will happen; maybe it’s because we’re ahead of the curve.”

Morano Gelato in Hanover, N.H., is closed for good.

Morano says that unlike many restaurants, she’s not set up to offer delivery or takeout. She relies on foot traffic and lines.

“Our gelato is a little more premium because of the quality. The prices are slightly higher, but still, selling $3, $4, $5 cups of gelato? You make money on volume. If you’re a business that needs lines to generate revenue, it’s tough to pull yourself out of a two-month hole,” she says. “Some businesses can adapt and thrive, but some businesses won’t be able to change their business model.”


Viet Wings at the Automatic restaurant in Cambridge in 2016.John Blanding/Globe staff/file

In Cambridge, The Automatic (50 Hampshire St. at Webster Avenue) has closed, disappointing fans of Frito pie and beef heart skewers. It opened with a heavy-hitting pedigree, founded by East Coast Grill legend Chris Schlesinger and B-Side Lounge bartender Dave Cagle. (Cagle subsequently bought out Schlesinger.)

“Winter was tough. This is the time of year when our sales double because of the patio. We’re missing out on that, and it carries the whole year, so there’s no way we can reopen,” Cagle says, noting that his closure could be among the first of many in and around Boston because of COVID-19. “I think this will be a correction for the hospitality industry around town: survival of the fittest,” he says.

But he has perspective: “I’m happy to be healthy and alive. Maybe I’ll go farm chickens.”

Tortellini Brodo d'Estate at Fat Hen on Broadway in East Somerville.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Takeout: In East Somerville, the excellent Italian restaurant Fat Hen (126 Broadway at Rush Street) is now open for online ordering. Pick up curbside for at-home heating: lamb meatballs, pork belly polenta, braised rabbit, and a selection of bottled wine. Nearby in Davis Square, Foundry on Elm’s Foundry at Home menu (255 Elm St. at Highland Avenue) features cocktail kits, charcuterie, mac and cheese, and even frozen cookie dough. Get delivery or pick up curbside Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. In Jamaica Plain, the cozy Vee Vee (763 Centre St. at Greenough Avenue) offers comfort-food takeout Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. Settle in for a night of Netflix with beef stroganoff, fried chicken, baby back ribs, and meat loaf. In the South End, beloved red-sauce joint Anchovies (433 Columbus Ave. at Braddock Park) has resurfaced for daily takeout beginning at 4 p.m., peddling fried ravioli, calzones, pizza, and $14 bottles of wine.


The Italian Nachos at Anchovies.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

Kara Baskin can be reached at Follow her @kcbaskin.