Openings: Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh opens at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards (41 Bond St. at Arsenal Street), with customized stuffed pitas, wraps, and bowls catering to paleo, keto, and vegan diets. It joins chains like Frank Pepe’s and Shake Shack.
Wachusett Brew Yard has opened in Harvard Square (33 Dunster St. at Mount Auburn Street), serving pub snacks: poutine, nachos, fried pickles, burgers, flatbread pizza – and beer, of course. Visit Thursday through Sunday from noon until 8 p.m.
Closings: Another Boston institution says goodbye with the closure of Gaslight (560 Harrison Ave. at Waltham Street), a South End staple for 15 years, site of champagne-fueled brunches, romantic reunions, and countless first dates.
The brasserie closed after Sunday brunch on Nov. 22, says owner Seth Woods. Sister restaurant Cinquecento closed earlier this year due to flooding, but Woods continues to run Aquitaine Boston and Metropolis Café in the South End, as well as Aquitaine Chestnut Hill.
Woods says that his lease ran out, which necessitated the closure — but that Boston’s demography has changed, too.
The news raises bigger questions about the future of the South End, once one of the only games in town. Restaurants that defined the neighborhood, including Coda, Masa, and Stella, have closed in recent months.
Now, he says, “There are a lot of different areas that have become popular. Back in the day, 15 years ago, the South End was white hot. Somerville wasn’t really going on like it is now. Cambridge wasn’t on fire, with all their micro-neighborhoods. East Boston. Southie. Waterfront. Fort Point. Suburbs. The suburbs are on fire!” he says. “You put all these things together and say, ‘What do I really want to do?’”
He’s not sure yet, though he’s certain he won’t open a big suburban or urban restaurant soon. Post-pandemic, he thinks diners will return to their roots.
“I’d do something in a small neighborhood where I can have a connection with the guest and put out an authentic product. It’s about getting small again,” he says. “People are going to be loyal and want to feel safe.”
Coming soon: In Natick, it’s hip to be square: Square Mfg. Co. (935 Worcester St. at North Main Street) will open in December, bringing Detroit-style pizza to the area. Kris Gullapalli serves crispy deep-dish, rectangular pizza for takeout and delivery from 11 a.m. daily, alongside salads and wings. Try red sauce over cheese, or get creative with toppings like shrimp and grits or beef and broccoli with ginger and soy.
Meal kits: In Cambridge, Bambara Kitchen & Bar (25 Edwin H. Land Blvd. at Canal Park) offers weekly, family-style meal kits for ordering on Sundays beginning Nov. 29. Order online by 3 p.m. for pickup or delivery on Thursdays through Saturdays weekly. Get soup, salad, entree, dessert, and garlic-bread knots for $70; meals serve two adults. Order at www.bambara-cambridge.com.