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Dining Out in Boston

A Culinary History

By James C. O’Connell

Over the years, Boston has been one of America’s leading laboratories of urban culture, including restaurants, and Boston history provides valuable insights into American food ways. James C. O’Connell, in this fascinating look at more than two centuries of culinary trends in Boston restaurants, presents a rich and hitherto unexplored side to the city’s past. Dining Out in Boston shows that the city was a pioneer in elaborate hotel dining, oyster houses, French cuisine, student hangouts, ice cream parlors, the twentieth-century revival of traditional New England dishes, and contemporary locavore and trendy foodie culture. In these stories of the most-beloved Boston restaurants of yesterday and today—illustrated with an extensive collection of historic menus, postcards, and photos—O’Connell reveals a unique history sure to whet the intellectual and nostalgic appetite of Bostonians and restaurant-goers the world over.

Harvard Book Store, May 2019

James O’Connell is the author of several books of regional interest, including The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth (MIT Press, 2013; winner of the 2015 International Author Award given by Lambda Alpha International).


“Although it specifically features Boston, the work does have a broader theme that shows the changes that took place within the restaurant industry as the US grew. At the same time, the study is informative regarding Americans’ appetites and their evolving desire to leave the hot kitchen. . . . Recommended.” Choice

“[O’Connell] gives a well-documented account of the nineteenth-century transitions that were important for the development of a food culture, and a restaurant scene that provided options for everyone. . . . The images are a boon for students and scholars alike.” New England Quarterly

Dining Out in Boston
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