Sunday, July 21, 2024

The Boathouse in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, seen in 2019, will become The Sea Hag Restaurant & Bar with a different decor. (Photo: Hans S. via Yelp)

Grendel’s Den owner Kari Kuelzer is expanding in Harvard Square, taking over the Boathouse location at 49 Mount Auburn St. to open The Sea Hag Restaurant & Bar.

The name won’t be because there’s seafood on the menu, but to honor the mother of Grendel, the monstrous antagonist in the Old English poem “Beowulf” and namesake of her eatery at 89 Winthrop St.

“The sea hag is a woman of power and wisdom who rules the realm of the sea, and we’ve always done global, international food” at Grendel’s Den, Kuelzer told Cambridge license commissioners at a Thursday hearing. “We’re just going to center the waters of the world and serve globally inspired coastal food – not always fish, but there’ll be some fish.” It won’t be too far off from how Boathouse owners Lawrence and Brendan Hopkins described their menu: “interesting takes on traditional public house fare.” (The brothers, who own the neighboring Daedalus, opened the Boathouse in 2012 from what had been Tommy’s Lunch.)

“It’s a really good fit for what Grendel’s has been doing for a long time, with a kind of English pub influence,” Kuelzer said. “The main difference is the decor,” which she said would become “a little bit more in the bohemian vibe that we kind of stand for at Grendel’s Den, a little more feminine. Basically there’s a lot of boats in there now.”

Licensing awaits a slight amendment to the application limiting its entertainment capacity. Kuelzer pursued a full entertainment license, checking every box available to accommodate whatever “little bit off-kilter” events she might want to host, but commissioners asked that she resubmit without permissions for “wrestling” and an “acrobatic show.”

The new space will seat 39 people in approximately 1,215 square feet over two stories with proposed hours of 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays.

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Ricen in Porter Square

Panupak Kraiwong, the man behind the buzzy Thai street food eatery Dakzen in Somerville’s Davis Square, is also manager of record for Ricen, which appeared on the commission’s agenda to fill 1906 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, which has been empty since Rod Dee Thai left in April 2019. The 2,800-square-foot Ricen would have 40 seats and operate between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. (Separately, Dakzen chief executive George Pengs told Eater in January 2022 that it planned to open Jakingrass at 54 Elm St., Somerville, but the status of the plan is unclear – the restaurant is not open and there have been no updates since December.) Commissioners approved Ricen without testimony or discussion.

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Beraka Juice in Kendall Square

Originally from Winthrop, Beraka Juice plans a second location at 625 W. Kendall St., Kendall Square, where founder Vanessa Kazadi said there will be “organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies and acai bowls” integrating vegan products from local vendors and going in where Mother Juice used to be – a straight swap “without doing changes to the site at all” and next door to the vegan Plant Pub at 675 W. Kendall St. The space will be able to hold 20 people between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. all days.

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In other actions:

The commission granted licensing to the Dudley Café at 1663 Massachusetts Ave., in the Baldwin neighborhood between Harvard and Porter squares, a former Hi-Rise Bread Co. space. The 1,260-square-foot space, the second Dudley location after one in Boston, has 49 seats inside and 30 outside will be managed by Jebin Tuladhar and open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Ownership and management responsibilities have been transferred at the nightclub ManRay, 40 Prospect St., Central Square, to Cheryl Holland (with 10 percent ownership sold to relative Heather Durgin) after the death of founder Don Holland on June 18.