SPONSORED CONTENT: Thanks to The Cottage Wellesley for their swell sponsorship our restaurants page, which lists over 50 dining options in Wellesley. The Cottage makes eating healthy, quality food a priority while creating a welcoming space to celebrate special occasions or simply time spent with loved ones. Connecting with friends and family is best done over a meal and best done in Wellesley at The Cottage, located in Linden Square.
Our roundup of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Wellesley Tavern closes
The owners of the Wellesley Tavern in Linden Square have announced that the restaurant, which opened in spring of 2021, has closed its doors.
The restaurant had only recently expanded its outdoor space into a colorful shrub-surrounded area highlighted with bright yellow table umbrellas.
The Tavern had previously been a fancier restaurant from the same owners called Door No. 7, but converted into a more casual venue with tasty fried buttermilk chicken offerings, among others.
Owners Laura and John Wolfe posted on social media that “We would like to extend a big thank you to the Wellesley community as we make the difficult decision to close our doors.” They encourage patrons to visit sister restaurant The Cottage across the street, and note that Wellesley Tavern gift cards will be honored there.
A Federal Realty representative told us, “Alongside our current program of new property enhancements, Linden Square has welcomed a number of new tenants recently and there is strong interest in this space. We hope to share some news on a new tenant soon.”
Newton Pediatrics grand opening
Newton Pediatrics held a ribbon cutting and grand opening event at its new location at 80 Walnut St. in Wellesley earlier this month. The team of doctors, physician associates, and nurse practitioners provides holistic care for patients from birth through young adulthood. Routine care includes newborn care, vaccinations, annual physicals, and vision screenings. The practice’s medical professionals are also experienced in care for patients with asthma, anxiety, behavioral health concerns, childhood obesity, and autism.
The sleek, new building was designed by the architectural team at Innovative Collaborations.
Beyond Wellesley—Salt Bakery in Newton
Well-known in the patisserie world, Chef Thiago Silva has opened Salt Bakery in Newton Centre, a small storefront spot on busy Beacon Street, with indoor seating for about 12, and a few outdoor tables. Silva has a competitive streak, which should serve him well in a Newton neighborhood which is home to several other bakeries. He won Food Network’s first all-baking Chopped competition in 2015; has won the Dessert Games competition on Food Network; and was a finalist on Best Baker in America in 2017. Silva in 2021 was a contestant on Netflix original series, School of Chocolate.
Silva is also something of a baker to the stars, with an A-list clientele including Sofia Vergara, John Legend, Iris Apfel, and now us.
I stopped in for breakfast during Salt’s soft opening and tried out the ham and cheese croissant ($6). Flaky on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside, with a generous portion of ham and cheese, the savory pastry held me nicely until lunch. The Kouign-amann, which I was supposed to bring home for my family but ended up devouring myself later in the day, was absolutely amazing, cake-like and sweet, but made with bread dough lending it a much lighter texture than a birthday-like cake. Plenty of butter, caramelized sugar, and beautiful layers made this choice a star.
Lattes (hot and iced), cappuccino, drip dark and light roast coffees, espresso shots, and several types of tea are available.
Also on the menu: Romeo and Juliette croissant (an update on the classic cheese danish, with guava paste inside flaky croissant dough); gluten-free options; house made croissants including sweet (almond, chocolate and more) and savory (everything spiced, rye); muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, breads, bon bons, and assorted desserts.
SALT just opened July 9 and Silva is working out the final schedule and training staff, so be patient.
SALT Bakery: 792 Beacon Street, Newton Centre
Hours: opens at 7am
Wellesley’s newest eatery, Lockheart Restaurant, quietly opened this week at 102 Central St., next to the fire station. We saw curious passersby press their faces and hands against the front window to peer in as we tried out the tacos-plus restaurant. The restaurant’s mid-summer opening gives the staff a chance to get into a routine serving lunch and dinner while so many residents are away on vacation.
Not having scored a getaway ourselves, we made an online reservation at Lockheart for Friday afternoon. We came in through the back parking lot and ascended the stairs to the restaurant (the elevator is in service for those who would rather not climb the long flight of stairs). You can also enter from Central Street, where the restaurants hopes to soon get town approval for outdoor seating.
