But wait, there's more... memories of closed New England restaurants (2024)

Editor's note: Due to popular demand, we have expanded ouroriginal New England Restaurant Memories section -- a warm look atrestaurants we wish were still open, except maybe Lums (read below).

King's Grant, Danvers, MA --The King's Grant, located in the King's Grant Inn, realisticallycaptured all the elements of the 14th Century Tudor Dynasty with plushcarpets, bi-level dining, a staff with thick Boston accents (somewearing glasses, so common in the 14th Century), an overly-chlorinatedswimming pool nearby, and a buffet table with enough heating elementsto keep the entire North Shore warm. All kidding aside, the King'sGrant featured one of the best Sunday brunches in the region, almosthitting a home run with every dish -- expertly created by obviouslytalented chefs. On our last visit, however, a major source ofirritation occurred when the King's Grant featured a "theme brunch,"with actors and actresses portraying 14 Century types. Theyvisited each table performing lame magic tricks, speaking in an oddcombination of Old English and Boston accents, and generally impedingour mission to eat and be with family. Historians know that Henry VIeventually went insane; we weren't far behind after suffering throughthis misguided performance that, perhaps, was the earlier day versionof the old lady becoming annoyed at the Renaissance Fair in the recentFreeCreditReport.com television commercial. Soon after our visit, theKing's Grant closed. Don't get us wrong -- for a long time, thiswas a tremendous restaurant with a great management staff.Unfortunately, the quality of food slipped and the sideshows becameunbearable before the closing.

Lums, Braintree, MA, and otherlocations - We loved the named, as it reminded us of Mike Lum, amediocre baseball player with the Atlanta Braves from 1969-1975. Wedidn't love the restaurant, sort of a bad version of Howard Johnson'swith tiffany lamps over every table and the horrendous "Ollie Burger"with
"secret spices" that disgraced every hamburger. The hot dogs steamed inbeer were actually pretty good and allowed us to brag to our friendsabout consuming beer (pretty pathetic, indeed). Lums' founder was a mannamed Stuart Pearlman, so we have often wondered where the name Lumscame from. Comedian Milton Berle was once the spokesman for Lums!Unfortunately, the joke was on the customer who thought low prices andbeautiful tiffany lamps for ambiance would equate to great food.

Toll House Inn, Whitman, MA -All that's left is the sign, located between a Wendy's and aboutseemingly 10,000 pharmacies within a one-mile radius. The Toll Housemade history with by inventing the toll house cookie in the 1930s. Therestaurant was charming with its traditional New England atmosphere andfood. Unfortunately, the Toll House burned to the ground in 1984, andwas never rebuilt, thus paving the way to this now faceless stretch onRoute 18.

The Town Lyne House, Route 1,Lynnfield, MA -- The Town Lyne House, in its white,colonial-style house glory, stood as the last bastion of grace anddignity on a road filled with restaurants that had plastics cows outfront, and giant sausage and "Leaning Tower of Pizza" structuresoutside their respective restaurants, and that hideous 50 ft. orangedinosaur in front of the miniature golf course. The TownLyne House was a traditional favorite serving terrific Yankee fare forpeople ranging in age from 95-120. But then, something oddlyrevolutionary happened to the Town Lyne House where you could here someof the worst Karaoke music coming out of the bar. It was just too muchhaving Karaoke in a place that your grandmother loved. To stickwith the colonial theme, the Town Lyne House could have at least had asense of humor if they were to play Karaoke and perhaps spin some PaulRevere and the Raiders songs.

Aku Aku, Cambridge, MA -- We'renot talking about the second version of this legendary Chineserestaurant that was located at Alewife Station in Cambridge. Beforethat, we enjoyed the Aku Aku, located on Route 2 near the Arlingtonline. It was so dark in here, we bumped into walls and had toread the menu about an inch away from our eyes (which eventually wewould be doing in our advanced age, anyway). Funny Story: My Dadand his friends went to the Aku Aku for the lunchtime specials.He ordered "Number One." His friend said, "Me, too," and got the"Number Two" special. We loved the hokey, colored lights andmanufactured water views inside the restaurant, which provided apathetic respite to this busy, charmless stretch of Route 2 where abowling alley and the unfriendly looking Arthur D. Little Buildingserved as the local tourist attractions. We miss the first Aku Aku: thepu pu platter was beyond reproach, and the service was pleasant, unlikesome of the nastier waiters that were employed at the secondrestaurant. Now all that stands at the former Aku Aku Building is avacant building and parking lot that makes you long for the day of oldschool Chinese restaurants like this.

