The Up and Coming Eateries of East Boston
East Boston is a Real Treat for Foodies
When looking for a bite to eat in Boston, tourists typically tend to gravitate toward certain areas. Quincy Market, Newbury Street and the Back Bay are just a few of the city’s most frequented spots, bustling with visitors looking for scrumptious meals. While these destinations are tourist-hubs for a reason, one of the city’s best kept secrets for foodies is East Boston.
Commonly referred to as Eastie, East Boston is a vibrant, ethnically diverse neighborhood that has, as of late, been thriving with restaurants of varying cuisines. According to the Executive Director of East Boston Main Streets, Max Gruner, this transition has developed over the past year. “East Boston has transformed from a place that has ‘destination restaurants’ to a ‘restaurant destination’,” he said. Eastie’s wide variety of cultures is one of the reasons why the area is so enticing, “Not only does [East Boston] have a minority majority…it’s a diverse minority majority. “There are Central American, Mexican, Ecuadorian and Chinese restaurants with varying levels of formality. Within a small walkable area, there are quite literally hundreds of restaurants,” explains Gruner.
Eastie’s food scene gained national publicity when Rino’s Place was featured on The Food Network’s popular show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” where the host, Guy Fieri, was astounded by the freshly made lobster ravioli. Also featured on the show is Eastie’s Italian Pizza Express. Gruner describes this restaurant as “a lovely hole in the wall. A family-owned business where you learn great stories about the recipes from the owner.” According to Gruner, that is one thing that sets Eastie apart from other parts of the city. With authentic, non-commercial food, it is not uncommon to have a relationship with the restaurant personnel.
Don’t miss the annual Taste of Eastie, a tasting event that highlights several local restaurants. Gruner cites this event as one of the reasons why Eastie has become a restaurant destination. This past January marked the event’s 20th anniversary and the turnout was like never before. “This event used to be mostly Eastie residents trying to support their local businesses.” More recently, however, the event has become increasingly popular with those from outside the city in larger metro areas. Also in attendance? Eastie’s newest demographic of young professionals.
Eastie has been undergoing a recent revival due to waterfront developments. The influx of young professionals has positively impacted the restaurant business. “Every time I blink my eye there’s a new building going up and whole new wave of people who call East Boston home. These young professionals have innate expectation and an appreciation for good local food resulting in the boom of restaurants,” says Gruner. These individuals are also the people who Yelp, Instagram and share their dining experiences, generating hype and business.
As Gruner explains, “East Boston is facing real threats and challenges as well as real opportunities and benefits that come with such renewal.”
But one thing that Gruner says will remain: this neighborhood’s charm.
“Because of its history, being a gateway to immigrants, it is in East Boston’s DNA. Being really welcome to visitors and new arrivals,” describes Gruner, “I don’t see that changing at all.”
So when visiting the Greater Boston area and looking for great eats, skip the tourist traps and head to East Boston to indulge in old-world Italian fare, authentic Latin cuisine or an organic vegan meal. The food is as diverse and vibrant as the neighborhood itself.
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, PAULA MARINO
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