If you’re from outside the Boston area you may never have heard of it, but the Durgin-Park restaurant, located in the Quincy Marketplace by Faneuil Hall just announced that it will be closing on January 12, in just over a week. It’s been open since 1827, and this seems kind of, well, abrupt.
We’d discussed it on this Board not too long ago. The restaurant was famed not only fior its stability, but its surly waitresses. Everybody ate there. Local legend is that when FDR (as a student) came to eat, the staff, remembering what his presidential cousin Theodore had eaten as a Harvard student, and brought him the same thing before he had a chance to order.
I’ve eaten there several times. It’s good Yankee food, and the beef joints look as if they’re bringing you a quarter of a steer.With butter on top, no less. I’ve never enciountered surliness among the waitstaff, but they;'ve probably toned it down.
The consortium that owns it says that business has been declining over the past five years. They’re losing business to newer, trendier restaurants. (Well, just about everthing around is newer, except perhaps for the Union Oyster House and the possible Bell in Hand Tavern). Perhaps it’s better to go out clean, rather than trying to jazz it up with new décor and Unhappy Meals for the kids. But I’ll miss it. And with such a short span left, it’ll probably be impossible to get in, the same way you couldn’t get in for a last meal at the Hilltop Steak House.
II probably will be able to get in for a last meal at another local restaurant that’s closing. Santoro’s SuVilla may not be as old – only some 60 plus years – but it’s become an institution in Saugus, north of Boston. The owners are retiring, and not passing the restaurant down. If another place opens here, it won;'t be a Santoro’s.