Is It the Beginning of the End for Boston's Old Guard?

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Todd English Photo: Regan

Last week, we mused about the fate of the legendary Oak Room. Today, the Herald offers a story tracing the recent woes of heavy-hitters Todd English and Lydia Shire, whose stars have been in the culinary stratosphere for so long that they seem nearly unimpeachable. More ahead.

The paper notes that both Olives (felled by a grease fire last May) and Locke-Ober (shuttered for renovations) have been closed for months. Why so long?

They report that Locke-Ober has no new opening date in sight, and if and when the Taj Mahal of Boston restaurants does reopen, Shire might not even be at the helm. Meanwhile, English's Olives is being grilled by the Boston Licensing Board to find out why it's taken nearly a year for the restaurant to reopen. (It was originally slated to bounce back within a mere few weeks.) The story points to English's other enterprises and Locke-Ober's "seedy" downtown location as stumbling blocks.

Meanwhile, some continue to gossip that the very proper Oak Room will get a makeover from the people behind Back Bay's popular, slinky new Lolita, though reps deny the rumor. Just yesterday, Stuff ran a quasi-eulogy for the storied spot and its bygone glory. (Giving the Oak Room the Lolita treatment is basically akin to forcing your grandmother to wear a tube top and Britney Spears-style extensions. Look away, look away!)

Is the dining public demanding something new? Have Boston's mainstays just gotten kind of tired? Yesterday we wondered which dishes really say Boston: Now it's time to wonder which chefs and restaurants say the same.

Board Serves Up Notice to Todd English & Co. [Herald]