Does Anyone Remember the General Glover House in Swampscott?

The General Glover House was the only restaurant I knew of named after a local Revolutionary War general (John Glover) born in Salem and raised in Marblehead. So, why was the restaurant located in Swampscott? Maybe it was a good "general" location. Sorry for the bad joke.

Anthony Athanas, of legendary Anthony's Pier 4 fame in Boston, opened the General Glover House in 1957 with the charming Essex Room at the forefront of the classic memories here. The Essex Room was definitely charming because they said so in the promotions. The huge room came across with its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink colonial stagecoach stop scenes including the big fireplace, post-and-beam ceilings and lanterns and copper pots all over the place. The waitresses were such good sports, having to dress up in those long colonial-style dresses and the goofy frilled white caps that concealed 60s and 70s hairstyles.

 As kids, we thought George Washington would walk in the room at any moment, especially at night where it was known that he couldn't sleep. How do I know this? Well, he couldn't lie. The General Glover House was good but not great, in my opinion. Down the road in Saugus, the Hilltop Steakhouse served better steaks, and the Continental better popovers. Plus, it was more fun trying to drive 90 MPH out of the parking lot at the Hilltop to try to break into the insane Route 1 southbound traffic.

I believe the General Glover House closed in the 1990s and its presence is definitely missed even if it wasn't my favorite North Shore restaurant. I miss most the really neat colonial theme (well there's a "Leave it to Beaver"-type phrase for you!) and the kind waitresses that were enough to make the dining experience worthwhile!

WHDH AM 850 Boston Showcased Amazing Talents in the 60s, 70s and 80s

 When thinking of some of the greatest personalities in modern Boston radio history, the old WHDH on 850 AM (now WEEI) surely ranks amongst the best. They certainly showcased some amazing talents in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Consider all the names that jumped out of your transistor radio, and what they brought to the airwaves. Jess Cain served as the morning funnyman but with a class and restraint that was more akin to comedians/TV talk show hosts Steve Allen and Dick Cavett rather than the screaming top 40 DJs of the generation. He was famous for the "The Carl Yastrzemski Song"...

For a while, Bob Raleigh anchored mid-morning and later went onto greater fame at WBZ AM's overnight shift.  The conversational Dave Supple had this warm personality and a slight lisp that made him an endearing personality -- like some one's favorite uncle. Frank Kingston Smith, originally of New York City radio fame, took on the late afternoon shift and had this great, stop-and-go Dick Van Dyke-type voice set to a slight echo. He was an incredible talent and had radio legend written all over him. Norm Nathan possessed the warmest radio voice ever, was an insightful humorist, and graced us with his vast knowledge of jazz and the American songbook, making for some truly listenable radio with his "Sounds in the Night" radio show. Norm and my dad were good friends and he would come over to our house or meet us for Chinese food at the China Blossom in North Andover. He was one of the nicest people I ever met -- so sincere, warm and authentic.

Additionally, Alan Dary had this wonderful Sunday morning show playing some of the greatest pop and jazz-influenced tunes ever set to vinyl. Mr. Dary didn't use any radio tricks or self-absorbed drama to show you how talented he was, instead talking to his audience as if the broadcast came from his living room. What a natural!

WHDH miraculously kept the high level of talented staff and well-chosen top 40 and pop songs (never any loud rock) going through the 1970s to the 1980s including the personable, articulate Tom Kennedy, Sean Casey with his subtle sense of humor and wacky "Chicken Man" cliffhanger segments, and the golden throat Bill Silver. I believe Mr. Silver initiated the famous phrase "But wait, there's more" as an advertising staple. Tom Doyle, who gained fame for his off-the-wall humor and deft imitations, became a co-host with Mr. Cain sometime in the early 1980s. Jim Sands, a military vet with a classic deep voice, became best known for his Saturday night oldies show. I remember meeting him at a live broadcast at Arlington Town Hall, and he was the nicest fellow (like a more gruff Norm Nathan). Mr Sands even let me say a few words on the air!

Additionally, WHDH had the very likeable Chuck Igo, one of my favorite radio personalities who has a morning show at Rewind 100.9 in Portland and is the author of an excellent book,"Taken Identity," a geo-political thriller.

That lineup playing top 40 and middle of the road songs set to catchy radio ID jingles and a news staff that was second to none -- including Vin Maloney, Nick Mills and Joe Klemente (hope that is the correct spelling) -- was everything you could ever want in a local radio station. I wish radio stations today could cultivate local talent the way they did back then on WHDH.

Sports also played a major role in the station's success with Don Gillis and Leo Egan handling the popular "Voice of Sports" show at different periods, Red Sox broadcasts bringing us the legendary Ned Martin, Ken Coleman and Jim Woods, and hockey and basketball with Bob Wilson, Fred Cusick and Johnny Most. Eddie Andelman and The Sports Huddle brought an entirely different take on sports, not taking itself too seriously and offering some of the funniest moments (including prank phone calls and memorable host-caller interaction) in contemporary, local radio history.

