Comedy-club manager to open WooHaHa! downtown Jan. 18

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Article by Richard Duckett

WORCESTER — John Tobin once ran the room at the comedy club at the former Aku-Aku restaurant on East Central Street in the mid-1990s and was happy to do it. It was a commute from West Roxbury for Tobin, but comedy always had a big pull for the Boston native. Tobin’s first job in comedy was as a doorman at a comedy club. “I would have worked for free. I always loved comedy,” he said.

Along the way, he also dreamed of being mayor of Boston. That’s not a joke. Tobin was elected to five terms on the Boston City Council. He is first vice president for city and community affairs at Northeastern University. But Tobin has also established quite a big name for himself on the Boston comedy scene.

Now he’s heading west again, and it is a laughing matter. “Worcester’s a great comedy city,” Tobin said.

As the owner of John Tobin Presents, Tobin will be operating and booking acts at the WooHaHa! Comedy Club at 50 Franklin St., which is scheduled to open Jan. 18 with featured comedian Paul Mecurio (numerous appearances on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”). Meanwhile, Jan. 4 will see the debut of Roar! Comedy Club in the Armory at MGM Springfield, which John Tobin Presents will produce and book shows for. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. opens.

Among other comedy clubs John Tobin Presents also operates and books are Laugh Boston and Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston, and The Comedy Scene at Patriot Place in Foxboro.

At WooHaHa! in the Grid District the 130-seat comedy club will be alongside the new Revolution Pie + Pint and Craft Table & Bar.

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From fast-casual to upscale, Worcester is getting these new restaurants and a 5th brewery in 2019

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Full article by Aviva Luttrell | aluttrell@masslive.com
Big changes are happening in Worcester, and the city’s dining scene is no exception.

From a new artisanal butcher shop and coffee roastery to a fastcasual
Chipotle Mexican Grill and Dairy Queen, there’s no shortage of eateries that have had their eyes on Worcester. In 2019, the city — which has been in is in the midst of a renaissance of dining and development will become home to a slew of new establishments. At least 14 restaurants, cafes and breweries are planning to open their doors throughout the city this year.

Here’s what you can expect to see in 2019:
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Revolution Pie + Pint
This pizza joint is coming to the city’s downtown Grid District on Jan. 18. Revolution Pie + Pint t gets its name from the revolving pizza oven that cooks its pizzas at 850 degrees in less than two minutes. Diners can order custom pies or select one of the eatery’s signature pizzas.

The Worcester location will offer pies like the Becker pizza, featuring buffalo sauce, roasted chicken breast, mozzarella blend and red onion, and the City Hall pizza, featuring apple cider BBQ, smoked pulled pork, caramelized onion, cubed bacon and mozzarella blend.

And as its name suggests, the restaurant’s second claim to fame is its beverages. The location will have a number of local and regional craft beers on tap.

Craft Table & Bar
Craft Table & Bar, which already has a location in East Boston, is coming to Worcester Jan. 18 with polished casual cuisine.

Opening on Franklin Street in the lower level of the Bancroft Building, the restaurant will offer craft beer, wines, spirits and innovative dishes prepared from a scratch kitchen. Menu options will range from roasted lamb lollipops with mint infused demiglaze to lobster claw meat in a tomato vodka alfredo with fresh cavatappi pasta.

Brew Beer Garden in Grid District to open Friday

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Article in the WBJournalThe Brew Beer Garden, the long anticipated beer garden in the Grid District, has released its list of 40 beers on tap as it ramps up for its Friday opening.

The beer is sourced from all over the world, but only one – Hopulence from Shrewsbury Street’s Wormtown Brewery – comes from Worcester. None of the three other operating breweries in the city have a beer at the city’s newest beverage spot.

Of the 40 beers, 14 are brewed in the state. Framingham brewery Jack’s Abby Brewing Co. is the only other Central Massachusetts brewer to have a spot on the list with its Hoponius Union IPL.

The beer garden plans to be open from spring to fall and include live music, a house DJ and a dance floor.The Brew Beer Garden, which replaces a former cinema at 64-66 Franklin St., will have a partly-covered outdoor terrace that’s slated to be open three seasons of the year, thanks to fire pits and heaters.

Grid District Developer Purchases MetroPCS Building

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Article from the WBJournal, written by Grant Welker, Zachary Comeau

A developer that’s transformed the southern edge of the Worcester Common as the mixed-use Grid District has purchased the former MetroPCS building around the corner on Main Street for $450,000.

The five-story, 7,400-square-foot building was assessed for $210,000, according to the city.Five Seventeen Main LLC was listed as the buyer and Josen Donovan, vice president of Boston based developers MG2, is listed as the manager of that entity. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. MG2 has already invested heavily in the area, making the Grid District a draw for a growing student and young-adult population downtown. The developer knocked down the Paris Cinema last year to make way for a three-season Beer Garden, which is expected to open this spring.

