Thursday, April 16, 2015

Holi, Bedford's First Indian Restaurant is now Open

Holi Indian Restaurant located at 20 North Road is now open. The restaurant replaces Dalya's which closed last December. Holi is managed by Amarjit Singh, who is one of the owners at Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn.

The space underwent an interior renovation resulting in a much more modern and colorful appearance.

The new restaurant which has about 100 seats plus a small bar area, will be open from 11:30am until 11pm most days. A lunch buffet will be available until 3pm daily. Amarjit also has plans to offer delivery within a 3 mile radius.

The upstairs dining room is available for corporate functions and private parties

It's good to see a new restaurant come in to the Dayla's location so quickly. Bedford has been missing an Indian Restaurant. Key to success will be attracting employees who work in Bedford to come in for lunch or after work for dinner. Currently many of them go to Burlington or Billerica for Indian Food.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Whole Foods Planning New Entrance as Part of Bedford MarketPlace Renovations

The Whole Foods at 170 Great Road in the Bedford MarketPlace has submitted plans for a new front entranceway. The new addition which would stand in front of the existing storefront, has a maximum height of 45 feet and a mean height of 39 feet. The building itself has a height of about 21 feet.

Depiction of proposed entrance way. Please click on the image for a larger view.
The current zoning in Bedford allows for a maximum height of 37 feet. Since the average height of the structure is 39 feet, Whole Foods has applied for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Side view of the proposed entrance way. Please click on the image for a more detailed view.

1. It seems like Whole Foods is interested in getting more visibility from the front of the shopping center. This may be due to the fact that the new one story buildings in front of and to the side of Whole Foods will be at least a few feet taller than the previous buildings. It could also be due to competition with the new Wegmans in Burlington.

Front of the new Wegmans in Burlington
2. With the new building going up next to Marshall's (which along with the Red Tavern Restaurant is expected to have about 12,000 square feet of additional retail space), the facade at Marshall's is looking pretty out of date. It will be interesting to see if this is updated.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Indian Restaurant Holi Set to Open March 16th at former Dalya's Location

Holi Indian Restaurant which is located at 20 North Road, is expected to open Monday March 16th. This replaces Dalya's which closed in December. The location has undergone an interior renovation. Holi will be managed by Amarjit Singh, who is one of the owners at Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn.

The new restaurant is expected to have 100 seats along with a function room and will be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Delivery is expected to be available. This will be the first Indian Restaurant in Bedford.

Stay tuned for more details around mid March.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Flatbread Pizza Looking to Add Outdoor Seating

Flatbread Pizza at 213 Burlington Road is looking to add outdoor seating. The restaurant, which opened it's Bedford location in 2006, is interested in adding some outdoor seating before summer. The seats would likely be located adjacent to the main entrance. Adding outdoor seats triggers a restaurant operation change and will most likely require approval by the planning board and health department.

The proposed seating is adjacent to the front of the restaurant which is on the left side of this photo.
2015 looks to be a big year for outdoor seating for Bedford Restaurants. In addition to Flatbread, Cucina D, Ken's Deli, Red Heat Tavern and Ginger are all exploring adding outdoor seating.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Salem Five Bank Now Open on Great Road

Salem Five Bank is now open at 285 Great Road, the former site of the Bedford Travelodge Motel.

I recently spoke with Scott Fisher, Vice President, Market Manager for Business Development at the Bedford Branch. According to Scott, Salem Five has been around since 1855. It's a community bank that until recently was focused on the North Shore. A few years ago the Bank decided to expand in to Middlesex County and opened branches at the Burlington Mall and in Concord. These were doing well so they thought it made sense to open another branch between these locations. They settled on Bedford. The Bank now has 29 Branches and plans to continue to open additional branches in the next few years (their newest branch is set to open soon in Needham).

The Bank offer a full range of consumer and business services. As Marketing Manager, part of Scott's job is to interact with the community including local businesses. Scott mentioned that they provide special banking benefits to employees of companies who have an account with the Salem Five.

The branch features a drive through along with heated sidewalks. There is an additional 1600 square feet of retail space available for lease in the building.
The Bedford Branch at around 2500 square feet, is a little smaller than the traditional bank branch. Salem Five recently updated it's bank designs and in doing so eliminated teller lines, giving the bank a more sleek modern appearance. According to Scott, six people currently work in the branch including an in-house financial consultant and a mortgage specialist.

