Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Restaurant Near Boston Bed and Breakfast in South End

It has been just about a year since Rocca closed its doors at 500 Harrison. During that time, there may have been a few other closures in the South End restuarant scene, but none that we miss quite as much as Rocca. Last year, we were gifted with a string of new restuarants on Stanhope Street like the fabulous Red Latern and its neighbors Brahmin and Zocalo, all near our Boston bed and breakfast. After months of rumors circulating new ownership of the space at 500 Harrison, it seems that the Aquitaine Restaurant Group's vision is beginning to materialize along with support & excited.

The Aquitaine Group, is well known and respected Boston restaurant company, revered for the Metropolis CafĂ©, Union Bar and Grille, and Gaslight Brasserie du Coin, Aquitaine in the South End, as well its sister locations in a couple suburbs.

The group was founded at the creation of  Metropolis Cafe in 1995, by Executive Chef/Partner Seth Woods. A few years later, Woods opened Aquitaine Bar on Tremont Street in Boston's South End paving the way for what guests at our Bed and Breakfast now know as restaurant row. Jeffrey Gates joined the Aquitaine Group a few years later and in 2003, was a key player in opening Union Bar and Grille and later Gaslight Brasserie, both in the South End restaurants. Gates brought a wealth of experience and an understanding of the Boston restaurant scene to the Aquitaine Group. This experience will be crucial in the group's latest endeavor, 500 Harrison, an urban, Roman trattoria.

With success of the group's neighboring Brasserie, Gaslight, the location of their new restaurant, called Cinquecento - or "500" in Italian, is not seen as a curse or weakness, but an opportunity. Obviously they are naming the business after the address. Bold, we love it! We believe this is the right attitude to help the group consider which types of cuisine, price point, audience and atmosphere would succeed at the address.

Speaking of atmosphere, from what we have gathered, the space will receive a complete overhaul, stripping away the comtemporary visage of the former restaurant and focusing on the rustic, warehouse bones of the space. An impressive staircase will lead restaurant goers to reimagined second floor, which will span the former atrium and be the only level of the restaurant. The former lounge and bar space will become a private event space and will allow the energy of Cinquecento to be focused on a single floor, which the new owners believe will bring a successful ambiance.

The only thing we do not like? The wait, there has been no timeline revealed, so when Cinquecento will open remains a slight mystery. Our Boston boutique hotel guests hope that the wait is not long, and we agree. Dining in the South End restaurants is one of our favorite things to do in Boston. We look forward to welcoming Cinquecento with open mouths and open arms. Soon. In the meantime, check out the other fabulous Boston dining options down the street from Clarendon Square.

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