We had inside bar seats, tables, and booths at our disposal—all looked comfortable. We went for a booth, of which there are low and high versions, and that feature soft backings adorned with straps. The overall atmosphere is relaxed, with not-too-loud pop music playing and not-too-frigid AC blowing. The restaurant goes with a Southwestern aesthetic full of browns, tans, some brick, cowhide, and even a little embossment on the ceiling.
The upstairs dining room is situated between an exposed kitchen and a two-TV bar. Once staff is fully deployed, a downstairs section will open. You’ll barely recognize the place from its former design when Boloco and then B. Good operated there, order counters and all.
A host escorted us to our seats and thanked us for coming on just the second day of operation. He introduced our server, who was friendly and efficient. Everybody was pitching in, including owner Derek Brady.
We, or really me, immediately put them to the test, asking if this and that could be nixed from several of the menu items of interest (I’m, uh, flavor-averse). They seemed unfazed by my special requests, and the kitchen nailed each one.
We started with a couple of the signature tacos, of which there are 10 on the menu, priced between $4 and $6.50 apiece. You’re encouraged to try a few different types, as opposed to getting a bundle of tacos of the same variety, as is common at other establishments. “We encourage you to go a la carte,” our host said.
Lockheart immediately scored points with me for having not just a lobster taco with mayo (that condiment is the bane of my dining existence), but a buttered one. I chose the latter, and didn’t regret it. The three-bite taco tasted like summer in mixing fresh lobster, avocado, and microgreens on a soft shell. I paired that with a rock shrimp taco that included romaine lettuce, but held the remoulade (too close to mayo! Too much flavor!), and enjoyed that, too.
One more taco would have made for a solid lunch, but I tripled down on the seafood and went for a Salmon Glow Bowl. This was a fun and filling mix of fresh salmon, charred zucchini, and pepitas seeds served over warm rice. I asked the kitchen to hold the hot honey vinaigrette.
My dining partner ordered a Harvest Bowl, which had more of an autumnal than summer feel to it, but tasted good regardless of the season. It packed grilled vegetables, cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado over warm brown rice.
We stuck with soft drinks and water, but other patrons started the party early by dipping into the alcoholic beverages menu.
Wellesley’s got some great momentum going on the restaurant front, with newbies recently opening or on the way in both Wellesley Square and Linden Square. Lockheart, which brings its own style and a unique menu, should be a welcome addition.
Lockheart Restaurant, the new southwestern-style eatery at 102 Central St. next to the fire station in Wellesley Square, has revealed a menu heavy on tacos that will come jammed with everything from rock shrimp to pork butt. The restaurant and bar, which fills a two-floor space last occupied by B. Good, is taking reservations online for lunch and dinner with first availability showing in mid-July.
Takeout will be available, too.
The restaurant has been started by Wellesley resident Derek Brady, a restauranteur whose other ventures have included Union Street in Newton and The Draft in Allston.
Tacos cost $3.50 to $5.50 apiece, and nine of the 10 varieties are gluten free. Options include Chilled Lobster, Korean Brussels Sprouts, and Short Rib Birria, among others.
Also on the menu are “Snacks,” like Street Corn ($7) and Lobster Guac ($14). Bowls and salads run from Caesar Salad to a Salmon Glow Bowl.
Entrees are limited, and feature Stuff Poblano ($17) and an 18 oz. Al Pastor Rib Eye, which at $35 is the most expensive item on the menu.
The kids menu includes good variety, from nachos to a veggie rice bowl.
The cocktail menu lists drinks ranging in price from $12-$15, led by the Lockheart Standard, a mix of Blanco Tequila, Ferrand Dry Curacao, Agave, and Lime Juice.
Lockheart is one of a handful of new restaurants that have opened or will soon open across town, both in Wellesley Square and Linden Square. It’s just a few doors down the street from Laughing Monk Cafe, which opened in May. Linden Square recently welcomed Tatte, and has Karma and Oath Pizza on the way.
Our roundup of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Merchants raise ‘Parking, parking, parking’ concerns in Wellesley Square
Wellesley held a pair of online meetings this past week focused on concepts for a revitalized Wellesley Square design (lots of consultant-speak about “activating” areas). During the meeting for merchants (see Wellesley Media recording), there was acknowledgement that a landscape designer’s vision looked nice enough, but commenter after commenter emphasized that no changes can be made that take away parking spaces.
