Thursday, January 2, 2020

Minuteman Diner Gets Ready to Open

The long awaited Minuteman Diner at 363 Great Road in the Great Road Village shopping center is just about ready to open. Only a few finishing touches remain. The Diner replaces D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches which abruptly closed in November of 2018.

I recently met with Diane Cohen, co-owner of the new diner. Diane and her husband Ed have long been interested in the food service industry so they decided to go after their dream and open a diner. They wanted a friendly inviting place with good service and quality local food. Diane related how her family enjoyed the the food and celebrating birthdays at the Chadwick's Ice Cream Parlour in Waltham. So in honor of Chadwick's, she purchased a Bell in order to bring that favorite memory of ringing the bell to Minuteman Diner

The Diner features a grab and go area for people who want to pick up a quick breakfast such as Bagels or Eggs on the way to work.
The location has undergone a complete renovation and has a much more modern but still classic diner feel. The diner will serve Breakfast all day. According to Diane, they created a menu designed to appeal to a wide variety of people include Vegans. In addition to Breakfast items like Omelettes and Pancakes, the menu features Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Burgers and Pub Classics along with Comfort Food.

A Frozen Yogurt machine as well as a topping station for ice cream and more. The diner expects kids to use the topping station to decorate their pancakes.
Along with breakfast, the Diner plans to also serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant has a full liquor license and will offer an extensive drink menu. The new restaurant has 49 traditional seats with an additional 9 seats at the bar.

The diner featured many local brands including Maine Root organic soda
According to Diane, Minuteman Diner is hoping to open to the public on January 10 for breakfast only and then have their Grand opening January 14 from 6 AM to 11 PM with their full menu.

Similar to many coffee shops, the diner offers a cup club. Customers buy the cup and then get special pricing on coffee, tea or soda. 
1. There has been an influx in places serving breakfast in the region including Twist Bakery and Blackbird Cafe in Burlington. This seemed long overdue.

2. With the recent closing of Margaritas in Lexington, the Minuteman Diner will be the closest restaurant off Interstate 95/128. With a full liquor menu (including Margaritas) it will be interesting to see if they can pick up former Margaritas customers.

3. The diner should benefit the other businesses in Great Road Village shopping center by providing a significant increase in foot traffic.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Upcoming Changes to Bedford's Restaurant Scene

November brings lots of Restaurant news to Bedford.

1. Posto at 158 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace is scheduled to open before the end of the month. The restaurant, which is owned by the Alpine Restaurant Group has an existing Posto restaurant in Davis Square in Somerville. Posto replaces Comella's which closed in March.

In addition to Comella's, Posto has also acquired the adjacent vacant space and will have over 200 seats.

2. Interior work on the Minuteman Diner at 363 Great Road in the Great Road Village shopping center has been completed. The restaurant is now waiting on final inspections and plans to open later in November. The diner which has a full liquor license, will serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The restaurant has managed to acquire the Birthday Bell from the old Chadwick's Ice Cream Parlor in Waltham. Stay tuned for more details. UPDATE: The Opening may be delayed.

The Diner replace D'Angelo's Sandwich Shop which closed in November 2018
3. Work on Tashan Restaurant is expected to begin soon next to Club Champion Golf at 213 Burlington Road. The new restaurant is expected to focus on Tapas Style Indian food and will have about 120 seats. This will be the fifth restaurant in the building,  joining Flatbread Pizza, Bamboo, Panera Bread and The Melting Pot. The owners of Tashan also run Gourmet India which has locations at the Burlington Mall and Quincy Market in Boston.

Tashan restaurant will be two doors down from Panera Bread.
4. The Former Papa Gino's location at 310 Great Road has been sold. The new owner has proposed a mixed use project with retail on the first floor and condos on the 2nd and 3rd floors. No word yet on the type of retail businesses expected.

The property was last listed at  $1.625 Million.

5. Renovations are underway at 36 North Road on what will be the new location of Prince Street Cafe. The Cafe which was previously located at 200 Great Road, will occupy the first floor with residential on the 2nd floor. The project which was originally expected to replace the current building, has been updated to renovate the existing building. Prince Street Cafe has an additional location in an office building at 24 Hartwell Avenue in Lexington.

This was the former location of Fitzgerald's Package Store which closed in October 2017
Former Bedford location of Prince Street Cafe. The space is currently vacant.

