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The Confusion Between Boston’s Two Zuma Restaurants Is Almost Over

Plus, the owners of the now-closed Tapestry restaurant are suing their former landlord and the developers of the restaurant’s Fenway site, and more news

Interior restaurant photo showing an upscale space with plush dark red pillows lining a banquette, lots of slats of light wood, and light wood tables
One of Boston’s Zuma restaurants is an outpost of an upscale international sushi chain (pictured here); the other is a smaller, independent Tex-Mex restaurant that’s been open for years
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Welcome back to AM Intel, a Monday morning round-up of mini news bites to kick off the week (coming in on Tuesday this week due to the holiday).

Zuma Versus Zuma

Fancy international sushi chain Zuma expanded to Boston with much fanfare in mid-2019, exciting local diners who had visited Zuma locations in London, New York, Hong Kong, and beyond. But there was a problem: Boston already had a restaurant called Zuma — Zuma Tex-Mex Grill, to be precise. That Zuma, a casual restaurant at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, had trademarked its name back in 2002 and entered into an agreement with the other Zuma’s parent company, Azumi Limited, in 2008 that prevented Azumi Limited from opening restaurants called Zuma in New England.

But Azumi Limited did end up opening Zuma in 2019, other Zuma sued, and Azumi Limited was ordered to change the name of its Boston restaurant.

Instead, it appears that the smaller, older Zuma is changing its name after all. Zuma Tex-Mex Grill is throwing a party on January 31, dubbed “Zuma: The Last Stand,” and will reemerge the next day as Mezcala Tex-Mex Grill — “same owners, same menu, same location, just a new name.”

Owners of the Now-Closed Tapestry Sue Developers and Former Landlord

Dual-concept Fenway restaurant Tapestry — which featured a casual side, Expo Kitchen, that specialized in Neapolitan-style pizza and a fancier side, Club Room — closed in mid-2019 after three years in business because its building was slated to be sold for a new development project.

Now chef and owner Meghann Ward and her firm behind the restaurant, the Gromit Group LLC, are suing Boston developer Cabot Cabot & Forbes and Tapestry’s former landlord, an LLC affiliated with Cabot and Los Angeles real estate investment firm CIM Group LLC, stating that the Gromit Group has not yet received the portion of a $1.5 million buyout it’s currently owed for ending its lease early to make way for the development. The Gromit Group reportedly should have received at least $650,000 of the buyout by mid-November 2019 but filed suit on January 3, having yet to receive any of the money.

Meanwhile, Cabot Cabot & Forbes reportedly told Gromit in November that it violated the buyout agreement due to the condition in which it left the restaurant site — which Gromit’s lawsuit notes was approved by the landlord when Gromit surrendered it in September.

In Other News...

  • Popular East Somerville taqueria Taco Loco, open for over 20 years, has moved next door to 46 Broadway, a much larger space with seating for 32. The expansion includes a new menu of fresh juice; plus, tortilla production might move in-house.
  • For the Boston Globe, restaurant critic Devra First muses on some of Boston’s most notable restaurant closures over the past several years, noting that “we don’t have to go into mourning every single time a long-lived restaurant goes out of business.”
  • Just a note for those who love pelmeni, Russian dumplings: Brookline’s Bazaar grocery shop at 1432 Beacon St. sells them frozen, by the pound. Customers can dig a shovel into the type of freezer that usually holds novelty desserts and come up with a giant scoop of pelmeni. Several fillings are available.
A novelty dessert freezer is divided into several segments, each filled with loose frozen pelmeni — Russian dumplings — with several different fillings. A giant plastic scoop sits inside, and signage notes that the pelmeni are priced by the pound.
Frozen pelmeni by the pound at Bazaar in Brookline
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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