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May 12, 2023

After closures, new Worcester restaurants spring up along busy Park Avenue block

Photo | Timothy Doyle Gambrino's Cask & Barrel at 266 Park Ave. in Worcester
Photo | Timothy Doyle Salgabom Snacks at 257 Park Ave. in Worcester
Photo | Timothy Doyle Mia Cane Juicery and Acai Bar at 261 Park Ave. in Worcester
Photo | Timothy Doyle Havana Nights Restaurant and Lounge 258 Park Ave. in Worcester

The stretch of Park Avenue in Worcester between Pleasant Street and Elm Park is returning to life after closures since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The block features restaurants and bars like Altea’s Eatery, El Basha Grille & Bar, Stop Cafe Pizza & Grille, and college bar Leitrim’s Pub, which have been around for years, as well as relative newcomer Lucy’s Cake Shop, a bakery opened in April 2021.

Stephen Hopkins, who owns the neighboring Blue Jeans Pizza, has opened a new bar at 266 Park Ave. Gambrino’s Cask & Barrel, named after a Germanic folk legend, features a full bar, patio, and a menu of bar food from Blue Jeans. It opened in the building formerly home to Loft 266, a bar closed during the pandemic.

“The neighborhood needed a neighborhood bar, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” General Manager Anthony Oakes said.

Nearby at 257 Park Ave., Salgabom Snacks opened its second location in April, serving burgers, acai bowls, and other snacks. The restaurant has a location on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. The new store is located in the space vacated by Park Grill & Spirits, which closed in May 2022.

A Cuban restaurant called Havana Nights Restaurant and Lounge is under construction at 258 Park Ave. The owner, Julio Roque, expects to open in May, according to MassLive.

Havana Nights will take the place of Sake Bomb Bistro, which closed in February.

Across the street, Mia Cane Juicery and Acai Bar announced on Thursday via Facebook construction is nearly complete at its 261 Park Ave. location. That is the former location of photography shop L.B. Wheaton, which moved to 50 Suffolk St. in Worcester in August.

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Stephen Quist
May 14, 2023

Worcester had a tremendous response to COVID-19 and enacted safety measures that saved lives.
Public health matters.
Public ignorance can be deadly.

May 12, 2023

That's great for the new businesses. Too bad for the businesses that got destroyed by useless mask mandates and shutdowns I guess...

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