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Highland Kitchen owners to reopen East Coast Grill

The East Coast Grill dining area in 2010.Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff/Boston Globe

The East Coast Grill will rise again. Highland Kitchen’s Mark Romano and his wife, Marci Joy, will buy the landmark Inman Square space and will plan to reopen in the next few months, pending liquor license transfers.

The beloved restaurant closed in January after 30 years in business. Chef Chris Schlesinger opened it in 1985, and it became a mainstay on the Cambridge dining scene thanks to its blistering barbecue, busy raw bar, and people-watching opportunities. The restaurant signed off with one final Hell Night in January, which drew legions of loyal fans.

Romano has worked with Schlesinger over the years, particularly at Cambridge’s Blue Room, and he met his wife at the East Coast Grill when she was a server in the early 1990s. He hopes to restore the restaurant to its original glory.


“We’re going to bring it back from the dead and take it back to the 1980s, 1990s. It’ll have the same name, same feel, a lot of the same dishes, but some spiff and shine,” Romano says. He plans to expand the bar and to update the drink menu.

“I know the space. I know the feel. We’ll try to keep the tradition going,” he says.

Never fear: He’ll also continue to run Highland Kitchen in Somerville.

“That isn’t going anywhere,” Romano promises.