Yoken's, Danvers, MA -- We hadpreviousy mentioned the Portsmouth Yoken's, but I actually liked theDanvers one better. The reason: it was closer to our Arlington home.Yoken's had two separate dining rooms, each identical to each other.The manager featured my Mom's art work at the restaurant. The staff wasnice to us in a grandmotherly kind of way, and often threw in an extrapiece of fried fish and extra scoop of ice cream. Mostimportantly, Danvers also had the smiling whale logo sign (see above)-- a warm, innocent, positive mircocosm of another area.

The Kitchen, East Lexington, MA-- The best thing about the Kitchen was that it was tucked away in thebasem*nt of a brick professional building in Lexington. How manyother restaurants could claim something as unique and enthralling asthat? With a cozy, informal atmosphere and really good airconditioning (unfortunately, sometimes in the winter, too), finelypainted wall murals and the feeling of being in the pizza house versionof a speakeasy, the Kitchen was not your average quick-serverestaurant. They never said "15 minutes please" with thatpatented disinterest so familiar at some sub shops. The Kitchen bakedits delicious pizzas with consistency, and overloaded the subs withmeats and cheeses on a perfectly done toasted sub roll. It was a placeyou could call your own, as, at times, nobody seemed to dine at theKitchen. The Kitchen gained a nice reputation amongst our elitist crowd(driving mainly Ford Escorts and Dodge Neons at the time), however, asthe best restaurant in East Lexington, not to mention one of the onlyrestaurants in East Lexingtion.

The Cottage Crest, Waltham, MA-- What I remember most about the Cottage Crest was walking upstairs toan old-fashioned dining room where I ate very good steak, chicken andseafood dishes food with my parents and people who, mysteriously, hadblue hair (today, it's not quite so mysterious). The Cottage Crest wasterrific for quite some time serving great home meals away from home,but then slipped and fell into generic, function room food specializingin dried-out chicken. It's kind of sad when a landmark, householdname restaurant like this slips in quality and then closes, as thetradition of going out to eat locally at a friendly place like theCottage Crest brings back some of the most pleasant dining memories ofmy childhood.

Peking on the Mystic, Medford, MA-- The family that ran the Peking on the Mystic really went the extramile to make their customers satisfied. These kind,unassuming owners frequently came over to our table, made theeffort to get to know us, and were generally grateful for ourpatronage. Their low-key, warm personalities made us feelcomfortable and the great spare ribs, dumplings and chicken fingerssatisfied our demanding but limited, childhood Chinese foodrequirements.

Franks' Restaurant- Hartford, CT-- Frank's (picture below) proudly served Continental, Italian andAmerican Cuisine, but it really seemed all Italian. Aside from ourjuvenile minds being amused at its location on Ayslum St. ("Ha, ha, itmust be a crazy street!"), Frank's impressed us with its elegant blackbooths, pleasantly dim lighting and multi-colored tile ceiling. We hadone of the nicest waiters in the world, but he could not pronounce theword "spaghetti." He asked us,"Would you like some 'bizghetti,'" so wehad to look to our dad for some translation. My Dad was amulti-linguist, so he was able to help. We had one of the best Italiandinners, to date, and wish Frank's were still open -- orHartford, for that matter.

Frank's was really elegant looking, but so friendly and informal. Whata shame it closed. I still remember the great spaghetti dinner fromwhen I was eight-years-old. The thing that looks like a cobweb in thetop left corner is actually an old piece of 1970 tape used to put thispostcard in my 1970 green notebook that my Dad bought for me atIngall's Stationary store (yes, that's closed, too) in Lexington, MA.

Peking Garden, Lexington, MA --Peking Garden was a somewhat elegant looking Chinese restaurant withlittle of the gaudy decor excesses of its competitors. Still, thePeking Garden had its flaws. It could be a place where a brusque waiterwould say "NO SEPARATE CHECKS!" to our polite request. They always hada fabulous luncheon buffet with all the Chinese food bells andwhistles, although pork fried rice was frequently missing from thelatter day buffets. I once heard a story from many years ago of twocooks flying out of the kitchen's swinging doors and into the diningroom -- duking it out in front of mortified customers. PekingGarden wasn't really this kind of place, however. It actually turnedinto a popular dining destination for locals who enjoyed the buffet,the diverse and sometimes creative menu , and some often polished andgracious service and hosting. The Peking Garden kind of evolved intosomething worth going to, and then closed its doors on us, forever.

