Where Restaurants Are Opening

Boston is one of the greatest sports cities on the planet.  Restaurants, not so much.  The local joints are terrific, and there are lots of really wonderful places like Raphael’s in Codman Square and Galleria Umberto in the North End.  But it’s sports where the city excels.

And that’s why the big trend in Boston is restaurants opening near sports venues.

Next to TD Garden, home to the Celtics and Bruins, are a good half dozen restaurants, from Alcove to Tavern to Ward 8.  New places are opening within walking distance in the North End.  Further afield, in the Seaport District, the city’s most racially segregated part of town, are literally dozens of high end restaurants, many of them franchises–within walking distance or an UBER ride.

And near Fenway Park, more and more restaurants are attracting sports fans before and after games, and during the off-season.

Many of these restaurants serve good food with good value and good service.

It’s a good business model to use in one of the greatest sports cities on the planet.


Why Restaurants Are Closing Now

Yes, high rent.  But let’s say that the rent is affordable, why then do restaurants close?

In 2018, about a dozen well-known places closed in Boston and  NYC.

Restaurants start with food.  If the food’s no good, people won’t go.

Obvious, right?

But even with good food, if the service isn’t attentive, anticipatory, thoughtful, and empathic, the restaurant’s days are numbered.  Danny Meyer, of Shake Shack and Gramercy Tavern and Blue Smoke and many other places, understands this better than anyone in the restaurant business.

The big thing, once the food and service are reliably good, is that a restaurant must serve a cultural function in its community.  Without that, it simply won’t survive.

Numerous restaurants in Boston closed over the past three or four months, located in hotels or areas frequented by tourists, or in neighborhoods that have changing demographics.  These places never really fit in properly, and it was because they failed to do so that, despite good food and good service, they are gone.

Restaurants, no matter where or when, are neutral public places that exist to provide people a place to go with friends and family.  Boston has a few of these: Santarpio’s, Galleria Umberto, Darryl’s, and Charlie’s come to mind.

But you can expect even more closures in 2019 both in Boston and NYC as restaurants continue to distance themselves from their communities and have little or no cultural function.

In their place, and we’re already seeing this, will be franchises, places owned by private equity geared toward volume, and the most bankable item next to coffee: Pizza.

So grab a slice and hoist a pint of $10 beer.