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Kelley Square Market, Harding Green, Adds To Canal District’s Restaurant Growth

Construction at Kelley Square's Harding Green market in Worcester, MA
Breaking ground on May 7th, the Kelley Square Market will embrace community. Pictured are the site plans for the project.
Having broken ground on May 7th, the Kelley Square Market will embrace community. Pictured are the site plans for the project.

The culinary footprint of the Canal District continues to expand. Within a year, the Canal has welcomed Table Talk Pies, the Queen’s Cups, Kummerspeck and Broth with the intent of progressing the city’s momentum of becoming the culinary capital of Central Massachusetts and so far, the Canal is holding true to its mission. With only five months into the new year, the Canal continues to promise an array of culinary goodies with the addition of three restaurants and a public market.

Allen Fletcher after speaking with Mass Foodies before ground breaking of the Kelley Square Market
Allen Fletcher after speaking with Mass Foodies before ground breaking of the Kelley Square Market

Having broken ground on May 7th, the Kelley Square market project – the latest project by businessman Allen Fletcher – marked the beginning of construction of an 80,000 square foot public market and apartment community called Harding Green. With a vibrant enthusiasm for the Canal District and its consistent growth, Fletcher’s Kelley Square Market will house 30 to 40 vendors, with a focus on unique ethnic street foods, fish-mongers, cheese-makers and seasonal markets. In addition to the 30 to 40 vendors, the market will be home to the Kelley Square Diner – a homage to Worcester’s love affair of diners. “I’ve visited a wide range of markets across the country and some markets are doing great things, while others are slowly closing down and I believe that speaks to the markets’ inabilities to cater to the local community,” said Fletcher. “To solve that, the Kelley Square Market will focus on community, the local diversity and embrace human interaction with ethnic street foods, live music and a central seating area under the skylights for dining. I believe this public market can provide a specific a unique experience for the locals but also create a new destination for those visiting from outside of the city.”

While the Kelley Square Market is at the beginning stages of construction, Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar wrapped up construction and officially opened its doors last week. Serving up a country theme with Chef John Gremo, Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar pays tribute to the owner, Nick Panarelli’s inspiration, The Goat Bar & Grill in Hampton, NH. “From roasted red pepper corn chowder to the open-faced steak tip sandwich, we want to bring something a little different to the Canal District,” said Panarelli. “This area has turned around and it has become the new ‘place to be’ and I believe, it will become the new Shrewsbury Street. With the Railers and the central location, the Canal is hands down the new location for foodies.” With Chef Gremo’s years of experience in the culinary industry – launching successful restaurant concepts in MGM Vegas and appearing on the Food Network (Oh, did we mention Chef Gremo went to high school with Guy Fieri and they are still good friends?) – and Panarelli’s lifetime family history in the restaurant industry (the Panarelli family has owned and operated delis, catering businesses and the Lakeside Bar and Grill in Shrewsbury) we think Buck’s is off to good start and with a motto like “Whiskey Wednesdays: It’s like Taco Tuesdays but for Badasses” there is no doubt, Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar will make a great addition to the Canal District.

In addition to Buck’s, the Canal District is set to be home to two additional restaurants: Pho Deli – a Vietnamese restaurant with authentic cuisine and the more popularized Pho dish – and Maddi’s Cookery & Taphouse – an American pub-style restaurant specializing in craft beer. Both restaurants are set to open this year and we hope it’s sooner than later.

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#SundayFunday – The Boss of Drenched Burritos

Boss of Drenched Burritos from El Patron in Worcester, MA

Friday nights are great, except if you go out to eat and the place you pick is El Patron. With a line wrapped around Harding Street, Friday night dinner dates at El Patron are impossible, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it makes El Patron the boss of #SundayFunday.

Dish out a whopping $3.50 for a tamale to start your quest on an authentic journey of Mexican cuisine and its distinct history of cooking knowhow, and you’ll end the night speaking Spanish and asking for more tamales, por favor. Between the molcajete – the handcrafted guacamole bowls – the wall decor made from indigenous paints and copper to the shot glasses adorned with traditional Mexican leather, you know you’re in the right place for Mexican cuisine. But above all, stands the mighty drenched burrito. A burrito so massive, you need a fork and knife to eat it.

This boss favorite is a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese and pico de gallo, “drenched” in salsa verde and topped with melted cheese. This great beast can be filled with a meat of your choice: adobada (pork marinated in a red chili sauce), carne asada (grilled steak), carnitas (slow cooked pulled pork), chicken chorizo (chicken sausage), veggies or shredded chicken. With the drenched burrito weighing in close to a pound, it is the ultimate shareable dish for two people on any given Sunday. Add a shot of Tequila and make it an official #SundayFunday destination.