Chilacates Continues Boston Expansion with South End Tacos

The Wholy Grain has closed to make way for the growing, local Mexican food empire.

Tacos at Chilacates

Chicken and fish tacos at Chilacates. / Photo by Jenna Pelletier

A storefront in the South End has swapped whole grain breads for fresh tortillas: Chilacates is opening yet another new location, taking over for the now-closed Wholy Grain Bakery and Café.

Bakery owners Ken Hassett and David McFarlane announced the news Monday night on Facebook.

8 years ago we decided to open a bakery cafe called The Wholy Grain based on our artisanal family business in Cork Ireland. We picked a local residential property and redeveloped it into a cozy hideaway that so many have come to love.

So it’s with great sadness that we have to let you know that we have sold The Wholy Grain as we prepare for our next adventure. We will miss you terribly as you have become such great friends, but we hope to see you all day to day in the neighborhood.

We’re happy to let you know that the new owners, Chilacates will be bringing an exciting brand of Mexican home cooking right to your door through their much heralded family business from Jamaica Plain (4.7/5 Yelp, & best of Boston 2018)

We’re closing immediately to let Chilacates get their endeavor underway
Lets stay in touch and we’ll be sure to let you know about our next project.

The Wholy Grain offered a selection of house-made pastries, daily quiches, breakfast sandwiches and lunch options, including wraps and sandwiches on house-made breads; soups, salads, and the Wholy Bowl (brown rice and beans with fresh salsa, guacamole, and a secret sauce).

Jamaica Plain native Socrates Abreu and his family first opened Chilacates on Amory Street, near the Stony Brook MBTA station, in 2015. It has since expanded (to much praise) with a second location on Centre Street for its fast, authentic Mexican fare, such as build-your-own taco plates with roasted proteins and fresh herbs, taco specials, burritos loaded with rice and beans, tortas, and enchiladas. Rotating snacks and desserts include individually packaged tres leches cake to go, and horchata and agua de jamaica to drink; and there is weekend brunch with all manner of huevos.

Chilacates pops up every Wednesday evening at the new Sam Adams brewery taproom. It’s also building out additional locations on Tremont Street in Mission Hill, as well as at the Street in Chestnut Hill. In March 2018, Abreu purchased Centre Street burger-and-beer joint Grass Fed from Ten Tables owner Krista Kranyak Chalfin, the Jamaica Plain Gazette reported at the time.

He plans to add a few more vegetarian options to Grass Fed’s menu, and potentially a variety of wings, but otherwise will keep it the same, he says. Abreu previously owned a burger restaurant in the Dominican Republic, and Kranyak Chalfin is his neighbor. One day, she joked about him buying her second more casual concept—and then it wasn’t a joke. Abreu and his wife both love going out for burgers, he says, and they want to do it well.

The city recently approved a transfer of Grass Fed’s beer, wine, and cordials license to Abreu. There is a final permitting hurdle to jump next month, and requisite inspections, but it should reopen this summer, he says. Barring any unexpected setbacks, the Mission Hill Chilacates location is on track to open in July, and Chestnut Hill could open in August, he adds.

To handle the fast expansion, Abreu relies on his wife, sister-in-law, a cousin, and other friends as managers, training them at his two Jamaica Plain outposts while buildout continues on the new additions. Katie Goodrich of Ivory & Bone leads the interior design of all his locations.

The Wholy Grain owners reached out to Abreu about taking over the space, he says. Chilacates opening there is also subject to community and permitting approval.

“It’s a great opportunity Ken gave us at Wholy Grain,” Abreu says. “It feels very similar to our Amory Street location. It has that JP feel to it. I like the vibe.”

Abreu plans some cosmetic updates, and might need to add some burrito-making amenities in the kitchen. He hasn’t determined yet if any seating will fit inside the small, Shawmut Ave. storefront, he says. But a back patio and seating out front make it an indispensable neighborhood hangout.

“It’s a great spot,” Abreu says, and he’s looking forward to meeting new community around it.

Chilacates, coming to 275 Shawmut Ave., South End, and other locations in 2018; 224 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6000; 658 Centre St., 617-522-6000, chilacates.mx