By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette
This month, new businesses started up in two formerly shuttered storefronts generating energy and excitement in our business district. Leland and Suzanne Dimeco opened their Boston Green Realty Office at one of the prettiest buildings in Boston. I speak of the motley and ornate brick McCarthy Building (circa 1899) at the corner of Tremont and Pontiac Streets across from the Basilica. Down the street at the former Savant Restaurant at 1625 Tremont St., the long-anticipated Mission Sushi & Wok Fresh Asian Kitchen opened to rave reviews. Owners Christine and Kenneth Chan performed a total refurbishing, creating an immaculate and mellow milieu in which to enjoy Asian delicacies. The Chan family owns the highly regarded Ginger Exchange restaurant in Cambridge’s Inman Square and brought their specialties along with many new items to Mission Hill.
Mission Hill neighbors commemorated 15 years of supporting their local Main Streetsat our annual meeting on March 27. City Councilor Michael Ross gave a heartfelt address to the crowd about current community issues. A transfusion of new blood into the group ensures vitality into the organization by electing new directors. Among the fresh faces are several neighborhood stalwarts. Eric Alden grew up in Mission Hill and for many years has managed Circle Properties and is a familiar patron at every community event. Longtime resident Maynard Clark is a leader in the Charlesbank Co-op building at 650 Huntington and brings years of experience working with both the School of Public Health and Medical School at Harvard. Star Realty owner Anthony Nader has owned and managed properties here for over 25 years and is beloved in the area for his kindness and generosity to those in need. Michael Fitzgerald, son of our revered late state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald, serves as a community liaison for Northeastern University. (Michael and his wife Kajahl are expecting their first child this July). Crossing Bar owner John O’Sullivan rounds out this quintet of newbies with two returning veterans of the organization. Having been with Main Streets since its beginning, Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services Director Jim Hoffman brings extensive institutional knowledge along with longtime resident John Todd, who provides practical common sense to any problem. These two seasoned pros join the five rookies in filling out this year’s Main Street roster.
Yours truly was honored to emcee the Mission Hill Crime Committee’s 28th anniversary celebration at Mission Church Parish Hall last month. Boston Police Capt. John Davin, commander of Area B-2, spoke on behalf of all the governmental police agencies, and new Wentworth Police Capt. Rick Brown (former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts) spoke for the institutional police departments, praising the efforts of Boston’s longest-running crime watch. Committee honchos Mary Todd, Maria Weinograd, and Toni Komst joined Boston Police Community Services Officer Jerry Smart in presenting plaques to the retiring group co-founder David Welch and neighborhood volunteers Ron White and David Armstrong. These three men have individually shown personal courage and a willingness to take a stand against criminal activity in our neighborhood and deserve our approbation.
Mission Hill Main Streets announces this year’s Business of the Year is the Green T Coffeeshop. Braden Armstrong, Matt Hoey and Katie Baima are the trio who greet you at that cozy little meeting place located at the T stop in the heart of Brigham Circle. Green T has become a fixture of the community, offering an array of hot and cold beverages with mouthwatering pastries and homemade breads baked fresh daily. If you haven’t visited, do yourself a favor, relax and soak in the agreeable ambience. Congratulations to this year’s Volunteer of the Year, Michel Soltani, who lives and breathes Mission Hill and is its biggest booster. Born in Iran and having lived in France, Michel emigrated some 25 years ago working as a cook, dishwasher, bartender and everything in between, becoming the consummate restaurateur at his Mission Bar and Grill. His energy and enthusiasm to help others keeps him involved in anything and everything beneficial to the Mission Hill community.
Finally, I’d be remiss in not congratulating Tom Menino on his more than 20 years of service as our mayor. Tom brought Main Streets to Boston, transforming a moribund Roslindale Square, which at one time resembled war-torn Damascus with boarded up storefronts. Today Roslindale Village thrives as an urban destination because of the Main Streets formula and the passion of Tom Menino. Our entire city was blessed to have him.
The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.