BOSTON (CBS) – There was a time when Boston had only a handful of real gourmet restaurants. Maison Robert and Locke Ober among them. But then came Hamersley’s Bistro. But soon, the famed South End restaurant will close. But the namesake owners are definitely not retiring.
“Sweet and sour is what we’re calling it today,” says founder Gordon Hamersley. The celebrity chef who never acted like a celebrity is closing his famous restaurant on his own terms. “We’ve had a wonderful run for 27 years, so it’s a good stopping point for us,” he says.
With his wife Fiona, he revolutionized the Boston restaurant scene when the Bistro opened in 1987. “My goal was to create menus that were seasonal and hopefully buy that food locally,” he says. And for 27 years he made his “no jacket required” restaurant the place for exquisite cuisine.
“It’s not easy to run a restaurant for that long,” says Dave Andelman from the Phantom Gourmet. “I mean, tastes change, things change, conditions change but he was there in that kitchen, and he’s definitely leaving at the top of his game,” Andelman says.
“From the spot I stand in the kitchen ever day I get to see people celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, I get to see people do business deals, I get to see couples fight, I get to see people do everything. I think I will miss saying hello to people and hearing their stories and letting them know what we’re up to,” says Hamersley.
He’ll serve his famous roasted chicken for the last time at the end of October, and then it’s on to the next phase. “I’ve been very interested in recent years in mentoring young cooks in the city of Boston. I’ve worked a little bit with Madison Park High School, been working with the organization called Future Chefs over on Albany St. I really want to see young Boston kids be able to get into the restaurants and contribute to the city’s food scene,” he adds.
“Childhood hunger is another issue that has been very dear to us over the years and I want to get more involved in those issues in the city of Boston,” says Hamersley.
So the next time you go to a local restaurant that serves simple dishes cooked with elegance and sophistication, you can thank Gordon Hamersley. A new restaurant will open in the space on Tremont St. at the beginning of the year.
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