Zou Zou’s Cafe owner Marie-Ann Fody closed her restaurant at the end of March to expand and renovate. She expected to reopen in June, and promises it will be worth the wait. “It’ll be a great space,” she says. “We’ll have lovely, fresh decor, and we’ll have doubled our seating to about seventy.” The nearly 2,000-square-foot cafe has an open design with lots of natural light, highlighting its exposed brick walls and white painted tin ceiling.
Fody will have a full kitchen in back, allowing her to expand favorite offerings such as soups and homemade baked goods. “We’ll finally have space to roll out dough for our cinnamon rolls,” she says, “and we’ll have lemon and strawberry tarts and, of course, our scones.” She’ll also reintroduce popular items she’d discontinued for lack of space, including breakfast strata with roasted potatoes.
Changes to the exterior “take us back to the original design, circa late 1800s, with a squared-off corner,” she says. Fody, who’s owned Zou Zou’s since 1998, first talked about making changes to the cafe two years ago with the encouragement of the building’s new owner, John Dunn. She’s excited to have the roomier area with a new lighting system and climate control, which she says will be more comfortable for employees and customers and make it easier to bring back local musical acts on weekend evenings.
Fody is keeping the popular “computer bar,” where customers can sit and work at their laptops, and is adding a new coffee option: nitro coffee. It’s a “cold-brew coffee on tap with a foam head,” she explains. Sandwiches, soups, salads, crepes, and other menu items can be ordered at the counter, and she’ll have a “grab-and-go cooler” near the front door with ready-made items.
Zou Zou’s Cafe, 101 N. Main St., Chelsea, 433-4226, Summer hours: Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 7 a.m.-9 p.m. zouzouscafe.com
Just Imagine–Bill Harris’s book, toy, and musical instrument shop–will move from S. Main St. to W. Middle St. this summer. Harris, who moved to Main from E. Middle three years ago, says reduced rent and a little bit smaller space will be a good combination for him. He just turned sixty-five, and “I’d like to travel more and relax a little more.”
Harris stocks books and toys, but he is a trumpet player, and his first love is music. He specializes in acoustic instruments, selling banjos, mandolins, cuatros, and four different varieties of ukuleles, as well as string and woodwind accessories. He also carries a large selection of used CDs, sells helium balloons, and plans to reserve space to sell donated items for his and his wife Nancy’s nonprofit Hearts Community Service. He plans to move at the end of July and reopen by mid-August.
When Just Imagine moves out of the Main St. spot, Chelsea Alehouse Brewery will move in. “We always knew we wanted to be downtown, and that our current location [in the Clocktower Complex] wouldn’t be permanent,” says Aubrey Martinson, who opened the brewpub four years ago with her husband, Chris. They will begin renovations in the fall and plan to reopen in the new location in January.
Just Imagine, 115 S. Main through the end of July; opening at 115 W. Middle in Aug., 562-2040, Chelsea. Summer hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (open later Thurs. for Sounds and Sights), Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m. Closed Mon.