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Durgin-Park | The Historic Boston Eatery “Established Before You Were Born”

Serving up a the finest in Yankee comfort food, Faneuil Hall's Durgin-Park is one of Boston's most iconic historic eateries.

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Durgin-Park is one of Boston’s most iconic historic eateries, and its Faneuil Hall location makes it the perfect place to enjoy a plate (or two) of classic Yankee comfort food. I found myself in the neighborhood last spring, and couldn’t resist stopping in for a visit.

Durgin Park

Durgin-Park | The Historic Boston Eatery “Established Before You Were Born”

Aimee Seavey

The folks at Durgin-Park describe their establishment this way:

For well over a century, Durgin-Park has catered to the hearty appetites of straw-hatted, white-aproned, market men and local characters. Take part in Boston history as you step into one of the oldest continuously running establishments in the country.

So what’s the full story? In 1742, Peter Faneuil built a large market house near the Boston waterfront, and before long, a nearby warehouse housed a small dining room. In 1827, a customer named Eldridge Park bought the restaurant with local merchants John Durgin and John Chandler, giving the restaurant its new name — Durgin-Park.

Durgin Park

The restaurant has two entrances. One is on Clinton Street, but it’s likely you’re more familiar with the Faneuil Hall patio entrance.

Aimee Seavey

Chandler spent the next six decades running Durgin-Park with his son and grandson, Jerry Chandler, but when Jerry was killed in WWII, the restaurant was sold. The new owner, James Hallett, put the poem “Just a Boy” on the back of the menu to honor Jerry and all the other fallen soldiers. You’ll still find it there today.

In the coming years, Durgin-Park’s iconic status continued to grow, as did the reputation of its famously tart-tongued waitresses. In 1976, Hallett sold Durgin-Park to the Kelley/Solimondo family, and more recently, it was was sold to the New York-based Ark Restaurant Corporation (“who wouldn’t change a thing,” they say).

Durgin Park

Inside, there’s a meat case on the right.

Aimee Seavey

One thing I love about Durgin-Park is how it’s both welcoming and welcomed by locals and tourists alike. After all, who could resist a big old plate of comfort food smack dab in the middle of historic Boston?

The menu at Durgin-Park is built around traditional New England-style dishes with a emphasis on fresh, local seafood and comfort classics like prime rib and baked beans.

Durgin Park

And a menu on the left, full of Yankee comfort food classics.

Aimee Seavey

Following tradition, much of the seating is communal at long tables covered in cheerful red checked cloths. Customers are encouraged to get to know one another at Durgin-Park, if that’s something they’re into. This is especially nice in an age where most diners have one eye permanently fixed to their phone screens.

Durgin Park

Upstairs, on the right, one dining room.

If you’re lucky, you may also be treated to authentic Durgin-Park experience if you get one of its seasoned waitresses. They still know how to serve up a side of gruff along with the Yankee Pot Roast, but don’t worry — it’s mostly for show.

Durgin Park

And on the left, another.

Aimee Seavey

Durgin Park

Many a New England bean pot is a Durgin-Park bean pot.

Aimee Seavey

After enjoying the atmosphere, there was nothing left to do but eat something. And since it was too soon after lunch for something big, I ordered up a single bowl of one of the restaurant’s most popular desserts — the heavenly Indian Pudding — and dug in.

Durgin Park

My sweet reward? A warm bowl if Indian Pudding.

Aimee Seavey

Could there be a better way to spend an hour in bustling Faneuil Hall is there than in one of Boston’s most famous historic dining spots?

Durgin-Park

Until next time, Durgin-Park!

Aimee Seavey

Have you ever visited Durgin-Park?

LEARN MORE: Durgin-Park Indian Pudding 

Durgin-Park. 340 Faneuil Hall Boston, MA. 617-227-2038; arkrestaurants.com/durgin_park

Comments
  • I have experienced the great environment of Durgin-Park since the late 1950’s. I was so surprised to hear the host of WGBH’s Greater Boston show ask if the restaurant was still open in his discussion about the Union Oyster House. Hope the owners piped up and told Channel 2 that they certainly were…

    Reply
  • A great man named Mike Garafola took a number of kids from our neighborhood in Westerly, RI to Boston for the New Egland
    high School Basketball championships in 1960. While there he took us toDurginPark, and told us that the Celticscoach, RedAuerhbach often ate there. Sure enough, te coach and some players sat right next to us . I remember that everything was so big, from giant platters of meat to huge strawberry shortcake. We met Auerbach and throughout the meal enjoyed his company. I cannot remember exactly how many of us there were, but I do remember that mr. Garafola and son Louis, my pal, and at least two others had an awesome time watching our team beat the Western Mass champ Smith Academy, before losing to Connecticut, which won the event.

    Reply
  • A great man named Mike Garafola took a number of kids from our neighborhood in Wwsterly, RI to Boston for the New Egland h
    high School Basketall championship.

    Reply
  • My parents would take my sisters and me to Durgin Park when we were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. My mother told me that her father and grandfather would take her there when she was little (she was born in 1914. I’ve taken my children there, so they are the 5th generation. I hope someday to be able to take my future grandchildren there. Love the food, love the waitresses, love the long tables!

    Reply
  • I first went to Durgin-Park as a freshman in high school. (We northern New Englanders don’t get to exotic locations like Boston as often as those near the coast!) Went back many years later and was pleased to take some newbies who haven’t been before. I was glad to see things hadn’t changed. Still great food and saucy waitresses. I would love to go back at least once more.

    Reply
  • My father was a huge baseball fan like many of his “Greatest Generation” contemporaries. He took me to games all over the Northeast where I saw many of the stars of the day. Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris etc. We had lunch at Durgin-Park one day before attending a Red Sox – Yankee game at Boston’s still-primary baseball venue, Fenway Park. To this day I remember the roast beef served. A huge portion, tender, tasty and done perfectly. This was the first time I had ever eaten at a communal table and will never forget this experience. It’s been about sixty years since then but I hope to return someday and take another crack at that roast beef…

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  • Linda, we think you’ll be pleased to know we’re featuring Durgin-Park’s own Indian Pudding recipe in our new issue (Sep/Oct 2015)! You’ll be able to make a batch at home if you like! :)

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  • I remember my grandmother taking my mom and me to dinner there, when we visited Boston. Being very young at the time, I wasn’t as impressed with the history as my first taste of Indian Pudding. I’ve been hooked on that stuff, ever since!!!

    Reply

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