Venerable Back Bay restaurant to shut doors

The Globe reports the imminent end of L'Espalier after a 40-year run.





That would be an interesting list

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First Hamersly's now L'Espalier - what is the world coming too (granted - I ate at Hamersly's 2-3 times and L'Espalier once for an anniversary dinner.

Longest restaurant runs in Boston Anything open more than 30 years? Capital Grill, Parrish Café and Joe's in the Back Bay are all I can think of here (2 of which changed locations so they get an asterisk - as did L'Espalier).

Guessing a few things like Santarpios and Pizzeria Regina etc.

Would also be interesting to see a few by neighborhood if nothing fits the 30 plus year bill.

1) Union Oyster house since 12 B.C or something

2) ???...

Lots of places

There are many mom and pop type place. T Anthony's and Ugrill, both near BU, are pushing 40 & 50. (And The Dugout has got to be even better older.)

Probably a few McDonald's/DD and the like too. 30 years is only mid 1980s.

Generally the places that own their building and/or aren't in super trendy places are a good bet.

DDs, Paramount, Amrhein's, Charlie's

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The Dunkin at Market & North Beacon Streets in Brighton was the third one in the chain, from 1957. The building was replaced sometime between August 2009 & August 2013 -- check out the historic images on Google Street View. But they built the new building in the parking lot, next to the old one, so they probably didn't miss any days of operation. (The historic neon sign came down sometime between August 2007 & August 2009.)

The Paramount on Charles Street in Beacon Hill goes back to 1937, according to its website. Photos of the Mary Sullivan [Boston Strangler] murder in 1964 show it then.

Amrhein's website claims 1890. But it's for sale and may not last much longer.

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in the South End claims 1927, but it's had some extended periods of closure during changes of ownership.


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Looks like five 19th century restaurants, Union Oyster, probably Doyles, Durgin, jake Wirth, marliave and Amrheins.with Jake Wirth and Amrheins soon to be no more (?). Then for early 20th century only Noname, Charlies, the Pleasant, and the Paramount. Post 1950 several more, including a few chain locations and family places.

Any other pre 1950 operations?

PS-good call on Casa Romero. Great authentic mexican if anyone hasn't been including a nice patio in summer.

Pps- editing as people add restaurants.

The Bell in Hand comes to

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The Bell in Hand comes to mind. The Hong Kong has been in business since 1988, if you can call that a restaurant, while its namesake has been entertaining clientele in Harvard Square since 1954. And the McDonald's in Davis Sq. has been there since times immemorial.

Try Locke Ober & Jake Wirth as well as Durgin Park

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The oldest is of course the Union Oyster House -- nearly makes back to the time of the British occupation. Next come Durgin Park in Quincy Market or Jacob Wirth depending on how you count?

from the respective wikipedia articles:

"Union Oyster House"

Union Oyster House, open to diners since 1826, is amongst the oldest operating restaurants in the United States of America, and the oldest that has been continuously operating since being opened. It is located at 41–43 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 27, 2003.

The building itself was built prior to 1714, most likely in 1704. Before it became a restaurant, Hopestill Capen's dress goods business occupied the property. In 1771 printer Isaiah Thomas published his newspaper, The Massachusetts Spy, from the second floor. The restaurant originally opened as the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House on August 3, 1826

The Union Oyster House has a number of famous people in history as diners, including the Kennedy clan and Daniel Webster. Webster was known for regularly consuming at least six plates of oysters.[ Perhaps most surprising, in 1796 Louis Philippe, king of France from 1830 to 1848, lived in exile on the second floor. He earned his living by teaching French to young women. Labor economist and president of Haverford College John Royston Coleman worked here incognito as a "salad-and-sandwich man" for a time in the 1970s and documented the experience in his book The Blue Collar Journal.

The food is traditional New England fare, including seafoods such as oysters, clams, and lobsters, as well as poultry, baked beans, steak and chops. The toothpick was said to have been popularized in America starting at the Oyster House.

