HOT&NOW: March 2015

New Mexican eatery. The former Johnny Fugata on Worcester’s Belmont Street has a new lease on life. The Italian restaurant, which closed last year, will become a Mexican restaurant in the next few months. It has a great location across from UMass. It seems that Mexican is the hot new trend in Worcester and surrounding towns. Look for an early spring opening.

Downtown to get another restaurant. It looks like a new restaurant will open in downtown Worcester shortly, with the opening of Dead Horse Hill at 32 Franklin St. Interestingly enough, this was the home of the very successful Eden Garden Restaurant. Dead Horse Hill will be owned by Sean Woods. Look for an early summer opening. In the meantime, Woods and his partner have been doing pop-up dinners around the city. The last one drew 50 people to Café Manzi on Shrewsbury Street during one of our many snowstorms.

Northworks closes. Northworks on Worcester’s Grove Street shut its doors after more than 30 years in business. Owner Joe Marrone claimed it was because of lack of parking in the area. The building’s owner claimed that Marrone owed more than $200,000 in back rent. This should be a boom to Tweeds, which is right down the street.

White Cliffs to be torn down. The owners of the White Cliffs in Northborough are looking to tear down the Victorian-mansion-turned-restaurant. White Cliffs was owned by the Tomaiolo family for a number of years and was the site of numerous functions. The building was originally built as a summer home for the Wesson family of gun-making fame.

A final season. The Four Seasons Restaurant on Worcester’s Lake Avenue recently closed after about 50 years in business. The eatery was owned by the Potenti family. The last surviving brother, Fred, who is in his 80s, needed to retire.

We mourn the passing of Bob Shaughnessy. Bob Shaughnessy, the longtime owner of The Other Place Pub on Route 140 in Boylston, passed away tragically in a motor vehicle accident at the end of January. He was a very generous member of the area restaurant community. The Other Place will remain open and be run by Shaughnessy’s family.

Julio’s wins top award. Julio’s Liquors in Westborough has won the 2015 Whisky Retailer of the Year Award. The award was presented by Whisky Magazine. This is the third year in a row that Julio’s has won the prestigious award. Our hats go off and a tip of the glass to owner Ryan Maloney and crew.

It’s like chess. Cal Dolan and Desi McKane, owners of Funky Murphy’s on Shrewsbury Street and the closed Jose Murphy’s on Water Street, are moving a few chess pieces around. Word has it that Jose Murphy’s on Water Street, which has been closed for a year due to a broken water pipe, will be taken over by Jason Grayson, who for about a month owned The District on Green Street, also in the Canal District. Now, Dolan and McKane will take over the space that housed The Saloon on Worcester’s West Boylston Street. They plan to open a neighborhood bar and restaurant and have named their new venture Quinn’s.

By Paul Giorgio