Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monty's Garden to be razed...the sterilization of Leominster continues

This is particularly sad news, from the Telegram & Gazette:

Landmark restaurant to be razed
Walgreens to replace Monty's


LEOMINSTER-- A downtown landmark appears headed for the wrecking ball as Monty's Garden makes way for a Walgreens pharmacy.

The restaurant at 35 Central St. opened in 1933, and holds the city's first liquor license, according to a history on the restaurant's Web site.

Monty's co-owners said last night they could not comment on the state of the transaction, a time line for the restaurant to be torn down or whether the owners have plans to reopen it elsewhere.

The City Council last night took its first look at a request from lawyer Steven B. DiPace, on behalf of the Richmond Co., seeking the sale or exclusive use of 12 parking spaces on city-owned land between Central and Adams streets, as well as access to and from surrounding land connecting the parking lot to public ways.

The access is sought "to be utilized exclusively by and for the benefit of the proposed new Walgreens which is to be constructed on the site currently occupied by Monty's Restaurant, which will be demolished as part of the area development plan," the petition says.

Monty's has been one of my favorite restaurants since I was a kid, and is the favorite local restaurant of Michelle and her family as well. I have many fond memories of the place (including the waitress who attributed a tough piece of veal to "a sick pig"), and it's a shame to see it go.

Not that it's a huge surprise. Mayor Mazzarella and the planning board have been hell bent on turning Leominster into Anytown, USA by fast-tracking approval of big-box retail stores and chain restaurants in places originally set aside for industry. For years, the mayor has been saying that the arrival of Longhorn and Applebee's and Chili's and Friday's and The Olive Garden and the restaurants not yet announced in the rte. 117 development wouldn't have a negative effect on local restaurants.

Yet, the most historic of them all is the first to fall. But at least the mayor gets the little part of Sam Walton's empire he's been coveting. It's not the Wal-mart supercenter he tried to foist on the people of the South End, but it's a start.

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