Parade And Ceremony Marks Belmont’s Memorial Day, 2022 [Photos]

Photo:

The weather cooperated – brilliant sunshine, low humidity, upper 70s – as Belmont returned to he public celebration of Memorial Day.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the numbers along the route and at the commemoration were down from 2019 as the ceremony booted up for the first time in three years with the parade that started in Cushing Square and traveled to Belmont Cemetery adjacent the Grove Street playground led by a contingency of veterans and guests, girl and boy scouts, all serenaded by the Belmont High School marching band.

At the cemetery, the solemn tribute for the fallen who died in defense of the country commenced with Bob Upton, Belmont’s Veteran’s Service Agent who is retiring at the end of the week, who spoke of those who were honored on this holiday.

“Let’s appreciate our time together here in this beautiful place within this wonderful community of Belmont,” said Upton. “We are here today because of the sacrifices made by so many Belmont families. We are here because of the willingness of someone we love or maybe someone we many not even know who laid down their life for our freedom. We are here to honor them.”

Nor should the day be best known as the unofficial start of summer, suggested the chair of the Belmont Select Board.

“Memorial Day has become a day of picnics, barbecues, parades a day to spend time with family and friends as we look forward to their carefree days of summer,” said Mark Paolillo. “But it must remain a day to pause from our very busy lives to reflect, honor and thank those individuals that have given all to defend our freedoms. We must remember them.”

Speaking on his tenure as the vets rep in town, Upton spoke of some of his most personal rewarding efforts which may have flown under the radar such as creating a low-key coffee hour for veterans at the Beech Street Center, coordinating a trip for an aging WWII vet to Washington DC on an Honor Flight or negotiating what can seem to be an overwhelming amount of paperwork to allow vets survivors to receive the benefits they rightfully have earned.

“Some of my most proudest moments here in Belmont has been working with our veterans and their family members and the stories I heard at events and activities such as today,” said Upton.

Finally Upton read the names of Belmont’s fallen from the Civil War to the War on Terror, taps was played and the parade reassembled to the Veterans Memorial at Clay Pit Pond for a brief commemoration.

Sushi, Japanese Eatery Planned For Cushing Square As Comella’s (Quietly) Seeks Similar Location

Photo: The location of the former Ben Franklin in Cushing Square which will likely transform into a sushi/Japanese restaurant

The owner of a popular Belmont take out place has signed a lease for the former Ben Franklin 5 and 10 store with plans to bring top-notch sushi and traditional Japanese dishes to Cushing Square.

“We chose Belmont because of its proximety, the people and as a resident of Belmont we need more places where we can gather and meet up for a nice meal,” said Jack Sy, a former financial analyst turned restauranteur who owns a number of eateries including the popular Number 1 Taste Chinese Food takeout also located on Trapelo Road.

Sy’s move to the long time home of five and dime stores – operated as a Ben Franklin franchise since the 1930s before changing its name to Hollingsworth 5 and 10 in 2014, and finally as Belmont 5 and 10 before closing for good in August 2021 – will be a long-needed shot in the arm for the business center with a steady number of empty store fronts.

The menu which the Johnson and Wales graduate is still developing will include high-quality sushi and traditional Japanese dishes like Katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowl), Ramen noodles and Teppanyaki (sizzling hot plates) to your table. (Think Netflix’s ”Midnight Diner” food in Belmont.) There will also be many creative tapas-sized dishes for an option to a light meal. Sy will also seek an all-alcohol license to compliment the food.

Just beginning the permitting process with the town, Sy said he tentatively wants to do a complete buildout of the space replacing the site’s large existing windows with bistro-style windows that fold open during good weather while also taking advantge of the high ceiling and openness of the space “to create a mature, and fun atmosphere to come enjoy. A place where people can enjoy long conversations over dinner or a glass of wine.” He will also hire locally for all positions.

Sy’s move to open a restaurant near the busy intersection of Trapelo and Common comes as a regional Italian restaurant company currently on Leonard Street has its eyes on its own move to Cushing. Talk around Belmont Center and town offices since the fall of 2021 has Comella’s seeking a location near the popular public transportation bus line – the 73 bus is one of the most heavily used in the MBTA system – and the new Bradford apartment complex. No word from Comella’s to confirm this decision.

Whether or not Comella’s makes the move, it will not deter Sy’s plans.

“I think its a good idea for any restaurant or business to come and make the Trapelo area more vibrant,” said Sy.

Sy said a opening date is still a while in the future; he still hasn’t come up with a name for the place.

