Initially hoping for March, the owners of The Mule in downtown Cambridge have pushed their target for a grand opening to the end of April.
While no official date has been set, co-owner and executive chef Matt Kershaw doesn’t expect any more delays.
“Obviously things went a lot slower than we expected but it looks like we’ve realistically got through the hurdles,” Kershaw said.
“We have an internal date set and I’d be disappointed if we weren’t open in April. The feedback we've been getting from people asking when it’s opening has been great.”
Kershaw has helped open restaurants in multiple cities, including The Mule locations in Hamilton and London.
Some of the delays in Cambridge were caused by what Kershaw calls “bureaucratic opinions” that spurred miscommunication between the restaurant, the landlord and the city.
But that’s all in the past now as permits have been granted and the finishing touches are being put on the 3,225-square-foot space.
“We’re finishing a lot of the construction that had to be put on pause,” Kershaw said.
“All the rough-ins are done and the walls are up. Now we’re building the bar and getting the kitchen going. In a way, this is the easy part.”
The restaurant will also be looking to do something few other businesses in the core have done, create a nightlife and draw residents to the area past the traditional dinner time hours.
The exact time the restaurant will be open until is still up for debate, but it’s likely to be 2 a.m.
Kershaw admits he’s heard about the struggles of staying open late in the area, but says there were similar obstacles around the Hamilton location.
“It was the same feeling in Hamilton, where people wouldn't come out late at night,” he said.
“Now we’re the late night spot for food and drinks in Hamilton. We could be wrong but were going to try.”
Described as a fun vibe with interesting food and an entirely gluten-free kitchen, Kershaw's excited to finally be working towards an achievable finish line. Being able to serve the community in a new way is something he's looking forward to.
“I have an affinity for Cambridge but don’t know it from a daily perspective.” he said.
“I come from a serious fine dining background. I’m a fancy guy by training but I don't like those kitchens. We’re going to emphasize having fun.”
A grand opening is being planned with more information to come.