By Lise Elcock
Needham’s reputation as a dining destination in the western inner suburbs continues to flourish, with the opening of five new food establishments opening within weeks of each other.
The new offerings include two different takes on Mexican food coming to Needham (just in time as Acapulco’s has recently closed its doors); as well as new restaurant specializing in Latin American and Mediterranean flavors; a boutique bakery; and a fast-casual Italian featuring a recent Food Network contest winner.
Already open for business is Hungry Coyote, on Highland Ave abutting Sudbury Farms. Owned by Needham resident Matt Saiia, Hungry Coyote will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer a blend of fast casual and table service, with alcohol being served in the evenings.
Pancho’s Taqueria also on Highland Ave but closer to Needham Center, is scheduled to open mid-August. Brother and sister team Carlos Chavira and Nohely Chavira-Williams will be soon opening a second location of their popular Dedham casual cantina adjacent to Treat Cupcake.
Latina Kitchen and Bar will add Latin American and Mediterranean fare to Needham Center, occupying the former L&K Kitchen corner spot on Great Plain and Highland. With 100 seats, it will be the largest of the newcomers to the scene.
Servente Baking Company will be going into the Great Plain spot vacated by Acorns Bakery in Needham Center, and Chef Mike’s just opened at the former location of D’Angelo’s and offers fast-casual Italian food on the other side of the Highland Ave overpass. Owner Mike Fucci is a past episode winner of the Food Network show "Cutthroat Kitchen".
These new additions to the dining scene are hoping for the same warm welcome received by the other recently opened Needham restaurants.
Irish pub The James opened its doors in early 2018 and has garnered a robust following. “We instantly felt welcomed and supported by so many local businesses and residents alike,” says owner Stuart Henry. “We really feel connected with so many Needham neighbors who have become regulars and then friends. We really enjoy having their kids call us by name.”
And it’s not just the dining customers who went out of their way to greet the new restaurant owner.
“From our first week in business when Dave Becker sent our staff a family meal from Sweet Basil to a few days ago when our friends at Needham Center Fine Wines carried over 50 pound bags of ice when we ran out in the heat, a huge reason for our success is the support from the wonderful Needham community” continued Henry.
Paul Turano of COOK, also in Needham center, had a similar experience when he took the big step of opening his second location.
“Needham welcomed us with open arms and we feel like we are part of this community” says Turano, who likes being the destination to go after a child’s soccer game, the place to celebrate a family birthday, weekend brunch with friends or just an everyday lunch place.
Over the past year and a half Turano has watched new restaurants open and bring some great dining options to the town, which he believes is great for the community. “I meet guests from all over and I think the growth in the area has really sent a message to the surrounding towns that Needham is a growing dining destination.”