Arts

Community Spotlight: Haitian business owners show resilience in Malden

By Jack Drees The Haitian community in Malden has a heritage rich in tradition, art, and food and a culture built on resiliency and determination.    Massachusetts now has the third highest concentration of Haitian-born immigrants in the United States, after Florida and New York. Of the 86,000 Haitians in Massachusetts, most live in Malden, Somerville, Boston, Randolph and Brockton. This city is home to many Haitian-owned businesses, ranging from restaurants to retail to cultural expression. These are the stories of three of them. “THE ISLAND” RESTAURANT: CHANTAL QUESSA Chantal Quessa, the owner of The Island. Photo by Jack Drees Malden is not just home to one of the larger Haitian populations in Massachusetts, but to various Caribbean restaurants,  including The Island, located on 118 Ferry St. Opened in April 2018 by Chantal Quessa, this restaurant calls itself “A paradise for everyone!”. “Everyone” refers to those in Malden, Massachusetts, her family and others. The front exterior of The Island, located on Ferry Street. Photo by Jack Drees Quessa’s passion for cooking started when she became a […]

Featured

The Doo Wop era ends in Malden

By Sharon Santillo Larry Williams, who grew up in Somerville, originally had an interior design business but thought he would try his hand in the food industry. His first restaurant was in Beverly, but he saw a business for sale in Malden, property included. The thought of not paying rent clinched the deal.  In 1991, he opened the Doo Wop Diner at 269 Main St. “My grandfather loved to sing Doo Wop. That was his inspiration,” reported his granddaughter, Caitlin McLaughlin. The diner became a Malden institution.  Now, after 32 years, the Doo Wop has changed ownership.   The first years of the Doo Wop were hard, but Larry’s wife Evelyn, his partner in business and life, urged him to hang on a bit longer. When the Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Wellington Circle closed the last day of 1998, much of that breakfast business came over to the Doo Wop and there was no looking back.  Williams credits all his family for the business’s success. He and his oldest son, Larry Jr., had fun together creating the ’50s-themed menu. Their “Jumpin’ […]

Business

Coffee for a Community: Choices abound in Malden Center

By Nikita Sampath In Malden, there is a cup of coffee for everybody. The city’s downtown has five spots to grab a cuppa joe, all within a short walk of one another. Each spot tells a story about the people who live here. Tous Le Jour Right across from the Malden Station on Commercial Street is Tous le Jour, a spot that offers French-style bread and pastry with Asian inspired flavors. It’s the only place in Malden where you can get a kimchee-filled croquette and a taro latte. Owner Dennis Diao was a longtime resident of Malden when he first came to the United States from China for a program at Northeastern University. Despite moving away from the city, he chose to open a branch of Tous le Jour in the J Malden luxury apartment complex in June, 2021. “Malden is a city with potential. Everybody who lives in J Malden and everyone who takes the T is a customer,” he says. Tous le Jour allows for customers to grab a quick bite or spend extended […]

Education

Why do Haitians eat squash soup on New Year’s Day?

By Jack Drees The New Year is celebrated by a series of traditions in the United States and around the world. For some, it’s a lively party on New Year’s Eve. For others, it’s the Times Square Ball Drop. For Massachusetts, it’s fireworks over the Boston Harbor. Haitians celebrate the New Year by enjoying a special soup. It is one of the first dishes they eat in the calendar year, and a tradition that reminds them of the liberation they have achieved. Haitians gained independence on January 1, 1804 after a 13-year revolution against France. Their independence arrived after the only successful slave revolt in history. Haiti became the second independent nation in the Americas and the first in Latin America. Yearly, in honor of the country’s freedom, the nation’s people and those with Haitian roots enjoy Soup Joumou, or squash soup. During France’s colonization of Haiti, Soup Joumou was often eaten by colonial masters and plantation owners. In many cases, this dish was prepared for these higher-class individuals by the slaves. While the masters […]

