WCVB’s Chronicle TV show briefly profiled Wellesley seafood joint Captain Marden’s last week on a segment about local businesses, and 94-year-old Keith Marden says the secret to living and thriving as long as he has is “eat salmon, especially Scotch Salmon.”
Church Square in Wellesley is undergoing quite the changes these days. The latest: Alba (oh excuse me, alba), a “contemporary women’s boutique” that currently operates in Hoboken and Ridgewood, N.J., as well as online, plans to open at 22 Church St. in November.
Alba, which started up in 2013, sells clothing, accessories and shoes. A sampling includes $78 fleece-lined leggings, a $93 bell-sleeve top and $108 LNA Cut-Out Tee.
Alba founder Jeanna Bruno has teamed up with local Kate Phelan to expand the business to Wellesley. “I grew up just down the road in Weston, so when we decided to expand alba to Boston I knew Wellesley was the perfect place,” Phelan says. “The town center is one of the best in Massachusetts and that’s what we were really targeting when finding a location.”
Alba replaces Haberdashery, which cleared out of 22 Church St., in June. Meanwhile, NRO Kids says it has temporarily closed down its Church Street store, and a gift shop called Xylem is moving in at 30 Church St.
You may have heard of Sofra Bakery and Cafe, a small breakfast and lunch place that serves up the big flavors of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece, with a contemporary take on that region’s sweet and savory dishes. The cult favorite has many Wellesley-ites making the drive a comparatively teensy bit east, just down the road to Cambridge, to satisfy their adventurous palates.
You should bring your own curious tastebuds and see what all the fuss is about. Sofra is the kind of place that serves breakfast, but not scrambled eggs; lunch, but not Caesar Salad or turkey wrap; soup, but not chicken noodle. Deal me in. I make that kind of stuff at home all the time, so when I go out to eat, I am generally looking for something I can’t just whip up out of boredom and muscle memory. Sofra readily supplies that.
I was inspired to visit after the owner, Ana Sortun, and the head pastry chef, Maura Kilpatrick, paid a visit to Wellesley Books to promote their new cookbook, Soframiz, at a signing and tasting event (which I’ll tell you about in a bit). Since they were kind enough to come to our town, I decided to go and experience their hospitality in an atmosphere that offered more charm than the fluorescent-lighted basement of Wellesley Books. I wanted to see what went on in their domain. I wanted to experience the very soul of the food they brought to Wellesley and feel the vibe of the place where it was cooked.
I visited for breakfast with a friend, a regular there, who steered me toward the Spiced Barley & Lentils, served with an over-easy egg, broccolini, and garlic yogurt ($9). The yolk was nicely runny, all the better to mix around with the barley and lentils. The garlic yogurt, which I was rather unsure of given the early hour, was a big win, subtly infused, not saturated, with garlic. The broccolini gave me my first of the five veggies I strive for every day, and offered a brightly flavored counterpoint to the autumnal dish.
Other dishes on the breakfast menu: Asure, which is a whole grain hot cereal with chickpeas, pistachio, almond, dried fruit, and rose ($5); morning bun with orange blossom glaze ($3); Greek yogurt parfait with spoon sweets, grano, and honey ($6); and of course, coffee, espresso, tea, lattes, and more.
For lunch, interesting possibilities included: mushroom & freekah salad ($3.50 for a side-dish portion); carrot soup, served with two crick-cracks ($6) ; flatbread stuffed with sirloin, caramelized onion, tomato, Turkish spices, jus; creamy leek and potato pie ($8); and more.
Although it may be time to hang up the flip flops and bid adieu to the beach for now, you can get one last glimpse of summer at J.Todd Gallery, which is displaying Dr. Anthony Whittemore’s incredibly detailed model ships. Dr. Whittemore says that each one takes him nine to twelve months to complete between studying the ships’ histories to ensure that each intricate detail is historically accurate to translating that scholarship to the actual design process. The models each run from $2,500 to $12,500.
Not just an armchair aficionado of all things nautical, Dr. Whittemore has been sailing ever since his father and a family friend took him out from Cohasset in a stiff Sou’easter. He was hooked, and now he and his wife sail four months out of the year in their 50-foot cutter, Morning Light, out of Marion. During the winters, when his boat is on the hard, he maintains his sanity building model ships at their historic antique home on Farm Pond in Sherborn.
