I wasn’t even living here and hadn’t even begun to date my wife. I won’t reveal my age then but it was decades ago. Middle Street Foods was already legendary for fine, fresh foods served simply but with an incredible taste. All the locals flocked there to get a spectacular experience and enjoy the historic feel of the South End. Tucked down Middle Street (obviously) and away from the crush of the typical tourist on State Street anyone who went knew their purpose – to get a delightful break from even then, the fast food and processed pabulum.
I remember just sitting at a table with a friend, having great coffee and soaking up the magic of Newburyport.
And then they closed!
Years passed, I married my wife and moved to the city. I looked in vain for my favorite hangout but it was gone.
Then, just as quickly, recently, it has come back and though not active, the original owner is in the background giving guidance. I was amused at first but just like the parade of empty storefronts of failed restaurants in Newburyport, I wondered if they would get their old customers back? Those who’s collective taste buds remembered the experience. And I wondered if the food was really what I remembered it?
So I cautiously stopped by and with little hope, checked out their menu – and ordered.
It was like I had time travelled! A very tasty way back machine had transported me back to the early 80’s. So, wondering if this was just a fluke, I returned again!
Being more prepared, only my taste buds travelled back in time!
So, the third time, I brought my wife with me (she’s tough on restaurants since she knows food and is a personal cook) Now, she too was shocked at how good it was.
Now, I try to refrain from singling out any one of our restaurants. If I started to rattle off all the good ones in town, it would fill this post and obscure my point! And I would also have to be forced to reveal the few mediocre spots in town and then I’d have a bunch of Chamber people and the businesses furious at me. There used to be a newspaper in town that specialized in highlighting great eating places but it has long ceased to operate. (unless it’s on the Internet now) I’ve already had my share of those angry at me for political reasons – hate to add another sector.
But I have to make an exception and alert everyone about Middle Street Foods! It is only a matter of time in which a bean counter is going to convince them that price point not taste is what draws in the customer. Someone financing the place will start complaining that they simply can’t provide the kind of food from the 70’s and 80’s in this day and age and make a profit. People are used to mediocre food, they’ll claim – save some money and start cutting corners. You know it’s going to happen. Either the present staff will do it or they will get so successful, they’ll sell it to someone and to recoup the purchase, the new owners will start putting out substandard foods (and replace the great customer service with a bored and slightly-irritated teenager).
So hurry, if you’re visiting and its lunch, hustle down there. If you’re local, get yourself down for lunch. The town has already tried to sabotage their business by putting cold concrete in front of their restaurant so the natural line of historic brick sidewalks is disrupted that flows from State Street. Perhaps its good for us locals – more tables for us!
but not good for the business as a whole.
GET THERE AND ENOY, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!