The Square Corner Cafe on Washington Street has ceased to be.
The Square Corner was a great place. Really great food, existing somewhere between a takeout and a sit-down restaurant. Still, it was never too busy when I'd drop in. I hope things work out.
As luck would have it, family+I had planned to eat there just last week. We saw the same sign. Wish them luck.
I have eaten at the Square Corner several times, and thought the food was very good--much better than the local pizza joints. They had other issues though:
- They should have committed to a full breakfast right off the bat.
- Too much stuff on the menu
- Changing hours of operation, and even days of operation, meant I couldn't depend on them
- slow delivery
It is tough enough to succeed in the restaurant biz, but having these things occur can only make it worse.
If Himalayan Bistro is moving into the old NuVo, they're being a bit pokey about it.
I'll have to break the Square Corner news to the wife and kidlet gently: They were big fans of this Thanksgivingish wrap they had: Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
I liked their egg sandwiches but always seemed to be the only person in there. I, too, wonder what's happening with Himalayan Bistro - the for rent sign is still up at NuVo. I hate seeing empty storefronts in my neighborhood!
I actually liked the food and pizza there but am not surprised. This place never seemed to be busy enough to sustain business there. I was also under the impression originally that as a 'Cafe' it would have had some sort of breakfast option right away. Never got around to trying the breakfast there. Oh well.
That's a real shame. I loved the food and thought the folks running it were about as nice as anybody gets. I wanted to get take out this past Sunday, and nobody answered the phone. I just figured it meant they weren't open on Sundays. Now I'm really disappointed.
I wonder what led to this? Obviously, some of the issues others noted should have been remedied, but it seems like they went down to quickly. I doubt they are even through their lease at this point. And they had a lot of money tied up in equipment. Hopefully somebody will buy them out soon, otherwise they are going to still be paying for this for quite a while.
I said it when they opened, what are you doing opening another Greek pizza joint in Roslindale? It was practically across the street from the House of Pizza and for all the pretense of being a cafe it was basically another Greek pizza/sub shop. Blowfish is a similar deal, virtually the same menu as the others with a stab at interior decoration. What the square really needs is a coffee shop! Ever since Emacks turned into, umm whatchamacallit, Fornax has been the closest thing to a coffee shop but it has too few tables and their coffee is pretty awful.
On the bright side there is a ice cream / lobster roll take out place opening up by Village Market.
All I have to say is that now that there closed everyone is wondering why......?
They should of had this great response from patrons from day one...., maybe then they would be able to stick it out longer.
Roslindale is far from up and coming.
If anything the town took three steps back instead of forward.
This is just the beginning of more small businesses closing in the future.
Good luck to the owners of Square Corner Cafe.
Good luck to Roslindale with all there "UP AND COMING" abandonment.
Roslindale lacks the foot traffic for many businesses to survive here. Businesses that flourish here do most of their business via delivery, for example Wallpaper City and Diane's Bakery. The city's recent "strategic" plan and rezoning did little to improve this . . . such as friendlier zoning to attract mixed-use development (commercial/residential) in and near the square. They missed a great opportunity to attract residents who seek a no-car lifestyle, perhaps working downtown. This type of resident tends to shop & dine locally rather than getting in their cars and driving to dedham or elsewhere (as most roslindale residents do: MIT Study, 2005).
The land-use zoning got more strict rather than less, for example every new residential unit must have 2 off street parking spaces. This kills the chance for mixed use/residential development in the square, and little mom & pop shops and restaurants like the Square Corner Cafe just cannot survive.
No leadership . . . no vision
It's not that Roslindale Village lacks the foot traffic. There's plenty of foot traffic on Birch Street and Corinth Street, and even around Adams Park. Geoffrey's, Sofia's, Delfino's, and even Birch Street Bistro are hopping. Fornax is certainly flourishing. And we seem to be supporting Solera and the Cheese Cellar as well. Lack of custom in Roslindale is not the problem.
It's that the part of Roslindale where Square Corner used to be - headed downtown from the Square towards Archdale - lacks foot traffic, or at least the right kind for restaurants. It doesn't much matter what restaurant gets stuck down there; it'll fail. There's a reason the rents are cheaper there; it's an out of the way appendage of the square headed towards the ghetto. There's just not a critical mass of reasons to draw people who frequent the Village the few blocks down there.
If that substation ever gets off the ground as a venue, that might change the walking geography of Roslindale a bit. If.
The Roslindale House of Pizza, which has been there forever, is right across the street, as is one of the square's many bakeries.
I guess Dunkin's is doing fine there too. The market might be a little different for a pizza joint or donut shop vs a sit-down restaurant. Is the majority of RHOP's business takeout and delivery? Maybe one pizza joint is what the local market has room for there.
I guess I'm really talking about sort of the psychological geography of Roslindale. I've eaten at just about every restaurant around the square, but none down on that part of Washington Street. I go to the village for shopping several times a week (Mel's chicken is simply superior), but I don't go down to that area. I don't imagine I'm unusual.
Coolidge Corner or Fields Corner have good foot traffic; Roslindale does not. The Square, especially around Adams Park and on Corinth is dead as a doornail at 8pm on a Saturday nite. Maybe a few stragglers on Birch Street and near Delfinos, but not much else; walking the square at night is a solitary experience. Dunkin Donuts is the exception and is most always busy, especially on hot summer nights when gaggles gather in the parking lot.
Roslindale has 35,000 people living within a mile of the square and most of them never shop or dine in the Square. The dollar and cel phone stores make it seem down-and-out, not too mention the abandoned buildings and empty storefronts. With such a lack of evening foot traffic, how can anyone expect the substation vision to succeed? It's a pipe dream. I know the Main Streets people are always trying to get a buzz going about the Square, but a successful business district needs a lot more than just phony buzz.
At 8 pm last Friday, the courtyard was hopping, with people waiting for tables at Sofia's Grotto, Village Seafood, and Birch Street, and there were more than "a few stragglers" outside Delfinos as well.
It's true that Roslindale is no Coolidge Corner, and it never will be. But none of the restaurants on the right side of the block seem in any danger of closing any day soon from lack of custom.
Down by Adams Park and Washington Street, yes, I'm sure it was dead, with the exception of Geoffrey's. I don't know. I wasn't down there. But that was my point. The Square Corner probably died in part from a fatal location. If it were 0.1 miles west, it might be alive today.
I mean, Robyn's is terrible, and it's been thriving in that block for quite a while...
I was sad to see Square Corner Cafe go. They had an expanded menu that I, weary of pizza/sub shops, really appreciated. Butternut squash soup, fried chicken dinners, thanksgiving wraps...you can't get that stuff at Checkmate or RHOP.
I like the new spot, Cafe Rialto, because it's affordable without being skeezy. It's nice to have some middle ground between cheap Chinese takeout and restaurants where I'll easily drop $100 on dinner for two. I can have a few beers and some apps after work without emptying my pockets. They also have trivia on Thursdays, and it's a blast. There pizza IS really good. It's better than Upper Crust, and cheaper too. Unfortunately, there's NO shortage of pizza joints. I'm just dying for variety.
Sorry to see them go.
I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but the past few times I've been at Bangkok Cafe, they've been much busier in the dining room. These guys deserve to succeed! They have really good food over there, generous portions, and reasonable prices.
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