Bishop's Legacy opened last month at 143 Merrimack St. in Lowell, 14 years after its family-owned predecessor, Bishop's Restaurant, shuttered in Lawrence.
Bishop's Restaurant was opened in downtown Lawrence in 1949 by Sayda Bashara and her children. Over the next 50 years, the Lebanese-American restaurant became an institution, hosting celebrities, politicians, and athletes at white-clothed tables and serving highly-regarded Middle Eastern food and American favorites. Merrimack Valley Magazine noted last summer that Bishop's was immune to Lawrence's economic troubles of the mid-20th century, and the family ultimately decided to retire in 2001.
Last summer, former Bishop's employees Bassam and Mike Geha opened a new restaurant in tribute to the Merrimack Valley institution in Boston's West End, Bishop's Mediterranean. The Bashara family told Eater that they do not sanction the Gehas' use of the name, logo, and promotional materials and that Bishop's Mediterranean is not affiliated with the original Bishop's at all.
The new Bishop's Legacy in Lowell, however, is affiliated. It comes from Chuck Saba, grandson of Sayda Bashara. "Bishop's keeps alive a popular Merrimack Valley landmark but also provides downtown Lowell with a new space at a time when the neighborhood has been having a lot of change in restaurants and retailers," The Lowell Sun reports. Bishop's Legacy replaced French bistro La Boniche, which closed in December after 26 years in business.
The new establishment has the original Bishop's famous French fries on its menu, as well as traditional Middle Eastern favorites like tabouli, falafel, and baba ganoush. Bishop's Legacy is a full, counter-service restaurant; guests will order at the counter when they are ready, and servers will bring their meals to the table. There is also a grab-and-go option. It is currently open limited hours, from 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday; and from 4 - 10 p.m. on Saturday.