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Sweet Basil opens in Waltham, tacos come to Westwood, and Gracie’s Ice Cream launches a cafe

Restaurant news you can use.

Watermelon gazpacho at Sweet Basil restaurant in Needham.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Coming Soon: Gracie’s Ice Cream, the popular dairy emporium in Somerville’s Union Square, plans a Kendall Square location this fall (399 Binney St. at Cardinal Medeiros Avenue) — complete with a café steered by a Barbara Lynch protégé. Earnest Drinks will also sell wine, beer, espresso, spiked milkshakes, and pints of Gracie’s ice cream, says owner Aaron Cohen (Earnest is his son’s middle name). Chef James Lavigne was chef de cuisine at Lynch’s Stir.

Westwood gets a taco infusion with the opening of Casa Loca Mexican Cantina (174 University Ave. at Dartmouth Street), the latest from the team behind Local Kitchen & Drinks, with locations throughout the western suburbs. They’ll serve tacos, fajitas, burrito bowls, and burgers when they open in September.


Provisions: Chef Brian Poe (Bukowski Tavern, The Tip Tap Room) now operates the Crane River Cheese Club, a specialty meat, cheese, and grocery delivery service on the North Shore. Order grilling kits, seafood, condiments, and herbs from Poe’s garden; he’ll deliver them throughout Essex and Middlesex counties.

“If there is a next round to [the pandemic] in the fall and winter. . . Crane River Cheese Club will guarantee that you can still eat high-quality meat, seafood, produce, cheese, and more — and that if you can’t leave your house again, we will bring you the best product. Can’t figure out exactly how to cook it? Not to worry; there’s a pretty good chance I will be delivering your groceries. So I’ll give you some pointers, and you can text me, too,” he promises. Order at

Expansions: Needham’s Sweet Basil will open a second branch in Waltham (469 Moody St. at Maple Street), replacing sister restaurant Balani. Balani served a little bit of everything; Sweet Basil focuses on Italian food, and chef-owner Dave Becker will also sell pasta, sauces, and cocktails to go. It’s open for dinner nightly beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 1.


Reopenings: Davio’s in the Back Bay (75 Arlington St. at St. James Avenue) reopens on Tuesday, Sept. 1, with indoor dining and takeout. And Charlestown’s Legal Oysteria (10 City Square) is back to serving dinner; it’s open daily from 4 p.m., offering seafood pasta and pizza.

Closings: In other Legal News, the Seaport’s Legal Test Kitchen (225 Northern Ave. at D Street) has shuttered, citing a lack of concert-goers and business visitors in the area. Legal Harborside across the street remains open.

Anna’s Taqueria will close its original location on Beacon Street in Brookline after 25 years, but says the closure is not a result of COVID-19, and there are other locations, including just around the corner, where fans can get their tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and bowls. In a social media post, Anna’s said, “Changes to restaurant operations in the past several years and the rise of food delivery apps has allowed our team to consolidate service to our other seven locations throughout Greater Boston, including our other Brookline spot right around the corner. Marking this our 25th year in business, we cannot thank you enough for all of the love and support you have shown throughout the years. With Love, Anna’s Taqueria.”

The owners of the Lobster Claw Restaurant in Orleans are retiring, and will close the tourist hot spot known for its seafood and nautical decor on Sept. 13. In a social media post, Don and Marylou Berig said, “After fifty-one great years, it’s time for the Berig family to say so long and retire! So many great friends have been made and the Berigs will miss you all so much, but all good things must come to an end! The Lobster Claw’s last day will be on Sunday, September 13th. The Berigs hope you come in and say goodbye before we close.”


Kara Baskin can be reached at Follow her @kcbaskin.