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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Have you ever visited Durgin-Park?
Durgin-Park Indian Pudding
Durgin-Park. 340 Faneuil Hall Boston, MA. 617-227-2038; arkrestaurants.com/durgin_park
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.