The directory at 200 Great Road shows Bedford House of Beef in the former location of Prince Street. It is unknown if or when House of Beef will be moving.
6. The Lexington location of Margaritas Mexican Restaurant at 438 Bedford Street is closing on November 23rd. This location has been open since 2010 and formerly housed a Denny's.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Orthopaedics Plus is Now Open at 54 Middlesex Turnpike

Orthopaedics Plus opened earlier this year at 54 Middlesex Turnpike. The clinic, which moved from Burlington also has a location in Beverly. I recently spoke with Dr. Justin Pezick and Dr. Mike Stare who are the current owners of Orthopaedics Plus.

Orthopaedics Plus was formed in 1986 by Al Visnick, Bill Antonelli and Vinny Buscemi. A second location opened in Burlington a few years later. Mike joined Orthopaedics Plus in 2006 as a Physical Therapist in Beverly and shortly thereafter founded Spectrum Fitness Consulting. Orthopaedics Plus and Spectrum Fitness partnered together with adjacent spaces in Beverly. About 90% of Spectrum's original clients were former patients at Orthopaedics Plus. Justin joined Orthopaedics Plus in 2015 as a clinician in the Burlington office and quickly became very interested in a management role. Mike and Justin decided they complemented each other very well, and decided to purchase the business. They officially took ownership on January 1st 2018. The previous owners still work for the company as Clinicians.

Last year, their lease of 2,000 square feet in Burlington was coming up for renewal and they thought it would be a good time to move, as there was no easy way to expand in their existing building. Their first step was to survey their customers about moving. They got strong feedback that staying nearby was important (most of their client base lives nearby with about 10-15% who live much further away but work in the area). Both Justin and Mike met with many local building owners in Burlington, Lexington and Bedford to explain their vision of where they wanted to go with Orthopaedics Plus. They realized that most of the building owners wanted to take their vision and attempt to incorporate it in to their currently available spaces which did not work well. They then met with Kevin Curran, the owner of 54 Middlesex Turnpike (which was undergoing a total renovation). They were excited that Kevin was able to understand their vision and told them he would work with them to build out a space around their vision rather than try to shoe horn it in to an existing space. They went ahead and signed the lease.

All the equipment is new and the main treatment area  is much larger than their previous location in Burlington.

Build out started in 2018 and they moved in to their new space in January of this year. The new facility is almost three times the size at 5800 square feet. With the move, they decided to open a Bedford location of Spectrum Fitness inside of Orthopaedics Plus. Both Mike and Justin thought it made sense to combine the physical therapy and fitness facility. Justin explained how they tend to cross promote each other (clients getting physical therapy frequently want to get in better shape and fitness clients frequently need help with injuries or related issues). As far as the space itself, the physical therapy portion is about 4K with about 1200 square feet for Spectrum Fitness and the rest of the space is divided up between customer reception and administrative offices.

Treatment table. The new facility is well lit and features wood flooring.
The thing they like best about their new space is the glass wall that separates the physical therapy section from Spectrum Fitness. It maintains a line of sight which provides inspiration for many physical therapy patients. Mike explained how many times the physical therapy patients are seeing people on the other side of the glass lifting weights, doing squats and more. The patients are then generally very surprised to hear that many of those people were previous on their side of the glass in physical therapy for the same exact thing they are there for. The patient will then often see the light in how much they will be able to do if they keep working at it. Both Justin and Mike revealed that this has been very fulfilling for the physical therapists themselves.

The main workout room at Spectrum Fitness features a wide variety of equipment

As part of the move, Orthopaedics Plus also upgraded their software and patient records. This enabled them to shift a lot of staff time previously spent on administrative tasks to a more patient centric focus such as following up with appointments or checking in with patients to see how they are feeling.

The new space is very open and has lots of windows.
Spectrum Fitness focuses on both nutrition and strengthening exercises. Mike explained how it's important to tailor the program to the specific needs and abilities of the client. So they provide a free one hour assessment to prospective clients. Unlike traditional gyms such as Planet Fitness, most clients don't just stop by to use the gym. Instead they attend scheduled classes or one on one personal training. Because of this, Spectrum only offers a 6, 12 or 18 months commitment. The Spectrum Fitness instructors have weekly rounds where they check in with clients to see how everything is going and catch most issues before they become big problems. Justin gave an example where a fitness client twisted their ankle. Typically a person might wait a few weeks before seeing a medical professional. With rounds, the physical therapists can take a quick look right away and provide immediate advice on it. Both Justin and Mike explained how this increases the efficiency of health care.

Both companies share the common area.

