Union Oyster House Turns 185

By Adam Reilly

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Aug. 3, 2011



BOSTON — After nearly two centuries of existence, Union Oyster House has its own unique body of lore: From JFK’s favorite booth to a plaque honoring Boston’s first female waitress. And as the restaurant celebrates its 185th anniversary Wednesday, business remains brisk.

Danny Martinez is a teacher visiting from San Diego. During Tuesday’s lunch hour, he enjoyed oysters, cherrystones and a beer. 

Mussels are served at the Union Oyster House. (avhell via Flickr)

“I did my homework because I’m a teacher,” said Martinez. “I did a lot of yelping, go to Yelp.com, and this definitely came up as one of the top one to two (seafood restaurants) in the Boston area.”
 
Sitting a few yards away, Joe King of County Galway, Ireland was wrapping up a meal of his own — his first since arriving in Boston earlier today. King gives the Union Oyster House’s namesake specialties his stamp of approval, but adds that the legendary oysters from his hometown are even better.
 
“Well, they’re good here,” King said. “But I think we have better oysters in Clarinbridge.”
 
With customers from as far away as the West Coast and Europe, it’s no wonder the Union Oyster House has a bit of a reputation as a tourist magnet. Its amply stocked gift shop indicates the restaurant is happy to play the part.

Still, after 185 years in business, there are a few regulars with strong local ties.
 
“I’m from Charlestown, Mass., originally,” said Tom Roche, as he sat at the Union Oyster House’s legenday U-shaped oyster bar. “I live in California now. Came here for the oysters clams and scallops today... I come back here every year, and this is the place I come to.”
 
On August 3, the Union Oyster House will celebrate its 185th year of existence with a special menu featuring thirty dollars worth of food for just $1.85. That price is only good from 11 AM to 3 PM, but if you miss it,  take heart. This isn’t the Union Oyster House’s first anniversary special, and chances are it won’t be its last. 



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