Roslindale Square loses another bakery

Vouros in Roslindale Square closed

Vouros, the Greek bakery at Washington and Poplar streets, is empty and closed this week, a large "Available Space" banner in one window.

The closing, rumored for a couple months, leaves Roslindale Square with just two bakeries: Diane's on Poplar Street and Fornax on Corinth Street.

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Short on bread

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Diane's has been there a long time - even before it was called "The Village" by the newcomers. Fornax has a great product and will probably be there for a while too.

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<eye roll> Give it a rest, boomer.

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Just many of the new folks and the old folks and even some of us middle folks call it that.

So sorry that boomers don't get the last say on how everything should be forever #notsorry.

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I'm no boomer

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And both Diane's and Vouros opened when it was the Square. And since the phrase "Roslindale Square" predates the beginning of the postwar baby boom, you might want to dial back your [whatever your generation is] rage.

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No rage, just humor

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We've been over this multiple times. Yes, the streets directly facing Adams have been called Roslindale Square for a while, with an uptick in usage starting in the late 50s/early 60s, but there's printed documentation and personal witness by long time residents that the larger business/residential neighborhood (extending out to Corinth/South/lower Belgrade) has localy been known as 'the Village' even longer.

You're not a Boomer, W? I did not realize you were in your 70s.

(Ftr, I'm a gen-Xer.)

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I must be prematurely old

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But then again, I though dvdoff was a decade older than he is and thought Will LaTulippe was nearing retirement with his fist shaking rants. Of course, I'm also the guy thought college kids were ruining Boston back when I was in high school.

But yeah, square/village/triangle/whatever. I may put Sue on the spot when I stop by Diane's the next time as to what she calls it.

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3rd generation

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and my pappy called it the village.

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A Village Before A Square

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The name "Roslindale Square" didn't come into vogue until around World War II. The name of the area before that? The Village. This name for the business district was revived after 1986, when commuter rail service was restored, about the same time that Roslindale Village Main Street was created to revitalize the area.

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That's a bummer

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I noticed it looked empty on Monday but hoped it was just between things. I haven't gone in there for years though so I guess I was part of the problem. I always assume that was a destination business though, not a neighborhood one. Here's hoping for a cafe or pho shop opening in that spot.

I wonder if, with Tony's moving, Redd's will consider expanding into that space? I know they approached Tony when they first opened (or maybe Geoffrey's did) and Tony wasn't interested.

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Very sad

The bakery's Facebook page indicates it closed on May 3. No explanation, just thanks to the customers for seven wonderful years. Query -- did new owners buy this seven years ago? It also notes that the business had been in operation for 45 years. No explanations.

I actually went there semi-often -- I loved the various sorts of cookies and pastries they had.

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Kind of sad

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I was never a big fan of their pastries (somehow too sugary with not enough chocolate) but they were good people and I thought business was good. My hope is that this is not a portend of a decline in the Greek presence in the area.

With all the talk of the different directions the Square has been going in, the decline of the bakeries is something we all can rally around. Boschetto's/Sugar was great but gone, and even though John's had the oddest hours, the bread had some renown. Of course, my favorite as a kid was Swensons, but that is a long, long time ago.

However, let's not forget Bob's Pita Bakery, which still exists in some form.

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Other businesses I don't frequent

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I go to a lot of the stores and occasionally restaurants in town, but there's a few that have never done much for me. Anyone want to sell me on frequenting these places?

International Meat Market
Wapo Taco (Romanos is better?)
Froyo place (over Jimmies?)
El Chavo

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International Meat Market

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International Meat Market

Actually called "Quality Meat Market" - sketchy looking, to be sure, but AWESOME place to shop for Halal meats (you'll have to stick to Tony's for pork). Mel is awesome - he's super polite and will custom cut almost anything for you. Most of his stuff is local (chickens come from a farm in upstate NY, I think - and they travel the farthest of anything he sells). He carriers chicken, beef, lamb and possibly more (goat??).

Prices are reasonable and the quality is off the charts.

4.5 stars on Yelp can't be wrong: http://www.yelp.com/biz/quality-meat-market-roslindale

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Froyo Place

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Or Delicious Yogurt, if you will (and yes, I had to look up the name) is a place I've been to and don't have anything bad to say about them. They sell by weight, so if you have a decent amount and don't go whole hog on toppings it's not that expensive. I've been there after pediatrician visits, and the boy seems to like it.

Jimmies, on the other hand, I am boycotting for a simple reason- they charge extra for their signature item. I mean, almost nobody charges for jimmies, yet the ice cream place named after the items does.

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...

Wapo Taco is great and the owners are super nice. The homemade guac and salsa are really good. We hit them up every once in a while for a cheap "sack of tacos" type easy dinner

EL Chavo is great for purchasing bitcoin via LibertyTeller

I like Jimmies and have not yet tried the Froyo place

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Boschetto's/Sugar? Weren't they distinct?

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Was there any crossover other than location and the fact they used the old sign as decoration in Sugar?

