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Time to get in that last meal at Panda Express at the Pru

Boston Restaurant Talk reports the Pru food court closes forever on June 25 so that it can undergo a yearlong transformation into an Eataly, which sounds sort of like the old Marché Mövenpick that used to be at the Pru, only a lot larger and more Italiany.

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Comments

That must have been a hellva lease to close the entire food court and kick out all the tenants. Truth be told, once that new addition goes up where the plaza was between the Hynes and the Pru, the food court would have been interior with no windows.

Damn I'm gonna miss flamers.. long before the days of Five Guys and burger places everywhere, Flamers was the place to go to get a burger.

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The jokes just write themselves...

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:-p

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Giant extra pickles on the side with special secret sauce and mayo?

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Backup 15-20 years ago and there used to be a food place called Big Easy Cajun to the left of Flamers so when you read across it all said Big Easy Cajun Flamers.

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If you haven't been to one...holy god. It's a giant Italian supermarket with little niche restaurants in it. They're all over Actual Italy; I went to one...in Rome...on Easter night....and it was fairly crowded. In case you were worried that it's going to be like the pseudoItaly at Epcot Center. And now one on my commute...I'm going to see if I can get part of my paycheck direct deposited into an account there. I'm a little excited by this, if that doesn't come through in this post.

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Good stuff.

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I'm glad to hear that Eataly has something going for it. I found MM to be a big confusing nightmare that made my head spin.

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Eataly is a big *Italian* confusing nightmare that will make your head spin.

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.... so now I'll have to make my own Chinese mall-food-court food. It was my lazy-but-good pleasure to go there for an easy dinner.

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Awesome place, and absolutely nothing like Mövenpick. (Okay, they both serve food, but much different concept.)

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I'm so bummed; the food court used to be a place to get a cheap and fast filling meal while at events at the hynes.... now it's going to be $$$$$$$ for everything, plus MORE ITALIAN FOOD, as though boston isn't already overrun in italian food. can't wait for next year's anime boston and all the weird kids in costume not welcomed into this high brow snotty establishment...

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Sorry but I really, really don't think we need to design a restaurant around the gastronomical needs of the anime kids who show up once a year dressed as space kittens and ninjas.

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high brow snotty establishment...

If you don't have any idea what Eataly is like, you aren't obligated to post.

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The Pru food court is/ was cheap? I always thought of it as a spot to spend about $11 on 2 slices and a soda

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The food court is a great place to get some simpler foods. I also am wondering if all of the line workers are going to be out of jobs. Or will they be moved to other locations?

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Nobody should ever innovate or upgrade because workers may lose their jobs? Maybe they'll get jobs at Eately.

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At one point Eataly was considering Quincy Market.

www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/12/06/quincy-market-landlord-scrapped-...

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...I pictured it in the empty Towe..Virgi...Best Buy at Mass Ave and Newbury. Still think that would be a great spot for it.

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Move Trader Joes from down the street into that location!

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Sigh....that would be awesome.

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...to the food court at South Station?

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And WAY more expensive. It is going to be interesting to see how the new food court does as Eataly is not your normal food court and this food court is always packed by the businesses in the building and kids..lots of kids.

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Take this as you wish, but the fact Boston is getting an Eataly is a big, big deal. This alone puts it on a culinary map that only a few other cities can attest to. And if you have yet to visit an Eataly, and you love food, you are in for a MASSIVE treat. Its like the best gourmet food market on crack, taken to the next level, with several amazing restaurants, all in one location.

I've been to the Chicago and NY locations, and I'm blown away every time. I'm beyond excited for this to open. When I lived in Boston, I was on Saint Germain Street, literally steps away from the Pru Mall. To think this could've been too-easily accessible to me at any point is a scary, scary thought.

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It's chain Italian. It's a glorified Olive Garden. Calm down.

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Yeah, this is just not correct. There is really nothing Italian about Olive Garden. The food I had at Eataly in NYC, while extremly pricey, was definitely Real Italian, so to speak.

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We're not rejecting Eataly in Boston. We're unhappy a food court, with food options and prices accessible to everyone, is being destroyed to put an Eataly in.

A food court is also a public gathering space. you don't HAVE to make a purchase to sit there, rest, give the kinds a break, or read a book and people watch. You think a restaurant would allow people to hang out without buying anything?

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We're able to get a good Italian meal in this town. That area near where the sports teams play is so bright and loud.

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no snark intended but none of the Italian places in the North End are good enough?

Just asking...

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in the North End. It seems as if there are terrific places but the tourist hordes and the tales of waiting 45 minutes for dinner...Eataly is definitely a different kind of experience--I think it'll be great, though yes--not sure where the Apple kids will eat now.

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Most places in the North End take reservations. No need to wait 45 minutes.

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And the best ones do not accept reservations, and often have a wait exceeding 45min, depending on the night and season: Regina Pizzeria, The Daily Catch, Neptune Oyster.

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Ristorante Euno is very good and takes reservations. I think Giacomo's does too. Taranta Cucina is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston and I don't remember ever waiting more than a few minutes. Maybe we're lucky, but as long as we avoid the places popular with tourists, like Regina, we rarely wait in the North End. I haven't been in The Daily Catch in years but I don't think their problem is tourists so much as the size of the place.

