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East Coast Grill to close this month

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East Coast Grill and Raw bar has been a favorite dining spot for many people over the last 17 years.Newman, Amy Globe photo

The East Coast Grill in Inman Square said Friday it will shutter on Jan. 23, ending a 30-year run in the Cambridge neighborhood.

The local institution — which attracted loyal fans for its spicy "Hell Nights," raw bar, and barbecue — opened in 1985 with chef and cookbook author Chris Schlesinger at the helm. The restaurant, currently run by chef Jason Heard, will host sendoff events in the weeks leading up to the closure, including a final Hell Night on Jan. 21 featuring the spiciest dishes served over the years. Several of the restaurant's alumni chefs, including Schlesinger, will be on hand to say goodbye. Heard plans to resurrect dishes from East Coast Grill's 30-year run throughout the coming weeks and will invite former chefs into the kitchen.

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The closing comes as a surprise to the restaurant's loyal fans. According to Heard, last year's brutal winter hit the business hard.

"We're trying to get out ahead of this winter so we don't have anything equally devastating. We want to give employees and their families time to find other stuff to do and to move on," he said.

"This was a hallmark destination restaurant at a time when there was really just S&S Deli in the neighborhood. We want everyone to know we've appreciated their support, and we want to close on a high note."

Heard said that the Cambridge Street business is now for sale and has attracted restaurant industry attention.


Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com.