Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

Doing one thing, and doing it right

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Restaurants & Bars 43

Doing one thing, and doing it right

another_adam | Jul 31, 2007 11:54 AM

So I've been pondering two rather different issues lately, and wondering if they might actually be related:

(1) after 3 years of living in Boston and dutifully following leads and eating out at all sorts of places, I'm still hard pressed to find any inexpensive-to-moderate places that I'm at all enthusiastic about, and
(2) recent threads about hot dog stands elicited quite a bit of excited and devoted discussion.

How are these related? Maybe they're not. But here's what I'm thinking: in the city where I used to live, many of my favorite places had just one or two menu items, with maybe a few variations of flavors/seasonings. And specialization leads to quality, especially for a small-time operation with a limited staff. They started the business to do what they do well, and people only go there if they like that particular food. Every day they focus on what they know, and there's no chance that you'll go and have a bad experience because you ordered something that isn't really their specialty, or because their attention is spread too thin so they're inconsistent. The customer base tends to be connoisseurs of that item, and will only come back if it's a good rendition.

It strikes me that in Boston, there are certain food categories that seem to stick with this model routinely: hot dog, burger, wings, pizza, and ice cream places. Why just these? I'm interested in places that do something *besides* these, offering just one(+) thing and doing it right. Examples: Ken's noodles has mainly just ramen, Alive & Kicking just has lobster, several banh mi places just have sandwiches. Even if you deny my premise, I'm currently just curious for your favorite places that offer one(+) type of item.

What are your favorites?

***EDIT: bonus points for things that are *not* hot dogs, burgers, pizza, or ice cream. Donuts and sushi probably fall in this category, too-- we hear a lot about those already.

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