I was sad when I heard that the building housing the popular Dorchester neighborhood restaurant, 224 Boston (a.k.a. 224) was up for sale. I assumed 224, which has been serving meals since the 1980s would close, but rumor has it that the longtime owner, Kevin Tyo, found a buyer who wants to continue with business as usual when they take over the property next month.
Venture out of downtown and enjoy a n’hood gem like 224
Saturday night I decided to head over and grab dinner at 224. Chalk it up to nostalgia. Even though it has been several years since last visiting, everything looks the same, 80s music plays nonstop, unpretentious patrons from the neighborhood crowd this tiny restaurant and small bar. Sitting at the bar I was greeted by a friendly bartender who had no idea how to pronounce an “R”, moments later I heard the woman next to me describe her meal as, “Wicked”. The gentrification of the South End means that wicked is no longer used in the traditional Boston sense like this woman used it to express her satisfaction with her dinner. That combined with the thick Boston accents surrounding me made me realize how much Boston has changed and how much I miss places like 224, which use to be far more common in the South End (anyone remember Pho Republique, Geoffrey’s, Le Gamin, Claremont Cafe, etc…)
Prices at 224 remain reasonable with main plates ranging from $19-$24. The full menu is large with plenty of starters, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads (which by the way are even more affordable). I started with a big glass of a California Cabernet and the “Fork and Knife Caesar”, which is topped with fried anchovies and an anchovy-laden dressing, that I thoroughly enjoyed and devoured despite being large enough to share.
When I was looking over the menu, the friendly bartender told me he really likes the Prosciutto and Fig Flatbread. Since I had been eyeing it, I figured I would try it. I’ll be candid, Stella’s braised short rib and fig flatbread remains my favorite, but 224 serves a satisfying flatbread and at roughly 30% less it shows how affordable dining can be if you venture out of the downtown neighborhoods.
224 is not fine dining and there are similar plates in other restaurants that may be better, like the fig flatbread, but the charm of this place cannot be topped and the comfort food that has been coming out of their kitchen for nearly 40 years impressive. If I lived closer to 224 I would be there several times a week. If you’ve never been or if it has been several years, do yourself a favor and go visit this Dorchester gem. They are open for dinner 7-days a week.
224 Boston Street Restaurant
224 Boston Street (Dorchester)