A mockup of a plan that would nix parking on one side of Central Street got a big thumbs down from merchants, a number of whom live in town.
“We hear you on parking,” said Wellesley Executive Director Meghan Jop, after the umpteenth merchant request not to take away parking, which can be an issue for customers as well as downtown employees.
“Please don’t take our parking away. We already have an issue with parking,” said retailer Eileen Fisher’s Gail Ward, who prefaced her parking comments by voicing her support for beautification of the Square. “A lot of times our customers drive by and if theres not a spot they don’t pop in. There’s not enough parking in the town, so if you could please implement that in your plan.”
Clever Hand Gallery artist Reme Gold said “The real estate motto is ‘location, location, location,’ the business model has to be also ‘parking, parking, parking.'”
Rick Cram, who spearheads marketing for Wellesley Square, said surveys conducted by the group have found parking to be the main issue holding back improvement of the shopping area. He cited surveys in which only four people had something good to say about parking, while 59 had negative feedback. “More parking is the first step in enhancing Wellesley Square and its future,” he said.
Demian Wendrow of retailer London Harness, said he’s found in talking to follow merchants that “Taking away even one spot is devastating to any of us.”
Most of the concepts laid out by consultant Beta Group looked relatively subtle overall, adding trees here, widening brick bands and sidewalks there. Traffic light work would be needed as well. The overall project could cost around $6M, hopefully with funds coming from sources such as the state and feds, not just local taxpayers. While efforts are in large part designed to boost the space’s vitality, Town Engineer Dave Hickey also said the area is just plain overdue for repaving, so it’s important to take these broader issues into consideration before doing that.
After parking, bricks were another hot button issue, with many saying they like the New Englandy look of bricks, but overall are against expanded use of them, particularly in crosswalks. Bricks are tough to maintain, and cause issues for those with mobility challenges, especially when they rise up unevenly. The possibility of faux brick surfaces was raised, as was the idea of painting crosswalks in colorful designs (other public art, yes, but this art critic says please no to this driver distraction that will not age well).
The possibility of making the current pilot hangout space at Cross Street and Central Street permanent, or adding other such spaces, also generated discussion. Several merchants said they were originally skeptical of the current parklet, though acknowledged it’s getting lots of use. Kimberly Kissam of retailer Isabel Harvey had her doubts but has found the parklet to be “incredibly warm and friendly, and even stylish.” Merchants even held a recent meeting at the space, which town officials were quick to point out is evolving to a prettier design as additional components make their way through the supply chain.
Brad Wasik of The Cheese Shop in Wellesley Square said forcing parklets into parts of Wellesley Square is like trying to change Fenway Park. “You’re not going to move the pole at this point,” he said. Wasik pointed to the traffic flow that the current parklet is disrupting, and said having people buy a Starbucks coffee and hang out there for an hour isn’t necessarily going to help other merchants. However, he did say that there might be other space within the Square that could be considered for such hangout spots. Wasik also suggested confining parklets, along with food trucks, to certain times of the week, like Sundays. However, town officials did say that setting up and breaking down parklets on the fly, at least how they’re currently designed, isn’t financially viable.
During the streetscape meeting for abutters and other residents (see Wellesley Media recording), parking was less of an issue (and as we learned from residents who have paid a small fortune for condos at Belclare, they’re dealing with rattling homes and falling art or glassware when vehicles rumble across bumpy Washington Street pavement). At least one neighbor said there’s actually plenty of unused parking if you go a block or so from Central Street, and another emphasized that downtown retail isn’t what it used to be in the age of online shopping, so macroeconomic considerations need to be made in planning. The Sustainable Wellesley group used the opportunity to make its pitch for bike lanes, electric vehicle charging stations, and other amenities to encourage pedestrian and non-gas-guzzling traffic (the town currently isn’t looking at bike lines through the middle of Wellesley Square, but is exploring more ways to encourage cycling around it.)
It’s unclear when any big changes will take place with the Square’s design. Decisions would have to be made by the Select Board and likely Town Meeting, Jop said, and she assured merchants and the public that they will be part of ongoing discussions. “There’s a long way to go on the design,” Jop said.