The Midget Deli, Cambridge, MA-- As a child, I liked going to restaurants with funny names.There was Shakey's in Nashua, NH, Rudy's Rail in Old Forge, NY,Brillo's in Framingham, MA, the Wursthaus in Cambridge, MA, thepreviously mentioned Lums, and of course, the Midget Deli inCambridge. Much to our disapointment, we never saw any midgetsthere. The deli selections weren't as good as Jack and Marion's andRubin's. So why did we bother with the Midget? I don't know, lifecan be like that sometimes, OK?

Buzzy's Roast Beef, Boston, MA-- Located on Cambridge St. under the Charles Street Train Station andnext to the Charles Street jail, Buzzy's seemed to be open at allhours. This outdoor, order-at-the window food stand was best known forits heaping roast beef sandwiches, french fries, onion rings and curt,brusque "What do you want pal?" service. Buzzy's attracteddrunks, sober late night owls (in the minority), Massachusetts GeneralHospital staff, refined Beacon Hill types showing their alter egos, andother purveyors of the best in greasy food. Local comedians abusedBuzzy's many times in their stand-up routines. I remember one comedian(the name escapes me) saying that Buzzy's used to throw its food overthe wall to feed Charles Street jail prisoners -- and the prisonersthrew it right back! Buzzy's could have very well contributed to highertraffic at the Mass General Hospital cardiac unit, but I remember it asa beloved place from youth. Granted, I never went there much (even as anearby Suffolk University student), but just the sight of thisbustling, old-fashioned outdoor food stand made me feel good -- fromthe comfort food aromas to the undeniable presence of a local businesssucceeding.

Our readers reminisce about NewEngland restaurants that are no longer with us:

I'd like to add the following favorite, now closed, restaurants to yourlist: Kaffestuga, (Swedish restaurant) in Sudbury, Mass.; Peg Leg inRockport, Mass.; Dill's in Marblehead, Mass.; and last but not least,Atlantic Restaurant - a Marblehead restaurant with the best clamchowder and lobster duch*ess ever tasted.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane! - Nancy

Thanks for the article, really enjoyed it. Here are a few names from myfiles.
AKA Peter McNamara
Boston - Cambridge

Sally Ling's - Waterfront
Jasper's - Waterfront
Allegro on Boylston - Boston Chef Jimmy Burke
Aujourd'hui- Four Seasons Hotel
Autre Chose - Cambridge
Back Bay Bistro - Boylston St, Boston
Bay Tower Room - Downtown
Cafe Florian - Back Bay
Capriccio Plu - South End
St. Cloud - South End, Rebecca Karas
L'Espalier - on Boylston St before Gloucester St., Chef MoncefMeddeb
Season's - Season's Hotel
Devon on the Common - Boston Common
Apley's Sheraton - Back Bay
Another Season - Beacon Hill, Chef Odette Bery
Cafe Budapest - Brookline - Back Bay
Colony - Boylston St., formerly L'Espalier - Bruce Frankel/DavidKantrowitz
Chef Chandler's - South End., later Tim's Tavern
Cornucopia - West St, moved to Waterfront
West Street Grille - West St
Empress Room Hyatt - Cambridge
Boston Lobster House - Waterfront
Chez Jean - Cambridge
P.B. Shanon's - Faneuil Hall
The English Tea Room - 29 Newbury St
The Commonwealth Grille - Back bay
Dartmouth Street - Back Bay
Delmonico's - Lenox Hotel, Back Bay
Du Barry - Back Bay
European - North End
Dini's Seafood - Tremont St.
Harvard Book Store Cafe - Newbury Street
Henti IV - Winthrop St, Cambridge
Jimmy's Harborside - Waterfront
Le Bocage - Watertown Chef Danesi
Le Marquis De Lafayette - Hotel Lafayette, Chef Louis Outhier
Maison Robert - Old City Hall
Maison Jacques - West End
Michela's - Cambridge, Chef Todd English
Michael's - Waterfront
Mister Leung's - Back Bay
Newbury Steak House - Back Bay
Panache - Cambridge, Chef Margaret Fari
Peaco*ck Restaurant - Craigie Cir, Cambridge
Premier Restaurant - South End
Rarities - Charles Hotel, Cambridge
Rebecca's - Charles St, Beacon Hill, Rebecca Kakas
Romagnoli's table - Faneuil Hall
St Botolph - St Botolph St
The Winery - Long Wharf
Zachary's - Colonnade Hotel
Joseph's Aquarium - Waterfornt
Dakoto's - Downtown
Betty's Rolls Royce - Faneuil Hall
Bandy Pete's - Downtown
Icarus - Tremont St, South End
Biba - Harvard Cafe, Cambridge
Balcksmith House- Harvard Sq, Cambridge
Ken's Deli - Boyslton Street
Walmouth's - Downtown
Oasis Cafe - North End
On the Park - South End
Jeffery's - South End
Ottavio's - North End
Falstaff Room - Sheraton Back Bay
Rocco's - South Charles St., Chef Danny Weisel


