Somerville’s Evoo and Arlington’s Za are converging in February in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. (Photos: top, Chompster_2009; above, courtesy of Za)

Somerville’s Evoo and Arlington’s Za are converging in February in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. (Photos: top, Chompster_2009; above, courtesy of Za)

It’s been news to foodies since October that the restaurant Evoo is moving to Kendall Square from Somerville, and that its 350 Third St. location — called the Watermark Building — will also host the second Za, an Arlington pizza restaurant run by the same group. They should open in February, helping Kendall become more of a nighttime destination.

To get ahead of the curve on restaurant news:

Expect the former Friendly Eating Place, at Massachusetts Avenue and Dana Street in Central Square, to become a restaurant called Canteen. Food-industry sources are describing wraps and sandwiches (the sort that makes you feel as though you’re eating healthily, made with breads from the near-ubiquitous Iggy’s — a Cambridge business) and starting with breakfast.

Speaking of Central Square: It’s also rumored that Rendezvous and Central Kitchen are seeking sites for second branches, and that Flour Bakery + Cafe is moving in next to Central Bottle.

Although economic downturns are always risky times for restaurants, since dining out is among the first things to go when budgets get tight, they are also the best times for restaurateurs to find low-cost commercial space. Timing is everything.

Real estate played a role in how Evoo and Za will be arranged in Kendall Square. Steve Kurland, partners with Peter and Colleen McCarthy at the restaurants, described the venture like this for the online dining community:

The two locations will be next to each other and will share an entryway and a host/ess stand, but will be operated as separate concepts. Za (including a 13-seat, full-service bar) will seat about 80 guests inside and 50 guests outside. Evoo will seat about 70 guests inside and 50 guests outside. Both menus will be consistent with the current operations. Za and Evoo will both be open for lunch and dinner to serve workers, residents, students, visitors and anyone else who would like to come. We are looking forward to February and are very excited to be part of the Kendall Square community.

And here’s a transcript from a Licensing Commission meeting last year; discussion about Evoo and Za begins on Page 54 in the file.