Changing Main Street: Post Office Closes (for Now), Restaurants Coming and Going

Print More

Crown Cafe Diners enjoy a meal at Crown Cafe on Main Street. The restaurant will soon close after getting a notice to vacate to make way for a new development on Main Street.

Over the past couple of weeks, the section of Main Street near Watertown Square has gone through more changes than it has for many years, with the Post Office closing — at least temporarily — restaurants opening and closing, and a new development starting construction soon.

On Jan. 26, the Main Street Post Office closed for at least two years. The future of the Post Office remains up in the air, because it is located on property that will be part of a recently approved development at 104 Main St., with four stories of residential units and retail on the ground floor.

During the public hearings for the project, representatives from the developers, O’Connor Capital Partners, said that they had reached out to the Post Office to discuss having the Post Office return to the new space.

In the past few weeks, there was talk about a deal being reached for the Post Office to go into the new development at 104 Main Street spread around town, but it turned out not to be so.

This week, City Councilor Emily Izzo sent out a message to residents updating the situation: “Unfortunately there was a miscommunication and the United States Post Office has not officially signed a lease for 102/104 Main Street. They are still looking for a new location. I will keep you informed of any updates.”

Watertown News reached out to the U.S. Postal Service about whether a deal had been reached, but a spokesman said that negotiations between the Post Office and developers remain ongoing.

Many residents expressed anger, sadness, alarm, and exasperation about the closing of the Watertown Square Post Office. The lack of communication about the closing was a particular thorn for many, and some people did not learn until they showed up at the location to find it closed, readers have reported. As of Feb. 9, the USPS website does not list the 126 Main Street location as closed.

Another concern is what happened to the post office boxes that were in the 126 Main Street location. It was a common location for local non-profit groups and others to have a P.O. Box. The boxes have been moved to the Newtown Post Office, at 123 Galen St. in Watertown. Watertown has another option, the East Watertown Post Office at 589 Mt. Auburn St.

Residents have pointed out that neither of these locations are “full service locations,” and are not open on Saturdays. Post Offices in Belmont, Newtonville, Waltham, Harvard Square, and Brighton Center have Saturday hours. See the location of the other Post Offices in the area and their hours in the area by clicking here.


On the same block as the Post Office, a new restaurant has opened, and a longtime dining spot will be closing.

The owners of Crown Cafe reached out to the Watertown Business Coalition to inform them that they have received a notice to vacate the property within the next month. The restaurant is also on the 104 Main St. property that will be redeveloped.

The owners of Crown Cafe purchased the business during the Pandemic, and said they were not told that the property was up for sale. They told Watertown News in May 2022 that they invested tens-of-thousands of dollars using the proceeds from selling their home in Iran to bring the restaurant up to code and open for business.

Just down the street, a new eatery opened in late January. Banh Mi Cafe, at 102 Main St. in Watertown, is serving Vietnamese-style sandwiches and bubble tea. The restaurant had a soft opening on Jan. 25, and a grand opening on Feb. 8.

Banh Mi Cafe wrote on Facebook:

“Dear Customers , Family & Friends

Thank you so much for being a part of our soft opening these past few days. Your support and feedback have been invaluable to us.”

The new spot is next to O Some Cafe, and is in a building that will not be part of the new Main Street development. Developers have plans for a storefront that could potentially be a restaurant, with a glassy storefront opening onto Main Street and a walkway between Main Street and Pleasant Street that will have places to sit and public art.

17 thoughts on “Changing Main Street: Post Office Closes (for Now), Restaurants Coming and Going

  1. There are approximately 10 post office locations within 3 miles of this Main Street location. I fail to see why people get such false alarm about this location closing; permanently as far as that goes. It seems well established that there are too many postal locations and that if the post office were run without Congressional interference that some of the locations would be closed.

