What Should Replace Converse Restaurant?

A Malden legend has closed its doors, and we want to know what you think.

Converse Restaurant has been in Malden for decades, and it may come as a shock to some that such a longstanding establishment has become a victim of the recession. 

Gone is the french toast and the liver and onions, but memories and hopes for the site remain.  Our has the details, but it's missing your opinion. 

The new owners are possibly considering putting in a convenience store in the Converse space.  Is the the best replacement for Converse, or is there a business that could better serve the neighborhood?

And what about the famous mural depicting Malden's history?  Should it stay up?  

Leave a comment with your thoughts, and don't forget to mention your favorite dish at the restaurant. Let's give this legend its due. 

kris delloiacono November 04, 2011 at 01:03 PM
i will miss you guys.how about small business tables like an indoor flea market.
Lisa November 04, 2011 at 05:12 PM
KEEP the mural! It is art and a real loss if it were painted over. A coffee shop with couches, internet and etc. would bring students form the high school, the international students living on Pleasant and the neighbors. I had been hoping the Starbucks would move into he old Family Dollar space....but a locally owned spot (like Diesel in Davis Square) would be fantastic! There are enough convenience/cheep-y shops....lets improve downtown!!!!
Michael Sullivan November 04, 2011 at 08:54 PM
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:31 AM
You people are calling Converse a legend? The food was always terrible. Don't blame the recession on it's final failing. It was a long time coming. I went there back in August after not having stepped into the place in over 20 years. Now I remember why I didn't go there. And for the record, it was Chapelle's long before it was ever called Converse. Lol, and you think any big chain like Panera Bread would ever come to Malden Sq.? Historically, ever since Jordan Marsh left Malden Sq back in the 70's, City Hall has never been kind to any downtown merchants. Just ask the owner of Florsheim Shoes. He paid his parking tickets one Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM at City Hall with all pennies. Most of you who comment on this page are transplants from other cities. I grew up in Malden, so I remember how it USED to be. If you're looking for any 'revitalization' for Malden, then you've been in at the Fairy Dust too much!
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:37 AM
Mr. Mark,Are you trying to recreate Cambridge in Malden Sq? Cyber cafe's like the one you're suggesting are geared towards yuppies. Hopefully, I don't have to explain what a yuppie is. If you think Malden is that kind of city, then you don't know where you're talking about. Cafe's that are in Melrose work for a reason....those folks have money to spend in them. Take a look at the clientele that frequent the Dunkin Donuts in the Sq. You think that's the kind of customer that's looking for a cappuachino? Good luck with that.
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Lol, you're comparing the Berkshires to Malden Sq? I'll let you know when I stop laughing!
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:44 AM
Something 'uniquely Malden'? Every year, the Asian population in Malden grows. Malden's Asian population is second ONLY to Quincy. Have you seen any Asians going into a Dunkin' Donuts? No, they do not! Typically, they shop at either the 66 supermarket (Asian market) or they go into Boston and shop at, gasp, the Aisian markets. Malden is littered with those red shopping bags they bring back. And if you disagree with anything I've said, then you don't know your demigraphics.
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:49 AM
Lynette, I think you're the only one, besides me, that gets it! Somerville has a much more diverse population. Malden does not! Asians are the second highest population in Malden. The type of clientele the others above are suggesting, just don't exist in Malden. And most of the students who are enrolled in Boston schools, STAY in Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge. I work in Central Sq in Cambridge, so I see first hand who drives the economy there. It's the students...M.I.T, Harvard, etc.
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Lol, why would Somerville people come to Malden when they have much more in their own city. And if there's something they don't have.....they go to Cambridge! Time for a reality check, sir!
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Kris, Malden had an indoor flea market...it was called the afterlife of Ruderman's furniture! Stop by the Ruderman's building sometime and look in the front window....then tell me how appealing that indoor flea market is then.
paul surette November 05, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Lisa, there is a big difference between teenagers and adults when it comes to frequenting cafe's. Ask Starbucks in Melrose how many high school students stick around the coffee shop for a double-double latte-capuachino and a veghan blueberry muffin! All the kids would be doing is trying to hang around and buy absolutely nothing! But hey, they'll have a nice cozy couch to sit on while they do it. A great business model you have going there. :)
Kelley November 05, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Paul, I like the fact that you liked one of my previous comments. But I wasn't comparing Malden Square to Great Barrington. I was surmising that it would be nice to have a venue similar to one that I frequent in the Berkshires. I know the reality. But if you don't at least try to think beyond the typical cafeteria type places, etc that people are recommending, then Malden will never grow. That is why it's important to vote in a new mayor who has a vision. And I believe that will be Gary Christenson.
Mark Micheli November 05, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Hi Paul. I'm not trying to recreate Cambridge. I live just outside Malden Square and would frequent a coffee shop with WiFi as described above and think many of my neighbors would as well. There's a huge mark up on coffee and I believe there would be a price point that would attract local residents and still remain profitable. In order to attract a wider customer base, maybe a combination coffee, ice-cream shop would work. Or a pizza, homemade ice cream, fine wine, restaurant, similar to Picco's in the South End? (Don't laugh. Whoever thought a high-end Asian fusion restaurant with live jazz would work in Malden Square? But All Seasons Table is packed every weekend.) All businesses require some risk taking, so who knows? I still haven't heard from you what type of store/business you'd like to see go in there or what type of store/business you think would work. Please let us know. Thanks.