"Durgin Park"

The first restaurant at this former warehouse was opened in 1742, and was purchased in 1827 by John Durgin and Eldridge Park, becoming a Boston landmark.

By 1840, Durgin & Park took on John G. Chandler as a third partner. It was this trio that established the concepts of food and service that have remained essentially unchanged.

...after the deaths of Durgin and Park—Chandler continued to run the operation and his family owned it until 1945,when it was sold to James Hallett, who ran the operation until 1977, enhancing the restaurant's national reputation...

The restaurant was purchased by the Kelley family in 1972, and sold by them to Ark Restaurants in January 2007, although Seana Kelley remained the General Manager till 2012. The General Manager is now Patricia Reyes, who has worked for Ark Restaurants Corp. since 1999.

In late summer of 2010, Durgin-Park opened up a beer garden in their basement bar. Called The Hideout, they have carved out a beer list that is atypical to the Faneuil Hall area.

In January 2013 it was announced that Ark Restaurants has leased a sublocation at Logan Airport at which Durgin Park will be offering soups and sandwiches.

In late 2016, the basement bar began hosting a weekly stand-up comedy showcase under the name Hideout Comedy. Shows now run Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays featuring local and nationally touring comedians.


Locke-Ober (ca.1875-2012), located at 3-4 Winter Place, was the third-oldest restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, after the Union Oyster House (1826) and Durgin-Park (1827). Locke-Ober featured German cuisine and seafood

The Greek Revival building was constructed in 1832. By 1862, the Boston City Directory listed Adrien Destre as operating a restaurant at 4 Winter Place. By 1868, F.A. Blanc was listed as running the restaurant. By 1879, Boston city records listed Luis Ober as the proprietor of a restaurant at 4 Winter Place of "over twenty years' standing". From the start, the restaurant specialized in French food and was central to the financial, political, and intellectual history of Boston.

......Ober was employed at the restaurant then owned and operated by Blanc. While in Blanc's employ, Ober became familiar with French food, fine wine and furnishings. By 1875, Ober had acquired ownership and applied to the city for expansion of the restaurant to 3-4 Winter Place. Financing was provided by Eben Jordan, a co-founder of the Jordan Marsh Company. The restaurant reopened as Ober's Restaurant Parisien.

Over the next 20 years the restaurant was expanded and became furnished with increasingly luxurious imported materials typical of the Gilded Age, including Honduran mahogany, French furniture, Italian and French sculpture and paintings, English silver and Bohemian crystal lighting. Until 1970 the restaurant was open to males only.

By the late twentieth century, Locke-Ober - though still possessing most of its original grand trappings - had lost much of its popularity..... Jacky Robert was executive chef until 2003. Nonetheless, the restaurant closed in 2012, with reports that the owners planned to sell the building.....The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The location is now occupied by Yvonne's.


The Jacob Wirth Restaurant is a historic German-American restaurant and bar in Boston, Massachusetts at 31-39 Stuart Street. Founded in 1868, Jacob Wirth is the second oldest continuously operated restaurant in Boston.

The Greek Revival building housing the restaurant was constructed in 1844. The German style restaurant was founded in 1868 and is the second oldest continuously operating restaurant in the city after the Union Oyster House...The restaurant was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and designated a Boston Landmark in 1977, with interior and exterior protections - see the study report. Jacob Wirth was the first distributor of Anheuser Busch products. The Wirth family and Anheuser family are from the same small town in Germany.

Draw your own conclusions -- BUT please this is Boston --- nothing counts as an "institution" that hasn't been around for at least 50 and preferably 100 years or more


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I don't think Jake Wirth's has reopened after the fire that hit the upper floors a couple of months ago. As I recall there was no fire damage to the restaurant itself, but there was water damage. I went by a month ago and it looked closed.

The fire came just after the owners said they were putting the restaurant up for sale and that it was losing money.

All of this was duly reported in UHub at the time.

