Shepard Restaurant barred from burning wood or charcoal [Cambridge, MA]

That is effing ridiculous. I feel badly for the team at Shepard. They openly disclosed their plans up front, got the proper approvals and permitting from the city, and installed a remediation system exceeding normal standards. The city screwed them over and caved to one squeaky wheel neighbor. That wood stove is the soul of Shepard. I will be in very soon to support them.

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They have said they’d have to close if they can’t use that wood stove, which would be very sad. I don’t know the particulars of this - if it is just one squeaky wheel neighbor - but I have lived through Cambridge caving to one squeaky wheel neighbor in the past in connection with a cooling unit on a rooftop of a business that existed before said neighbor moved in. On the other hand, if indeed I lived in an apartment that was inundated with smoke every evening I wouldn’t be happy either. It is so hard to know in these cases.

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I feel badly for them as well, but the fact that their chef de cuisine left because of smoke issues makes me think it’s not just one squeaky wheel:


Still, I hope they don’t have to close.

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That’s interesting. It makes me wonder if there is a design flaw with the wood oven itself. I’ve had a few friends build pizza ovens and if the opening ratios/chimney placements aren’t right, they don’t work effectively - wonder if a similar thing could be going on.

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It’s always more complex and nuanced than what is reported in social media, the online press, whatever. I have no personal experience at all with this restaurant though I lived in that neighborhood in college in the mid 70’s. …before it was Chez Henri, it was Chez Jean…an apparently classical French restaurant you could not see in to, and I never could have afforded it, so never went in. Cambridge is a quagmire of regulations, citizen complaints, contradictory responses, parking enforcement, you name it. I love Cambridge in many ways, but I’m happy to live in Somerville, which seems a bit more transparent in sometimes…

nodding head vigorously

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold