About “Dining Out in Boston”

Dining Out in Boston: A Culinary History

James C. O’Connell
University Press of New England, November, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-61168-910-5

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Dining Out in Boston: A Culinary History (2016) is a comprehensive historical overview of the development of Boston’s restaurants. Boston has been one of America’s leading laboratories of urban culture, including restaurants, and its history provides valuable insights into American food ways. Dining Out in Boston explains how the city was a pioneer in elaborate hotel dining, oyster houses, French cuisine, ostentatious banquets, ice cream parlors, ethnic cooking, the colonial revival of traditional New England dishes, the “gourmet revolution,” student hangouts, and contemporary locavore and trendy foodie culture.

Dining Out in Boston uses an extensive array of historic menus and photos to reveal the rich and hitherto unexplored story of both Boston’s lost and contemporary restaurants. The historic menus trace the development of the city’s culinary heritage, explaining the use of foodstuffs, recipes, dining customs, restaurant types, clientele, and evolving attitudes toward dining and drinking.

The book appraises the food served at such historic restaurants as Julien’s Restorator (the city’s first restaurant), the Parker House, Durgin-Park, Union Oyster House, Locke-Ober, Café Marliave, Jacob Wirth, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Anthony’s Pier 4, Dini’s Sea Grill, Maison Robert, Bailey’s Ice Cream Shop, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, and many long-forgotten eateries.

The book closes with an appraisal of 21st-century restaurants, examining the rise of creative, multi-cultural, and farm-to-table cuisine, the celebration of local culinary traditions like seafood, and the emergence of restaurants and craft food production as integral elements of the region’s creative economy.

Table of Contents

1. Boston’s Restaurant Tradition

2. Dining Out from 1800 until the Civil War

3. Development of the Dining Culture

4. Restaurant Niches Proliferate: The Civil War to Prohibition

5. Dining in the Emerging Modern Age

6. The 1950s and 1960s

7. The Culinary Revolution

8. Twenty-First-Century Dining: Creative and Casual

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