Now that they are fully moved in, Justin and Mike have started to focus on reaching out to the local community. They are currently working with local Councils on Aging by providing seminars on nutrition, exercise, fall prevention and related topics. They also provide no cost seminars to nearby companies on a variety of health and wellness topics such as ergonomics and corporate wellness.

54 Middlesex Turnpike building has undergone a complete renovation. Compare the before and after. Along with Orthopaedics Plus, Barrel House Z Brewery/Restaurant is expected to open later this year.
The new facility which employs close to 25 people, is generally open from 6am to 7pm during the work week and is closed on Weekends. The formal Grand Opening with a ribbon cutting is set for May 17th.

1. Combining fitness centers to Physical Therapy practices seems to be a growing trend. In Bedford, Well Effect has also combined practices.
2. It's good to see developers work closely with tenants on a shared vision.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Posto Restaurant to Open Second Location in Bedford Marketplace

Posto Restaurant, which has an existing location in Davis Square in Sommerville, is planning to open a second location at 158 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace replacing Comella's. Posto which specializes in wood fired Neapolitan Pizza and Italian cuisine, is part of the Alpine Restaurant Group which also operates the Burro Bar, Osteria Posto, Painted Burro and Rosebud restaurants.

The new restaurant has recently gotten approval to transfer over the Alcohol License from Comella's. Posto is planning to expand in to the empty space next door, increasing the size of the restaurant from around 3,600 square feet to 6,300 square feet. Posto is expected to have up to 200 seats up from around 85 seats with Comella's.

Posto is planning to take over the space currently occupied by Comella's and the adjacent vacant space..
The recent rezoning of the Bedford Great Road districts currently limits the size of restaurants to 5,000 square feet. According to the Bedford Planning Board, this was an oversight. The Planning Board is proposing an update to the zoning to allow a restaurant over 5,000 square feet upon the approval of a special permit. The updated zoning proposal is expect to be voted on in March. No word yet on how long Comella's will remain open.

This storefront has remained vacant since this new building in Bedford Marketplace opened in 2016.

1. Having a second full service restaurant in Bedford Marketplace will increase foot traffic which will help drive business for the other tenants in the Marketplace. It will likely also help with leasing out the remaining three empty store fronts. Also will be good to have another place for local businesses to take their clients to.

2. Comella's never really seemed that busy. Some informal feedback from residents was that the food at their other locations seemed better.

3. Posto will be located a few door doors down from the Bedford POST Office.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Yoga Nova Opens on Great Road

Yoga Nova Studio is now open at 51 Great Road, the former location of Colorworks which closed last December.

I recently spoke with co-owner Lisa Mauriello. Lisa had worked at a Baptiste Yoga Institute affiliate in Cambridge for several years. As time went on, she ended up taking on a lot of the business sides of things. This got her interested in running her own Yoga Studio. Her family then moved from Somerville to Bedford about one year ago. After arriving in Bedford, she noticed that there was a lack of Vinyasa Flow style Yoga studios in the area (which is the most popular form of Yoga). Sensing an opportunity, she began looking for a place to open her own studio.

While she initially looked at a few places in surrounding towns such as Burlington, she ultimately decided she wanted to have the business in the same town her family lived in. She found the old Colorworks location and thought it would be the perfect location. The studio is named after her Daughter Nova.

The interior has been completely renovated including new lighting and hardwood floors. The main room can hold up to 40 students
While the location was ideal, the site had been a paint store for several decades and was in need of a complete renovation. Drawing upon her degree from MassArt, Lisa did most of the design drawings. Her focus was to create a friendly but cozy environment where people can come together. She see's the studio as an important part of the local community.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga can easily be customized to all levels of students.
Lisa envisioned the studio as a Mom friendly place where it would be easy to come in and out, so she created a special play area for children with childcare.

The play area contains a kid's kitchen and lots of stuffed animals.
The studio had a soft opening on August 22nd. To start, they are having classes for all levels four times a day during the week and two to three times on the weekend. Most classes last 60-75 minutes. Once a month, they plan to hold a beginners work shop for new students. The studio is also offering prenatal classes that are also open to postpartum women. Lisa mentioned that down the road she would like to have additional classes designed for small groups of postpartum moms.

The new studio features changing rooms, making it easy for people to come before or after work.
Although Lisa will be teaching some of the classes, she is also employing four additional certified instructors.

The reception desk features a customized design.
While the Studio is now open, they expect to have a formal Grand Opening celebration later in September.


