A tipster still mourning the empty Bento Cafe storefront at 160 Chestnut Hill Ave. a year after the Japanese restaurant's closure noticed this week that the windows are now papered over and work is finally going on inside. A licensing commission agenda reveals that the new business will be called Dates and Olives, and a bare Facebook page indicates that it'll be a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant.
While the agenda lists the manager of record as Renita Mendonla, there appears to be a typo in her last name; Liam Foods, LLC is also mentioned, which traces back to a Renita Mendonca of Natick. Mendonca is behind catering and prepared food company Seasoned and Spiced, and she has appeared on Chopped on the Food Network. The Mumbai native has worked around the world, learning about various cuisines. Her Mediterranean experience comes from a stint as a chef at the Sun International group of hotels in Dubai, where she cooked Arabic and Mediterranean foods.