In Central Square, old-line pizza to give way to vegetarian fare

Cambridge Day reports Clover Food Lab will be moving into the space from which Hi-Fi Pizza was booted - and that if it had its druthers, it would stay open 24 hours.



Free tagging: 


Landlord gouging is less applicable

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..for commercial real estate.

There is too much inventory. I was thrilled when we managed to find a good tenant for the anchor space in my building.

Will a vegan fluff pit aiming for 24/7 in the city that rarely wakes pan out?

Who knows?

But there are several other comparable things nearby so landlord is a bit late to the dance.

The commercial space ghouls see the insane windfalls their residential brethren are raking in and weeping ensues with an aperitif of gnashed teeth.

But the mix of small biz chumps to rent such shrinks as changes undermine the mom/pop model's viability.

Book stores, fading... also too record stores.

Music Gin mills.. naah

TT's looks grubby and forlorn to those who remember when it was robust.

The Middle is hanging in there but the owner has aged considerably from the stress.

So the tenant suitor mix is mainly feminine vanity businesses and there is an overload of nail parlors, hair helmet fabricators, pamper pits and so on.

And guys just don't rise to vanity in quite the same way.

You're not going to cover Cambridge rent jack ups with Macklemore wannabes.

You would think vanity has a lot of growth room in a narcissism epicenter such as this.. but no.


The "vegan fluff pit" seems to be doing pretty well.

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I don't even know how many locations Clover has now but they seem to be thriving. I'm not a huge fan of the "lab" aesthetic but their food is terrific and I'm not remotely close to being a vegan.

They're also a small business--it's not like Subway is moving in. You'll also note from the story that Hi Fi was open til 3am so so much for the city that never wakes theory.


I worked next door to it for a few years

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..babysitting bands at the Middle. Last call was at like 1:30a

Part of it is tongue in cheek.

The place is still a backwater with a significantly truncated night life probably because a night life has less appeal for an aging population.

It's another fashion concern for the young-uns who must seek something to feel good about as they get hosed for high expenses while handling credential debt burdens and the specter of uncertainty with career trajectories.

I used to try to help with the cosmopolitan thing back when Dukakis was governor and had fun exchanges with people in his old Council of the Arts about the seeming futility of it all.

Mariposa is a block away and seems to have a similar biz model. Central square has several others between city hall and the fire station.

More worrisome to me is the seeming vindictiveness of some of the commercial landlords.

The harmless Harvest Co op was kicked out of its forever location and the douche is now grub staking a competing thing after figuring out there isn't a lot of movement in commercial rental unless the price is there.


"The Middle"? Have lived here

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"The Middle"? Have lived here 25 years and never heard it called that
Was it called that back when that place in Kenmore Sq. was referred to with the nickname of "the skellar"?



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Although I do do original reporting, a good part of what I do is link readers to news on other sites, such as in this case.


It is called Aggregation.

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It's what's for dinner. Adam is very good at aggregating area news items from disparate sources with a charming personal touch.

In many ways he is way better than my Google News 'Massachusetts Local" setting because he curates the incoming with impressive skill for a hilariously whiny, mean and dim commentariat that never fails to cover the 'free entertainment' facet.

It doubles as social anthropology data.

And he has a very good crew of contributors like Brian D'Amico.

Old media in Boston has basically sucked forever, like since Peter Anderson stopped his regular column at the Globe. Awful teevee, putrid treeware, pitiful airwaves and so on

Web 2.0 has been one of the greatest innovations of my life time in part because this odious pack of hacks can finally land on the curb and be hauled away.

I just hope this eventually covers his effort and much of that turns on changes in web ad revenue share rates and terms.


Come on!!

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If it weren't for how would I ever figure out where to get Boston's BEST burger, how many Marky-Mark lookalikes there are, or what to dress my dog as for Halloween?


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Twitter is Twitter for the not so bright. Thank god for Adam so we don't have to wade in that cesspool.


"it will definitely not be food"

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Rewind a couple months ago to when Clover got booted. The landlord was quoted as saying:

"As for a new business in the location, Simon said they’re exploring options now, but it definitely won’t be food-related, even though he’s received many calls from other pizza places hoping to open in Hi-Fi’s former spot."

As much as I love Clover—the one in Kendall is a godsend for lunch—I'm not sure we need it in Central (we already have Veggie Galaxy and Life Alive). Hifi was bad, but it was an institution. I can't say I went there, but knowing I could grab a slice at 2:45 if necessary was nice.

Of course, Clover fries at 2:45 would also hit the spot (their fries are really good, and maybe they'd have a special late-night menu there). But I wonder if they worked out some sweetheart deal to get the space leased, and once that was in place Hifi was booted for those "inspectional issues." Clover deep fries a lot of their food (falafel, brussel sprouts, etc) so it's not like they'll get away without flame hoods and the like.


Fits between VG & LA

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Both geographically and stylistically.

I prefer "the fried food" late in the evening. It'll be perfect for all the club kids.

VG has wide variety but only ok food.
LA has astounding food, but only a few really different combos. But one could eat only there forever, and live forever.


I haven't been to VG

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But if someone were smart they'd open a place like Clover or LA in JP. Same demographic (ok--a lot of us go to bed a lot earlier than Central square kids) and we have some terrific restaurants and cafés but I think there's still room for some more crunchy veggie fare. What I wouldn't do to have Life Alive nearby...


I have always wondered why LA

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I have always wondered why LA hasn't opened in JP. Their other locations are in Salem and Lowell and don't nearly match the frenzy of Central (which seems to have a line out the door from 6-9 every night, and I mean out the door. JP seems like an even better fit.


Concur that it will fit in

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Concur that it will fit in Central. And good lord LA has more business than they can handle (I think they have had that since day 1; Clover might siphon some of it off). VG is more of a sit-down place, although it's too vegan-y for me. Just give me cheesecake with cheese, and a veggieburger with a piece of cheese on it.

Maybe the "lab" feel will let them churn out some late-night grub for the club types. I'd wander down for an 11 p.m. special.

hifi didn't want to pay for upgrades

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to ventilation - maybe clover is willing to foot part of that bill?

plus clover is a good tenant to have when you're making sales pitches for other space in the building. central square is a trendy spot right now.

(FYI - I work in a profession where when I was renting, landlords would sell my presence to other potential tenants - my existence drove up rent wherever I'd go. I'm sorry.)