Reservations Recommended
Chapter 2: Flynnís Olde Boston Eating & Drinking Establishment
Part 9: The Review
by Eric Kraft, as Peter Leroy
Reservations Recommended

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  BOSTON BIWEEKLY ONLINE PRESENTS . . .

The Epicurean Adventures of B. W. Beath in the Hub of the Universe

FLYNNíS OLDE BOSTON EATING & DRINKING ESTABLISHMENT

Sometimes, when a bit of undigested mutton awakens us at night, we lie in the dark, musing.  You know the sort of thing.  What is the point of life?  What has become of our old pals?  Do any olde Bostonians ever go to Flynnís?  Recently, we decided that we had to know the answer to at least one of these questions, so we called some old pals who have spent the last few years seeking the point of life in Ohio, invited them for a visit, and took them to Flynnís.
    We squeezed past the little stand selling T-shirts, beer mugs, baseball caps, and coasters emblazoned with the legend ďFlynnísóA Taste of Olde Boston,Ē and  joined a small mob of people from states in roughly the same neck of the woods as Ohio until we were invited to wait in the lounge.
    At this point, we would like to say something on the subject of parking.  Did you know that on Beacon Hill a parking space costs more than a one-bedroom condominium?  Itís enough to keep you awake at night, isnít it?  Actually, though, thatís not the sort of parking we mean.  We mean the practice of making one wait for a table in the bar or lounge so that the establishment makes a larger profit on liquor.  At Flynnís, parking is a tradition.  It is even supposed to be part of the fun.  One never knows whom one will meet while waiting at Flynnís (though one can be pretty sure that he will be a bathroom-fixture salesman from one of the many states that seem to be located in the Ohio region).  Most diners are drunk as skunks by the time they lurch out of the lounge and into the dining room.  Presumably, this is, like everything else at Flynnís, a tradition.
    The lounge looks like the setting for a beer commercialóin fact, all of Flynnís looks like a beer commercial.  Itís a big, noisy place that, like it or not, says ďBostonĒ to the rest of the country, as do, presumably, codfish cakes, scrod, chowder, lobster, roast beef, baked beans, boiled budayduhs, and Hahvud beets, baked apples, Indian pudding, corn bread, and sticky buns.  One of the famously brisk serving wenches tosses the sticky buns onto the table as soon as everyone has ordered another drink, so that when your pals return to the nationís buckeye zone they will be able to say, as proof of their having tasted the real Boston, ďIsnít it queer the way they serve you sweet rolls before the meal?Ē  (By the way, we canít help wondering whether another expectation about Boston isnít confirmed at Flynnís.  The dining room is a sea of white faces.  The occasional black, brown, or beige diner is as surprising as pumpernickel would be in the breadbasket.  We spotted a single black diner on our visit.  The only other nonwhites were Japanese, a group of businessmen who, in a touching moment of international cliché exchange, snapped pictures of one another wearing lobster bibs.)
    And now, we have something we would like to confess.  Forgive us, Father, but we were brought up in N*w Y*rk, raised on the clam chowder known hereabouts as M*nh*tt*n.  Our first impression of what Bostonians consider the real goods, chowderwise, was that it must be a tonic for ulcer victims.  We have, since then, found some wonderfully creamy examples that made us like the stuff, but what we got at Flynnís is not one of them.  This is the Wonder Bread of chowders.
    Visitors expect things Bostonian to be olde, and Flynnís satisfies that expectation, too.  Weíre not talking only about the lobsters, either.  Flynnís really is an old establishment, the Flynn family having opened the doors in 1785 (to, we suppose, a group of Cleveland Indians on a package tour).  But to be old is not enough.  To fulfill the expectations of the tourist, the place must look old, and Flynnís has accomplished this supremely well, through the simple expedient of, apparently, not cleaning the place for the last hundred fifty or so years.  (We may be wrong about this.  It is possible that the stains darkening the floors and walls have been sprayed on for effect.)
    A warning: Quite suddenly, late in the evening, just when you are beginning to think that it must be about time to go home, a gang of famously brisk waitresses will arrive at your table and serve food.  By this time, you will have been consoling and distracting yourselves with alcohol for so long that the idea that food might be served will have slid into the dark area of your brain where most of the cells are dead.  Your pals are apt to be confused, even frightened, by this horde of waitresses bearing huge steaming trays of stuff.  Assure them that itís traditional, one of the quaint ways of Olde Boston.
    Based on what we can remember of our investigation, we can say, without fear of contradiction, that people who reside in Boston don lobster bibs at Flynnís only when hosting out-of-town pals.  Beware!  The pals may decide to get even.  They may press you to visit them, and then make you eat buckeyes or something.  Permit us to make a suggestion.  Mail this review to your pals.  Perhaps theyíll decide to visit San Francisco and eat cioppino.

  óBWB
Flynnís Olde Boston Eating
& Drinking Establishment
16 Tetford Street, 555-3232.
American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, checks.
Handicapped: difficult access. 
Lunch 12-3, Monday-Friday.
Dinner 6-11 Tuesday-Sunday. 
Reservations are not accepted, never have been accepted, and, in the interest of tradition, never will be accepted.
  Detail from the Cover of the Original Crown Hardcover Edition
RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED | CHAPTER 3, PART 1 | CONTENTS PAGE


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Copyright © 1990 by Eric Kraft

Reservations Recommended is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the authorís imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

First published by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group.

Now available in paperback from Picador USA, a division of St. Martinís Press.

For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail Alec ďNickĒ Rafter, the authorís earnest agent.

The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesnít particularly resemble Peter Leroyóexcept, perhaps, for the smile.

 

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