“Any suggestions?” he asked.

‘And There Are Pansies’ As You Travel Through Cushing Square [Video]

Photo: Artist Grace Julian Murthy working on her traffic signal control canvas painting pansies.

On a recent Sunday afternoon in August, a day after one of the handful of heatwaves that settled over New England was finally pushed aside, pansies appeared in Cushing Square.

They weren’t the ones emerging from a pot or some lonely stretch of earth. Rather it was the impression of viola tricolor var. hortensis by the artist Grace Julian Murthy who used as her canvas the traffic signal control box on the sidewalk adjacent the Bradford Apartments at the corner of Common and Trapelo.

“I like to paint things that are overlooked,” said Murthy, who works as a graphic designer. “Because pansies are so prevalent, you don’t get to see there beauty.”

Using acrylics (it dries quicker and has a vibrant palette) Murthy applied purple, yellow and black on a white base to create a field of pansies all within the aluminum box – originally a dark green – protecting the expensive signal and traffic controller equipment inside.

Murthy was one of three artists selected to paint boxes by the Belmont Art Association which sponsored for a second year the Transforming Belmont Public Art Project. The artists received a $750 stipend from the Belmont Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Mass Cultural Council.

Cushing Square Paving Set For Thursday, July 16; Seek Alternative Routes

Photo: The Bradford in Cushing Square.

As the construction of the Bradford, the Toll Brothers Apartment Living project in Cushing Square nears completion, the developer is finishing the restoration of the roads this week.

On Thursday, July 16, paving will occur on the following locations:

  • Trapelo Road, from Williston Road to the main intersection at Common Street;
  • Common Street, from Trapelo Road to Belmont Street; and
  • The main intersection up to the crosswalk at the gas station at Common Street and Trapelo Road.

Appropriate signage will be in place, but the work will definitely impact traffic flow.

Toll Brothers’ Contact person is Steve Iacaboni and he can be reached at 978-870-0603.

Two Years In the Making: Starbucks’ Cushing Square Store Reopens Friday

Photo: Starbucks is open for business in Cushing Square.

Twenty-five months after its past location shut down, Starbucks has officially returned to Cushing Square as its spacious new store opens for business this morning, Friday, July 12.

The store will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The international coffeehouse chain opening marks the first retail operation to take place in the Bradford, the three building housing/retail/parking development in the heart of Cushing Square, bordered by Trapelo and Williston roads and Common and Belmont streets.

The 42 seat store will have 25 to 35 employees working on the site. Currently, the new store does not have access to approximately 20 off-street parking spaces adjacent to the location as construction continues at the site.

Town Issues Cushing Sq. Starbucks Occupancy Permit

Photo: The location of the new Starbucks in town.

The Belmont Office of Community Development issued a certificate of occupancy to Starbucks Coffee Company on Tuesday, June 19, to allow its cafe at 110 Trapelo Rd. to open for business, said Glenn Clancy, the town’s director of community development.

“It will be opening up any day now,” Clancy told the Belmontonian at the School Committee meeting at the Chenery Middle School.

The cafe is located on the ground floor of the Winslow building in the Bradford development which occupies the block surrounding Common Street, Trapelo Road, Belmont Street, and Williston Road. The apartment/retail/parking project is being built by Toll Brothers Apartment Living.

The 42 seat store staffed with 25 to 35 employees will have approximately 20 off-street parking spaces adjacent to the location.

While the store will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., the company will likely ask the town to approve a closing time of 10 p.m. which was permitted in the special permit approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Starbucks Returns To Cushing Square, Opening In Mid-June

Photo: Starbucks returns to Cushing Square.

Caffeine lovers, hipsters and teenagers, rejoice! Starbucks is returning to Cushing Square with an opening in the second week of June.

The multinational coffeehouse chain with 30,000 stores worldwide came before the Select Board on May 29 at Belmont High School to obtain a common victualler license which was granted unanimously.

“We’re still probably not going to be able to open for about another week or so trying to finish up the site, make sure it’s safe in the public,” said Daniel Brennan who works for dpb Design Consultants which partners with Starbucks on permitting and licensing.

“We don’t have a concrete [opening] date but after talking to the construction manager, it will probably be a week to two weeks after Friday [May 31], when we get our certificate of occupancy,” said Brennan.

Daniel Brennan, dpb
Design Consultants

Brennan said the store will likely have a “soft” opening. “[Starbucks] usually does a ‘friends and family’ where they invite the employees and their families so they can test out all the equipment and get it going,” he said.

