Red Lentil, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant on Mount Auburn Street in Watertown, has been closed since June 29 for renovations, and chef/owner Pankaj Pradhan said they will reopen next Monday, July 27. He also confirmed that he has a second venture in the works.
On Saturday, the Boston Globe Tables column reported that Watertown Italian eatery Grappa had shuttered in May, and a second outpost of Red Lentil was moving into the space at Elm Street and Monroe Ave.
Pradhan said a second vegetarian/vegan concept is on its way, but it will not a second outpost of Red Lentil. "It'll be a totally different menu. I don't want to lead a competition between myself, you know?"
He is currently working on the menu, which will feature fusion cuisine, like Red Lentil does. But the currently-unnamed new outpost will serve breakfast and lunch, while his original restaurant focuses on lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Pradhan has been renting the former Grappa space for two months now, but he hasn't started the cosmetic renovations he knows will be necessary before his new place can open. He is planning to appear before the Watertown licensing board on August 20, and once he has his common victualler's license in hand, he'll start work on the new place. "Anything can happen between now and then before the hearing," he said. "I'd rather wait to hear from the city, 'You're okay to do your thing.'"
Once he does get into the space, expect a different setting from when it was Grappa. "We will definitely do [a] minor facelift once we get our license," Pradhan said, adding the kitchen as it stands works for his needs.
His first priority, though, is reopening Red Lentil. When it returns next week, it will have all new flooring in the kitchen, prep area, and the dining room; the main seating area will also have new light fixtures and new booths. New chairs are coming soon, too. Pradhan added that he made an effort to source environmentally-friendly fixtures, and he is currently working to establish Red Lentil as a Certified Green Restaurant.
There will also be a new menu, which Pradhan has been sharing glimpses of on Instagram. The chef is excited about a new gluten-free, vegan "calamari," made with oyster mushrooms. "We are definitely looking forward to reopening and seeing what people’s reactions are."