While the recently announced departure of Thayer Street staples like Nice Slice, Rockstar and Johnny Rockets may have been a blow to the College Hill community, director of the Thayer Street District Management Authority Donna Personeus confirmed that the blow may be softened by the establishment of two new restaurants — Tropical Smoothie Café and Chopsticks — on Thayer Street.
Chopsticks will be located at 277 Thayer St., between the Army/Navy Surplus store and Durk’s Bar-B-Q while Tropical Smoothie Café will occupy the vacant lot above Soban Korean Eatery at 272 Thayer St.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe — which has a location in Wayland Square and hundreds nationwide — is known for its wide array of smoothies, ranging from “indulgent” offerings on their menu like the Mocha Madness — made with chocolate, coffee, cappuccino and non-fat yogurt — to “superfood” smoothies, which contain more salutary ingredients like kale, spinach and a variety of fruits.
For those unwilling to imbibe their nutrients in blended form, the chain also offers a selection of wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads including the featured “Cha Cha Sriracha Flatbread,” which consists of grilled chicken, mozzarella, pineapple salsa and a caramelized pineapple Sriracha sauce. The restaurant’s opening date is uncertain, but Personeus placed it around May of this year.
Chopsticks is a new business that will function like a grab-and-go establishment, offering Chinese stir-fry options to the residents of College Hill. Personeus said the restaurant will open sometime around June or July — fully operational in time for classes in the fall.
While no establishment has billed itself in exactly the same manner, Chopsticks will have to find a niche of its own on a hill that is already saturated with restaurants offering a wide range of Asian cuisines.
Along with the recently announced Chinese-skewer joint Wow Barbecue, Chopsticks must also compete with Soban, Haruki Express, Shanghai, Sushi Express, Yan’s Cuisine, Wong’s Kitchen and Den-Den’s College Hill outpost Korean Fried Chicken.
“Property owners are trying to move in businesses that are going to be successful in the long-run,” Personeus said. “But they’re trying to listen to students and other members of the community at the same time.”
Personeus pointed to the soon-to-be arrival of restaurants like by CHLOE — known for its offering of 100 percent vegan and kosher-certified food — and southern-style Durk’s Bar-B-Q as evidence of this receptiveness.
While Personeus could only confirm the establishment of Chopsticks and Tropical Smoothie, she acknowledged that new businesses would be opening in the spaces formerly occupied by English Cellar Alehouse and Nice Slice in the near future.
Additionally, the legal details of a development on the abandoned building at 249 Thayer St. are currently being worked out.
While negotiations are still underway, Personeus said she anticipated that the lot will be converted into a four-story building, the first floor of which will have space available for a business. Two floors would serve as office space while the top floor would function as space for high-end condominiums.
Personeus said that these developments, as well as others currently in the works that cannot yet be confirmed, are evidence of positive development for a street whose future once seemed uncertain.
“It looked for a long time like Thayer was dying,” Personeus said. “But the Thayer Renaissance is on, and you never know what’s going to come next.”