Prior to going to see The Avengers (awesome movie) last weekend my friend, Stacey and I took a little lunch jaunt over to Scollay Square. It has been years since I have been there so was looking forward to trying it again.
The restaurant is located in an historic building on Beacon Street and has a nice patio out front. Sadly, it was a little too chilly to sit outside. Immediately upon arrive you notice that Scollay Square
has a warm, inviting feel about it. The restaurant is relatively small with areas blocked off by old dark wood and a long bar that runs the length of the top end of the restaurant and is surrounded by old black and white photographs. Waiters are in black and white and the place feels very old Boston. We were seated in one of the corners on this relatively busy Saturday lunch time.
The lunch menu is standard American comfort food but with some twists of everything from burgers and sandwiches to alternative entrees like Miso Glazed Salmon and Thai Chicken & Shrimp. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but the Fish & Chips definitely piqued my interest. I first cautioned the waiter (jokingly) that I was British and that if he says the Fish & Chips are good then they had better be. It was all in good fun and they were indeed good. My chips were crispy on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside, just how I like them. The fish, broken up into smaller pieces tasted freshly and crisply battered and fried with flaky, buttery white fish. A side of interesting tasting tartar sauce and ketchup and I felt like I was almost in England again. I definitely made a good choice.
Stacey ordered the Maine Lobster roll, which she said was delicious with big chunky sweet pieces of lobster but a little too much mayo and sadly there were a few shells in the roll. She did manage to eat almost all of it and overall was quite happy.
We obviously left our diets at the door when we looked at the menu but it seemed to be worth it.
Service at Scollay Square is very friendly and efficient. We never had to ask for soda refills and we were politely checked in on a number of times throughout our lunch, which was very nice. There was a smile for everyone that walked in the door.
A great place for lunch. Now I need to check it out for dinner.
A bit of Scollay Square history, the place not the restaurant for you from Wikipedia… “ Scollay Square was located “at the junction of Tremont and Court streets, Cornhill and Tremont Row.” Initially the city designated it Pemberton Square, but changed the name to “Scollay Square” when Phillips Square changed its own name to “Pemberton Square.” The building that gave the area its name, Scollay’s Building, was “at one time a wedge-shaped row of wooden buildings, extending from the head of Cornhill to opposite the head of Hanover street, separated Tremont row from Court street (see Bonner’s map, 1722); at the southeasterly end the second schoolhouse in the town was erected, 1683-84; at various times portions of these buildings were removed, leaving only the Scollay brick building, supposed to have been built by Patrick Jeffrey, who came into possession in 1795; … removed about 1870.”
By around the 1940s the Scollay Square area began to lose its vibrant commercial activity, and the Howard gradually changed its image and began to cater to sailors on leave and college students by including burlesque shows, as did other nearby venues such as the Casino Theater and Crawford House[disambiguation needed ]. “Always Something Doing” became the Old Howard’s advertising slogan. The venue also showcased boxing matches with such old-time greats as local Rocky Marciano and John L. Sullivan, and continued to feature slapstick vaudeville acts, from likes of The Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello.
But it was the success and prominence of the burlesque shows that brought the Old Howard down. In 1953, vice squad agents sneaked a home movie camera into the Old Howard, and caught Mary Goodneighbor on film doing her striptease for the audience. The film led to the closure of the theater, and it remained closed until it caught fire mysteriously in 1961.”