The neighborhood has changed a bit since he last served lunch to hungry college students and locals, but Marty Thornton is ready to welcome them all to his re-opened Thornton’s Fenway Grille.
“I see a lot of new faces and all kinds of old faces,” Thornton said in a phone interview just a few weeks into the restaurant's new run. “We’re just glad to be back.”
It’s a return that’s been long in the making after an early morning fire on Jan. 6, 2009 ripped through Thornton’s and five other restaurants on a block of Peterborough Street known as Restaurant Row. The fire destroyed the businesses and caused $5 million in damage while the long rebuilding process disappointed neighbors eager to visit their usual haunts.
“It just takes longer than you think--just little things. I thought we’d open in the middle of summer,” said Thornton.
In addition to Thornton’s, El Pelon Taqueria, another row staple, opened in October while a new restaurant, Swish Shabu, a Japanese hot pot-style eatery has moved in to one of the vacant spots.
“This is a big part of the neighborhood, this is where a lot of people come. I think the neighborhood probably grown quite a bit since we’ve closed,” Thornton said.
Thornton said he and his staff have received a “great welcome back from the neighborhood” as people returned to the renovated restaurant.
The spot's two rooms are not opened up and the bar has been expanded. There is also a new cement patio out front and ramp for wheelchairs.
The bar, which first opened 20 years ago this month, also started serving draft beer.
“Everybody seems to really like that,” said Thornton.
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