Tullio's - Quincy
Town Lyne House - Lynnfield
The Ship - Rt 1 Saugus
Dinner Bell - Wollaston
Navona's - Hingham
Chillingsworth - Brewster
The Cranberry Moose - Yarmouthport
The Regatta of Falmouth by the Sea - Falmouth
Blue Strawberry - Portsmouth NH
Jobba Grille, E. Bridgwater
The Golden co*ck, Scituate
The Toll House - Whitman
The Baclksmith Shop - Whitman

Cambridge-Boston dining memories

The Fantasia Restaurant on Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA, was renownedfor its minestrone soup, businessman's specials, and a gaudy,watered-down Chateau de Ville-esque "function room" where you wereguaranteed a wonderful banquet menu, with the scrod being the bestthing....Many weddings, communion breakfasts, bar mitzvahs,"appropriately attired" family dinners and birthdays were celebratedthere, and the old-timey professional waitstaff and menu wereperfect. And along the same lines as Fantasia was good old Dinison Tremont Street. It was "the home of the Boston scrod" andnobody but nobody had it so good, unless you compared it to Warmuth'swhich was down on Washington Street in what is now called the LadderDistrict. There were actually three places that in my mind weresomewhat interchangeable in downtown Boston: Dinis, Warmuths, andCafe Marliave. Of the three Cafe Marliave is technically stillaround, but in name only...the days of the "complete dinner" are nolonger there. As far as incomplete dinners (i.e. snacks and/orlight meals) goes, let's not forget the Marble Spa (and its macaroons)at Gilchrist's nor Thompson's Spa on the alleyway behind WashingtonStreet. Also, The Brass Lantern at Jordan Marsh had thedelectable blueberry muffins we all miss so much. I could never decidewhich was better, those JM muffins or the croissants at HarvardSquare's C'est Si Bon Cafe (also sadly gone). Francis, submittedMay 7, 2009

McIntire's Clam Shack, Rowley, MA

McIntire's was an icon I remember fondly. Because of the abundance ofplaces around, New Englanders are very particular
about their fried clams, and McIntire's produced clams that, in my
opinion, surpassed the more well publicized places like the Clam Shackand Woodman's in Essex. McIntire's also served the most exquisite freshboneless chicken fingers I have ever had anywhere. The place was, ofcourse, family run and the recipe for the frying batter was closelyguarded. One of my most prized mementoes is a bright red McIntire's "T"shirt. Sadly, McIntire's closed shortly after the turn of the centuryand the last time I went by the site the funky building had been razedand replaced
by a bank or something - Doug

Missing Several Greater BostonRestaurants

I'm a life-long Boston area resident from Revere, and now
live in Arlington. I've been to at least half of the restaurants you
mentioned that are now closed, all around the greater Boston area andup the NH seacoast.

I have a few restaurants for your list.

1) Morelli's in East Boston,closed around 1997. It had the best food I've ever had, period. TheirItalian food was exceptional. Their steak put steakhouses to shame. Mywife and I practically wept when they went out of business. If there isa heaven, this is what they will serve.

2) Antoinetta's in Everettchanged owners when the original chef and owner quit to work closer tohome in New Hampshire. The food was excellent then, it's ok but not thesame under the new owner.

3) Angie's clams, Revere
Greasy (but good) clams and large portions, but I mostly went there forthe excellent pizza, cheap beer, and "wide screen tv" a la 1980s. Theywere one of the first places I can remember to have a Kloss Novabeamprojector before the age of large televisions.

