Smoke Issue Could Decide Fate of Cambridge Restaurant

Last fall, we reported that a Cambridge restaurant was in the middle of a controversy over its wood-fired oven, and now we have learned that its opening chef has left in part because of the smoke issue while the city could at least indirectly decide the restaurant's fate next month.

According to an article in The Boston Globe, Peter McKenzie of Shepard has said goodbye to the dining spot, saying the following in an Instagram post:

"This, and its handling, is a big reason why I parted ways with the restaurant. The smoke inside was far worse than that outside, and health concerns were met with the same reaction. When properly engineered and ventilated wood fired cooking implements can be safe and add nuance to the food being prepared. When there are serious health issues at stake however, form can not come before function."

Meanwhile, the Globe and Boston Magazine state that some neighbors continue to clash with the restaurant, with one family actually hastening their planned move because of the smoke, while Shepard's owners Rene Becker and Susan Regis say they have changed the type of wood used, are using charcoal more often, and have spent over $100,000 on equipment to help lessen the issues with the smoke.

The city of Cambridge held a hearing in April on the matter and is expected to make a ruling in June; earlier, Becker had said that if the city decides to keep Shepard from using a wood-fired oven, they would likely close the place down and sell it.

The address for Shepard is 1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. Its website can be found at

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