  2. Watertown Square clearly needs a Post Office, just like any other vibrant “walk-able” community center. However, it’s also been clear for well over two years during the permitting process for the new project at 104 Main Street. that the current building, which includes the Main Street Watertown Post Office, would be demolished
    As such, I’m not surprised the Post Office is closed. I am surprised that with the clear knowledge that the Post Office was closing that the City of Watertown has apparently done very little, if anything, to get a new post office (even temporarily) in Watertown Square.
    The developer clearly stated during multiple public hearings that they’ve reached out to the post office but received very little response. The developer also never guaranteed that a Post Office is coming back to their project.
    This all begs the question, “Has anyone considered a different location?” The idea that we are going to wait a minimum of two years while the project is under construction to find out if the developer can reach agreement with the Post Office in their new building doesn’t make much sense.
    First, there is no guarantee that the developer even wants a post office in their new building. Second, there is no guarantee that commercial space will be available in the new building. For example, what if a restaurant leases the entire commercial area? (It’s not really that big of a space). Third, there is no guarantee that the post office will agree to the rental price of a new building. In addition, a post office requires constant deliveries as part of their business. Does that even work with the configuration of the new building design which includes underground parking and access only from Pleasant Street? Does the developer and/or future tenants really want their garage constantly engaged with postal deliveries?
    Isn’t it ironic timing that recent news stories warn about the theft of mail from the old blue mail boxes being on the rise while we watch our main post office close? For all the above-stated reasons isn’t it time for someone in our local government to advocate for a new Post Office location in Watertown Square?

    • These are some good questions toward the end. There’s no magic to the borders of the city of Watertown in stopping someone getting to a post office of which there are plenty within 1-3 miles. This would be a very good reason for the city management not to be unnecessarily intervening in this commercial property matter. The needs of the citizens of Watertown are fully met with the other existing post office locations.

    • I’m not sure what criteria you’re using. The Mt. Auburn St PO is all on one ground floor, has handicap parking spots right in front of it, and all of the doors are automatic…

      • The Watertown post office at 589 Mount Auburn is not handicap accessible. Perhaps you’re confusing it with the Harvard Square post office in Cambridge.

        I haven’t been the the Harvard Square post office in years. I use the 580 Mount Auburn post office regularly (last time was a few days ago). This post office does not have handicap parking in front (there are two parking spaces, but not handicap only). The door to the post office is a step up from the street, with a sharp left turn through another door to get inside, making handicap access very difficult or impossible. There are no automatic doors.

      • The East Watertown Post Office is up a step and has too small a vestibule. It is difficult for people without disabilities to squeeze in. The doors, to my knowledge, are not automatic. In fact, they open the wrong direction. This has been a sore point for the Watertown Commission on Disabilities for some time of which I am a member (but not speaking for the Commission).

      • I live around the corner from the East Watertown PO—it is NOT HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE. Their is a STEP UP to enter & the DOOR hardly opens. Disgraceful .

  3. I am sad to see our post office at the Square close. For those who live close by without a car & elderly or disabled, etc. this is a big loss! Personally doing errands: library, post office, bank & CVS without driving was so convenient. Adfitional parking was easy to find @ the library. The post office @ 589 Main St Watertown has one big step @ their entrance, (not accessible for many) much smaller, closed Sat & less parking. Last I visited there was one employee working to wait on a long line of customers. Also sad to see Crown Cafe moving where? This is a hard working family restaurant who moved in during the Pandemic. How is our town government helping businesses while they make big changes to Main Street?

  4. Regardless of the Post Office situation, Watertown seems to be allowing rampant and excessive development of ugly modern buildings without a clear plan for the long-term future or preservation/modernization of any older structures. Getting uglier by the month.

  5. The area has plenty of post offices “within one to three miles” so closing Watertown’s Main St. branch is “no big deal” you say? And this at a time it’s not safe to entrust mail to the blue collection boxes.
    Not everyone drives (I don’t) so I wonder how often the drivers with a no-big-deal assumption walk (walk not drive) one to thee miles out of their way to get errands done in the time available?

  6. Ms. De Carlo expressed all concerns very well. The Main St. post office was very busy and much needed. The councilors should seek a new location nearby immediately. The vacant police station with ramp in back and parking nearby might be considered. Also, how will our city aid the family who owns Crown Cafe? For any project it is 90% planning as we know with our Watertown Square rehab so let’s all be a part of it.

    • Ms. Duffy, The old police station is not ADA compliant, would need a considerable investment of taxpayers’ money to retrofit it to meet the Postal Services’ requirements, and it’s doubtful the city would want to enter into a longterm lease agreement with the Postal Service since it has slated the old police station for demolition despite residents suggestions for its reuse.

  7. I live in Allston. Our Post Office closed at least 3 years ago with no notice. Nor do we have any idea when it might reopen (if ever).
    So we now have to use the Harvard Square PO. With endless lines & staff who obviously don’t want to be there. At least there is ONE handicapped ♿️ space in front of the building. Good luck on a new PO!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *