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'A Kickass Neighborhood Pub' Will Open Soon on Main Street in Waltham

The family behind it has owned Shopper's Cafe for almost 80 years.

The Pub Waltham
The Pub Waltham
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The Pub, formerly known as the Waltham Sports Pub, has been closed for an overhaul since October, and co-owner Joey LaCava said his family is taking care of final punch list items before reopening soon with, among other things, an expanded kitchen.

https://instagram.com/p/6pI0yRNzen/It's coming...

Posted by Shoppers Cafe on Friday, August 21, 2015

Located at 619 Main St., LaCava, his brother, Mike, and sister, Lauren, purchased the Waltham Sports Pub in 2011. They all work at Shopper's Cafe, which has been in their family since 1937 and is currently owned by their father, Paul LaCava.

The LaCavas operated the 45-seat, Main Street pub as-is for a couple years, while deciding its future. They even scoped some other locations to potentially move its liquor license, Joey said. "Waltham's been growing and growing tremendously," he said. "Within a quarter mile, there are going to be 300 new [residential] units, between Station Landing and The Merc. We decided that staying where we are and renovating would be the best investment."

Reached by phone at Shopper's Cafe today, Mike LaCava said they're opening "a kickass neighborhood pub." Joey agreed that's the vibe they're going for. "We love the Waltham community and it's a shop local-type place, and we want to be a neighborhood place."

Previously, the Waltham Sports Pub didn't have a hood vent, but it offered a small menu courtesy of a George Foreman Grill and steam trays. It was particularly known for its meatball subs, LaCava said. With a full kitchen installed, the new pub will focus more on food. "We're really going after lunches," he said. "We'll have a small, fresh menu. Nothing too crazy: Very few entrees, more sandwiches, apps, soups, fall salads."

The kitchen installation was the biggest part of the renovation, but the new pub has a cleaner, more modern look, with mahogany and black furniture, LaCava said. The process took longer than he anticipated, but he's pleased with the outcome. "Initially we were trying to keep the original bar, but then we had to replace the floor," he said. "Certain things like that just added to the time for reopening. But it's awesome, we're very excited to stay in Waltham. We're born in raised here, and very invested in the community of Waltham."

The entire identity of the former Waltham Sports Pub will be changed — expect for, officially, its name. A sign that went up this week — noticed by a Chowhound user — says "The Pub," which will do for now, LaCava said.

"We wanted to clean up the sign that was there, take away the sports part," he said. That was important, because it still won't have a Sunday license — so it's not open for football games. "What kind of sports pub isn't open for football?" LaCava asked rhetorically. "We're focused right now on getting the doors open and dealing with the legal name change in the future."

Ideally, The Pub could open this Tuesday, LaCava said; it has passed its final building inspections and is waiting for a visit from the health department, LaCava said. When it does open, the hours will be Monday - Saturday from 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.

At first, the menu will be limited. "We're big on first impressions," LaCava said. "We want to make sure everything we do comes out right, especially at lunch. There are other places to go, so we want to make sure people come back."

The Pub's web presence is coming, but in the meantime, Shopper's Cafe is on Facebook and may share updates as The Pub gets ready to reopen.

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