Friday, June 14, 2024

Cantina La Mexicana’s Robert Rendon talks Aug. 25 with old customers after a dinner rush. (Photo: Kate Wheatley)

The Sugidama Soba & Izakaya restaurant has opened at a new location within Somerville’s Davis Square ahead of construction that was expected to affect its location inside the Davis Square Plaza.

That broad alley between the main drag of Elm Street and the quieter Herbert Street is expected to be part of a 14-month, 120,000-square-foot redevelopment project known as 7th Spoke from Asana Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based real estate investment firm. Nothing has been heard publicly about the project since late 2022, when the Sugidama team announced its move after seven years. “It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see-you-again at a better new chapter,” owners said at the time on social media.

The soft opening of the new Sugidama began Monday at 234 Elm St., previously Snappy Ramen and before that iYo Bistro, serving frozen yogurt, waffles, pastry and coffee.

“It’s been a long and tough transitioning into the new space, but it’s all worth it,” owners said.

Sugidama is open Tuesday on Elm Street in Somerville’s Davis Square. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Sugidama was already packed by Tuesday after Monday’s soft opening.

The opposite side of the street is seeing changes for similar reasons: The When Pigs Fly bakery moved this summer from its 241 Elm St. location to 259 Elm St., until May 22 the home of the Niche plant shop, because of a plan by a London-based real estate owner, operator and developer called Scape to redevelop the block from The Burren pub back to Grove Street. Owners at the Sligo Pub chose to close in early June rather than relocate.

Closed in Somerville

Somerville’s Union Square is seeing change too. Cantina La Mexicana has closed at 247 Washington St. after 28 years in what Karina Rendon called a “forced retirement” for her parents, Robert and Carolina Rendon.

“The old man hasn’t had a vacation in more than 20 years,” Karina Rendon said while staffing the host’s station in the restaurant’s final days. The family was forced out by high rents, the family said, with little recourse.

They were surprised again, in a better way, as word got out about the closing and customers began crowding the restaurant for a last meal and to say their goodbyes. “It was pretty wild. We didn’t expect to fill up so quickly,” Karina Rendon said. “The phone rang off the hook,” and on one recent night, the restaurant had to close early because the kitchen ran out of food despite there still being 30 to 50 people waiting to come in.

“We haven’t seen those numbers in three years,” Karina Rendon said, alluding to before the Covid pandemic.

The last day of business was Sunday, when Honk! festival musicians showed up for a lively send-off.

The Boston Shaker, a cocktail-supply shop, also closed in August after 15 years on Holland Street between Davis and Teele squares, according to Marc Hurwitz’s Boston Restaurant Talk website.

Changes in Cambridge

In Cambridge, the Rangzen Tibetan Place at 24 Pearl St., Central Square, has closed, with owners saying on social media that “it was a beautiful 25 years.”

“Thank you all for your support,” especially during the pandemic, the owners said. “Now it time for us to say ‘so long’ and exit with dignity and humility. Please accept our gratitude and prayers. We hope Rangzen Tibetan Place will be in your sweet memories.”

News of the closing was first reported Tuesday by Hurwitz, who also had better news: Oak Bistro coming to the former Corazon de Frida Mexican Cantina space at 1287 Cambridge St., Inman Square, from people experienced from The Abbey; and the Jaho coffee shop coming to 425 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, “more than three years after its plans were first announced,” Hurwitz said.