Restaurant Retrofits Week 7: Mapping

Restaurant Retrofits Week 7: Mapping

This week, I made a map (below).

At this point, I’ve picked up food from a lot of restaurants. But it occurred to me that I haven’t thought much about their spatial distribution across the city. Ordering has been opportunistic and influenced by a random array of factors, but being forward-looking and strategic means seeking broader coverage across the city. I’ll continue to update this map in future weeks so there’s a real-time visual for reference.

In the meantime, a few observations:

  1. I live in Charlestown, and there’s a strong bias towards places that fall within a 2-3 mile radius to the north, west, and south (the harbor is to the east) of there. No major epiphanies to report, but still useful in illustrating that most folks are probably looking to pick up food relatively close to home. I’m also really lucky to live in Charlestown, where I have an abundance of good options proximate to my house!
  2. I’ve picked up A LOT from Cambridge. Again, this is a function of proximity to my homebase, but I think it says something about where there is greater density of options.
  3. Within Cambridge, I’ve picked up four times on a single street: Cambridge Street (Darwin’s, Le’s, Puritan & Company, and Christina’s Ice Cream). Three of these places I visited this week. I’ve also picked up three times on Mass Ave (Pammy’s, Naco Taco, and Pagu).  Nothing earth-shattering about that either, but suggests that concentrated clusters of restaurants and restaurants located along a main spine are going to share more pickup/takeout challenges than restaurants that are similar to them in terms of cuisine, size, level of service, etc. because they are on the same street. The streetscape design – i.e. cycle track or bike lane, bus or shuttle stop, number of vehicular lanes, and width of sidewalk – is going to strongly influence how pickup protocols may evolve going forward.

Next week I’ll be doing a deeper dive into one of these restaurants on Cambridge Street: Puritan & Co. Stay tuned!

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Comments ( 1 )

  • Anita Lauricella

    I am enjoying your columns and thinking. Thank you. This one hit a couple of points I have been thinking about; density and proximity. Restaurants often cluster. If a neighborhood has the right population for one restaurant it will also often work for two or three or more. Once I’m used to going to a spot, its easy to go there again and if I can have a variety of options, even better. And these days close is better, especially during nice weather. These have always been important but with restricted capacity and significant pressure on operating margins, these advantages will be even more important.

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