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Change Is Coming to Two Boston-Area Hidden Gems

Plus, more poke is coming, and more news

Two slabs of pork belly sit on a white plate with greens and other accoutrements. The plate is on a glossy wood bar.
A pork belly dish at Country Mile in Watertown
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

A “Scrappy” and “Resourceful” Watertown Restaurant Switches Things up

Since Country Mile (136 Belmont St., Watertown) opened in late 2018, it has been a quintessential hidden gem — an intimate neighborhood spot with an excellent and always-changing menu and the feel that you’re eating in owners Matt and Nancy Sargent’s own home. Now, they’re switching things up a bit, per an October 9 Facebook post from the Sargents, who took a week off to “rest [their] heads and ponder the universe” in the wake of several months of “rampant staffing turnover and shortages” and “challenging cash flow,” among other issues.

Upon the restaurant’s reopening on October 17, there will be several changes, at least for now: For one, there will be no staff, aside from the Sargents, who pulled off past businesses with little-to-no staff aside from themselves (such as a food truck). Along those lines, table service is also partially going away — customers will order at the bar, but food will be delivered to the table. The menu will be smaller — “ample tinned fish, charcuterie-style dishes, a hot item or two, and a cold item or three” — and there will be a heavy focus on wine.

“Our intention has always been to be a cool, comfortable hang with fun things to eat and drink,” the Sargents wrote. “That will not change at all.” To start, the new Country Mile will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights (no reservations), with hours likely to increase in a few weeks.

And Changes Are Also Coming to Another Hidden Gem

Upperwest (1 Cedar St., Cambridge), one of the most uniquely situated wine bars in the Boston area, will be leaving its cozy home of three years in the basement of a veterans lodge as the building is up for sale.

Owners Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich are holding a fundraiser party tomorrow, October 15, to help with the future move (not to mention legal fees stemming from having to fight Cambridge in a bizarre situation involving tea lights). While Courtney and Dietrich have not yet secured a new location, they hope to finding something within walking distance of the current location. Closing and reopening dates are not yet known.

In Other News...

  • Rapidly expanding national poke chain Pokéworks — which currently has one location each in Somerville and Cambridge, with Watertown on the way — will open its first Boston proper location in the Longwood area (425 Brookline Ave.).
  • Church-based coffee shop the Well, with two downtown Boston locations, plans to open a new location in East Boston (62 William C. Kelly Sq.). If approved, it could operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week (closed on Sunday) and host live entertainment.
  • The Worcester Business Journal takes a look at Worcester’s dining scene, which has been undergoing significant improvements over the past few years but hasn’t quite started getting attention on a national level in the way that cities like Portland, Maine, and Providence have.

Got a news tip for the Eater Boston team? Email boston@eater.com.

UpperWest

1 Cedar St, Cambridge, MA 02140 (617) 714-5734 Visit Website

Country Mile

136 Belmont St., Watertown, MA 02472 (802) 289-4089 Visit Website

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