Friday, November 27, 2015

New Italian Restaurant Coming to Bedford Marketplace

Comella's Restaurant is expected to open at 158H Great Road in the Bedford Marketplace. The restaurant, which focuses on homemade Italian foods, currently has 12 locations in the Boston area including Concord and Arlington. The menu features Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, Pastas, Pizzas, Traditional Italian Entrees and Desserts.

Most locations are fairly small, with less than 20 seats and do a significant amount of take out business as well as corporate catering.

Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An Update on Cafe Luigi

Cafe Luigi which has been in Bedford for over 27 years at 168 Great Road, closed on August 29th in order for their existing building to be demolished as part of the renovations at Bedford Marketplace. At the time of their closing they hoped to re-open in the Spring in one of the new buildings currently under construction in the Bedford Marketplace. The parent company of Cafe Luigi also owns Marios in Lexington, Grassfields in Waltham, Jimmys Steer House in Arlington and a few other restaurants.

I recently spoke with Cafe Luigi owner Richard Stoico. Richard told me that Cafe Luigi would not be returning to Bedford Marketplace. They are currently looking for a new location in and around Bedford. While they are looking in the surrounding area, they to prefer to remain in Bedford.

Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stone Carving Classes Now Available in the Depot District

Scott's Stone Carving Classes at 80 Loomis Street has been offering Stone Carving Classes for the past year or so. I recently got a chance to speak with Scott Cahaly the owner. According to Scott, Stone Carving has it's history in the ancient crafts of Greek and Italian.

Scott who is originally from Lexington, graduated from the University of Vermont about 20 years ago. During school he did some stone work on his own. After school, Scott spent about 5 years fine tuning his craft and then began to teach. In 2000, he decided to move back to the Boston area and started working with the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. He spent about 10 years there with a group but then decided to strike out on his own and teach Stone Carving. He first opened a studio in Acton, then moved to Lincoln and then to Fresh Pond which turned out to be a great location. The building was initially empty. It quickly filled up but then the landlord dramatically raised the rent. So he decided to look for a new location for his studio.

Just over a year ago, Scott saw a Craig's List ad for the Bedford Depot building. He checked out the space and thought it was a good fit to be in an historic building. His lease runs through the end of 2016.

The Studio is located on the second floor of the Depot Building and has room for more than a dozen students.

Scott offers two different types of classes.

Weekly Classes for people very interested in learning more about stone carving. Scott offers evening classes during the week. These run about 3 hours once per week for 10 weeks. These classes are generally geared for beginners. According to Scott, anyone off the street can learn stone carving. An art background is not needed. The class is open to Adults and kids age 12 or older. Scott teaches the entire process of stone carving from the beginning chisels up to the files and finishing process.

One-day Workshops for beginners and more experienced carvers. Scott teaches hand-carving techniques and stone carving lore is demonstrated and discussed. The workshop includes use of the Studio’s tools and a 5-8 pound piece of alabaster. These workshops last about 5.5 hours and are are generally held on the 3rd Saturday every month.

A wide assortment of tools await. Scott is a member of the New England Sculptors Association.

One of the things that Scott really enjoys is watching people get very absorbed in the process. They become very focused and lose track of time, enabling them to to get away from any problems and live in the moment.

Scott with one of his current projects. This one is made of Vermont Marble and is becoming a Mayan Princess Guardian.
Scott splits his time between teaching at the Depot Park studio and working on his own Stone Carving projects at another studio. While he has done a few commissions, the majority of his own work he thinks up himself and then sells through other Studios and Galleries.

The building is shared with a stained glass studio and other businesses.
It's good to see the very beginning of an art scene in the Depot District. Establishment of a Bedford Cultural District and more studio space for artists will help it grow.

While many communities have initially embraced so called STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to help drive innovation, the addition of Art (STEAM) is critical to the success of these programs as Art plays an important role in creativity and problem solving.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finishing Touches Being Applied as Red Heat Tavern Awaits Grand Opening

The finishing touches are being added to the Red Heat Tavern at 150 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace as the restaurant prepares for it's grand opening. As previously reported, the restaurant will open for dinner only starting on Monday November 9th, with a full opening on Monday November 16th.

Work on the interior has been completed. The restaurant is awaiting final placement of tables and chairs. There should be about 200 seats inside with up to 46 seats outside. 

Some work remains on the outdoor patio. With climatological winter less than one month away, I suspect some of this may not be completed until after the restaurant opens.

