John Mariani Has A Thing for, Uh, Durgin-Park

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John Mariani, would you like a baked bean? Photo: thebusinessmakers/Flickr

We haven't been to Faneuil Hall free-for-all Durgin-Park since our sixth-grade field trip to the "big city." However, the centuries-old eatery has gotten press in Esquire and Forbes lately. Controversial food scribe John Mariani authored both pieces. What gives?

In Forbes's historic restaurant round-up, he applauds the waitresses surly 'tudes and suggests the chowder, baked scrod, and Indian pudding. At Durgin-Park, one can dine the way "workmen and fishermen" did in days of yore. Except now, instead of dining shoulder-to-jowl with weathered New England fishmongers, you can dine next to howling toddlers and ravenous Midwestern tourists who'll cut you for a baked bean.

Meanwhile, he also ticks off the country's best restaurant cities in Esquire. Boston's ninth on the roster, thanks to ... Locke-Ober and Durgin-Park. What? This isn't a "restaurants that have hyphens" list. Locke-Ober is great and all, but...Durgin-Park? Really? In other top cities, he cites excellent, of-this-century spots like Rasika (Washington), Cut (Los Angeles), and Girl & the Goat (Chicago). Up next: Plymouth Plantation as fine-dining destination.

In Pictures: America's Great Historic Restaurants
[Forbes]

The Best Restaurant Cities in America 2010 [Esquire]

Earlier: Why Does Everyone Hate John Mariani?

See also: Mariani Calls Out America's Great Historic Restaurants