When the last duck confit leaves the kitchen tonight at Hamersley’s Bistro, it will mark the end of an era both for Boston restaurants in general and for the South End in particular. After twenty-seven remarkable years, Hamersley’s will open its doors for the last time tonight, according to Boston Restaurant Talk.
In the months since announcing his intentions to close, chef Gordon Hamersley, who famously still wears a Sox hat every night behind the line, has received the outpouring of praise and tributes which are more than his due after humbly changing the face of a neighborhood and culture. As Corby Kummer put it in this month’s Boston Magazine, "Because Gordon Hamersley is a low-key guy, it wasn’t always obvious that he was our very own Alice Waters or Wolfgang Puck. Yet Hamersley (who had worked for Puck at one of his first jobs) was as influential within Boston’s restaurant culture as they were in theirs."
How far that influence extends, and to what extent the dining experiences enjoyed in Boston now can be traced back to the kitchen at 553 Tremont, is almost impossible to estimate. As to how far it will extend into future dining experiences? Well, it would be easy to say that the Boston restaurant scene will never be the same after Hamersley’s closes. It would be far more accurate to say that it has, in truth, never really been the same since Hamersley’s opened.