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The sign that endures decades after the restaurant it advertises closed

Richard Auffrey continues his look at Boston's former Little Syria, today with a look at the final example of proof that it ever even existed - the Sahara Syrian Restaurant, the sign for which sill beckons the hungry more than 50 years after the place actually closed.

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... an old guy walking down the block near the restaurant, who sounded like he knew what he was talking about (how’s that for an impeccably vetted source?)... who said that ownership extended beyond the three brothers to 20 or so cousins who lived all over the country, many of whom had never seen the property, all of whom had professional lives of their own that have nothing to do with property management or restaurants, and none of whom individually have enough of a stake to bother getting involved in managing the property. Hence it sits there.

I don’t know if true, but that’s not an uncommon situation; I’ve encountered that situation elsewhere.

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around my Eight Streets neighborhood for years: that MTV approached the Mansours with a seven-figure offer to renovate and rent The Sahara for a couple of months to film the Boston episode of the first American season of The Real World. The family dragged out the negotiations long enough that MTV gave up on it and went with their second-choice location, the Beacon Hill firehouse on Mt. Vernon St.

A missed chance to turn that place into something worthwhile and be a part of reality-TV history. Last I looked, the property even in its decripit state is assessed at something like $10M, and I envy their parking lot out back.

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The first season of "The Real World" was in New York in 1992- the Boston year with Montana, Sean, Syrus, et al ran in 1997 as the 6th year

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I was aware of this rumor, yet I hadn't seen any evidence to substantiate it so I chose to omit it from my article.

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These days we're all part of reality-TV history.

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Nitpick here- the Boston season of "The Real World" with Montana, Sean, Genesis, Syrus, et al- was the 6th year of the show in 1997- New York was first locale in 1992

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Great, now I'm craving shishkebab.

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Don't forget the rice.

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The Scotch 'n Sirloin sign remains high on that North End building though it has been closed since 1991. They should get rid of it, it poses no challenge to the Citgo Sign as any kind of Boston landmark.

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As long as it doesn't fall into disrepair and become a public safety hazard it's none of our business. Literally. Very odd to have buzzards circling who are so interested in who owns it and imagine they should be the owner themselves.

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Thanks to Richard Auffrey for the great job researching this relic and sharing his findings with us. Fascinating bit of Boston history. Weekend, humans.

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Second hand information here but I’ve been told the Sahara property remains in its current state due to an on-going feud within the extended family--some want to sell while others don’t. The grocery store, meanwhile, seems to be never open for business. No matter what time of day I walk by it’s closed. It was looking absolutely shabby outside until the 2020 Superbowl’s Hyundai commercial was filmed in front of it. My guess is the producers of the commercial paid for the repairs and painting because it had been long neglected prior to that time.

Here’s a link to the commercial for anyone who needs to hear the words Smaht Pahk again.

https://tvline.com/2020/01/27/chris-evans-john-krasinski-boston-car-comm...

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