NEWTON, MA — The owner of the popular Central restaurant and cafe, which has been closed since March amid pandemic, told Patch that she is planning to reopen, but that the restaurant will be something completely different.
The Central in Newton Centre is becoming a premium sushi restaurant called SushiCo, owner Joelle Tomb said. The Boston Restaurant Talk blog was first to report that Central was shifting to a sushi restaurant. But Tomb told Patch the name Ukiyo was just an early idea and the restaurant will be called SushiCo.
The old sign on the outside of the building has been painted over in black and the crew will paint “SushiCo” sometime this week, she said. For the past few weeks staff have been testing out menus with an eye toward opening day, though it’s still unclear when exactly that will be.
“I can say we’re very close,” Tomb said.
Tomb opened Central in 2016. It specialized in small plates and cocktails in an upscale environment. Two years later when Peets Coffee closed, a beloved barista came across the street and helped open a cafe in the mornings and afternoons at Central. Tomb recognized that it had become popular, too, but given the pandemic, said that aspect of the business won’t be returning any time soon.
“We’ve shifted around,” Tomb said. “It was a time to reinvent ourselves given what’s happening in the environment and adapt.”
Central was among the many restaurants that shuttered temporarily in March amid pandemic. And now, some six months later, it’s one of the many restaurants taking a creative approach to reopening and staying in business.
She added that a premium sushi experience made sense to her.
“It fills a void in Newton,” she said. “We don’t have a dedicated sushi platform in Newton Centre.”