Remembering Rebecca’s Place Too
By Carl Moore, Staff Reporter · March 08, 2011
Rebecca's Place Too recently closed and left Mendon center a much quieter place.
It was one of Mendon's longest running shows, Rebecca's Place Too, at 2 Maple Street.
Oh, it was a meeting and eating place for more than nine years, but it was also "theater" often spiced with poetry readings, music, and art shows. Not so surprising, considering that Rebecca Tredeau, the designer, maitre d' and head chef, is a Wheaton College graduate who majored in music and theater. The show closed in December because of costly and insurmountable problems confronting the building's owner to meet current water and septic requirements.
The warm "stage set" Rebecca created added to the overall enjoyment of being there, with a décor of warm earth tone colors, made all the brighter on sunlit mornings. The "plot" had the three essentials: atmosphere, food, and service. The "cast" of cooks and waiters was always under Rebecca's direction. She wisely offered the standard New England breakfast and lunch items but always spiced with more venturesome entrees. She could often ad lib in response to special requests.
Altogether, she transformed a run-of-the-mill place into a delightful rendezvous for old friends and new. As one happy customer put it "You always felt you could bring anybody there". Members of one family living in England always looked forward to coming back to Rebecca's on their infrequent visits here.
You could say it was "theater in the round," packed on weekends with couples, families and friends. And even when practically empty, there was plenty of activity behind the scenes for she had a flourishing catering business too. Sometimes the catered foods were on display when she hosted birthday parties and other special events after hours.
A piano player herself, Rebecca had a fine piano installed years ago, and would sometimes play herself or give permission to young pianists to provide background music. Some evenings, there were open mike nights for music and poetry, with Rebecca again participating in songs with guitar accompaniment.
For several years, Rebecca generously made her place available for monthly poetry readings, which sometimes featured very young readers, including her daughter Mercedes and her friends. There were regulars who came every month; some people came just to listen. And there was a wide range of readers, some who read classical and well-known poems. Others read their own. One evening, two Army veterans came and read some of their own writing.
Two years ago, Rebecca's was a site of a movie, made by the poet Skip Shea of Uxbridge. The movie was filmed on the new part of Rebecca's, named Cedes' side for her daughter. The cast included some "regulars" in speaking and in roles as extras.
Rebecca's was also an unaccredited, but very professional, training ground for waitresses.
We could follow their progress outside too, for many students who started waiting while in high school returned during vacations and summers, then went on to colleges and universities including UMass-Amherst, Bridgewater, Bryant, Dean, Providence and MIT.
And there were special receptions for local artists, craftsmen and photographers. Harry Platcow of Milford, a regular customer and accomplished photographer of scenes in Milford, Boston and other sites in New England and elsewhere, showed his work on a few special nights.
We'll not forget the counter patrons, where regulars always had a steady supply of information (some of it accurate) and where many people began their day or their break from other occupations. One man dubbed the counter conversations as "counter intelligence".
Rebecca's first place had been in Hopedale, sort of an out-of-town tryout. Now the theater is dark on Place Too. Many of us are hoping for Rebecca's "next" and we hope it will be near.