I’ve been looking for an opening to write this column. Now I’ve got a few of them to mention. A bunch of businesses have recently opened in the downtown area, or are on track to do so soon. They’re welcome additions to the town’s commercial tax base, which needs all the help it can get after years of underdevelopment at the expense of homeowners. (Check your latest real estate tax bill.)

A denser retail business cluster creates a kind of critical mass, which will make Plymouth more of a destination than stopover for visitors. The town’s history is rich and remains a big draw, but many tourists – and residents – want an experience that goes beyond the 17th century. Here’s a snapshot look at of some of the new arrivals.

Anejo, 51 Main St.

The business I’m asked about most often is Anejo. As in, “When is it opening?” The modern Mexican restaurant, which has locations in Falmouth and Hyannis, will be a massive upgrade from its predecessor, Sam Diego’s. That restaurant closed in April 2023 after 28 years in the old fire station building, which is owned by the town.

Progress on renovating the space – which, as they say in the real estate biz, has good bones – has been slow. Anyone who’s undertaken a remodeling project in the last few years will understand.

Co-owner Jamie Surprenant told me Anejo is going for an updated aesthetic that includes “all new furniture, fixtures, and equipment,” along with fresh paint and tile. If you’ve driven by lately and wondered about the blue tarps covering the first-floor windows, that’s part of the plan to have the interior space seamlessly flow into the patio. Surprenant says a “French door system will create a café” ambiance. “Hopefully, we will be capturing some summer months with those doors wide open with an inside-outside feel,” he said in an email. Upstairs, the design will evoke “darker/moodier lounge vibes.”

Surprenant said the restaurant is aiming to open early in the summer, though it’s too soon to commit to a date.

“There are lots of good things happening on Main Street and we are excited to be a part of it,” he added.

Patience, chimichanga aficionados.

Shikku Hot Pot has just opened, with chef Mike Wisdom in the kitchen. Credit: (Photo by Mark Pothier)

Shikku Hot Pot, 18 Court St.

I recently had a long and wonderful conversation with Shikku Hotpot co-owner Patti Cho in her new restaurant as workers were putting finishing touches on the space. It had a soft opening on May 8 and an official one the next day. “It’s been going pretty well,” Cho told me this week, adding there are still “some kinks to work out.” That’s to be expected. Cho and her husband, Thuyet Phan, know what they’re doing, thanks to almost a decade of operating the popular Kogi Bar and Grill a few doors away on Court Street. They were smart to get Shikku Hot Pot on a shakedown cruise before the summer season. They also made the, uh, wise decision to hire Mike Wisdom as chef. Wisdom has a sizzling resume that includes Davoll’s General Store, The Lobster Trap, and the restaurant that most Plymouth diners remember him from, The Tasty.

“Hot pot in general is supposed to be one giant pot with soup at each table,” Cho explained to me during our earlier talk. “Imagine fondue, but instead of cheese or chocolate it’s a soup. You pick what kind of base you want. We’re doing our own types of broth.  It’s different from ramen. You get to pick if you want rice, if you want noodles, or no carbs and just protein. There’s tofu, mushrooms…all types of seafood, all types of type of meat, eggs, vegetables, whatever you want. You throw it in there and it’s heated from underneath.”

With Cho’s attention to detail and Wisdom’s culinary acumen, Shikku has a winning recipe from the start.

The Black Dog’s Grand Opening Celebration is May 17, but the store is already open for business. Credit: (Photo by Mark Pothier)

The Black Dog, 14 Main St.

The well-known apparel and home goods store has been welcoming customers for a few weeks, but its official Grand Opening Celebration is scheduled for Friday, May 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event will feature live music, raffles, and photos with the Black Dog mascot. Next door neighbor Setting the Space will also be “hosting a tasting of Black Dog canned cocktails,” according to the store, like its rum and ginger Barkin’ Stormy. And yes, that famous logo is on the can.

Ppapa’s Pizza Bar, 38 Main St. Extension

With former occupant Kkatie’s Burger Bar having decamped to the old Papa Gino’s building on the corner of Samoset and Court streets, Kkatie’s owners have converted the cozy Main Street Extension space into a pizza restaurant, which recently opened. (Did you follow that pizza trail?) While it’s easier to find – free – parking at the expanded Kkatie’s, some fans of the OG miss its neighborhood feel. Now they can have their pizza and eat it, too, in pretty much the same atmosphere, at Ppapa’s. Okkay?

The teaser paragraph: There’s more to come downtown and along the waterfront, including the imminent opening of the Vitamin Sea brewery on Water Street – which will boast a huge outdoor seating area. There’s also work going on at the long-empty building that for decades housed the Pilgrims Progress clothing store, though no one has responded to my messages seeking to find out who the new tenant might be. Fodder for another column, perhaps.


The main entrance at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth. Credit: (Photo by Mark Pothier)

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth has made the safety honor roll, according to a report from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog. The group’s  Hospital Safety Grade  report gave BID Plymouth an “A,” based on more than 30 measures that included medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as the systems aimed at preventing those bad things from happened. BID says it’s the hospital’s 18th consecutive A grade.

“We prioritize delivering extraordinary care at BID Plymouth, ensuring the well-being of our patients and staff alike,” said Kevin Coughlin, the hospital’s president. “We are deeply committed to safety and quality measures, which is reflected in the daily work of our staff.”

If you’re curious, the details of BID Plymouth’s grade are available here.  

Ms. Vicky’s Tours will provide guided rides around town in this funky EV.

Just in time for the onslaught of curious summer visitors, Ms. Vicky’s Tours has arrived to shuttle them around to 21 local sites on a 45-minute excursion. Founded by Plymouth resident Mike Lombard, the tours – in an environmentally friendly electric vehicle – “will be led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides who share stories and insights about Plymouth and its role in American history,” according to a press release. (Insert tired Plymouth Rock joke here.)

“Being a long-time resident of Plymouth has instilled in me a profound passion for our community’s rich history,” Lombard said in a press release. The tour business will “give me an opportunity to share my love for Plymouth’s history with both visitors and locals alike,” he said. For more information, call 816-507-2026. Maybe you’ll find out who Ms. Vicky is.

To submit your business news for consideration, see the “Send us your business news” note at the top of the Business section.

Mark Pothier can be reached at mark@plymouthindependent.org. One other thing: Unlike our news stories, this column sometimes includes the author’s opinions.

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