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It's true, I only named the ones that I have visited some what recently and that had lines. I generally leave the choosing of Italian places to others, since I have been decried for loving Italian-American food so much, rather than the more 'pure' Italian places.

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Being snarky and sarcastic. Though for the record, Rino's in Eastie blows anything in the North End away.

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What makes this special?

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Always cooked to perfection, best house made pasta and sauces I've ever had (in Boston or elsewhere), and everything is always fresh. Even my grandmother, who complains about every restaurant she goes to in that way that grandmothers complain about every restaurant they go to, said it's the best veal she's ever had. That's saying a lot.

The place always has an hours-long wait for a reason...

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... but not there. "Hour long wait" sounds a bit daunting, however.

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consider yourself lucky. As Slim mentioned below, 3 hours is more like it-I've seen people line up at 1pm on Saturdays when they open at 3.

I'm fortunate enough to live up the street, so either do call ahead takeout or plan date night with GF where I walk down the street and put my name in, walk back up the street and watch a movie while we wait. Movie always finishes before they call, but it is ALWAYS worth the wait.

Regarding the reservation confusion you mentioned below, I believe parties of 6 or more only. To put your name in otherwise, you have to just show up and wait.

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Ordinary: the regular menu, which features the same red-sauce Jersey Shore Italian-American dishes in giant portions that you can get at 90% of North End restaurants, done with more care (including a few house-made pastas where appropriate) than most.

Extraordinary: the daily specials, which include rather traditional Abruzzese and other Central and Northern Italian specialties (chef's family was from Abruzzo, he was born there).

No reservations, very long waits on weekends (three hours isn't unusual). Better to go at lunch if you can.

My 2009 Boston Phoenix review.

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... is confusing on the issue of reservations....

What would some of the Abruzzese specialties be? (If you can remember).

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chitarra pasta (pasta sheets cut into thin ribbons on what looks like an autoharp), polenta dishes, and lamb dishes.

The special I still remember from 2009 was not Abruzzese, but a Lombard dish, his version of osso bucco Milanese, veal shank served over saffron risotto. Rarely done awesomely in restaurants (proper risotto in particular is hard to do at scale), but every element of this dish was perfect, and it was maybe $14.

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Do they serve these specials at lunch? ;-}

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is available in the lunch service, so going after the rush is better. They hand-make all their raviolis daily, for instance. But the first time I got that osso bucco special was at lunch.

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I'm asking because I thought the food court, in addition to serving food, also filled a useful purpose by giving people a convenient place to meet, get off their feet for a bit, etc., without having to buy a whole meal. I've never been in an Eataly --could it serve the same purpose? Not that there aren't benches in the mall, but it's not quite the same niche.

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If the one in NYC is any indication, it really is just another, fancier kind of food court, in that there are vendors and random tables, so I would think the answer to your question is yes.

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To add, in NYC's Eataly, most of the food places have waiter service, and the tables/bars get quite full at dinner. Some of the places take reservations and they have waiting lists for walk-ins, too.

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Eataly is great, but it doesnt in any way serve the same niche a food court does, which is a broad selection of food, fast and cheap.

Are they putting in a new food court somewhere, or is the only option to eat at the Pru now going to be a $15+ meal?

They should do something that takes advantage of the always empty courtyard in the center of the complex.

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That courtyard is one of my favorite nearby places to sit outside and pretend I have a backyard. Rather quiet for an urban outdoor space, but hardly "empty" - families play there, and lots of benches to sit in the shade and read. They generally do a nice job with the landscaping there, though I notice this spring they seem to have planted mostly greenery and not a variety of florals as in previous years. The mall sponsors occasional afternoon concerts and they have a family movie series in the summer. In my opinion, just the right amount of activity for the size of the space.

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Cheesboy is on the chopping block.

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I guess I'd better stock up before the 25th ...

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This has been the hot topic at my office - we work in one of the Pru buildings and we're all getting addicted to those cookies. Are there any other Paradise Bakeries in Boston?

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So, they'd better relocate somewhere downtown. Those cookies were about the only reason I actually went into the mall.

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This is just another step in the systematic upscaling/gentrifying of everything around here. That food court could be hectic, but it was a food court and it filled a need. I might want to just plop down there once in a while and have a Regina's slice, or maybe even just a cup of coffee. Not everything has to be a "dining experience".

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Am seeing things incorrectly through my monocle, or are people really bemoaning the demise of a FOOD COURT in a mall?

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The Prudential Food Court. Have some respect, man. It is the food court at the base of what once was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City.

And it serves people who work in the area a lot more than shoppers, though conventioneers might challenge the workers at times.

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The Food Experience in Downtown Crossing, America's saddest food court of them all

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oh that's gotten worse in recent months.. McDonald's closed and a few other places.. Maybe 7 or so places left inside.

Waiting for this dead mall to close..

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...is SCARY.

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Sounds like something from Disney World. The latest in theme park dining.

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according to signs I saw there today.

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