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Durgin-Park to shut doors forever

Durgin-Park matchbook cover

Old Durgin-Park matchbook cover. See it larger.

The place that's been serving food since before you were born will close forever on Jan. 12, NBC Boston reports. The joint just doesn't make money anymore, WBZ reports. Has anybody checked on the Union Oyster House?

Image from the BPL matchbook-cover collection.

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Where else are some favorite Durgin-Park Menu items available, either the Durgin-Park versions or other versions?... in addition to https://bmbeans.com/

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Friend's Baked Beans were made in Malden on Eastern Ave. They were bought out in in the early 70's by B&M.

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Woops there goes another rubber tree plant!!!

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So Jacob Wirth, Amrheins and now Durgin Park.

As Adam notes - can Union Oyster House and Doyle's be far behind.

(I think the tourists keep Union Oyster going and hopefully semi-regulars like me are enough to keep Doyle's afloat - though it could use a little spiffing - just not too much!)

Based on our discussion last week - I think that leaves only Union Oyster, Doyles, Warren Tavern and kinda sorta Marliave's as the only pre-20th century restaurants in town that I can think of (with a little help from my Uhub friends)

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I hear ya on the tourists theory with Union Oyster house, but Durgin Park's location has got to have the same amount or more tourist foot traffic and that didn't save them.

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Union Oyster House has done a fair amount of work grabbing corporate business, conventions, groups, and so on, which Durgin-Park just hasn't been able to capture -- perhaps it's Durgin-Park's more "downscale" experience with the group seating at long tables. Also, the owners of the Union Oyster House have been extremely active with institutions such as the Convention Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce, and they've also been active, behind the scenes, in political circles. I think all that effort has been paying off, bringing in that corporate business. The Durgin-Park owners were never that active in those circles, and even less so after the local family sold it to an out-of-town restaurant management firm a few years ago.

I first started going to Durgin-Park 50 years ago as a college freshman, before Quincy Market became a tourist attraction. On Saturdays it was mobbed with college students seeking cheap and filling lunches. (Dinner was a different menu, higher prices for the same items.) Weekday lunches were likewise filled with downtown office workers. And dinner was busy as well.

But times have changed and the way people eat has changed -- and the way restaurants cook has changed, too.

The last time I tried to eat at Durgin-Park, we couldn't get in the door and the wait was longer than the time we had available. But that was a busy tourist weekend. Even 10, 15 years ago, when I went there in winter, it was deserted.

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and great post, very informative.

Thank you.

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Was that it wasn't visible. There was an entrance, but the dining hall was on the second floor.

I don't know how much they advertised to the tourists, since I am never a tourist here. I am glad that I went out there with an old friend, his family, and my family last summer. It'll be missed.

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Doyle's seems to get a pretty decent amount of tourist traffic coming from the Sam Adams tour, which I imagine helps.

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does the omni parker house count?

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I hate this.

This place survived two world wars and a depression and NOW you can't make it profitable? Fuck that.

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Apparently just not to the standard of living that the owners currently enjoy. People forget that about the wealthy when we poke holes in capitalism - the liquor license holder with a boat and a second house is just as disinclined to let any of that go as folks like you and me would be to let a flush toilet go.

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1. Have you seen their books? Do you know the owners could turn a profit?

2. If they could turn a profit, just not at the level the owners like, they'd just sell the business. The fact they're not selling is telling.

3. Durgin-Park is a business, not a charity. It's an old business, but still a for-profit enterprise. The owners are under no obligation to lose their own money to keep an aging restaurant open.

On a less cranky note, this is sad - I have some great memories from D-P - but I'll be honest, I haven't been there in 15 years. I suspect a lot of people on this site can say the same.

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1) No

2) Fair. Maybe government seizes too much money off the top in property taxes.

3) Duh

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So yeah, this isn't some poor guy having to chose between keeping the restaurant open or paying for his kid's college tuition.

https://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/company-officers/ARKR.O

The CEO made $1,125,520 last year.

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Voting closed 45

You got me. Cue the NBC shooting star.

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Not counting the 55 year old CFO, the board members average 71 years old. Restaurant chains in general are having a tough time of it. Maybe it's just time to close up shop.

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Let's not forget the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale ...

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Man, he's slipping ;-)

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They don't appreciate broiled fishcake, chicken livers, schrod in corn sauce, or crocks of baked beans

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There are many other places to get prime rib that have free parking and way less traffic. They even have several handicapped parking spots right out front.

No, we won't be riding a Blue Bike there from the 'burbs or taking the T and a long walk. Uber isn't even worth the cost when I can go to Jimmy's.

There just isn't any restaurant in Boston worth the cost, drive, and parking hassle. Ditto for Cambridge. Congratulations Boston and Cambridge for hurting businesses while promoting Uber and its increase to traffic volumes. Your parking taxes and quotas just push people to Uber from private vehicles, or they go where parking is free.

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Cardullo's Gourmet In Harvard Sq sold out to a new owner. Sorry to see the Cardullo sisters go.

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I recall at least one sign there saying this.

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(your mother)

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- started going downhill after the Kelly family sold it to the Ark Restaurant group.

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What this city considers sacred vs what it considers disposable is completely baffling to me.

Maybe if people saw Durgin-Park on their teevee during Sawk games they would give a shit.

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Friendly reminder that old doesn’t mean inherently good. Cool building food not so much

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maybe if the people who bought the place gave a shit, they could have fixed that, put a little effort into it and found a way to make it profitable like the previous owners had done for the past 192 years. Instead they just shrugged, said "Eh, whatcha gunna do?" and shut the doors.

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... that bought Durgin Park is based in NYC....

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Thank you Adam for linking to the digital matchbook collection! Awesome! I collected matchbooks briefly in high school.

This one from Cocoanut Grove might be of interest to others too:
https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:9593vb168

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Went once 15 years ago. Didn't like the food or the schtick. Never went again. Repeat that story thousands of times and you have the reason this place shut.

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after 192 years of that shit. I guess it finally caught up with them.

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What about the second location at Logan Terminal E? Clearly it's just as good and authentic as the original location.

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I would say 192 years is a pretty good run for a restaurant isn't it? Think of all that has changed in 200 years including folks tastes and habits and it is amazing the place was able to survive as long as it did. Fools opening restaurants nowadays are luck to get 2 years never mind 192. Sometimes things just have to end.

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