Red Heat is still looking for additional employees.
Red Heat Tavern which was already known for being allergy friendly, recently announced it's fall menu and every item on the new menu can be prepared gluten free.

While final operating hours have not yet been announced, the restaurant is expected to be open until 11 pm during the week and until 12 am on the weekend.

It will be interesting to see how Red Heat Tavern does in Bedford. Based on the initial feedback from town residents I expect it to do well.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lincoln Liquors Moves to Larger Space in Bedford Marketplace

Lincoln Liquors moved to its new location at 156 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace on October 4th. I recently spoke to Manager Joe Condon. According to Joe, the new location is 8,000 square feet while the old store was around 1,300 square feet.

The new store has a much larger selection of craft beer. The total size of the store is six times larger than before.
The old store location, which was previously known as Genetti’s Wine and Spirits, was purchased by Lincoln Liquors in the Fall of 2014. In addition to the Bedford location, Lincoln Liquors also operates stores in Billerica, Framingham and Holliston.

Lincoln Liquors offers a wide variety of refrigerated beers.
The larger store has more than four times the number of products compared to the original store. Joe mentioned they added a lot more Craft Beers, Bourbon, Scotch and Ethnic Wines.

The wine selection is much larger as well and includes a wide assortment designed to complement ethnic foods..

According to Joe, customers have been very positive with the layout and selection at the new location.

The new store has a dedicated area for The Lottery and Keno

Lincoln Liquors will be having wine tasting on Saturday afternoons. These tastings are typically run by vendors.

The new location which is immediately to the left of Marshalls, is just a few doors down from the old store.,

During the transition to the new store, Lincoln Liquors hired two additional employees and is currently looking to add three or four more in time for the holiday season.

Lincoln Liquors offers a limited delivery service mainly for corporate events.

While the new store has been open since early October, a formal Grand Opening is planned for just before Thanksgiving. Lincoln Liquors is currently open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 10pm and 10am to 8pm on Sundays.

The logo is modeled after President Lincoln. Note the top hat and the beard around the letter O

This new store continues a trend towards much larger liquor stores in the region. For example in the past few years in Burlington, both Olde Towne Liquors and Burlington Wine and Spirits reopened a few doors down in much larger locations. I think this is partially due to the popularity of Craft Beers resulting in having to carry a much larger selection and also due to having to  compete with new supermarkets which are more likely to offer liquor like the new Wegman's in Burlington.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Body Temple Massage Opens on Great Road

Body Template Massage at 62 Great Road, opened last Friday October 16th. I recently spoke with the owner Chantra So. Chantra is originally from Cambodia and now lives in Lowell. A few years back a friend of hers was interested in learning Massage and asked Chantra to go with her to take a look at a massage program at the The Elizabeth Grady School. Chantra found it very interesting and so it wound up that Chantra enrolled in the school while her friend did not end up enrolling.

Main Hallway of Body Temple Massage. Treatment rooms are on the right.
After Graduating, Chantra decided to begin researching opening up her own massage spa. A friend initially found the space in Bedford. She did some research and did not see other massage places nearby so she thought this would be good location to set up shop.

One of the three treatment rooms. Each room has a unique look.
Body Template Massage offers a variety of massage types including Swedish Relaxing, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone and others. The space consists of a welcome area and three treatment rooms.

While the spa opened on October 16th, the official Grand Opening Celebration will be held on Saturday October 24th from 5pm-9pm and include raffles, appetizers and wine. As part of the Grand Opening, Chantra mentioned they will be offering 25% off regular rates through the end of the year. Body Temple Massage is open from 10am-8pm during the week and from 10am-6pm on weekends.

1. With the opening of Body Temple Massage, the retail space on the Black Block is 100% occupied. KB Jewelers is expected to move in to the space currently occupied by Bedford Rug early next year.

2. During the past few years, the local area has seen an influx of national chains for Hair Salons and Massage. Bedford has seen the addition of Supercuts, Great Clips and now Hair Cuttery while Burlington has seen Snip-Its, 18|8, Hair Cuttery, Sport Clips as well as Massage Envy and Elements Therapeutic Massage.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Mexican Restaurant El Colima May Be Coming to 54 Middlesex Turnpike

According to a recent legal notice, Cucina D restaurant at 54 Middlesex Turnpike is looking to transfer their Liquor License to El Colima. A corporate search shows that El Colima Bedford LLC has a business address of 54 Middlesex Turnpike. Another records check shows there is a El Colima restaurant in Nashua NH with the same owners. So it seems likely that they will be opening another location in Bedford.

Stay tuned for more details.