Like many AM radio stations, WHDH dropped its music format in favor of talk radio around 1987 and employed such legends as David Brudnoy and Larry Glick (both, better known at WBZ) and other huge talents like Avi Nelson.  I think, for a while, current WRKO afternoon talk show host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr had an afternoon talk show -- and facing stiff competition against the great Jerry Williams on WRKO.

WHDH eventually became WEEI, which became one of the most influential sports radio stations in the country. The local lineups on WEEI moved to 93.7 FM years ago, thus leaving the 850 AM dial position with syndicated sports talk radio. What a far cry from the incredible local talents that graced WHDH for so many years. I wish they could bring back a personality-driven oldies format that harks back to the days of the station in its prime. With WODS Oldies 103.3 dropping the oldies format in 2012, there is a big market for this type of station and with a powerful 50,000 watt signal on 850 could reach many interested people. This format has worked well at WROW-AM 590 Albany, New York, with its "Albany Magic" moniker, so why not Boston?

If it never happens, though, that's OK because many of us have these great memories of WHDH that can never be taken away!

Great Boston Area Delis to Remember

Jack and Marion's matches. Photo source: the Daily Dish at
The Boston area had this bad rap in the 60s, 70s and 80s about lacking good delis, but in a pickle they seemed just fine to me.  Plus, it was a lot closer, geographically, than traveling to that deli capital of the world called New York City!

Here are some great Boston area delis that bring back some wonderful memories...

Ken's at Copley, Boston Ken's seemed to please all generations -- popular amongst students looking for a cheap meal, kids magnetized to sandwiches, and, in general, all fans of good deli food. I remember the rotisserie chickens, excellent pastrami sandwiches and that brisk, sometimes brusque deli service so akin to many delis. The Boylston St. location was ideal, as back then, the area had a surprisingly low number of good places to eat -- probably fewer than the towns of Podunk and East Washbucket (sorry, had to be dramatic here to prove a point). Ken's always seem to hit the spot and one of the owners (the one named Ken) brought a lot of pride and character to this Boston deli landmark.

Mel and Murray's, Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers I used to go to Mel and Murray's Deli with my grandma Anna and family at the Liberty Tree Mall location. My grandma made the best Jewish-style food anywhere in the Boston area in her very own kitchen, but sometimes she needed a break from all her hard work. Mel and Murray's more than held its own as a convenient stop for excellent deli food. The original Mel and Murray's started in Lynn, I believe, in the 1920s, but they eventually expanded -- seemingly with no drop in quality. Usually mall and "sequel" suburban restaurant locations fall about as flat as a potato pancake, but Mel and Murray's somehow held onto the tenets of a good Jewish deli that reflected the quality of the original location.

Metro Deli, Boston As a Suffolk University student with a fast metabolism, I would often walk to Cambridge St. for a full turkey dinner at the Metro Deli and then return to sociology class lethargic from the large serving and all that tryptophan. They would carve the turkey fresh every day to create the next best meal to Thanksgiving. I remember the drumstick that was about the size of Rhode Island, and all the "fixin's" including stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and mashed potato. The Metro Deli wasn't just about the turkey, however, as they served some huge, delicious sandwiches. Why didn't anyone outside this neighborhood know about the Metro? I think it was the best deli in Boston! As an added bonus, virtually everyone working at the Metro looked like comedian Richard Lewis.

B&D Deli, Brookline Not that I am an expert of New York City delis, but my guess it that B&D came as close to an authentic Big Apple Deli as any in the Boston area. From 1927 to 2005, B&D took on a household name status in the world of local delis. I always thought it was better than the famous, also closed Rubin's Deli in Brookline. Through the years and the many conversations about local restaurants, experts on delis and those who knew nothing at all (translation: vacuous), mentioned the B&D Deli as one of their favorite delis. Falling into the latter category, I really loved this place!

Jack and Marion's, Brookline Jack and Marion's offered amazing soups, substantial main meals and huge desserts in a bustling, semi-urbane atmosphere. I loved the pleasant dining room with deli aromas that seemed to extend to our faraway parking space -- and, lucky us, that is was always raining on those days. For some reason, Jack and Marion's still gets lots of attention as the deli locals miss most -- just look online, or ask any local senior citizen or knowing baby boomer loving good deli food.

What were your favorite delis in the Boston area that are now closed?

Nostalgic Memories of Closed Boston Area, New England Supermarkets

Here's some food for thought: Did the now defunct grocery stores of yesteryear have more of a genuine feel, or is it that a love for nostalgia created inaccurate memories of places that might not have been great in the first place?

I think back to the closed larger chains like A&P  (Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company), First National (Finast), Grand Union and the smaller ones like Angelo's, Fernandes, Johnnie's Foodmaster and Purity Supreme, and Victory, and come to the conclusion that few of them were great as far as variety of merchandise.

