Stoddard's Fine Food and Ale
48 Temple Place
Boston , MA 02111
I will be the first to admit that I am an easy target for the folks in marketing. Everyone has a friend or two who is quick to educate you on the evils of the marketing machine and its subliminal mind control but, regardless of your own take on the subject, but truth be told, when I see an ad for skinny jeans, or Starbucks, or Clash of the Titans, I feel that need to purchase creep up and grab my wallet. And when we discover that the very thing we've been told to want is currently unavailable, we're left feeling unsettled and unsatisfied...Enter Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale.
For those of you who have kept up with the news of this soon-to-be/sort-of-already-is hotspot in the Ladder District, enter Stoddard's again. And again. And again. For months, a plethora of news sources, websites, and PR companies have clung to the public's anxious anticipation, insisting that the opening of this historical establishment is happening next week, or next month, or simply "sometime in the future," but to no avail. Well, fellow followers, the day has finally arrived, and the moment of truth is upon one of Boston's most anticipated new eateries.
Located on Temple Place, the newly-renovated Stoddard's is set to kick off its grand opening this coming Friday. While the Prohibition-era bar and restaurant has quietly opened its doors to the neighborhood over the past week, April 16 will be its official debut and, with that, the public's first opportunity to get a look at that thing they've been pining for since November of last year.
Alright so all this pinning can't be for nothing. What's the appeal?
First off, Stoddard's is steeped in Boston history. From the moment you enter the building, it is obvious that this establishment is a labor of love - not only for the bygone era of indulgence in handcrafted cocktails, unique craft beers, and sumptuous American comfort food, but also of a love for the city that gave this building its storied past. The place itself is a living museum: on one side of the restaurant, the wall is lined with women's lingerie, an homage to the corset store originally housed at 48 Temple Place, one of the city's oldest buildings. Further into the space, you can find the original Stoddard's Cutlery sign, namesake of the restaurant and an old Boston mainstay for decades, not to mention the two mezzanines, circa 1912, that were purchased from the demolition of the nearby Filene's Basement, or the foot rail at the bar that once served as an original track on the MBTA's Green Line. At once, Stoddard's is a trip back in time and space to turn-of-the-century New England and a hip, fresh take on the period of speakeasies and imbibing that feels and is authentic.
While it is a small space, Stoddard's offers limited seating along the Del Monte bar, a massive oak-and-mahogany number made by the Brunswick Company, the same people responsible for many of the world's pool tables. There are also some pub-style high-tops in the bar area as well as quieter, more private dining available toward the front of the room. But no matter where you sit, it is recommended that you try several menu items that are sure to become fast favorites, including the lobster scallion hush puppies - crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and served with a spicy avocado aioli - as well as the aged gouda and cask ale fondue that comes with house made pretzel bites. For entrees, Stoddard's boasts several quality versions of traditional meals like chicken pot pie and a hefty, delicious burger in addition to more adventurous fare, such as the mushroom-stuffed quail or the ballotine of Vermont rabbit, which pairs well with its accompaniment of stewed prunes and salsify.
On the bar side of things Stoddard's is just as bold, concocting all manner of beverages, from classics like Sazeracs and Brandy Crustas to originals such as the Temple Smash, best described as a gingery version of a mojito. Beyond mixed drinks, the twenty draught lines and forty-odd bottles, not to mention the multiple cask ales featured on their extensive beer menu, give Stoddard's a remarkably well-rounded bar program to compliment both the unique and traditional dishes coming from the kitchen.
No matter how you slice it, nobody likes the waiting game. For months, people have pressed their faces in on the ever-changing storefront at 48 Temple Place, wondering day in and day out when the press releases for Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale will actually coincide with the real, live opening of the restaurant and bar. But the wait is over and the word is out. And after much delay, it is time for the general public to explore this long-awaited establishment with deep roots in the city and a speakeasy-style attitude of decades long past.
While we, the general public, may have been told for many a fruitless month to desire that which could not be attained, the place we've heard so much about has finally arrived. And if there is one thing to be said for all of the setbacks and delays, the mix-ups and the false reports, it is that the opening of Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale was certainly worth the wait.