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Central Square’s Monroe Gets New Chef But May Get New Restrictions

A local chef will bring his bao to the Cambridge nightclub, but the location has been troubled

Monroe nightclub space
Monroe Nightclub
Official Site

There are some changes brewing at Monroe Nightclub in Central Square. For one, the venue has brought in notable local chef Duy Tran to cook up assorted bao, rice plates, and more, Boston Magazine reports. But the nightclub may also undergo some changes outside of its control after a spate of violent incidents nearby caught the attention of the Cambridge licensing commission.

Food news first: Duy Tran, known for his DooWee & Rice concept that first opened in Somerville and later took up residence at Wonder Bar in Allston, has a new menu planned for Monroe, including his signature bao. Boston Magazine reports that Tran will serve a line-up of bao, including smoked salmon, shrimp, fried chicken, and tuna poke, in addition to some vegetarian options. He also plans to bring in chicken and steak rice plates, chicken wings, and fries, plus sandwiches, grilled seafood, and specials.

DooWee’s is set for a soft kick-off on August 1 and a full-blown debut on September 1.

As for the recent violent incidents, two of Monroe’s partners, Solmon Chowdhury and Brig Dauber, appeared before the licensing commission this week to address the events of the last two months, according to Cambridge Day.

The hearing addressed an incident from June 12 where someone reportedly fired shots outside the club and hit one woman in her foot, and a Cambridge Police Department crime analyst said the address had 321 police calls in the last year and a half, with 41 formal incident reports filed. Members of the commission said they did not "have the same issues" at other venues in Central Square, and police officers testified to observing packed crowds and the smell of marijuana inside Monroe, though most violent incidents have occurred outside.

Chowdhury transitioned the space from Naga/Moksa to Monroe in January and told the commission that the team "do[es] everything [they] can to control what happens in [the] club," including hiring security details.

Dauber also said that the club was "on the same page as the Cambridge Police Department" in ending the violent incidents.

The commission will consider the testimony and announce the next steps, which could be lowering the club’s occupancy or moving the closing time earlier.

Update, 8/1/2016: DooWee's @ Monroe softly debuts today, August 1, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The soft opening menu includes numerous bao baos (crispy barbecue chicken, braised pork, tuna poke, and more), a chicken and rice plate, a Korean barbecue burger, lemongrass curry periwinkles, eight types of wings, and more.

Meanwhile, the commission decided to give Monroe a seven-day suspension and reduce the closing time from 2 a.m. to midnight; Monroe has the opportunity to appeal this decision.


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