June 21, 2017

Shrewsbury St. restaurant to open in building seized over drugs

Grant Welker
Chameleon is scheduled to open June 26., and a grand opening is scheduled for June 30.

Even though its building has been seized by authorities following the arrest of its owner on drug charges, a new seasonal menu restaurant called Chameleon will open at 166 Shrewsbury St. about a month after the building's previous tenant, The Usual, closed over Memorial Day weekend.

The restaurant, which is opening Monday, had a soft debut at Tuesday's Taste of Shrewsbury Street. In mid-May, The Usual announced it would close May 28, two months after its owner, Kevin Perry, was indicted on drug charges.

Chameleon's owners are Joe Herman and executive chef Deven Senior, two former employees of The Usual. Stacey Gala, Perry's wife and co-owner of The Usual, is a silent partner for the new restaurant. While the building was owned by Perry and has been seized by authorities, said Herman, the business is allowed to operate because it's under Gala's name.

Herman said he and Senior came up with the idea from Chameleon when sales started to drop at The Usual following Perry's indictment.

"Our sales dropped about 30 percent give or take, and Deven and I sat down and we talked with Stacey and we started thinking about what we could possibly do -- what wasn't on this street, what wasn't in this city, things like that," he said. They decided to create a restaurant that would change its entire concept every season -- BBQ in the summer, German cuisine in the fall, and comfort food in the winter, for starters. A grand opening is scheduled for June 30.

The restaurant will have 24 beers on tap, as well as draft cocktails, including homemade hard lemonade and iced teas. The drink menu will also rotate seasonally, Herman said.

Perry, who was already a convicted felon on drug charges in 2005, was arrested and charged with money laundering, aggravated cash structuring, making a false statement on a loan application, and distribution of fentanyl in March. He allegedly used $130,075 to buy The Usual's building and $111,978 the buy the Blackstone Tap in the Canal District.

Read more

Cornerstone, U.S. agree to $415K Shrewsbury Street drug restaurant settlement

Feds: Hidden drug money used to open, operate The Chameleon

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