Pink Samurai, We Hardly Knew Ye; Caffe Aromi’s Death Knell, Too

The saga of a highly anticipated Jamaica Plain restaurant will seemingly come to an end Thursday, when the Pink Samurai Dumpling House is scheduled to have its common victualler license cancelled, per the City of Boston Licensing Board agenda.

Pink Samurai Dumpling House, 658 Centre St., poised to open soon. Photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

Chris Helms

Pink Samurai Dumpling House, 658 Centre St., had several signs in its window saying they’d be opening soon, like this one on Aug. 3, 2016.

Looking to seize on the dumpling craze, Pink Samurai was originally expected to open at 658 Centre St. in December 2015. But the opening was delayed for a week, then much longer, the windows eventually papered over.

In August 2016, the paper was removed from the windows, and for several days there were handwritten signs stating that the restaurant would be open for business the following day. At the time, Boston Restaurant Talk reported there were two chef changes, as well as tinkering with the menu, before it had even opened.

To the delight of dumpling devotees, the restaurant finally did open in early September — only to close two weeks later, the windows once again papered over. Now, it appears, it will not open again.

Pink Samurai isn’t the only JP establishment on the Nov. 10 City of Boston Licensing Board agenda. Caffe Aromi, a coffee shop previously located at 403A Centre St. in Hyde Square, is also scheduled to have its common victualler license cancelled. Caffe Aromi opened in 2012 and closed in 2015. The storefront has been vacant ever since.

Caffe Aromi in Hyde Square closed in 2015.

Caffe Aromi in Hyde Square closed in 2015.

  • Eric Herot

    You’ll want to fact check me on this but I’m fairly certain that Caffe Aromi was actually owned and operated by Mordechai Levin, the owner of the building, as an alternative to letting the space sit empty.

    • Guest

      Yeah, that sounds about right…(mis)managed by that heinous sluice he has working for him.

  • Hugo_JP

    My recollection is similar, that Aromi was run by a friend or associate of Levin. Seems to be following the Trump School of Business practice – better to let something sit vacant so the owner can report a loss on his/her taxes than to rent it out at a price that the market will bear.

    • Monster

      The Centre/South St corridor is a relatively active and affluent part of the city, and yet so many of our storefronts sit vacant, and many popular businesses have recently shuttered.

      I don’t know what the primary problem is. It could be that rents are being set above true market rates, or problems related to the licensure process, or a lack of entrepreneurship/managerial skill, but it does seem that something is wrong when so many retail spaces are unused in what is generally a vibrant economic environment.

      • ames

        Where are this empty store fronts on center st? I’ve been looking for a space since April to open a juice bar and I am still waiting “patiently” …

        • Monster

          Off the top of my head: Tedeschi closed, the smaller side of the old Harvest still looks to be awaiting a renter, UForge is closing, Pink Samurai closed, there’s a large storefront next to Same Old Place that I believe is unoccupied, I believe there’s an open storefront in the Zuroff Accountant block; Aromi has been closed forever; James Gate is closed (but awaiting development)…I think a few of the new spaces in Jackson haven’t been filled.

          Not sure if any of these places are under contract, but they look open.

          • Marty

            Levin is not the only big landlord along Centre St. There are others who have left store fronts vacant for a long time including the one you mention next to Same Old Place.

          • ames

            Yeah! I checked all of them … the only ones available are the old tedeschi’s and they are asking $6,000 per month and aromi looks like they are reviewing a lease to take over the cafe… I really missed on the UForge space, it would have been perfect, another couple looked at the space before us and the landlord gave the space to them… I will wait patiently for another space to open up… the pink samurai would have been perfect… lets see what happens with that…

        • L.J. Hummel

          In Hyde Sq. Tails is moving from the space next to the Behan across the street adjacent to their other business so that will be vacant. The old Quisqueyana next to Revolution Bicycle is vacant as well.

  • ames

    Does anyone knows the owner of pink samurai? Would they be interested in selling their biz?

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