, Salem, MA

Local News

April 8, 2013

Downtown Salem sees restaurant shake-up


“We’re super-excited,” co-owner Matthew Brady said. “You can’t beat this location.”

Naumkeag Ordinary will be a moderately priced restaurant with “creative American comfort food” and a bar, Brady said.

They will serve, for example, macaroni and cheese with Tasso ham and peas, snacks like deviled eggs and basil pesto, and even something called “bacon lardons.”

One of the most interesting additions to the food scene is the Jean Louis Pasta Shop, 84 Derby St., which is right on the edge of downtown near The House of the Seven Gables.

Open just a few months, it already has a following, and why wouldn’t it? Where else can you find escargot ravioli?

“I created my own style,” owner Jean Louis Faber said one day last week while making a seafood ravioli filled with lobster, shrimp, crab and scallops.

The Grapevine, which Stacey Fraser and Kate Hammond ran for more than 20 years and turned into a dining landmark, changed hands a few months ago.

Kristin Zarkades, the new owner, has taken over with her husband, Harry, serving as wine director. They liked the restaurant’s tradition so much they decided to keep the name.

“It’s such a great name,” Zarkades said, “especially with the wine focus we have.”

The cuisine has shifted slightly to northern Mediterranean. And now that renovations have been done along the South River basin, they plan to open a new outdoor patio.

On Pickering Wharf, work is underway to transform The Hungry Whale, a popular sandwich shop famous for its lobster rolls, into Longboards Cafe & Bar, so named for the flatbread and artisan pizzas it will serve on long cutting boards.

The casual cafe, which will have a bar and offer takeout, hopes to open next month.

The Ben & Jerry’s franchise on Washington Street closed last fall, but is about to get new life. A new ice cream shop, the Salem Screamery, plans to open around May 1.

“It’s really just going to be an old-fashioned ice cream store,” said Tim Hopkins, who also runs a catering business.

In addition to ice cream, he plans to offer homemade baked goods.

There are at least two more downtown restaurants that may change hands in the next few weeks, but none of those deals is final.

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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