It's good to see the old Colorworks space filled so quickly. I expect the trend for more fitness and wellness places to continue.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Well Effect Re-Opens in Bedford Marketplace

The Well Effect has moved to it's permanent location at 158 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace. It originally opened back in 2012 a few blocks down in Blue Ribbon Plaza. In 2017, it temporarily moved to the the former site of Bierens Garage at 50 Concord Road, while their new location was being built.

The new Life Style center has an extensive array of fitness equipment.

The new facility at 4500 square feet, is much larger than their previous location. An extensive build out was done including the addition of an interior 2nd floor.

A hydrotherapy and aqua therapy pool has been added with several underwater treadmills

Unlike many other gyms or fitness centers, The Well Effect includes coaching along with wellness education and emotional support to help clients reach and maintain their goals.

A new rotating climbing wall for training and recreation is available. It moves by body weight.

While the new facility opened in early June, according to founder John Jamesapollos, they expect to have a full grand opening celebration in the next few weeks.

This room will be a teaching kitchen where clients learn all about nutrition.

Upon entering the facility, clients are greeted by an aquarium. 

The new location is in a higher traffic area. It will be interesting to see how they do. Offering a complementary health and fitness review seems like smart marketing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Edible Arrangements Now Open in Blue Ribbon Plaza

Edible Arrangements opened on October 25th at 186 Great Road in Blue Ribbon Plaza. This was the previous location of The Well Effect. I recently spoke with Samuel, one of the co-owners. Samuel and his business partner Mo Khenefar, have always had a passion for fruit. They were looking to open their first franchise and they really liked the Edible Arrangements concept and felt the company itself was very solid. In January, they started looking for a location and choose Bedford because they felt it is a very nice community. They found the space in June and started interior construction right away and were able to open in just four months. According to Samuel, finding a space that met their needs in Bedford was challenging as there was not a lot of retail space available for the range of square footage they were looking for. Along with Bedford, this Edible Arrangements serves Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Hanscom AFB, Lexington and other nearby towns.

The Chocolate Dipped Fruit Cones are one of their best selling items.
The store offers a wide variety of over 200 different Fruit arrangements. According to Samuel, the prices start at $29.99 and go all the way up to $2000. The arrangements tend to be specialized for different types of events including; Birthdays, Graduations, Anniversaries, Holiday Parties, Weddings (used as centerpieces), Corporate Gifts, Kid Parties and more. Samuel explained how a lot of realtors have started including Fruit Arrangements in their open houses in place of the more traditional donuts and coffee. Along with their regular arrangements, they also rotate through seasonal items such as a Halloween Pumpkin Keepsake which includes specially cut Pineapple Daisies along with strawberries and other fruits. For all of their arrangements, the store offers delivery, online ordering and/or in-store pickup. According to Samuel their sales are about 60% business and 40% residential.

The Bedford Store offers a wide arrange of Fruit Based drinks.
While Edible Arrangements started out totally focused on Fruit Arrangements, a few years ago the company decided to experiment with a new format and added Edible To Go items such as Smoothies. The Bedford store is the newest format which now includes Smoothies, Frozen Yogurt, Frozen Hot Chocolate and other to go items along with the traditional Fruit Arrangements. So far about 20% of the existing Edible Arrangement stores have been converted to the new format. In fact there are even a few drive thru stores. The plan is to have all of 1300+ stores converted over to the newest format in the next few years.

Smoothies are made fresh and consist of a blend of many fruits.
While the Bedford Store  had a soft opening at the end of October, they plan to have their full grand opening shortly after Thanksgiving. Samuel feels their store will make a nice addition to town and plans to get involved in the Bedford community. Samuel mentioned that both Mo and himself really like making their customers happy, and especially enjoy seeing the smiles on customers faces when they see the arrangements they ordered.

Edible Arrangements continues to grow. The company is averaging about 40 new franchise locations a year and now have close to 50 locations in Massachusetts.

Along with Fruit Arrangements, the store offers a variety of seasonal gift items.
The Bedford location currently employs about 10 people. They plan to add a few more employees as business ramps up. The store itself is open from 8 am to 7 pm from Mon-Fri and  5 pm on Saturdays. On Sunday they are open from 11 am to 4 pm.      

1. It's interesting that Edible Arrangements is now offering Smoothies and other to go items. Seems like this is a good way to drive foot traffic and gets people to try their products along with driving incremental revenue.
2. Key to their success will be tapping in to the large number of companies located in Bedford and Burlington.