David Doyle, co-owner of Centre Street Cafe, pauses for a photo on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Credit: Chris Helms
As of Tuesday evening, Jamaica Plain will finally have an Italian restaurant.
But before you tuck into your linguine and littlenecks (yes, they’re on the menu), here’s a a sneak peek of the new Centre Street Cafe. As most residents know, previous owner Felicia Sánchez made Centre Street Cafe a neighborhood staple.
The new restaurant keeps the name and 669a Centre St. address but changes nearly everything else. Let’s start with the physical renovations. No longer will patrons have to squeeze through the kitchen to reach a tiny bathroom. There’s a nice-sized restroom, complete with a skylight, right by the dining room.
The menu has changed too. While the new management plans to in time bring back a signature Centre Street Cafe-style brunch, the new palette is Italian.
“We felt an Italian restaurant had been lacking in Jamaica Plain,” said co-owner David Doyle on Sunday as he prepared for Tuesday evening’s opening.
Doyle said patrons will also notice influences from North Africa, Greece and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
The new Centre Street Cafe will continue the tradition of using fresh local ingredients. Doyle highlighted Stillman’s Farm as one of their key suppliers. Many JP residents are familiar with the farm because it participates in the farmer’s market behind the Bank of America.
Doyle owns the restaurant with his wife, Mari Perez-Alers, and Keith Harmon, who is wine director. They are also the team behind Tres Gatos further down Centre Street. The chef is Jody Adams-trained Brian Rae. Making fresh bread on site in the downstairs oven will be Pastry Chef Allyson West, formerly of Cambridge’s Sofra.
The restaurant starts serving at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. For the first few weeks, it will serve only dinner. A hearty weekend brunch like the old Centre Street Cafe used to serve and Italian-menu weekday lunch will be added later, Doyle said.
For the latest information, please see the Centre Street Cafe Facebook page. There’s a tab there where you can make reservations.
Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of photos: