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Dudley restaurant revival

Local restaurateurs bringing new concepts to Dudley Square

Yawu Miller | 12/20/2017, 10:40 a.m.
When news that Dudley Dough was closing hit the streets in October, some in Roxbury expressed frustration at the slow ...
Four new restaurants planned for Dudley Square could give local businesses a boost by bringing more traffic to the area after the end of the work day. Banner photo

When news that Dudley Dough was closing hit the streets in October, some in Roxbury expressed frustration at the slow pace of development in Dudley Square, which now seemed to be moving backward.

Three of the four new restaurants planned for Dudley Square are slated to open in
the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building (at right).

Banner photo

Three of the four new restaurants planned for Dudley Square are slated to open in the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building (at right).

On the Web

Dudley Square Main Streets: www.dudleysquaremainstreets.org

Roxbury Cultural District: http://roxburyculturaldistrict.org

Massachusetts Cultural Council: www.massculturalcouncil.org

Boston Office of Small Business Development: http://www.boston...

Rumors that Tasty Burger would not renew its lease further fueled a sense that recent investments in Roxbury’s commercial hub have fallen flat.

But the silver lining on the cloud of restaurant closings is a bigger story: four new restaurants are in the works, promising to further enliven the square.

“Having more life on the streets at night will help Dudley,” said Dudley Square Main Streets Executive Director Joyce Stanley. “People don’t like to come here at night because there’s not enough life on the streets at night.”

The biggest light in the square, the large restaurant space at the intersection of Washington and Warren streets, may soon be the brightest light in the square. A City Hall source confirmed that the Office of Small Business Development is in talks with a local restaurateur who is looking to open an eatery with live music in the space, which has remained vacant since the Bolling Building opened in 2015.

While the Banner has no details on that development, Stanley said the business could greatly enhance the cultural offerings in the square.

Meanwhile, plans for these restaurants are underway now. »

Soleil

The Tasty Burger spot will likely go dark at the beginning of 2018, but not for long. Restaurateur Cheryl Straughter has plans to open a restaurant in the space, called Soleil, after her granddaughter. She plans to offer food “with a Southern flavor” as well as sandwiches and salads.

“This area is in need of a full-service restaurant,” Straughter said. “A place where people can bring their family or have a business meeting.”

Straughter’s first restaurant business, “Keith’s Place,” opened in a renovated space in Grove Hall in the 1990s, and proved to be popular in the then-down-on-its-heels business district. She’s looking to bring healthy fare to the Bolling Building location, which has considerably more foot traffic, at least during daylight hours.

“There’s a good customer base here,” she said of Dudley Square. “We have to give them a reason to come in.”

Straughter is planning to renovate the space before opening next year. »

119

Roxbury businessman J.D. Nelson plans to open a pizza shop in the space vacated last week by Dudley Dough. The new venture will feature expanded menu offerings, including soups and salads, and will have a full liquor license. The 119 name takes its cue from the Roxbury ZIP code, 02119.

Former Dudley Dough manager Luther Pinckney will step into the same role in 119, which may open as soon as February.

“The concept is a meeting space for the neighborhood,” Pinkney said. “It’s a place where people can gather together. We need more social outlets in this neighborhood. In Dudley, we need to have basic services that take care of the people who live here.”