Yes, closed

The fire was back in early June of this year, so a good six months ago, and they are still closed. I walked by there this past Sunday.

It has been closed for months

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It has been closed for months, as previously noted, but when I walked by today, it had For Sale and For Lease signs in the windows. Those are new. I had read a post by the daughter of the owners and she wanted to keep running the restaurant but she said her mother was insisting it be sold (I think there was a divorce involved)...I’m a little fuzzy on the details but it was something like that. A real shame.

Grill 23 on Berkeley St. and

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Grill 23 on Berkeley St. (over 30 years) and Marliave on Bosworth St. (since the 1880s) pop into mind. I’ll add if I think of others...

ETA: Durgin Park since the 1800s too.

Durgin Park would be an obvious one...

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Apparently established in 1827.

Border Cafe in Harvard Sq has been around at least 30 years. Jacob Wirth held on for 150 years before recently closing. The Marliave opened in 1885 although IIRC it closed for a bit before reopening under new ownership several years ago. Parker's at the Parker House goes back well over a century but it's a hotel restaurant so I'm not sure that counts. Oh and Amrhein's in Southie of course.

Old Copley Square

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Nobody would remember this except an old time Bostonian like me, but prior to being a Pizzeria Uno that Boylston Street location was a French restaurant called La Crepe in th 60s & 70s. Not a particularly high end one or anything, but more to like what Uno is to higher end Italian restaurants. That's when Paul's Mall/Jazz Workshop/Cinema 733 was right there also.

Doyle's goes back to 1882

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Not sure if they were always a public house (ie both food and drink), or started as just a plain bar - but they've been serving food since at least 1902, since there's a menu with that date posted there.

Marliave? Top of the Hub?

On Bosworth, last I strolled that neighborhood it was still there.

I think Top of the Hub has been there at least since I was a teenager. Long time ago.

Hub Top

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The Top of the Hub has been there since I arrived as a college freshman in 1968. At the time the contract to run it was held by Stouffer's, maker of fine entrees in your grocery store freezer case, which caused quite a chuckle among the students. I think the Pru itself opened in 1965, and the Top probably goes back to the beginning.

The McDonalds on Tremont

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The McDonalds on Tremont across from the Common has been there for at least 48 years. When she was in high school my mom and her friends would use the bathroom there on their trips into Boston, after having taken the long ride from Quincy to Park Street.

Sarkis family restaurants

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Sarkis family restaurants still around in some form or another . Back Bay Restaurant Group consisted of 35 restaurants on the East Coast, including the Abe & Louie's, J.C. Hillary's, Atlantic Fish Co., Coach Grill, Joe's American Bar & Grill, and Papa Razzi .


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Claims to be Boston's oldest chef-owned restaurant:

"Henry Marliave, a French immigrant from Paris, arrived in Boston with a collection of recipes and the dream of finding success in the United States. Henry Marliave achieved his American dream by opening his namesake: Restaurant Marliave at 10 Bosworth Street in 1885. The Boston dining landmark was reopened by Grotto chef/owner, Scott Herritt, and has recently added an espresso bar to the lower level which serves coffee, tea, snacks and pastries."

Frank’s Steak House

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Frank’s Steak House was established in 1938 directly across the street from its current location on Mass Ave in Cambridge. Nobody remembers an actual “Frank” that owned it, however the land deed in the City Clerk’s Office does note that the parcel of land was once registered to a “Frank Viano”. We assume he established the restaurant, however the locals have a better story. According to local legend, originally there was no name of the restaurant in its beginnings; however, there was a neighborhood friendly drunk named Frank who was always on the first stool in the bar. Evidently the owners looked at each other and said “why not?” and named the place after the friendly lush… Franks moved to its current location in May of 1940, further establishing it as Boston’s and Greater Boston’s Steak House

L'espalier was expensive yet

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L'espalier was expensive yet uniquely charming residing in a beautiful old world brownstone on Gloucester Street, but then it moved to a mall...