After just a few short weeks in its new space, in the former home of Concord Hand Designs, Comella's has doubled both its eat-in seating capacity and its business.
"We had really kind of outgrown the space at 12 Walden," said Jim Proctor, the restaurant manager. "We're front and center now, and that exposure is huge."
Comella's closed its 18-seat location, which is now home to Haute Coffee, back in June and spent several months redeveloping the space at 33 Main St. into a 30-plus seat restaurant.
As much as the space was reborn as a Comella's restaurant, the restaurant has been re-born from what it was previously in town.
For example, the menu has been vastly expanded since the Walden Street location closed. Among the new offerings that came with the new space are: Sicilian slices, Buffalo and barbecue wings, draft beer, fresh calamari and an expanded cold sandwich selection.
Slices and the Main Street storefront, in particular, immediately led to an enormous uptick in lunchtime traffic among local professionals and students.
"It shot through the roof, even just in the first few days," Proctor said. "Dinner, especially, is still mostly takeout, but the exposure has definitely boosted the lunch business here."
The space itself is completely unrecognizable as the former home of Hand Designs. The Comella's build-out included exposing the brick walls, installing a kitchen and creating a space consistent with the character of all Comella's locations throughout the region.
While there's a definite consistency among Comella's restaurants, none of them are exactly the same.
"You should feel that the Comella's in your town is particular to your community," said Proctor, who has been involved in opening several branches of the restaurant chain.
Comella's is a growing chain of family-style Italian restaurants with current locations in:
- Belmont Center
- Chestnut Hill
- West Newton
- West Roxbury
So, what is the "mess?" Welp, its basically a calculated amalgamation a "mystery recipe," which the Globe described years ago as a "pasta-based dish - lasagna, shells, penne, and the like - with add-ons, much like an ice cream parlor starts with a base and mixes in other good stuff." And the add-ons include everything from meatballs to shrimp, sausage, veal and veggies.
As a chain, Comella's has grown considerably over the past several years.
From its start in Wellesley, the chain has largely expanded north -- both northeast and northwest. But the brand is expected to head south with its next expansion.
The next Comella's expected to come online will be in Westwood, according to restaurant management, and the brand intends to continue its expansion.
Now You Tell Us: Are you a fan of Comella's? If so, what do you like best, the pizzas? The Mess? Both? Something different?