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R.I.P. Doyle's: Another Boston Institution Gunned Down In Its Prime


Maybe I’m just naive. Maybe 30 years of life isn’t enough to truly understand that this world really doesn’t give a fuck about you. Maybe change is for the best and I’m letting nostalgia and emotions cloud my judgement, though I really don’t see how the closing of a 137-year old Boston institution is a boost to a neighborhood.

I woke up this morning after a terrible night of sleep full of tossing and turning to this news. Well, “news” is a stretch considering the story has been out for weeks back home now. Days like this are really the only time I have a large disdain for being in New York, to feel so disconnected and disassociated is fucking depressing. But waking up at 8 A.M. only to find out Doyle’s was closing sometime in the next two months hit me like a phone call from a relative about a dead family member. I texted my mother, I would have talked to my father if he was still with us.

137-year old anythings shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions on their own. I’m sure the owners are fine people, this isn’t an indictment on them personally. I understand they have to keep up with the times, apparently rent is too high to maintain forcing their hand to make a sale estimated to be worth $4 million. I don’t understand how you rent a building that has been in the exact same place operating the same business for ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN YEARS but I also don’t own any 137-year old restaurants so what do I know.

All I know is this is the first restaurant I ever had bacon on a cheeseburger. The first restaurant I ever tried fish & chips. One of the few places in my neck of the woods that seemed to be frozen in time in all the best ways possible. After attending a wake we walked into Doyle’s, not even in search of food but more for comfort. My father told my mother it was idiotic to wear red around fresh death. “It’s bad luck,” said the half-Italian to the first generation Irish woman. She didn’t really care, anything to get a fit off. I tend to side with her on this matter, but he’s probably right. That’s a debate for another time.

There are six restaurants that my parents and I have consistently eaten at in my lifetime: Doyle’s, MJ’s, Simco’s, The Pleasant Cafe, A&N, and the Corrib Pub – the one in West Roxbury. Two of ‘em are now dead. Prior to learning of Doyle’s demise I would have told you the Corrib and Pleasant would outlive all of us. Now? I can’t call it. Dave better hurry up and do that pizza review in Roslindale that he’s been ducking before it’s too late. Would be a real shame if the so-called King of Pizza never got to try the actual best of the best.

“By the common man, for the common man” is what this website was founded on. Doyle’s was a hang-out for the lunch bucket Irish working class. It doesn’t get more common man than Doyle’s. I’ve never seen it quiet, which is why I can’t buy that people are turning their backs for more upscale options. There is certainly a class of people in modern Jamaica Plain who thirst for smaller plates and dishes they can’t pronounce. And with all do respect, I don’t give a fuck about those people, bro. I really don’t. It’s still Boston, there are still plenty of spots for the elite littered around the city. There’s only one Doyle’s though, and by Thanksgiving there wont even be that.

There are early concepts, supposedly, for a four story low-rise equipped with a modern bar and upscale eatery on street level. Because nothing says luxury living and fine dining like the scenic views of fucking Boston English. Which brings me to my real gripe here: Can someone do me a favor and remind Jamaica Plain who the fuck they are one time? I should have seen this coming when they ripped down the overpass by Forest Hills. I don’t need Boston to stay dangerous so that I can romanticize how it used to be. I’m not trying to be my elders who talk about the Combat Zone as if the citywide curfew isn’t a good idea. But I do believe there’s tremendous value in keeping its character, its charms. Doyle’s is the first establish to sell Sam Adams. I don’t need the whole city to follow Southie’s sell-out plan.

Sláinte, Doyle’s. 1882-2019 is a helluva run, but you still had plenty of prime years left.