Hot & Now: January 2016

Find out what’s hot and what’s happening now in the Central Mass dining scene!

It’s a cutthroat business. Local chef and soon-to-be owner of Worcester’s Dead Horse Hill, Jared Forman, recently won the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen Thanksgiving special. The show is hosted by Alton Brown and came with an $11,000 prize, which Forman can use to open his new restaurant, located in the space vacated by Ritual on Worcester’s Main Street.

Mi Reyna, no Reyna. Mi Reyna, a Spanish tapas restaurant on Worcester’s Belmont Street, closed after about six months in operation. The restaurant never caught on, basically because no one knew it ever opened.

They started in June. June Street Grille at 119 June Street in Worcester recently opened its doors. It is owned by Helen Richard and will be managed by her son, Joseph Richard. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. They will add dinner on Friday and Saturday nights very shortly. The space has been home to a number of restaurants over the years.

Somethin’ Catchy. We inadvertently called the new restaurant on Worcester’s Shrewsbury Street “Somethin’ Fishy” in our last column. We apologize; the correct name is Somethin’ Catchy Seafood Shanty. We have already heard great things about it.

No more rooms at the Inn. The Wachusett Village Inn and Black Diamond Restaurant in Westminster will be closing. It has been sold to a group that plans to convert it to a high-end addiction treatment center. The inn and restaurant are currently owned by the Crowley family, which also owns the Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort.

If pigs ate figs. Pigs & Figs, the new restaurant in the DCU Center, officially opened its doors to the public the second week of December. It will serve a variety of sandwiches and soups and salads – generally lighter fare. This will add some life to the corner of Commercial and Foster streets.

It was good while it lasted. Our sources tell us that Viva Bene, a fixture in downtown Worcester for quite a while, closed Dec. 31. The restaurant has had trouble paying its rent and state meals taxes as of late.

The best is so close. Princeton’s Sonoma Restaurant was recently chosen as one of the 100 Best Restaurants in America by Open Table, the restaurant reservation website. A tip of the toque goes to owner/chef Bill Brady. If you can’t get out to Princeton, try the food at Worcester’s Tech High School on Skyline Drive, where Brady leads the culinary arts program.

Shrewsbury Street happenings. It seems that Bill Martin, owner of the Piccadilly Plaza on Worcester’s Shrewsbury Street and the former owner of the Piccadilly Pubs, is about to reach a deal with Terra Brasilis to open a Brazilian restaurant at the site of the old Pic. Terra Brasilis also has restaurants in Framingham and in Bridgeport, Conn.

Cookies. The annual Girl Scout Cookie fundraiser, Fork it Over, will be held Feb. 11 at Worcester’s Beechwood Hotel. Chefs are required to use Girl Scout Cookies in their recipes.

By Paul Giorgio