Since burning down in 2009, Fenway's "restaurant row" has enjoyed a recent revitalization. Three of the original restaurants rebuilt and reopened in 2011 — Thorton's, Rod Dee Thai, and El Pelon. More recently, new spots joined the mix. First came Swish Shabu, then Neighborhoods, a coffee shop, and finally, a few months ago, a Persian restaurant called Fiouna's, from a Newton-based catering group.
A tipster writes in to describe the fun food court atmosphere at restaurant row: picnic tables span the front of four of the restaurants (the exceptions are Swish and Thornton's at either end), and during lunchtime on weekdays, people tend to sit anywhere. "On a sunny day, it gets jam-packed, and if you are walking by you are honestly jealous you aren't eating on a picnic table at that moment," writes the tipster. But there's trouble in paradise as one restaurant never seemed thrilled about customers sitting wherever they wanted.
The tipster reports that Fiouna's quickly seemed to get irritated by the burrito and Thai spillover onto the tables in front of their restaurant, and one day, the Fiouna's tables abruptly disappeared, replaced by "classy patio furniture," a potted plant boundary, and a note on the tables specifying that they were for Fiouna's customers only.
Fair enough, although the sentiment goes against the charming inclusiveness of the row, but it's certainly a restaurant's right to dictate that only paying customers should use their tables. But one of the veteran restaurant row owners wasn't going to let anything change on his patio: a sign quickly appeared on an El Pelon table specifying that those tables were available for "all restaurant row customers."
Is it more important to be a friendly neighbor and embrace the existing inclusive vibe of a place where you're the newest tenant, or should you exercise your right to use your property as you see fit, even if it's not the friendliest move? Does Fiouna's have anything to gain by blocking off their patio from the rest of the "food court?" Does El Pelon have anything to lose by letting other restaurants' customers sit in front? Hit up the tipline or leave a comment below with your thoughts.
· All coverage of El Pelon on Eater [~EBOS~]
· All coverage of Fiouna's on Eater [~EBOS~]