When the question of shuttered classic restaurants was posed, food anthropologist Merry White and Toscanini's Gus Rancatore collectively combed through their memories and sent over a jam-packed list of places they recall from the good old days. ("Nostalgia is not always tasty," noted White, before diving in.) How many of these do you remember?
First, the "Rich Uncle" places. "We only went if a rich uncle were treating," said White.
- Locke-Ober ("But if you were a girl, you couldn't sit in the main room because of the nude over the bar.")
- Joseph's, which became Radius
- Jimmy's Harborside
Next, the "early ethnic" restaurants.
- Joyce Chen, first established on Memorial Drive, and then Chen's Small Eating Place on Massachusetts Avenue
- Osaka at Fresh Pond, where the waitresses wore motherly kimono (actually yukata)
- Peking on the Mystic in Medford, then Peking on Fresh Pond, which became Tokyo, now closed ("where I once witnessed a hefty manager mauling a grad student customer by throwing him repeatedly against the wall")
And delving into different territory.
- Dodin-Bouffant, over Shreve's on Boylston Street
- Jack and Marion's, "where the menu needed easels."
- Spinnaker, the rotating restaurant on top of the Hyatt
"Waaaay back in Harvard Square."
- Chez Dreyfus (Jewish/Algerian/French), located on Church Street
- Spaghetti Emporium, where "the halls were lined with framed stills from the movie about the spaghetti harvest!" (John Harvard Brew House is now located here.)
- Hayes Bickford; Waldorf with Buddy's Steak Pit — "where nice old ladies on fixed incomes went to the counter to get Welsh 'Rabbit'"
- Albiani's — an all-night cafe, "very brightly lit and sketchy." (The Harvard Trust is there now.)
- Elsie's Roast Beef — There was a special with ham on cissel. "With pinball and games called the 'Manter Hall Gym' for the remedial prep school that was upstairs."
- Underdog, located on Arrow Street, for good dogs. "They had a dog called Blasphemy with cheese and bacon (I wonder whose blasphemy? They weren't Jewish.)"
- Zum Zum, another hot dog joint, located on the corner of Palmer and Brattle. St. Clair's, "a very ladylike lunch place," was there before.
- Young and Yee (and previously Young Lee's) on Church Street for egg foo young, et al.
- C'est Si Bon on Boylston, now JFK Street. "I was a waitress there when I was an undergraduate and the nice lady gave me all the cream-filled pastries at the end of the day because they couldn't keep them over. Where I got my Freshman 15."
- La Ruche Pizza, opposite the end of the Lampoon building. Previously, it was Cafe Mozart, "where in the day I loved listening and learning how to be a beat by watching the black turtlenecks. I carried a copy of Howl, or a copy of The Communist Manifesto, and a pack of Balkan Sobranies in case anyone asked for a cig. I didn't smoke. I was young."
- Wursthaus — not German, owned by Cardullo's.
- Autre Chose — "So good." Located under Cafe Sushi.
"Moving up Massachusetts Avenue in the direction of Siberia, aka Porter Square."
- Chez Jean became Chez Henri, now soon to become Shepard
- Acropolis, "where law students plotted their rich futures over bland food."
- Harvard House of Pizza
- Midget Deli — "The only Jewish deli in Cambridge, but not that great."
- Panache — It became 798 Main, which became Anago, which then went to the Lenox Hotel before moving out to Barnstable. It was named for the Japanese eel (also the name of the owner's dog).
- Colleen's Chinese
- Thailand Cafe — More known for its Szechuan cuisine than its Thai.
Out in the Suburbs
- Hartwell Farms, "with family tables where the kids had a lot of bread and the relish tray appeared immediately."
- Wayside Inn, Sudbury