Welcome to the inaugural installment of Musician Munchies, where we chat with native Bostonian musicians about their favorite places to eat and more.
[Photo: The Mighty Mighty BossToneS (Dicky Barrett is center, in sunglasses)/Official Source]
The Mighty Mighty BossToneS were formed in Cambridge in 1984, and several of the original members of the ska-punk band have been in the line-up for the thirty years since, including frontman Dicky Barrett, who also currently works as the announcer for Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles.
Barrett celebrates his 50th birthday this weekend in conjunction with the Phantom Gourmet BBQ & Music Festival. The "Dicky Barrett's Birthday Bash" portion of the festivities kicks off at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, Saturday, June 21, and includes performances by Barrence Whitfield and the Savages and The Gaslight Anthem before the BossToneS take the stage. Tickets are $39, including access to the food vendors, but a $101 VIP ticket will get you access to a special beer garden and a barbecue dinner.
Barrett chatted with Eater about his favorite things to eat in Boston, his huge love of Dunkin' Donuts, and more.
What are your favorite places to eat when you're back in town?
I like a lot of the places over in the South End. I still like the Salty Dog in Faneuil Hall for seafood, and I like the Red Lantern, but I'm not an insane foodie like my boss Jimmy Kimmel is. I just love being in Boston. I think that the food and restaurant scene there is fantastic and certainly comparable to most other big cities.
Going back to your childhood in Norwood, where did you go to eat?
I remember so many old-school places. There was a place called Cornetta's Iron Horse that my mother used to work at on the Automile there, Route 1 in Norwood. My father worked at a diner that's no longer there, right in Post Office Square in downtown Boston. My uncle owned a few places, including a restaurant in South Boston called Mul's, which is a breakfast place, a diner, that still exists, right across the street from Amrheins, where we used to go all the time as kids. I also remember eating at the pizza place in the North End, Regina's, years and years ago. But isn't the South End pretty hip for restaurants now? Certainly was last time we went through town.
Yeah, lots of different kinds of restaurants there these days, and lots of new openings.
Does the Red Fez still exist?
No, actually a new restaurant, Cathedral Station, is opening there today. [We spoke on June 12.]
Today? Wow, what a monumental day. I was there in the South End years and years ago. The Red Fez had been there for so many years. Since the 70s, that I know of.
Do you have any food rituals before or after shows?
Before the show there's too much nervous energy and we're trying not to run ourselves down, but after the show, there's crazy eating.
Do you put any weird food requests on your rider?
I wouldn't say weird. When we're touring, we usually try to eat the food of the city, especially if it's stuff they're just bringing it. If we're in Philadelphia, we wouldn't be surprised if cheesesteaks showed up after the show.
Are there any foods you've fallen in love with in other cities that you think Boston is missing?
As boring an answer as this is, I don't really think so. I think Boston has everything you need. I think they cover all the bases and cover it well. Really good barbecue in Boston, tremendous Italian food, which I love. The seafood is the world's greatest, certainly in my opinion.
You're based in LA now, right?
I live here now — I hate to say "based." I have to live here to work for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. But my heart is firmly in Boston, and I get back as much as I can.
Is there any kind of Boston food that you miss out there, that LA doesn't do as well?
LA holds its own, but to me, I just like the family/local feeling in Boston and the way the restaurants are. It's not chichi, but it can be if you need that. People that know more about food than I do probably argue, but anywhere you are in Boston, you can turn around and it's difficult to not find something good to eat. Do I miss any food things? Nah, I don't know. I mean, the clam chowder seems to taste a lot better in Boston, and it's hard to get a decent Boston baked bean.
I heard that LA is getting their first Dunkin' Donuts very soon.
There you go. Now you're talking! There are actually going to be twenty of them out here. The minute I step off the plane, that's immediately where I go, for the Dunkin' Donuts coffee, wherever I am when I tour. I don't even leave Logan unless I have a styrofoam cup full of the stuff.
What's your regular order?
I get a large regular, just because I like saying "lahge regulah." Extra Boston.
I look forward to seeing everybody at the show, and bon appetit!
· All Musician Munchies interviews on Eater [~EBOS~]
The Mighty Mighty BossToneS play tomorrow night, June 21, 2014, at City Hall Plaza as part of the Phantom Gourmet BBQ & Music Fstival. Tickets are available here.