Metro, Newton

Memorializing a Community Member, Cafe Martin Becomes a Cornerstone of Community

Adrienne Martin opened Cafe Martin less than a month ago to honor her husband John Martin, a former NESN videographer who died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) three and a half years ago. 

For 20 years, John Martin served as the sports voice of the community, covering everything from the Red Sox to the Bruins. After John Martin received his diagnosis, Newton and the region’s sports community built a system to support his family.

“People still talk about it—such unbelievable support,” Adrienne Martin said. “People started coming to our house in droves, like a party or hangout. His spirits were lifted.” 

Cafe Martin aims to create a community where people can drink and eat with the people they know and love, according to Adrienne Martin. 

When people came to the Martins’ home to catch up and eat, they started calling the house “Cafe Martin.” Adrienne Martin said they even made shirts and koozies with the name on them.   

Cafe Martin came about as a reflection of Adrienne and John Martin’s joy from those experiences. In creating Cafe Martin, Adrienne Martin said she looked to give back to the community.

“How do we pay this forward? How do we create this energy we feel for other people?” Adrienne Martin said.

The dream had been in the works for three and a half years since John Martin died. Adrienne Martin has decades of experience in the Boston restaurant business but was waiting for the right opportunity to open Cafe Martin. 

The location of Cafe Martin at 7 West Street is important to Adrienne Martin. When she heard that the building became available last year, she took the opportunity right away.

“I know this place. It’s a beloved watering hole for decades upon decades,” Adrienne Martin said. “I always thought it’d make the perfect Cafe Martin, but I never thought it’d be available.”

When the property became available last year, she made the vision of Cafe Martin a reality. 

That vision is alive from the moment you walk in. The staff  greets customers withs smiling faces. The hum of people dining and conversing with one another fills the air. The restaurant has cheerful energy. 

Customers can enjoy classic bar foods such as nachos and burgers. On the night of the Feb. 25 snowstorm, much of her staff couldn’t make it into work, and Adrienne Martin said that she improvised a special pasta dish despite a short staff . 

The cafe is the perfect place to chat with friends. At the bar, Ellie Formisano, Boston College ’21, said she had been coming into Cafe Martin at least once or twice a week since the restaurant opened. Formisano, who knew the cafe’s bartender at her old job on Cape Cod, said her favorites at the restaurant are the pretzel bites and chicken wings.

“It’s usually super crowded,” Formisano said. “Even though it’s only been open a month now, the bar is filled and the food is really good. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Featured Image By Margaret Doheny / Heights Staff

February 27, 2022