The curse of 50 Front street

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

City Park Grill, we hardly knew ye. Just a couple days removed from hosting one of the biggest events in the city over the past few months (AG Coakley, Auditor DeNucci and Secretary Galvin’s Dem. convention party), the restaurant that would save the downtown lunch break has closed.

But the word around town is that the speed of it’s closing–not that it did close–is what has surprised people. The restaurant had only been in business since the end of March.

“I was pretty surprised to hear that City Park was closing when I read the paper this morning, but only because I figured they’d give it at least a year before closing shop,” wrote Mike Murray, of the blog Eating Worcester, to us in an email.

If Yelp offers any indication, the place had some major issues. (I know someone who joined Yelp to write a review just because they had such an awful experience there. Yelp has since deleted that negative review, along with some others.)

Murray has some similar complaints as the yelpers when it came to the restaurant’s food, beer selection and prices, but he adds that the location probably didn’t help them much either.

“[The] Location is a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing because as a long term investment, that corner could be the most vibrant corner in Worcester … in 10 years.  For now, it’s empty.  There is nothing there.  There aren’t any businesses, it’s not in the greatest section, parking is a bit of an inconvenience, and if you want to go to another bar or restaurant near by, you have to get into your car.  Compare this with a similarly priced restaurant like Block 5 (which was a lot more disappointing to see close/rebrand), where you could start at Block 5 for dinner and then be within a couple of blocks of four or five solid bars.”

It’ll be interesting to see what’s done with the 50 Front street property now, especially with the owner filing for bankruptcy, and how long it will take for someone else to take a business risk there. Rehashed promises of “CitySquare is coming” aren’t going to work as an effective selling point anymore–not after two failed bar/restaurants in three years.

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