Lockheart Restaurant sign goes up
The sign is now up for The Lockheart Restaurant, an eatery with a southwestern theme slated to open soon at 102 Central St., in Wellesley Square next to the fire station. We invite the owners of this tacos-plus joint to keep us in the loop on when it might open. (We’ve also come across at least one ugly bit of evidence that a realtor could be taking space next door).
Tatte Bakery & Cafe in Wellesley’s Linden Square will officially open on Wednesday, June 15, at 7am, bringing a little bit of Paris to the former CPK space. We scored a special “friends & family” invitation a couple days ahead of that to try out the impatiently awaited restaurant, which enjoys a rabid cult following at its 20 Massachusetts locations and seven DC outposts.
Israel-born founder Tzurit Or spared no expense in bringing French ambiance to Wellesley, dropping in the area of $1M in construction costs to get the aesthetic just right. The interior includes cafe dining with all the gleaming subway tile and cute bistro seating such a place needs; a pastry counter area; a barista bar; and restrooms; as well as an expansive outdoor seating area. But all of that would mean nothing without the brand’s signature artisanal coffees, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, salads, and sandwiches.
Through a service opening you can get a glimpse of the back of the house as line cooks move with efficient grace, putting up plates of breakfast sandwiches, rice bowls, kebab plates, salads, shakashukas (a North African egg dish), and more. Nearby, baristas are busy at the drinks bar putting together everything from a simple cup of black coffee and always-popular lattes to the new summer drinks menu that includes iced beet latte with roasted beet, cardamom, and maple syrup; beet seltzer; strawberry rhubarb seltzer; and iced chocolate.
We were greeted at the front door by a friendly staff member who checked our name off the “sneak peek” invite list. We then made our way to the long display case to ogle (and order) the baked goods and to choose a meal item off the laminated menu. No ordering from a QR code here. Cafe manager Nick Newman said, “The big thing is we are trying to connect with every customer and make them feel as at home as possible.”
“We want to create an experience,” leadership and development team member Megan Kittinger added.
Here are a few pics of our experience:
The Tatte way
At the register we were handed a table-number flag, and a staff member brought our meal out within a few minutes. It’s a civilized system that feels much more relaxed than an at-table ordering system, and is unlike a fast-food experience. During our visit there were a couple dozen staffers, there to serve the smattering of us allowed in for a sneak peak, so we moved through the process with lightning speed. Especially during Tatte’s early days, I’m told customers can expect lines. I’m also told the staff is up to the challenge.
The opening of Tatte brings Linden Square another step closer to the reimagining of the area. New restaurants Karma and Oath Pizza are expected to open in 2022. Plus a redesign outside of Wellesley Tavern that includes outdoor seating is almost done, as is the addition of outdoor seating at Qdoba. (Both Wellesley Tavern and Qdoba are open throughout that minor construction process.)
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SPONSORED CONTENT: Eight—count ’em, eight—new restaurants have either opened in Wellesley or are slated to do so in 2022. From a seven-seat coffee house in Wellesley Hills (Jeje’s, expected to open in early summer) to a southwestern-themed tacos-plus restaurant with room for 120 in Wellesley Square (Lockheart is currently moving through the permitting process), to Tatte Bakery’s expected mid-June opening in Linden Square, diners suddenly have a dizzying array of new choices. It’s finally happening. Wellesley is becoming a real restaurants town.
If ever there was a time to get out and see what’s new, now is that time. Celebrate Wellesley and all it has to offer by giving a warm welcome to the area’s new businesses that are bringing a fresh feel to town, and by supporting the long-time business that have made Wonderful Wellesley the shopping and dining destination that it is today.
Join the fun and get up in Wellesley’s business in the best possible way—by shopping, dining, and doing local.
Eat your way through town
Go ahead, try out both the new and the long-established eateries—after all, Wellesley has over 50 places to dine.
Here’s the latest on the new places:
Asaro Bakery & Cafe—to open in 2022
32 Church Street, Church Square
Bakery and cafe
Jejes Coffeehouse—to open in 2022
259 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills
Coffee, tea, and desserts, including South Korean treats.
Karma—to open in 2022
Sushi featuring a cross between Japanese flavors and the delicate sauces and styles of France, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Malaysian menu items.