Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 19, 2009

Restaurants Heating Up: Three new sites expected downtown by spring

Lebanese, Mexican and tapas on menu

A live mariachi band will play when a new downtown Mexican restaurant opens. Steps away, a Lebanese restaurant offers another new alternative. Soon, a hip tapas restaurant and wine bar, perfect for those looking to relax after work, will open in the Musgrove Building.

Call it recession, Andover style. Even as some businesses continue to use the dreaded R-word, the downtown is about to welcome three new ethnic restaurants.

"It's very positive downtown, lots of momentum," said Planning Director Paul Materazzo. "We're very happy about this."

He said there are two key reasons for Andover's positive economic news happening downtown.

"First, Andover is a great place to be," he said. "And the Main Street reconstruction is complete. That's very important."

That caught the attention of Daniel Vargas who owns Casa Blanca restaurant, a Mexican restaurant on Route 125 in North Andover. He just signed a lease to open a Mexican restaurant on Main Street, in the second-floor location where Serene was located and Vincenzo's before it. He plans to open the restaurant in March and will not close his North Andover restaurant.

"I even like the sidewalks outside," Vargas said of his new space. "I just love the building...even my wife said I love it too much."

Vargas, whose father owned two restaurants in Mexico, said many of his current customers are from Andover. "Now, they won't have to leave Andover," he said. "I will get a mariachi band for my opening because everyone is happy."

Yella, the new Lebanese restaurant on Post Office Avenue, has already had its soft opening.

"We're excited," said Danielle Berdahn who owns the restaurant with her chef-husband, Carlo Berdahn, a native of North Lebanon. "Ample, simple and exciting," is how she described her Lebanese-inspired menu.

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