written by Brian Benson, originally published in the Metrowest Daily News on December 27, 2017.
ATICK - Food aficionados will have a new reason to visit Natick Center next year as a new restaurant prepares to bring fresh food from the farm to diners’ tables.
The restaurant, to be called “buttercup,” will fill part of the recently renovated and expanded former American Legion building at 13 West Central St. Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz and her husband, Gabriel Sanchez Luz, hope their latest eatery will become a neighborhood gem.
“I’m confident we can become that,” said Tavel-Sanchez Luz. “That’s our goal.”
They started “the farmhouse” in Needham as a farm-to-table restaurant. They hope to bring a similar concept, but with different dishes, to Natick Center this spring.
The new restaurant, which will at least initially only be open for dinner, will take up two of the three storefronts along West Central Street. It will have about 100 seats spread among a dining area, bar and outdoor patio. Steve DeMasco’s Shaolin Studios, a martial arts school, is establishing a new location in a space accessible via the Summer Street alley.
Both new businesses should bring people to downtown, said Athena Pandolf, executive director of the Natick Center Cultural District.
The restaurant’s farm-to-table emphasis offers something different for the area. It should complement the existing downtown restaurants, Pandolf said.
“It’s going to be a real draw to people coming into Natick. It’s going to be exciting for the residents to go to some place new.”
Natick-based Stonegate Group completed renovations and construction at the building in the fall, creating space for businesses as well as 11 apartments.
“We are very appreciative of the Natick community’s enthusiastic support of our efforts to bring new and different businesses to our town,” Dean Calivas, chief operating officer at Stonegate Group, said in a statement. “This new restaurant will be an asset to the current revitalization of Natick Center, and we hope that their presence in the heart of the downtown district will encourage other businesses to look to Natick as a wonderful opportunity to set down roots.”
Calivas praised Tavel-Sanchez Luz and Sanchez Luz, saying “their reputation for high-quality, locally grown farm-to-table food speaks for itself.”
They opened the Needham restaurant in 2013 and use food they grow as well as products from other local farms. They plan to farm in South Natick. The couple plans to run a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for opening the Natick eatery.
Relying on locally grown food means the menu must change based on what is available. But, servers can tell diners the story of where their food came from and fresh food simply tastes better, Tavel-Sanchez Luz said. “That’s who we are. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”