The Grid District also includes Stix Noodle Bar, which opened last month, and the cafe Brew on the Grid. Just across Portland Street, Revolution Pie + Pint and Craft Table & Bar are expected to open this spring as part of a comedy club called Woohaha.

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Grid District Building Out for Explosive Year

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Interview with Steven Carter of the Grid District.

The Grid District development just across Franklin Street from the Worcester Common already has 400 residential units and a few popular eateries, including the cafe Brew on the Grid and the Mediterranean restaurant Techni. Much more is still to come, including a highly anticipated beer garden set to open next year. Steven Carter, the Grid District’s director of operations, sees the development contributing to a growing downtown.

We saw demolition of the old Paris Cinema begin over the summer. How is the project progressing?
The demolition has been a bit like surgery, trying to take the theater out with all the buildings surrounding it. In some cases, it’s been a brick at a time. We’re shooting for Stix, an Asian noodle bar, to be open by the first week of October. For the Beer Garden, which will have 200 outdoor seats and 200 indoors, we’re probably open for next St. Patrick’s Day.

You also have space being built out on the ground floor of Bancroft on the Grid. What’s set to go in there?
We’ll have Pie & Pint, a pizzeria, and Craft Table & Bar, a casual farm-totable eatery, along with WooHaHa, a 100-seat comedy club open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We’re hoping to have that open by December. For residents upstairs, we’re planning what we’re calling Grid Service, a room service for the apartments.

What else is on the horizon?
We have a 5,000-square-foot retail space in the back of Bancroft on the Grid that I’m hoping could be a microbrewery. I am looking for a brewery, I just haven’t found a brewery yet.

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Planning for Worcester’s Future

John McGrail

Being a developer involves more than purchasing, renovating and managing properties. A lot of planning goes into creating successful developments. One of MG2’s strengths lies in planning, and that is reflected in the master plan we developed for Worcester’s Grid District. 

Worcester has been poised for growth for years. The city recognized it with its master plan for the Theater District and for the overall revitalization of the Downtown., MG2 had previously amassed 510 residential units, 300 parking spaces and approximately 60,000 square feet of retail space (with the potential to develop an additional 350,000 square feet.) Maximizing the potential of this investment requires significant planning. Through this master plan, the Grid District marries the history of the buildings and location with a cool, trendy “live and play” atmosphere that appeals to Worcester’s large student and young professional population.

The Grid District consists of an eclectic mix of buildings that currently house students and local businesses, as well as a number of vacant parcels primed for potential downtown development opportunities. Our master plan targets underutilized retail spaces and bolsters those spaces in multiple phases to create a bustling economic presence in Downtown Worcester.

Historic restoration is another key feature for the Grid District. Replacing windows in character with historic condition, updating brick facades, improving lighting and restoring storefronts to their original glory are just a few elements detailed throughout the plan. While the integrity of these buildings are being preserved, residential units are being outfitted with the modern amenities that renters desire.

Creating a lively urban community is a unique opportunity MG2 is excited to bring to Worcester. With that in mind, we have planned for spaces that can be utilized as pop up retail, temporary event spaces and “third spaces” (the stop between work and home) areas, while also developing opportunities for converting alleys into community meeting areas.

The Grid District is more than residential buildings. Once complete, the results of the master plan will transform MG2’s space in downtown Worcester into a highly desirable place to work, live and play.

Worcester’s Grid District: Why MG2 saw opportunity where others didn’t

John McGrail

Worcester, long touted as a college town, is finally beginning to look the part. Home to 12 renowned colleges and universities and nearly 38,000 students, the city has a highly educated workforce that companies are competing for, making Worcester home to a growing and thriving business community.

An influx of economic investment and the desire for city living, with more and more young professionals seeking to live in cities that offer a variety of amenities within walking distance, Worcester is poised for growth as a residential destination. The City itself recognized this, developing a master plan to transform its Hanover Theater District. Over the past several years MG2 has acquired significant real estate holdings in Worcester, now totaling 510 residential units, 300 parking spaces, approximately 60,000 square feet of retail space and the potential to develop up to 350,000 additional square feet of mixed use space.

MG2’s six acres of prime real estate, named “The Grid District,” is an eclectic mix of buildings that are historic, as well as some that are primed for redevelopment. The Grid District sits adjacent to the new City Square development and the Hanover Theater, as well as a number of the City’s civic institutions. Our parcels are at the hub of both east-west and north-south orientations – literally forming a web of interconnectedness that solidifies The Grid as a landmark destination in Worcester.

For more information on the Grid District, MG2 has launched a new website, thegriddistrict.com. Here you can find more information on the project, including specific building amenities, retail options and recreational opportunities throughout The Grid.