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Jan 14, 2009 06:29 PM

Looking for the best cornbread in Boston

I've had the cornbread at Summer Shack, at Durgin Park (RIP) and lots of other places, who makes the best?

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  1. Well, I wouldn't say it's the BEST, but I did try an interesting and unique corn bread from Hi-Rise Bakery in Huron Village section of Cambridge. It wasn't the standard yellow corn-mealy stuff that I'm used to (and love), but was closer to a traditional loaf of wheat bread, but with a subtle corn flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. Why do you note Durgin-Park as RIP?

      1. What's with Durgin Park RIP? They closed? The web site is still there.

        There's no such thing as cornbread in MA, just sweet corn cake wrongly called cornbread. (Except at my house.) Nobody makes real corn bread, as New Englanders wouldn't know what to do with it. Real corn bread is dense and NOT SWEET! The stuff around here is much too risen and fluffy, and sweet like a dessert. You end up wondering where's the frosting instead of looking for a pat of butter and a bowl of beans with hamhocks and some sour corn relish.

        11 Replies
        1. re: applehome

          Scuze me. While one can debate whether it's a bread in your sense, I have one word for you: jonnycake. Rhode Island and SE MA. Two styles, I prefer thinner East Bay style. Make it with genuine local white flint cornmeal (flint corn is beyond heirloom, and has a unique grit due to its millstone-dulling hardness).

          1. re: Karl S

            love jonnnycakes. completely different then cornbread

            1. re: Karl S

              Oh I know - didn't mean to sound so uppity about it - I think I was upset that Durgin Park supposedly closed. I can't find any reference to that in the paper sites (, but I haven't got around to calling them yet to check it out. I wish the OP would come back with what he/she knows about it.

              There definitely is a significant improvement in cornbread over the last 20-30 years. I used to be particularly upset when supposedly southern food restaurants, particularly bbq, served northern style sweet cornbreads. But there are, now, places that make it in the skillet and make it dense and not sweet.

              I agree with Striper, below - make it yourself in your cast iron pan. I follow the recipe on the Quaker Oats package, except that I even out the flour/cornmeal (1:1, instead of more flour and less cornmeal), and I leave out the sugar - or maybe add just a 1/2 tsp. The key is to pre-heat the oven and pre-heat the pan. Put a pat of butter in the pan before pouring in the batter - that crusts up the bottom nicely.

              1. re: applehome

                We've moved the recipe discussions over to the Home Cooking board, at

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  Sorry folks, it looks like that didn't work. We'll try to get Engineering to fix the thread, but in the interim, if anyone who participated in that thread wants their post back to repost, please let us know at We can usually dig them out of admin tools.

                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                    I went to the store yesterday and bought the corn meal and the buttermilk to make the recipe. When I looked fo the recipe it was gone! It looked great. Any chance to find it again?

                    1. re: macadamianut

                      Easiest thing is probably to go here:
                      and scroll down to Barmy's post with the recipe.

                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            It just came out of the oven and it's gorgeous! My house smells heavenly. It's big fat and round and I cannot wait to eat it and serve it to my family tonight. Thanks for sharing BarmyFotheringayPhipps.

                2. I actually found something approaching a southern version at Lower Depths in Kenmore Square. Came in a cast iron pan, crunchy edges and it wasn't sweet or cakey. The only version they were offering was with jalapenos, but it wasn't overwhelmingly hot. It's been a few months so my memory is hazy, but I think it was only offered as a side with the chili. Anyway, as a New Englander, I did know what to do with it - I ate it.

                  1. I second the Union Bar and Grill. The corn bread is served in a hot skillet, not sweet and somewhat adictive.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ghostcat

                      I didn't see it on Union's menu. Do they automatically serve it before dinner instead of a bread basket?

                      1. re: pollystyrene

                        Yes, in a little cast-iron skillet with very good butter.