4) Weylu's in Saugus
Much better food than nearby Kowloon, but the incredible ornate
fountains with goldfish, woodwork, oriental decor was something toremember.

John G.
Arlington, MA

New England Restaurant Memories fromRich O., North Cambridge, MA:

This list nearly brings tears to my eyes and a rumble deep in my gut.Nicks Beef and Beer (aka "Nick eef and Bee Hose"), The Wusthaus, andChadwicks hit very close to home. Harvard Square simply lost most ofits remaining charm when the Haus, The Tasty, and the Bow closed. At arecent gathering of old friends, we discussed this very topic at lengthand came up with a few (pardon me if any seem repetitive):

Babo's, Cambridge, MA- I only have vague recollections of this drive-intype take- out place in the Alewife section of Cambridge. I canonly remember going there once and being fascinated by it every time wewent to visit my grandmother

Ground Round, Mass. Ave, Cambridge, MA - No, not the one in Fresh Pondbut when it was on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge. This was more like a downand dirty version of what Chuckie Cheese is now and really catered tokids better then any place else at the time

Fantasia's, Cambridge, MA- Pretty good in its day and considered kindof upscale for Cambridge. My mom worked there and was her favorite job,ever.

The Kitchen, Lexington - Was a kinder, gentler (though not much)version of Mike's Pizza in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. You walked in,ordered and they yelled your name when it was ready. Good pizza andsubs and, of course, that odd Lexington concept of BYOB.

OK, now hard and fast;

Ponderosa Steak House
York Steak House

Fast Food-
Long Johns Silvers (came andleft Arlington long before I knew it was a chain)
Jack in the Box (Somerville,MA) - Still going strong outside New England
Burger Chef

The European, Boston, MA
Villa Capri, Somerville, MA
The Venice, Somerville, MA
Dough-C-Doughnuts, Arlington, MA(home of the dancing bakers...though I mostly remember grumpy, oldpeople).
Roast Beef Roundup, Arlington, MA(thankfully, one still exists in Woburn).
Del's Pizza, Everett, MA

That's all for now folks.

Rich O

Remembering the Casa Mexico inCambridge, MA

My favorite mexican restaurant hands down was Casa Mexico in HarvardSquare, Cambridge. It had the best Chile Rellenos, Enchilada Verdes,and the reried beans had such character. Not to mention the homemademargaritas. Miss it so!

Anny, Cambridge, MA

Oh, no! More restaurants in the Bostonarea (and beyond) that closed not too long ago:

Acapulco's, Framingham, MA

Pappa Razzi, Burlington, MA

Vin and Eddie's, Abington, MA

Johnny D's, Somerville, MA

Charlie Horse, West Bridgewater, MA

Sala Thai, Arlington, MA

Yenching, Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA

The Aegean, Watertown, MA

The Beachcomber, Wollaston Beach, Quincy MA

Donatello's, Saugus, MA

Vello's Westwood, MA

Brigham's, Arlignton, MA

Cheddar's, Cambridge, MA

Anthony's Pier 4, Boston MA

Sherborn Inn, Sherborn, MA

Charley's Eating and Drinking Saloon, Chestnut Hill MA

Three Aces Pizza, Cambridge, MA

Dandelion Green, Burlington

J.J. McKay's, Wayland, MA

Memphis Roadhouse, Attleboro, MA

Tom's Tavern, Wrentham, MA

Constantino's, North Attleborough, MA

Giuseppi's Kitchen, Medford, MA

Skip's Restaurant, Chelmsford, MA

Spud's, Danvers, MA

Clara's Seafood, Franklin, MA

Franklin Buffet, Franklin, MA

Owen O'Leary's, Natick, MA

Banjo's Roast Beef, Brockton, MA

Mel Diva Coffee Shop Shop, Franklin, MA

Three Aces Pizza, Cambridge, MA

La Groceria, Cambridge, MA

Bickford's Grille, Sharon, MA

Steve's Pizza, Arlington, MA

Blue Ocean, Brookline, MA

Cibo, North End Boston, MA

Carmella's, Walpole, MA

The Paddock, Walpole, MA

The Kylemore, Walpole MA

Do you have a restaurant that you miss very much? If so, let us know,at Visiting New England.com.

But wait, there's more... memories of closed New England restaurants (2024)


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