Compared to other U.S. cities, Boston has lots of businesses that have endured the passage of time. Many
restaurants here have been in business for many decades or even a century. Inevitably, other beloved stores and eateries were less fortunate and had to close their doors. Here are 12 places that we still miss:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
When William Filene opened his first department store - Filene's - in 1890, it was similar to all its other Boston competitors. However, his son Edward Filene took over and became the first person to introduce the idea of "bargain basement" pricing to the consumer. Extra stock was sold at low prices in the department store's lower level and Filene's Basement became hugely popular. In 2011, the bricks-and-mortar store closed. An online version of Filene's is still in business.
2. Jordan Marsh
Boston was the
first city in the U.S.
to do many things, including offer a department store. Jordan Marsh and Company went on to spawn locations throughout the country and the world. The flagship store was demolished in the 1970s and other branches were taken over by Macy's.
At one time, Jordan Marsh, Filene's, and Gilchrist were the three shopping landmarks of Downtown Crossing. Gilchrist's opened in Boston in 1842 and, by 1964, there were multiple store locations across Greater Boston. Gilchrist's building is still standing, although the store itself closed in 1977. This popular spot was especially well-known for its macaroons!
4. Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant
This beloved restaurant launched in 1963 and quickly became THE place to dine and hobnob. Famous folks like Joe DiMaggio and Judy Garland dined here, and it was particularly popular with Boston's political power players.
This establishment was the brainchild of Anthony Athanas, who immigrated to the U.S. from Albania. He turned Anthony's Pier 4 into one of the most financially successful restaurants in the country and was known for always being on hand to welcome guests to his seafood restaurant (which was also famous for its popovers). The restaurant closed in 2013, but the same family still owns Hawthorne by the Sea Tavern in Swampscott and Anthony's Cummaquid Inn in Yarmouth Port.
5. Hilltop Steakhouse
A 68-foot-tall cactus sign is all that remains of this once-huge restaurant in Saugus. The chain of restaurants was born in the 1960s and spread to other New England states like Connecticut and New Hampshire. However, the Saugus location on Route 1 was truly vast, with a dining room that could accommodate well over 1,000 diners. Sadly, it closed in 2013.
6. Kennedy's Department Store
At first, Kennedy's specialized in boy's and men's clothing before venturing into the field of women's clothing in the 1930s. During the 1980s, Kennedy's struggled and had to shut the doors of its main store (at Summer and Hawley streets). This 1874 building was supposed to be knocked down, but preservationists campaigned against this move and were able to save the top three floors of the façade.
Locke-Ober was a Boston dining institution from 1875 until 2012. During its 137 years in business, this establishment was known for its elegance, history, and steak and lobster fare. Formality was always in fashion at Locke-Ober and the restaurant's last owner, David Ray, decided to shut down rather than change Locke-Ober's signature style. The space is now occupied by Yvonne's.
8. Johnny D's
For 47 years, Johnny D's in Somerville was a popular music venue for acts ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Neil Young. Whether you were in the mood for jazz, blues, rock, folk or just a great brunch, Johnny D's delivered. This restaurant and club closed more recently, in 2016, but it is definitely missed.
9. Dini's Sea Grill
Dini's was in business from 1926 through 1990 and this Tremont Street restaurant was renowned for its lobster and schrod. It offered fresh seafood and good value - although the average taxpayer was probably still taken aback to learn that Massachusetts governor Edward King spent $1,200 on Dini's lobster and crab salad sandwiches delivered to his office!
10. Aku Aku
This restaurant dished up Polynesian food between 1961 and 2000. A tiki bar with stand-up comedy and an award-winning pupu platter? What a delicious combination.
11. C. Crawford Hollidge
In 1920, this shop started out as a humble dry goods store, but within a decade, it had changed direction to focus on women's clothing. The enterprise expanded to include four stores located in Boston (on Tremont Street), Hyannis, Cohasset, and Wellesley.
C. Crawford Hollidge remained in business until a major fire in 1967 decimated the flagship building in Boston. The store transferred to a new location but closed in 1969.
12. R.H. Stearns
R.H. Stearns and C. Crawford Hollidge were in direct competition, as the former was located on Tremont Street, across from the Park Street subway station. This department store was established in the 1840s, but moved to Tremont Street in 1910. The store concentrated on classic goods and, in the 1970s, several other branches opened throughout Greater Boston. However, the flagship location in Boston closed for good in 1978.
How many of these do you personally remember? Are there any other now defunct companies or restaurants that fill you with nostalgia? Let us know in the comments.