BOSTON (CBS) — Pizza, sushi and even a champagne vending machine as a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off the opening of the High Street Place Food Hall.
“I like variety. We’ve all been here, five of us, and we’ve visited five different restaurants,” said Dave Blum, who works in a nearby office building.
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“It’s been a long time coming. It feels like it’s time. It feels good,” said Rachel Miller Munzer, co-owner of Mamaleh’s, one of 20 vendors in the food hall.
At 20,000 square feet, there’s seating capacity for 400 inside, but surrounded by office buildings, it begs the question: how many of those seats will be occupied?
“I feel like it’s finally time. You know, the mask mandate is lifting, people are going to start going back to work. And we will be there for them. We are ready,” said High Street Place Food Hall market manager Lauren Johnson.
“It’s, I think, like a statement opening for sure. Not just for us, but for all of the partners and all of downtown Boston,” said Big Heart Hospitality’s Director of Wine and Beverage.
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Guests say that not so long ago this area was a ghost town.
“We used to come in June 2020. I started coming back to the office. And it looked like a zombie movie. There was no one around,” Brookline’s Harsh Agarwal said.
The food hall was originally supposed to open two years ago, but it was delayed due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, local businesses tell WBZ-TV things have been tough, but they hope that will change soon.
“It has been very difficult for small businesses. We’re lucky to be open, to be honest with you,’ said Cecelia Demellorodi, hairstylist at Advantage hair salon on the High Street.
“We are still far behind what we were doing before. But things are moving in the right direction, that’s for sure. We like 25-30% of what we used to do,” said Evo Chakarov, owner of Kwench Juice Cafe on Congress Street.
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“Over the past couple of years it’s been dead only to gradually, slowly, slowly come back, and now we’re starting to really see, like I said, that life that we missed,” said owner Michael Kaplan. of Bailey & Sage, located on Federal Street.