Featured

Oven On: Baking during a time of stress

By Sandra G. Ndengue As Malden and the rest of the state shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I sought comfort in baking.  I’m not alone. A story posted by CNBC declares that “everyone is #quarantinebaking their way through the coronavirus pandemic.”  My adventures in quarantine baking has not only taught me a lot about how to bake the perfect loaf of banana bread, but has emphasized the importance of family connections and that there’s one source I can always count on – my mom.  Let me explain that banana bread has become an obsession of mine. Last year I decided to opt for a healthier diet so banana bread became my daily bread. Two slices of bread accompanied with low fat vanilla yogurt and oat fruit cereal serve as my breakfast.  I usually bought the banana bread at my local grocery.  But then came the stay-at-home recommendations. I reduced my trips to the grocery store and the few times I have been there, banana bread has always been sold out. So, I made the decision to make […]

Featured

Pizza fuels the American immigrant experience

By The Staff of Neighborhood View  As one of America’s favorite foods, pizza has a special place in our collective hearts. Malden is no exception. We estimate there are at least 40 to 45 or shops/restaurants here that sell pizza. Overall, Massachusetts has the 4th highest per capita ratio of pizza restaurants to residents (3.43 per 10,000) of the 50 states, according to Statistica.com. Pizza is more than a cheesy treat. It is a reflection of the waves of immigration that has shaped America.  Whether you got your first taste after reading all of your books as part of Pizza Hut’s Book It program or during a birthday party, pizza has proved to be a loyal and tasty treat.  It’s all the things we love: cheesy, warm, gooey and outright addictive. According to Pizza.com, 94 percent of Americans eat pizza regularly and more than 5 billion pizzas are sold worldwide each year. Americans have typically tried pizza as early as age 2, according to the Chuck E Cheese pizza chain. Pizza has also become a universal cuisine. Some love […]

Events

Malden Reads kicks off dining series at Henry’s Patio

Due to the snowstorm on March 14, the Malden Reads Community Dinner at Henry’s Patio has been re-scheduled to Tuesday, April 4. Plan to join fellow community members on this date for an evening of great food, company and conversation as part of the Malden Reads 2017 community dining series. Henry’s Patio is located at 80 Broadway in Malden. Reservations must be made by April 2. If you enjoy a relaxed, casual atmosphere and a full bar, this will be an event you can’t miss. The event will feature a limited menu with a choice of a chicken, steak tips, or haddock prepared in a variety of ways by the chef, an appetizer, side vegetables and dessert. The cost is $20, not including tax, beverages, and tip. Meats and fish are procured from local quality markets such as McKinnon’s, the Maplewood Meat Market and the Maplewood Fish Market. Henry’s Patio has been re-imagined from its former incarnation (“The Patio”) as a cozy neighborhood spot serving up fresh, tasty food and drink in a relaxed setting. […]

Events

TV SHOW: “What’s New? Malden” for September

In the September edition of Neighborhood View’s What’s New? Malden: In the September 2016 edition of Neighborhood View’s “What’s New? Malden.” Get a taste of Malden’s newest restaurants including Sillari’s Pizza on Medford Street. Go behind the scenes at the Alliance for Community Media’s national convention and learn about Malden Overcoming Addiction’s plans to launch a new monthly show with sober coach Paul Hammersley. Co-hosts Sharon Fillyaw  and Sam Baltrusis from MATV’s Neighborhood View talk about community, pizza and their spooktacular Halloween edition scheduled for October in this monthly TV show. The monthly program airs 6:30 p.m. Fridays, Noon Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays on MATV’s Channel 3 on Comcast, 28 (Verizon).

Featured

Expert Larry Cultrera discusses Malden-area diners

Larry Cultrera, author of two books on classic diners, said it was love at first sight when it comes to his life-long passion. “The writing was way down the road from my initial interest,” Cultrera told What’s New Malden. “I was interested in diners from the time I was a little kid, probably four or five years old. My dad told me about diners, that they are actually pre-fabricated restaurants. They look somewhat like railroad cars but they’re not railroad cars or converted railroad cars.” Cultrera, who grew up in Medford and is currently living in Saugus,  said he would love to spot diners when his father drove him around the Boston area. “I noticed all of the diners that we had at that time in the ’50s and early ’60s,” he recalled. “And as time went on they started to disappear. By 1980 I was getting into photography and I started photographing diners as a documentation type of a thing.” Over the past 36 years, Cultrera photographed more than 800 diners. The 63-year-old author […]