Kelley November 05, 2011 at 02:53 PM
I agree and I think I made a comment similar to yours about taking a chance. There are a lot of cultured people in Malden who obviously enjoy living in an urban environment. Because there may be a lack of places similar to what you are proposing, they take their interests and business elsewhere. That is why All Seasons does so well and why Tivoli's had such an appreciative audience too. These places give a sophisticated palate what they are looking for, and obviate the need to always travel into Boston for a good meal.
John Q November 06, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Chris why did you take down my post? I think a ICE office would be a great start, right now they wont come out to local Police Depts ,which is why most if not all are not held locally. Listen to your scanner and listen closely to what happens when the loca officers come in contact with an illegal immigrant driving in town.... NOTHING! Becaue they know ICE will not come out and get them. Bringing a Goverment office to Downtown will help the economy, and maybe a few jobs for the locals. Starbucks aint coming! J
Chris Caesar November 06, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Hey, I didn't intentionally delete your post. Not sure what happened to it. I don't think illegal immigration is a big problem in Malden.
Lisa November 06, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Paul, I am surprised at your attitude. I am not sure that you have had one really positive thing to say anywhere in this whole post, but your condescension abounds. I doubt that Malden would become the new Cambridge, nor is that what is suggested, but it should be improved. What is your grand idea? I think a positive suggestion or brainstorming would be helpful. As for a coffee shop idea, it would not just be students that frequented the store, members of the community, perhaps an open mic for musicians, poets, and etc. The idea is to have a place where members of the community would feel comfortable, We do not need another 99 cent store....would love to hear your suggestions and hopefully, no one will shoot them down.....
Lisa November 06, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Lynette, I totally agree with you!
moxie November 07, 2011 at 12:50 AM
I know that when I think about weekend breakfast (Waltham's In a Pickle) or yummy soups/breads/sandwiches...there is nowhere in Malden that ever springs to mind. I'm not looking for fancy, I think that "comfort food" done well is rarely...done well. No deep fryers (enough of those). Breakfast and Lunch...take a well established idea and do it well. I know. I cook for 120+ people every day...mostly from scratch. IT CAN WORK!!!
moxie November 07, 2011 at 01:04 AM
Oh, and to throw it out there, Malden Sq couldn't possibly survive if it were "designed" as a Davis Sq, a Central Sq, a Harvard Sq, a Teele Sq, or any other Square. Those have their own unique and original character...proximity to University Campuses...community roots that morphed into the demand of the demographic...ETC. The simple fact is that a Panera, a Starbucks, Taco Bell...whatever, belongs in a mall. A small, well-planned/well-thought out eatery can bring the community in. Hmmmm...are the new owners looking for some planning ideas? I've got a few...
moxie November 07, 2011 at 01:05 AM
paul surette November 07, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Betsie, there is this neat place in Union Square, Somerville, on Bow St named Mario's Neighborhood Restaurant. Mario Borges died some years back, but the restaurant still goes s trong It's menu premise is Portuguese food. They have a very strong breakfast following on the weekends. NOTHING beats their homeade sweet bread french toast and oatmeal. The place is always packed on the weekends for a reason....the food is quality! A place like Mario's could work in Malden Sq if it had cooks who actually cared about the product they made. Let's face it....most of the food served in Malden Sq is crap. And try sampling some of Malden's pizza venues like Pisa Pizza...can you say yuk. Bottom line....you can't run a thriving eatery if the owner doesn't care about product quality. And demigraphics is EVERYTHING in the food business. If you don't think so, check out what Melrose, most of Somerville, and Cambridge is doing.
ERW November 07, 2011 at 02:27 AM
I would LOVE to see a great local cafe with high quality baked goods, sandwiches and drinks. Have a look at the grocery bags people carry getting off the tea--many many people are coming home with Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other... a great place will be a draw, will get my business and will bring in others. Waiting for this to happen.
robert wilson November 07, 2011 at 04:06 AM
Some great ideas here but remember, parking, parking parking, the area is one big bottle neck right now, that is going to be the big problem.
coldwaterdiver November 07, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Actually 3 yolks is better than it looks from the outside... Franny's isnt bad either. The 50's diner I wont mention by name is kinda nasty though. How about a Roast beef place, not one in the square. Lady Grace has never been replaced and that filled a niche. The converse is in a tough location, no parking, the parking they're expanding downtown it too far to help that location. Malden could use a "good" mexican place to rival Lindos where I love to go.
Kristen A Zimmerman November 08, 2011 at 10:27 PM
I'd love a non-chain coffee shop that wasn't a Dunkies. No offense to the Dunkies lovers. But I'd love a breakfast nook type place that was local to me. Sure Malden isn't Somerville or Cambridge, but there are cute coffee shop type places just a short distance away in Melrose, that seem to do well for themselves. I like giving my local community my business whenever possible and if such a place existed in Malden, I'd definitely give them my dough, rather then travel to find the sort of place I like.
Kristen A Zimmerman November 08, 2011 at 10:30 PM
See my lower comment but yes, this is exactly what I mean. I used to live in Somerville, and I loved The Neighborhood, and still do. I'd love it if such a place existed here.
robert wilson November 08, 2011 at 10:31 PM
That's what I was thinking Kristen, anice breakfast, lunch place. Oh, are you related to Bob Zimmerman?
Kristen A Zimmerman November 08, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Ha, you mean Bob Dylan? No idea. I suppose it's possible but, I honestly don't know.
robert wilson November 08, 2011 at 10:41 PM
No Kristen, a had a good friend in Malden who's name was Robert Zimmerman, just thought I'd ask.


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