The best approach for the public to know when the store is open “is go by and see people inside.”

Town Administrator Patrice Garvin noted the health department has signed off on the site.

The 42 seat store will have 25 to 35 employees working on the site. There will be approximately 20 off-street parking spaces adjacent to the location between two buildings.

While the store will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Brennan asked the board to approve a closing time of 10 p.m. which was permitted in the special permit approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

“We will likely want the later time after it is open so we don’t want to come back for the change,” said Brennan.

Bradford Show And Tell: Material ‘Mock Up’ At Cushing Square Site Saturday, Noon to 2 PM

Photo: Residents view samples at the Sept. 6 Planning Board meeting.

The developer of the multifaceted complex in the heart of Cushing Square is inviting neighbors and the public on Saturday, Sept. 29 for a bit of show and tell.

Representatives of Toll Brother Apartment Living, owner/developer of The Bradford, the retail/housing/parking development under construction on three blocks along Common Street and Trapelo Road, is opening its doors just a tad to allow residents to view a “mock-up” of the materials to be used on the exterior of the three buildings occupying the approximately 170,000 square foot site.

From noon to 2 p.m., employees from Toll and Nauset Construction, the primary contractor, will escort groups from the “Winslow” building (the structure being constructed on the former municipal parking lot) along Williston Road to the area set aside for the demonstration. Citizens will then get to see the material – concrete, tiles, granite, and frames for the windows – and examine how they look in the daylight where they will be used. The developer stressed that the viewing is not a tour of the future landmark in Cushing Square.

Early this month, the Planning Board was provided a preview of the samples that will be on display. 

A Bit Of Oktoberfest At Cushing Square Annual Fall Festival

Photo: On tap at the Fall Festival

Today is the first day of Oktoberfest in Munich and Belmont’s Cushing Square is joining into the swing of things with the opening of a beer garden at the Cushing Square 2nd Annual Fall Festival which will be held on  to 

7th Wave Brewery of Medfield, known for its taproom that will fill growlers like popular breweries on the West Coast, will be filling glasses with samples from its stock for a $10 admission to the garden which will be separated from the rest of the festival, which remains a very family-friendly event with rides, animal events and booths from local stores.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

  • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Amusement rides
  • Noon – 4 p.m.:  7th Wave Brewery Beer Garden at CLC Cafe
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.: Rain Forest Reptile live show
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Cambridge Open Air Circus stilt walking classes.
  • 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Animal Craze petting zoo 
  • Noon: Dog Costume Show sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank 
  • 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Cash Cube sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank

Christmas Cappuccinos? Starbucks Looking At Late November Opening at Bradford

Photo: Design for the new Starbucks in the Bradford development. 

Belmont will soon have a third Starbucks Cafe in the Town of Homes as the Zoning Board of Appeals approved unanimously a special permit allowing the Seattle-based coffee mega-chain to run a “fast food” restaurant at The Bradford, the retail/housing/parking development under construction in the heart of Cushing Square.

Plans submitted to the town shows a narrow 2,500 square foot cafe/store located on the left side of the two-story Winslow Building which is being built approximately on the site of the former Starbucks’ location on Trapelo Road. The store will have two entrances, in the front and rear, with 42 interior and 12 seasonal outdoor seats located in the back. The cafe will seek to operate most days from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., employing four to six workers per shift. There will be 22 parking spaces – including two handicap spaces – dedicated to the store located between the Winslow and the main Pomona buildings.

The cafe is the first business to commit to The Bradford – previously known as Cushing Village – which has close to 38,000 square feet dedicated to retail. The project, which includes underground parking and 112 apartments, is being developed by Toll Brothers Apartment Living, which rescued the proposal after the original developer, Smith Legacy Partners, failed in its efforts to secure the necessary funding.

Danial Brennan, a consultant, assisting Starbucks in securing municipal permits in New England, said the current schedule is for construction of the cafe to begin Sept. 15 with an anticipated completion date “hopefully at the end of November.” 

“But [the dates] are always estimates,” said Brennan.

Unlike other fast-casual restaurants and quick stop retail operations that came before the Zoning Board of Appeals – a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on Pleasant Street comes to mind – there was no resident opposition or comment concerning Starbucks, which operates approximately 28,000 stores around the globe.

Zoning Chair Nicholas Iannuzzi noted the last well-known “fast food” restaurant to come before the board, for a Subway franchise in Belmont Center, required four meetings before it received a “special” to operate.

“God bless America. God bless Starbucks,” he said.