Dr. Whittemore served as Chief of Vascular Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he assumed the position of Chief Medical Officer, 1999 – 2011. His publications exceeded 200 publications in the field of Vascular Surgery, and he has served as President of the Boston Surgical Society, New England Society for Vascular Surgery, the Society for Vascular Surgery, and the American Surgical Association.
Dr. Whittemore currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, and the US Olympic Committee on Ethics. The Whittemores have three children and seven grandchildren.
The Cashmere Sale is popping up for its third season in Wellesley, this time in Wellesley Square at the former Chico’s location at 56 Central St. Scheduled to open on October 28, the pop-up is know for its cashmere sweaters, wraps and accessories that run in the $48 – $228 range.
The Cashmere Sale is one of 18 across the country in posh areas including three swanky locations in Fairfield County, and six in California.
The shop will be keeping things soft, warm, and cozy in Wellesley through December 18, Monday – Saturdays 10am – 5pm and Sundays noon – 5pm.
Please don’t shoot the messenger: Word is that the La Riviera restaurant space at 390 Washington St., in Wellesley that went dark about a year ago will be filled by another bank. Not sure which one yet…
Century Bank, the family-run institution that came to Wellesley Square in 2012, is now opening a branch in Wellesley Hills at 258 Washington St. The office sits in between H&A Jewelers to its west and Axiom Learning to its east.
The Swellesley Report has learned that b.good, a restaurant chain whose motto is “real.food.fast”, will soon be replacing the Boloco restaurant that moved into Wellesley Square at 102 Central St., in about 4 years ago.
Burgers, salads, kale and grain bowls, smoothies and veggies are among b.good’s locally-sourced menu items. b.good has about 3 dozen locations in the Boston area and elsewhere along the east coast and even overseas, and is an active member of communities that it serves (have seen them doling out green smoothies at road races in recent years).
“As a Boston-based company we are very excited to spread to a new location like Wellesley,” we were told by b.good.
Boloco employees at the Wellesley shop this week told customers the restaurant’s last day will be Wednesday, Oct. 19, and that Boloco in Natick will also close.
That move was confirmed on Saturday by Boloco CEO John Pepper, who issued this note, explaining that Boloco is selling 5 restaurants to b.good. “For those of you asking the most important question in the world… WHY??!!… please know that were it not absolutely necessary to sell a few of our better-performing restaurants to make up for some bad decisions made a few years ago, we would never have done so. Both Natick and Wellesley have enjoyed immense loyalty despite our own imperfections. Thank you for that. I hope B.Good will be as fortunate – they are good people doing very good things.”
NRO Kids, which opened at 24 Church Street in Wellesley in April of 2015, has pretty much cleaned out its space and stuck a “temporarily closed” sign on its door.
A lot of its stuff is now over at the main North River Outfitter clothing store on Central Street. (Thanks to reader NC for pointing this out to us.)
Meanwhile, a gift shop called Xylem is filling the space formerly occupied by the The Clift Collection women’s clothing store, which closed in the spring of 2015. Xylem is boldly going from one crazy real estate market to another, having shut down its Kendall Square shop in Cambridge back in June and hoping to open in Wellesley at 30 Church St. next to Terrazza Church Square, by the end of October.
Xylem tells fans of its former Kendall Square shop to “Expect much of the same modern and quirky design, including more handmade and contemporary craft items” in its Wellesley location.
From the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant:
The WMLP is soliciting commercial customers to participate in a pilot program for a broadband internet service. Given the existing infrastructure, only commercial customers will be considered at this time. The purpose of the pilot program is to determine if the WMLP can provide high speed internet service that is both cost effective and reliable. The information gathered will be a major factor in determining whether the WMLP should offer internet service to its customers. Pilot participants will be selected based on two criteria: 1) proximity to the WMLP’s existing fiber network; and 2) customers that best fit the overall user profile necessary to test all levels of service. The WMLP will work with selected participants to establish a schedule for service that fits both the customer’s and WMLP’s timeline.
Anyone interested in obtaining more information or volunteering to participate should contact Trevor Criswell via email [email protected].