It's kind of shocking to realize we've down to three bakeries in the square from six less than a decade ago (and I agree about the weird hours at John's - but man, the scala put me right back in my grandma's kitchen!)

Vouros had great cookies for bringing to parent council meetings/coffee klatches/bake sales. Hope the owner retired and didn't go out of business. Also best wishes to the staff (not sure if they were also the owners) - in any case, the people behind the counter were always friendly and patient (when she was younger, my daughter could really take her time 'curating' just the right mix).

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No connection

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Except for location and, at least at first, product.

I shed no tear when the Sugar closed despite my love of their food. When the bakery shut, it was lights out for me.

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NOOOOOO

Now where am I going to get my big plate of baklava at a reasonable price?

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Baklava

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It's a bit out of the way, but go see my friend Jerry at Armenian Pizza in Watertown, on Elm, the little street that intersects with Arsenal by the Watertown mall. He makes the dough from scratch. It's so good it brought me to tears upon my first try. There are numerous varieties, the hazelnut milk is especially delicious.

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Sad but maybe a cafe in the square!

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We are new to the neighborhood and love the diversity of people and businesses around the square. So it is sad to see businesses shut down. Although we do miss a good cafe. Maybe it is time and opportunity for one. Heard that Roslindale was on celebrity Jeopardy last night!!!

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City neighborhoods for $200!

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Alex Trebek: "Fenway/Kenmore, Roslindale...Mo?"

Mo Rocca: "What is Boston?"

Very first answer of the game!

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Rozzie Square

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needs a coffee house. Please, please.

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Disappointing

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it seems like there's a lot of empty storefronts popping up in the square... it's kind of depressing, and worrisome.

What would people like to see come to the square (in this space and some of the other new empty storefronts)?

I'd love to see a COFFEE SHOP. And maybe some kind of business for kids? I don't have kids but there's a ton in the neighborhood, maybe a toy shop or something. And, totally selfishly, I'd love to see a small crafts / quilting shop open.... the closest is the Joanns out near Dedham and it's not even a well stocked Joanns...

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Niche retail is largely dead

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Many people can buy what they need online, either from Amazon or niche e-tailers, at their own convenience, sitting at home at 9pm. A bricks and mortar operation has to pick which hours they might get customers and balance that against when they want to work. Specially stores which sell consumables or renewing services (wine, food, salons/nail places) are a much better bet than retail. The new restaurants in the past 10 years (Sophia's, Redd's) seem to be fine but what's the last new retail store which lasted?

I like having the kitchen store and shop there when I need something, but I'd bet heavy money it's gone within a year like most retail on Birch St. Rossman and Birch St. have favorable leases from the Model Railroad folks I believe which allows them to keep the lights on. The same landlord owns the rest of Birch St along with the constantly flipping store which was recently Reece's Pieces II and they charge more. Maybe adding a 50-100 new residents with the new apartments will help a little.

There's a kid music place over on South St. BTW.

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I don't know, I think it'll

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I don't know, I think it'll be really tough to replace certain retail -- anything where you have to try something on (shoe shopping online only really works when you're willing to do mailing returns).

I buy 90% of my household stuff through my Prime account but I won't buy fabric online because color matching and handfeel are so important.

There's also something to be said for getting something that day. Online is working on it with google delivery, but they don't come down to Rozzie.

I'm hoping the new apartments help, all the empty stores are a huge downer

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You're cherry-picking

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Just how do you define a "new" retail store that "lasted"? Seems like a self-contradictory statement.

There are plenty of retail places in the village area - a few dozen in just several small blocks. Many have been there for years or even decades, but there's <4yo newcomers that seem to be doing well too - the shoe store, the smoke shop, the natural cosmetics place. How old is the fashion place on Corinth? Maybe that's more than 4 years, but it's still close.

And I'll take that kitchen store bet, if you like. You are demostrably incorrect that 'most' retail on Birch street is gone within a year. Solera, Birch Street House & Garden, Joanne Rossman - all there long term. Even the Cheese Cellar quickly repoened under new management.

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Cherry picking?

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We'll see. Before the yoga studio, that was two different retail stores- neither lasted more than a year or two. The bookstore changed hands a few times then failed. Before Solera moved, that location was another failed retail store. The folk art store which is now the kitchen store didn't make it. There was an eye doctor that was a phone store that was a barber shop, etc... My point was that the food/services place last and I think that's true. I don't think Fetish or the kitchen store or Marla's will be there in a year, but I hope I'm wrong.

I specifically said the food/wine places can make it vs. retail (meaning selling 'stuff') and that Birch St H&G and Rossman are probably in a much more advantageous situation due to the rent being lower. I know Dandelions was delighted to move into that building because it was affordable - the model railroad club owns it and are not looking to maximize their income.

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coffee shop economics?

I wonder about coffee shop economics.

Sometimes it seems there are two type of people using coffee shops:
1) The people who sit there all day long with their laptops, consuming nothing but electricity.
2) The people who buy a cup of coffee and want to sit down but can't because 1.

How do they stay open?

I think if I opened a coffee shop I'd put copper mesh in the walls and call it Faraday Coffee.