But they were great supermarkets because each one had its own distinct personality and that, despite the lack of brand name options, you could pretty much find everything you needed. Sure, none could hold a candle to what could be found at Super Stop & Shop or Shaw's, but that's really not the point.

A&P had a small, intimate community feel even though it was a nationwide chain. First National  offered a great produce section and seemed to hire, lively, career-minded personalities that you didn't forget. Grand Union mostly resided in New York, but the New England stores (like the one in Stowe, Vermont) had that friendly Upstate New York vibe, too. Angelo's and Fernandes had South Shore written all over them and seemed even friendlier than Grand Union. Johnnie's Foodmaster surprised us with products we couldn't find anywhere else -- and an excellent variety that was more like the modern day supermarket. It was, to many, an underdog who we rooted for against the bigger chains. Purity Supreme looked clean -- henceforth, the name -- and featured a very organized look. It was like the Felix Unger of grocery stores. Victory seemed more disorganized and inconsistent from store to store, but I liked that style -- sometimes imperfections can be quite endearing.

Last but not least, how about the old Waltham Supermarket? I think it started in the 1930s and closed some time in the 1990s. Back then, it seemed like the Boston version of Wegman's with its large space and outstanding departments -- especially the huge meat department with really high quality beef. I was crushed when it closed. Today, Hannaford -- one of my favorite modern day markets -- takes that space, but there was nothing quite like the Waltham Supermarket.

Do you have memories/stories of any of these places, or any other nostalgic thoughts of other closed Boston area supermarkets?

Old School Boston Restaurants No Longer with Us

Not to be Joe Psychologist, but please tell me what first comes to mind when reading the names of any of these old school Boston restaurants no longer with us...

Jimmy's Harborside
St. Botolph
Newbury Steak House
Bob the Chef
Tom Thumb
Dixie Kitchen
Joseph's Aquarium
Lox Stock & Bagel
Deli Haus
Joe and Nemo's
Cafe Budapest
Romagnoli's Table
Brass Lantern on Washington St.
Thompson's Spa
Maison Robert
Magic Pan Creperie
Morelli's in East Boston
Ken's at Copley
Scotch 'n Sirloin
Du Barry
Buzzy's Roast Beef
Schrafft's Tea Room
Pizza Pad
Captain Nemo's in Kenmore Square
Metro Deli
Sun Tuey
El Phoenix Room
Ruggles Pizza
The Red Fez
Anthony's Pier 4
Dini's Sea Grille
English Tea Room
Trader Vic's
Joe Tecce's
Kelly's Landing

What a great list, eh? We look forward to your memories of any of these restaurants. Also, did we miss any old school Boston restaurants on this list? If so, please tell us about them in the comment box below. Thanks!

Why Did the Rusty Scupper in Acton, Massachusetts Have to Close?

It always seemed strange to me that a restaurant in landlocked Acton, Massachusetts would be named after a oxidized hole in a ship's side meant to carry water overboard from a deck.

Such is the case with the Rusty Scupper, but it turns out that this very good restaurant located in Nagog Park (a mixed use destination) was part of a chain through several states. You'd never know it, as the Rusty Scupper felt more like a cozy neighborhood tavern than a generic, corporate-conceived eatery.

I ate at the Scupper a handful of times and each visit required a wait. The seafood, steak and chicken dishes were really good and the dark, comfy surroundings overlooking a pond enhanced the overall experience. It seemed like a very social type of place where many locals and staff all seemed to know each other. Living in other towns, I didn't know anyone in Acton but that didn't stop the staff from being nice to me. For the record, I was nice to them, too.

The Rusty Scupper closed in the early 1990s.  It then became ScupperJack's which was just as good as the Rusty Scupper. ScupperJacks closed in 2011, and is now called the Red Raven.

Too bad the Rusty Scupper went overboard and drifted away from the suburban Boston restaurant scene!

The Neptune Room in Hyannis, Massachusetts

Does anyone remember the Neptune Room at the Hyannis Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts? It was sort of an upscale type of place that, to the best of my recollection, got three stars in the Mobile Travel Guide. So, it had to be good, right?

At eight-years-old, I was rather skeptical of this place -- first feeling uncomfortable about a restaurant with the name Neptune right next to airplanes flying high into the sky.  Were those planes really headed for a U.S. destination, or could it be an itinerary to the dark, cold and windy climate farthest away from the sun in the solar system? At 2.9 million miles from the earth, it might have been possible, however, to get there sooner than successfully navigating the Hyannis rotary into the downtown.

The Neptune Room didn't meet up to my hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue chicken and blueberry pie criteria. I am sure the Neptune Room pleased adults with sophisticated culinary tastes, but not a kid with no interest whatsoever in daring and creative food combinations created by some highfalutin chef.

Some restaurants leave a mark on people, but, ultimately, I left a mark on the Neptune Room with an all-day sour stomach finally expressing itself. I guess, on that particular day, I was a little puke, literally and figuratively, to the staff at the Neptune Room!

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