Sunday, May 19, 2024

The adjoining Toad and Christopher’s Restaurant & Bar have been closed since March 2020. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Diners shouldn’t expect Christopher’s Restaurant & Bar to open anytime soon in Porter Square, but music lovers should have their Toad back early next year for drinks and live music.

Among Charles Christopher’s small empire of eateries and clubs under the Cambridge Eats and Beats name, only Cambridge Common has been open throughout the pandemic. That leaves three businesses dark: Lizard Lounge, which is downstairs at Cambridge Common, 1667 Massachusetts Ave., in the Baldwin neighborhood; and the two-story neighborhood staple called Christopher’s and its tiny adjoining bar with an even tinier stage, Toad, at 1912-1920 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square.

Their closing was announced March 16, 2020, to last “until the ban is lifted,” but they have stayed closed. At this point there is not enough staff to reopen, a Cambridge Common worker said this week.

Toad is expected to be the first to welcome customers back.

“The next step is that we’re hoping to open up Toad fairly soon – in the not-too-distant future, hopefully the first quarter of 2022. We don’t have any official dates,” said Cambridge Common manager Nicholas Brennick on Wednesday.

Updated on Dec. 21, 2021: Christopher said that the plan was to open in January, “but that is said as kind of a who-knows, at the end of it,” considering the rampaging omicron variant of the coronavirus and difficulties hiring staff.

Managers would check vaccine cards to allow in customers, which is the approach taken at Cambridge Common, Brennick said.

What would be missing is the option of having food brought in from Christopher’s through the door that connects the two.

“There would be something that we would prepare so we would probably have some sort of food available,” Brennick said. “I don’t know what those menu items would be. It’s still kind of being batted around.”

Christopher’s opened in 1981 and has a menu that borrows from many cuisines but leans toward comfort food, some of it plant-based, such as Buffalo tofu.

There’s little fear the restaurant will shut down forever despite its 21 months – so far – of locked doors; Cambridge Eats and Beats, operating as Toadman, owns the Christopher’s and Toad properties.

Amid pandemic doldrums and fears of worsening rates of infection, Ruth Ryals, president of the Porter Square Neighbors Association, said Thursday that she was glad to hear that a business might be reopening. “God knows we need it,” Ryals said.