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NewsMar 28, 2024

Big moves for small eateries

Changes coming to University Hall

Photo of University Hall exterior

Lesley University is crafting a new campus. Let’s update you on what we’re doing, starting in this edition, with University Hall. We went for a walk through the historic building with Lesley Chief Operating Officer Joanne Kossuth to find out what’s next for what used to be the Sears and Roebuck building at 1815 Mass Ave.

Let’s get to what you really care about first: the restaurants!

Kossuth says two longtime tenants are moving from the restaurant gallery interior to street front space on Mass Ave, in the former Shaking Crab space. She says Lesley University tried to keep local, longtime tenants in the building, rather than seeking out a chain.

Juan Carolos Vidal owns Yume Ga Arukara; he, along with Kentaro Suzuki and Taiji Mineo, also own Ittoku. Vidal says he and his partners checked out the type of restaurant they wanted to open in New York City first to see if they could do the same in Cambridge. They thought they could, and they did. They checked out Izakaya-style restaurants, similar to tapas, eventually designing and opening Ittoku, meaning “A Place to Stay and Drink.” Right now, it’s nestled inside U-Hall; not long from now it will be right on Mass Ave. Both Vidal and Mineo says they are "very excited" to face Porter Square. All the owners say their restaurants will be as “open as possible” during the construction and the moves, and they hope you’ll be patient.

Building off his success at University Hall, Vidal has just expanded Yume Ga Arukara to Boston’s Seaport, with lines down the block. “We started as dishwashers, and now we are owners,” says Vidal; he still doesn’t think he’s successful. “I’m still trying,” he says. Yume Ga Arukara, by the way, means “Because I Have a Dream.”

Lesley COO Joanne Kossuth says the space where Ittoku is now will become classroom and event space. Lesley will have more details on social media.

Going upstairs in University Hall, you’ll soon start seeing changes there, too. Kossuth gestured to the blue tarps above her on the second floor, and the buckets collecting water at her feet. “These water features will soon be gone,” she said, explaining University Hall will be getting a new roof, with work beginning this summer. It has taken a while, she explained, because first, workers had to figure out exactly where the water was getting in before tearing things up.

In future editions, we’ll take a look at South Campus.