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I know I'd like to pick up a

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I know I'd like to pick up a quick coffee on the way to wait for the train, personally. Fornax takes forever.

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Don't notice anymore empty storefronts than typical

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Retail turnover is a normal thing. I've been in Rosi for 15 years and the business scene actually seems fairly healthy right now. I don't see more empty spaces - the opposite actually. When a business does go away, it seems like a new entrepeneur is ready to give it a go pretty quickly.

The only real exceptions seem to be the John's Bakery space, which has been bizarrely empty for ages and the old Droubi Bros building - and if what I've heard of how badly that structure has deteriorated are true, it's going to stay empty until it's demolished - no one in their right mind would lease it.

Btw, I think your suggestions re coffee/crafts/kids are spot on. I'd love to see any of those open up! (in that order please ;)

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Also ...

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Don't forget the old Select Cafe space. And there's an empty space on Corinth where a barber shop used to be, and the empty space on Poplar where Suya Joint used to be. On the plus side: Yes, the cheese shop is back and so, apparently, is Seymour Green.

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Also

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the empty space next to the trophy store.

edit- and the space where the thrift store is once they move. Or the space they're moving to. Either way, that's one empty space.

I hope someone buys the old Pita building, knocks it down and builds a 3-4 story building with apartments above and retail on the first floor. Seems like a no brainer.

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Isn't that a services business now?

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And iirc it wasn't a retail space before either. And you can't really count a space (the thrift store) that isn't empty yet. (Unless you count each and every space as potentially empty since all businesses ultimately move.)

Seems like a lot of people are (deliberately?) forgetting what the village looked like just a decade ago. There's a lot more retail activity around than there was in the early aughts.

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Yeah, <sad face emoticon> re Select Cafe space

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You're right about the Select Cafe space - but it's my understanding that it's only empty because of estate issues with the former owner's family - not because of lack of interest. I've talked to owners of two different local businesses who have approached them and been rebuffed.

Otoh, I really don't think you can count spaces that are only a few months vacant. I'd imagine that the Suya space will probably be filled pretty quick.

The barbershop on Corinth? You mean at the corner of Birch? Is that closed? Haven't had a pro haircut in 20 years, so I guess I didn't notice. I also didn't notice that Seymore ever closed - but I'm not really their target audience ;)

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Not Sebastians, Reeces II

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The place between the braiding place and the dollar store. It's one of those two store fronts which steadily turns over, but don't stay empty.

What I heard last week from a Birch St. retailer was that that tenants of the Select building have below market rate long term leases so the estate wants to sell the building prior to leasing out that Select space, but no-one wants to buy it as the economics don't work.

I like the retailers we have, I just don't feel like it's much different in terms of quantity from 10 years ago, is it? The space next to BoA has always been empty. The Birch St spaces turn over in varying speeds. The smaller places on Corinth turn over but stay rented. I think my feeling is that there is a lot of retail churn but your point is that the spaces stay rented, which is true.

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Fingers crossed

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I had always wanted to try this bakery but it never seemed to be open at 7am when I'm heading into work.

I've been hoping for a cafe or something remotely Panera-like in the old Emack & Bolios location where one could roll in with a toddler while out on a walk and grab a quick bite and a cup of coffee. Maybe something like that will go here instead. Dare to dream.

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You mean Select Cafe

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Based on their history, I wouldn't use the original Emack's as a guide to anything - aside from the original shop in Coolidge Corner, they seem to open and close on a regular basis for no easily discernible reason.

I was a Select Cafe customer until the end, but maybe I just have low standards/no taste (baseline: I'll take Dunkin' Donuts over Starbucks) - every time I would post something positive about the place, other people would complain about the quality (or lack thereof) of the food and coffee. Kind of hard to survive if you have a lot of people who won't step in your place because they think the food is awful.

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Select Cafe (after Emack's)

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Select Cafe (after Emack's) didn't make it because the place had weird hours, would kick you out if they felt like closing two hours early, and had monster TV screens put up. A rather Eastern European circa 1993 approach to customer service...Tables also laid out in an awkward way in that triangle-shaped room -- felt both exposed and somehow socially abandoned -- bad combo for a cafe. (It was like that with Emack's too.) I saw the Albanian guys who used to sit there drinking espressos all the time at the Starbucks in West Roxbury a few months ago, maybe they will come back if a cafe opens.

One of the biggest issues I see coming up with the Square is the big problem of owners not maintaining their buildings. It's really difficult for new independent businesses to move in because the landlords expect them to all the major updating & buildout themselves -- on top of all the other risk they take with opening a new shop. And if a place has been sitting there for 25 years (some of the places look like they haven't even been painted in that long) that's a lot of cash. I wonder if there is or could be any sort of city incentive/funding to either get the landlords to renovate or else somehow subsidize new buyers/business renters. Or if some kind of community movement could get going to light a fire under these owners. Otherwise the only people that are going to be able to move in are Dollar Tree and PetCo.

But we need a cafe!! And that corner bakery spot would be a fantastic location even though it's on the "wrong" side of Washington.

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