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Young Matt Mahoney Thought Boxed Mashed Potatoes Were an Unforgivable Sin

Throughout Classics Week, chefs who grew up in the Boston area are sharing fond memories of their childhood dining experiences. (Want to add yours? Email

Barbers Crossing in Leicester, MA
Barbers Crossing in Leicester, MA

classics week logo"When I was a kid growing up just outside of Worcester, we would go to a pub called Barbers Crossing on special occasions," recalls Matt Mahoney, chef de cuisine at The Butcher Shop. "Back in the day, everyone went there; it was definitely an iconic Worcester joint. If It was my birthday or my report card was good, my mom would give me the choice of where to go for dinner, and I would always pick Barbers Crossing. I'd always get the same thing, Surf ‘n’ Turf: queen-cut prime rib with a lobster. It would come with green beans and mashed potatoes, and I remember thinking that they were real mashed because they were lumpy. This was a big deal to me; even at 10 years old, being served boxed mashed potatoes was an unforgivable sin. That single meal kept me going back, time after time. Well, that, and I recall the female servers being pretty cute."

The Worcester location of Barbers Crossing closed around 2005, but there are two locations open these days, one in Leicester and one in Sterling. "It was a golden age of surf and turf in Worcester," writes Bernie Whitmore on, recalling the original location, "a time when the place for lobster was Barbers Crossing. They had a full family-style menu and salad bar, but inexpensive lobster was their specialty and they spoiled us with quality and low prices. People were always queued up for a table and the change to get their twin lobster feast."