It's a dignified holdover from a dustier, grittier Seaport — a bastion of elegance run by an immigrant family that has lured generations of celebrities, travelers, and everyday couples with the promise of broiled scrod and popovers with a view. But today, Anthony's Pier 4 shuts its doors. Earlier this month, Mark Shanahan wrote about the legendary restaurant's decline. Things are different by the water now.
"Business isn’t what it used to be. Just a few dozen people wandered in for lunch on a recent weekday, sparsely populating a dining room that seats 500. Meanwhile, the neighborhood, a wasteland of rotting piers and dirt lots when Anthony’s opened in 1963, is teeming with development, including sleek office towers and several hot new restaurants," he wrote.
It hadn't always been this way. In 1981, Anthony's was grossing $12 million annually, making it one of the five most successful restaurants in the entire country. Owner Michael Athanas, son of founder Anthony Athanas, noted that a "slow" lunch was 600 people. Dinner could be up to 3,000 people. No more. The neighborhood's culinary scene is changing. There have been tax problems.
But new development can't trump nostalgia. At one time, everyone from Richard Nixon to Elizabeth Taylor to curious travelers who'd saved up for a special dinner made the pilgrimage to Anthony's, hoping for a memorable meal by the waterfront. Anthony's leveled the playing field, if only for a couple of hours. Everyone was treated like a celebrity. My grandparents celebrated their fiftieth anniversary here in the 1990s. These were people who didn't usually go in for big-city dinners with waterfront views. The type of people who appreciated things like a "good relish tray." I still have a photo of myself, grinning gawkily, with Anthony Athanas. My grandparents beamed in the background.
What are your memories of Anthony's?