Great American Food Cities
Boston’s Historic Cuisine Scene Never Gets Old
Paul Revere reportedly hung out at Boston’s Green Dragon Tavern and set off on his famous ride to warn of the British army’s arrival in 1775. Parker’s Restaurant, established in 1855, birthed Boston cream pie and was also where JFK proposed to Jackie. And Union Oyster House—touted as the country’s oldest continuous restaurant since it opened nearly two centuries ago—has effortlessly evolved from a rustic saloon to modern-day oyster bar.
Boston is no doubt a pioneer when it comes to the country’s culinary history, but it continues to be a major player when discussing contemporary American food cities. The craft beer movement. Fresh, local ingredients. Food halls. And even technology. It’s all there, but before embarking upon our latest installment of the Great American Food Cities series, our own Jeff Merry, corporate executive chef for Reinhart Foodservice and a long-time Boston resident, offers insight on how the city has grown since he moved there more than 30 years ago.
Restaurant Inc.: What makes Boston such a great culinary town?
Chef Jeff Merry: First, its history and proximity to great seafood. Mix in the diverse culture driven by our great colleges and universities and the eclectic culinary culture they bring. We’ve got great ethnic pockets: the North End, Chinatown and Seaport area. And Johnson and Wales is just down the road.
RI.: When you want to wind down with phenomenal food and drinks, where do you go in Boston?
JM: That depends on the time of year. Summer, anywhere near the water. Sea breeze, lobster rolls, fried clams. It doesn’t get much better. Spring and fall, Downtown, Newbury Street, Back Bay [boast] great outdoor cafes. It’s a great place to relax and watch the world go by.
RI.: What are some of your favorite places to take out-of-town guests?
JM: Boston, for the most part, is a walking city. Faneuil Hall would be our starting spot—home of the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America, or so they say. Then, hop over to the North End, the hustle and bustle of Hanover Street is a great vibe. You’ll find great Italian restaurants there. Then, it’s on to the Seaport area. You’ll discover up-and-coming restaurants of all shapes, sizes and cuisine. Other great areas are Back Bay and the South End.
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