137-year-old Locke-Ober closed this weekend, unleashing a flood of nostalgia for the good old days of liquid lunches and huge steaks, jackets required, of course. But many were unsurprised; the landmark downtown restaurant had been facing increasing apathy in recent years as it just didn't fit into the contemporary dining landscape. David Ray, Locke-Ober's owner since 1978, revealed details to the Boston Globe today about his decision to close the restaurant and sell the building.
"I had a choice," Ray told the Globe. "Make Locke-Ober more casual, lower our standards to conform with the way society is today, or I could close it. I could close it with its history and its dignity intact." He added that the business wasn't losing money; they were "treading water."
The new owners apparently plan to turn the upper part of the building, now private dining rooms, into residential space, while the first floor will become a new restaurant. Ray doesn't expect that it will be anything like Locke-Ober.