When a favorite restaurant closes

Valerie asks what she can do about a favorite restaurant which has lost its lease and will most likely need to move.

Don't Panic.

A while ago (must be over a decade ago by now), the canonical Chinese restaurant at the MIT end of Cambridge, Mary Chung's, lost its lease and was shut down for about a year before they found new space on the other side of Massachusetts Avenue. Mary's was open every day but Tuesday, though she took an annual one-week summer vacation (which was known as "the week of Tuesdays" to some of her regular patrons).

The Year of Tuesdays was painful for some but they came back from it stronger than ever in a better, larger space. Recently they were even one of the five Boston-area restaurants featured in an episode of The Hungry Detective on the Food Network.

There's not a heck of a lot you can do unless you've got connections in the commercial real estate arena, but there are a few things which come to mind:

  • Keep patronizing them until the bitter end.
  • Stay in touch with the proprieter during the shutdown period (easier with FdM than it was with Mary's since they have the secondary location).
  • Most likely there will be some amount of town-level zoning/licensing involved in the move. Generally the only people who comment on such matters are concerned abutters; statements in support of the applicants from satisfied customers will typically make a big impression on the licensing authority.
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