A former restroom on the Boston Common is now serving sandwiches, salads and soups after renovations turned the abandoned structure into an Earl of Sandwich restaurant.
The 660-square-foot, octagon-shaped structure near the Common’s baseball fields, tennis courts, and the Parkman Bandstand was built in the 1920s as a men’s comfort station, but has sat unused since the 1970s.
In 2011, the city announced it had signed a 15-year lease with Orlando-based Earl of Sandwich under which the company will pay $50,000 annually to the city.
City officials praised the company for bringing activity to a quiet part of the park and preserving the historic building.
“It is truly returning a building that had been quiet and on a corner you really didn’t want to walk by into something that is going to attract thousands of visitors every summer,” Brian Swett, chief of Environmental and Energy Services for the city, said at a ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday.
The sandwich-centric restaurant takes its name from the John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with the idea of putting meat between two slices of bread in 1762 to avoid taking a break from his card game.
It was his direct descendants that helped launch the Earl of Sandwich restaurants that are already found in multiple states, and London and Paris.
“We think he was a hard work politician and a diplomat, and he needed--just like everyone else--a break in the middle of the day, and he didn’t want those long formal lunches,” John Montagu, the 11th Earl of Sandwich said before cutting the ribbon of the first free standing Boston location.
(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for boston.com)