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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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5 Great Places to Keep your Foodie Warm this Winter

Bocado's Flamenco Wine Dinner

From the dipping temperatures to the scattered snow flurries, winter is slowly creeping up on us here in New England. But when the wintry weather is too much to bear, there is nothing better than finding a cozy place to thaw out while spoiling your ravishing winter appetite.

Winter dining means different things in different places. In New York City, winter is manifested into a wonderland of romantic nights at Central Park, delicious dinners at the famous Keens Steakhouse and in D.C., winter’s beauty is captured on a dish at the 1789 Restaurant. No two places are alike and for good reason. In Central Massachusetts, there is a growing number of “hot-spots” that offer more than just a warm place to dine during the below zero temperatures. Places like Armsby Abbey – serving up a soul-warming mac and cheese that will make you forget about the frozen sidewalks and chilly winds – and deadhorse hill – offering patrons a stiff drink and a dish suitable for any weather – keep Central Massachusetts as a growing foodie destination during the winter months. But while Armsby Abbey and deadhorse hill run the wintry streets of downtown Worcester, Bahn Mi Saigon and Coco hold their place in Northampton with treats that will cure the common winter angst.

Whether you’re searching for local eateries or planning a day trip to escape the icy hills of Worcester during the winter, Central Massachusetts has a wide range of great places to keep your foodie warm this winter.

La Cucina

What’s better than comfort food on a snowing day? La Cucina’s manicotti dish leaves guests wondering the same thing. It is hard not to credit the Italian community for their gratifying, hearty dishes but at La Cucina, saying grazie to the chef is more than welcomed. Served in a generous portion, the manicotti dish at La Cucina is a tribute to the love of cheese and red sauce. Both filling and satisfying, manicotti is a treat for local Worcesterites looking for a little Italian love.

Blue Heron

With cuisines sourced from the Pioneer Valley, the Blue Heron sits in the Old Town Hall in Sunderland with a menu that will inspire many winter visits. The Duck Two-Ways dish – a Jurgielewicz Farms Pekin Duck breast, leg confit, brandied cherry duck jus, with pickled cherries, potato fennel hash, and caramelized turnips – coupled with the beautiful interiors, makes the Blue Heron a must visit during the wintry weather.

 John Andrews Farmhouse

Known for the region’s vibrant food culture, John Andrews Farmhouse is located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. The backdrop of snow covered mountains and picturesque landscapes provide visitors to the John Andrews Farmhouse more than just a warm meal. If the scenery doesn’t melt your New England heart, then visit John Andrews on a Monday to experience Mom’s Meatloaf Monday. Starting with a spinach salad with warm rawson brook Monterey chevre, housemade pickled red onion and warm bacon vinaigrette and followed by a housemade pork meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli, Mom’s Meatloaf Mondays at John Andrews is a sure way to cure the winter blues.


Whether you’re ordering tapas frias or tapas calientes, Bocado will warm your soul to the core during the chilly Worcester months. In the spirit of the winter season, visiting Bocado and ordering platos para dos is the best way to dine and enjoy each other’s company. The sharable plates give a new meaning to the “sharing is caring” mantra. The Paella Clasica – a dish compiled of saffron rice, chicken, calamari, shrimp, chorizo, littlenecks, mussels, peas, and tomato – epitomizes the food culture of Spain. While the paella is a must have, you can order paella de carne – for meat lovers – or a paella de verduras – for veggie lovers – and still be completely satisfied.

Pho Dakao

With a menu filled with traditional Vietnamese dishes, visiting Pho Dakao in the winter is a transformative experience. Located on Park Avenue, Pho Dakao is best when indulging in their Pho bowls.  Served with their famous Vietnamese beef and chicken broths, scallions, onions and cilantro with an option of white or yellow noodles, the Pho (noodle soup) can cure a common cold. Adding steak, flank, brisket, tendon, or tripe is an easy way to create a hearty noodle soup to satisfy any lunch or dinner craving.