The new bank features a teller pod in place of the traditional teller windows
While the Bank's soft opening was on December 11th, they spent the past few weeks getting involved in many civic organizations in and around Bedford. In addition, they recently distributed free Apple Pies to many businesses and households in Bedford. The Bank has scheduled a grand opening celebration for January 31st and February 1st. According to Scott, the theme will be a winter wonderland with the bank turning a portion of their parking lot in to an ice skating rink. The bank plans to have ice skates available for anyone who wants to skate along with a Hot Chocolate, Hot Cider and Cookie Bar for anyone who stops by.

The Branch includes a ' Take Five Lounge'  with a television along with free coffee and tea.
The bank seems to be focused on being consumer facing. Besides being open seven days most weeks, Salem Five has a policy of opening 15 minutes earlier and closing 15 minutes later than their scheduled hours just in case you are running a few minutes early or late before or after work

Along with their traditional banking services, the bank has developed a interactive loyalty program featuring Dustin Pedroia designed to teach kids who open an account, about investing and saving money. Salem Five is also looking in to rolling out more mobile services such as Apple Pay.

The ideas of staying open a few extra minutes seems to be a smart one. It presents a positive customer experience to people versus business that try to rush you out before closing. For example at Stop and Shop, 30 minutes before they close, they usually announce they will be closing in 30 minutes over the loud speakers. They then proceed to repeat the announcement every five to ten minutes almost like a countdown clock.

The past few years have featured in increase in the number of banks in Bedford and surrounding areas. Landlords tend to favor banks as tenants as they almost always pay their rent on time. In Lexington, the town is considering a moratorium that would prohibit new bank branches from opening in Lexington Center. What are your thoughts on that?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ken's Deli and Red Heat Tavern Vie for Remaining Liquor License

Both Ken's Deli and Red Heat Tavern have applied for the town's last available All Alcohol license.

Ken's Deli which opened almost 2 years ago at 72 Great Road currently has a Wine and Beer license. They are looking to expand in to the space previously occupied by Wicked Good Frozen Yogurt (of which they were a co-owner). As part of this expansion, they plan to create a full service dining room in the new space and so would like to upgrade to a All Alcohol license.

As previously reported, Red Heat Tavern is looking to move in to the new building under construction next to Marshall's in Bedford Market Place. They have an existing Red Heat Tavern restaurant in Wilmington and Bedford would be their second location.

Red Heat Tavern's legal notice for the license application was published December 18th with Ken's legal notice for their application getting published on December 26th.

Massachusetts Liquor License quotas establishes 1 full alcohol license for every 1,000 in population according to the latest federal census. The latest census information updated on 2/14/14 showed 14,503 people in Bedford so that gives a total of 14 licenses.

The town does have the option to petition the state to issue more licenses. This was most recently done in Burlington which was able to get 10 additional licenses and Watertown is in the process of requesting 15 additional licenses. If the town does pursue this option, it would take some time before the new licenses actually become available.

In Massachusetts there is an ability to transfer licensess. For example restaurant A could transfer the license to restaurant B in exchange for compensation. The transfer would still have to be approved by the Selectman.

According to State Law the town must reach a decision within 30 days. The upcoming agenda show that the Board of Selectman do intend to make a decision at the January 12th Selectman's Meeting. According to a recent letter from The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the “issue of competition is one that should not be considered when determining whether or not a license should be granted or transferred.”

The Selectman meetings usually provide an opportunity to provide public feedback so if you favor one restaurant over the other, I would recommend attending the meeting or sending a note to the Board of Selectman via their online contact form, letting them know your thoughts.

Staples Closing Bedford Store

The Staples (store #1652) at 297 Great Road in the Great Shopping Center is expected to close at the end of February. Staples closed about 175 stores in 2014 and is planning to close an additional 50 or so stores in 2015 including the Bedford location reducing the total number of stores in the United States to under 1600. Many items in the store are currently on clearance as the company is trying to clean out remaining inventory. It's not known if employees at the Bedford location will be transferred to other locations.

This doesn't seem to come as a surprise. Compared to the Burlington store, this Staples always seemed a lot less busy. With the closing of Staples, there is quite a bit of retail space available in the Great Road Shopping Center. What type of stores or restaurants would you like to see?