NEWTON, Mass. — After 40 years in business, with 37 years at the corner of Walnut and Washington streets in Newtonville, the iconic Karoun Restaurant is closing.
The building that houses Karoun was purchased last year by Newton developer Robert Korff and will be torn down to make way for a new mixed-use property. Owner John Eurdolian and his family are indebted to the tens of thousands of customers who have loyally supported their family business over the years.
In 1977 Eurdolian opened the first Karoun Cafe in a tiny subterranean space at the corner of Newbury and Fairfield in Boston. As the cafe became increasingly popular his family joined him. A 1978 review by Boston Globe Food Critic Anthony Spinazzola put Karoun on the culinary map. In 1980 John Erudolian purchased the Blue Bell Diner in Newtonville and converted it into a larger restaurant nightclub featuring his family’s homemade Lebanese-Armenian cuisine and live music and belly dancing on weekends.
At various times, he has served as owner host singer and even chef.
Karoun is tuly a family affair. John and his parents Nishan and Iskouhie and sisters Mary Yertessian Nora Rosse and Roushi Sahagen worked closely together to create an atmosphere of homestyle hospitality and a uniquely fun dining experience. All are still involved with daily operations with the exception of Nishan who passed away two years ago. Mom is still rolling the grape leaves and cabbage and making cream katayef. Mary makes all the appetizers including charring the eggplants for the babaganoush and buttering the phyllo layers for the spinach borek pie. Over the years, John’s wife, Carolyn, and all four of his children, Alexandra, Lara, Renee and Andrew have worked at Karoun along with nieces Karen Jaber and Christina Greenberg.
Said John Eurdolian, “In a way it’s a blessing in disguise — I would not have known when to retire.”