Dish Tidbits: Spring 2010 Restaurant Openings

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Essex, Marblehead, News, Salem, Swampscott | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Whether it’s a sign of economic upswing or simply the continued evolution of the North Shore’s vibrant restaurant scene, it’s difficult to keep track of all the exciting openings going on in the area this spring.

A few weeks ago, Bolivian coffee importer Cafe Valverde Coffee Roasters replaced Fuel coffee shop at 196 Essex Street in Salem. This was apparently the starting flag, signaling a host of new openings.

This week saw the openings of Greenland Café and Coven Dessert Bar and Artisanal Market in Salem and the much-anticipated 5 Corners Kitchen in Marblehead.

Marblehead will see another new storefront soon, when Hooked Seafood & Grill opens in the old Super Sub space on Pleasant St. in June. Sticky Rice, the on-again off-again Thai restaurant on Hawkes St., has been sold to a new owner and is slated to re-open under the name Sticky Rice Bistro.

Salem has become a hotbed of restaurant activity recently and is looking forward to several openings in addition to the two this week. Since publishing its menu online, there has been a ton of buzz about Howling Wolf Taqueria, which will open at 76 Lafayette St. in early summer. The plentiful burritos and veggie options look to be winners.

Also on Lafayette Street a new restaurant serving pub fare, The Lafayette Grill, is scheduled to open in the old Casa Blanca space, which neighbors are hoping will be a step toward cleaning up the troubled area.

In the former Edgewater Café space on Washington St., the Adriatic Restaurant and Bar, which will feature a mix of Italian and European food, is finishing up renovations and hiring waitstaff and will open doors shortly. (added 5/17/10:  a great video of Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll interviewing the owners of both Coven and Adriatic can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INGDTKQo4Ww )

Another seafood venue has taken over the empty Derby Fish & Lobster space at 215 Derby St. and will be opening under the name Seaport Grill. No word yet on how soon.

And if that’s not enough new food for Salem, the recently renovated jail space is reportedly in talks with a restaurant, but nothing official has been announced yet.

Vinnin Square is seeing its share of the action as well. On the Salem border, Rizzo’s Roast Beef and Pizza of Peabody will be opening a second location in the plaza next to Staples. And on the Swampscott side, it looks like City Bar and Grill, which acquired a liquor license during the winter, has finally started to fit up the former Friendly’s/Finagle spot. Any independent venture would be welcome in the square, which feels overrun with chain restaurants and fast food outlets.

Over in Beverly, North Shore Restaurant group has taken on the new eatery being developed at the revived North Shore Music Theater. Named BackStage Bistro, it promises “top notch American cuisine” with theatre props from favorite past performances as decor and a show-tune sound track.

We hear that Mark McDonough and Co. will also be making some big changes to Alchemy in Gloucester, giving it a more comfy, lounge-y feel and emphasizing small plates and platters to share.

Also in Gloucester, Giuseppe’s, a new restaurant and piano bar will be moving into the former Elliot’s space in the Blackburn building. Their website promises the place will be “very musical, very Italian and

On Cape Ann, rumor has it that the Market Restaurant in Annisquam will be re-opening May 29 under the management of two former Chez Panisse chefs, which certainly sounds worth investigating.

There have also been murmurs about a tapas and healthy-fare venue opening in Essex. In a town synonymous with fried seafood, we’re sure this will be a welcome addition.

Looks like we’re going to have an exciting summer trying out all the new tastes, and perhaps some we don’t know about yet. Give us a shout at email@northshoredish.com, or leave a comment if you know of any more our readers would be interested in.

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5 Corners Kitchen: Former Aquitaine Chef Shares His Vision for New Marblehead Eatery

Posted: March 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 5 Corners Kitchen, Bistro, Marblehead | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments »

3262010bAlthough the North Shore has been experiencing something of a restaurant renaissance lately, Marblehead hasn’t really seen much activity in its dining scene—until now, that is. Marblehead resident Barry Edelman plans to change that by bringing enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and his passion for food to 2 School Street.

A former chef de cuisine at Aquitaine in Boston, Edelman had recently moved to Bistro du Midi in the Back Bay. When that didn’t work out as planned, he decided it was time to make his personal vision a reality and open his own restaurant.

As real estate agents have drilled into us, it’s all about location, and in that respect Edelman hit the jackpot. The former Ladycakes Bakery space sits precisely in the middle of the action at the Five Corners intersection. As Edelman says “When you walk into a space, you want to feel good energy.” With antique architectural charm, high pressed-tin ceilings, large windows, and a corner front door, the space has great potential. The clincher? Edelman can walk to work.

A hands-on guy with boundless energy, he is managing the renovation on his own, and I found him earlier this week with hammer in hand and plaster dust covering his jeans. He showed me around the space, which will feature a bar and dining room, accommodating about 40 people between the two. The kitchen is small, but being both owner and chef, he’s designed it to work for his style.

And what is his style? Despite a background long on French cuisine, Edelman says “I take pride in the simple things, I am going to be doing a lot of humble ingredients. My style is whatever’s good, whatever’s fresh, whatever’s local. I want 5 Corners Kitchen to be a place where people are happy, enjoy themselves, eat well, and not feel they’ve been robbed,” he said.

Edelman’s passion for this type of cooking is obvious. “Sometimes chefs feel like they’ve gotta be creative and do some crazy concoction,” he said. “I want to use fresh, local ingredients in a way t­hat makes sense. I’m someone who cooks a little bit more classically and tries to nail the way it should be done.”

Fresh is a word Edelman repeats like a mantra. And he’s serious about the local aspect. “I told my seafood vendor, ‘I’m the guy you’re going to want to call when you’ve got skate.’ Nobody uses skate or monkfish—local stuff like that comes from our waters.”

As spring unfolds, many more local foods will be available, of course. “I want to use the stuff that actually comes from here. We live in a beautiful place that has so many great farms,” Edelman said. “In the spring, you can bet I’ll be at the farmers’ markets every week.” He also hopes to be able to offer handcrafted charcuterie.

Right now, the plan is to offer six or seven appetizers and entrees very moderately priced, with entrees under $20. The menu will change almost constantly to accommodate foods that are fresh and in season. Like the main menu, the wine list will be small, clean, concise, and ever-changing, as well as affordably priced.

Edelman feels strongly about keeping his prices reasonable and says he’ll be able to do this because he’s not paying Boston rental prices. He wants to provide a city experience in terms of food and service but at a North Shore price point.

“The things I’m going to focus on don’t cost any extra money,” he said. “To properly season and cook a piece of fish doesn’t cost any extra. To greet someone at the door and make sure their server is attentive without being intrusive doesn’t cost anything.”

5 Corners Kitchen will initially be open for dinner and for a “good old-fashioned brunch with proper omelets” from 10:00 to 3:00 on both Saturdays and Sundays. Eventually, Edelman hopes to offer lunch as well. Right now, the target date for opening is May 1. From the look of things, Edelman has his work cut out for him to meet that date, but if he can create a comfortable room that offers interesting fresh food with great service at reasonable prices, we’ll be the first in line, whenever it opens.

Edited 5/11/10; 5 Corners Kitchen is slated to open tomorrow, May 12th, for dinner.

Edited 5/28/10; Our review of 5 Corners Kitchen has been posted.

5 Corners Kitchen
2 School Street, Marblehead
www.5cornerskitchen.com

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