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Aug 29, 2009 11:09 AM

Best Baked Beans in Beantown?

I'm always hosting people from around the country and from overseas. When I do "Best of (Quintessentially) Boston" food, I have no place to go for baked beans. Any recommendations?
FYI, I saw the Food Network plug for Durgin Park, but I've never tried theirs.

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  1. Despite the nickname, there really aren't that many places left that serve baked beans. (I once got into an extended debate with someone on another food board who kept insisting that Boston was filled with diners that served baked beans, fish cakes and brown bread for lunch. This person eventually admitted that he had been in Boston exactly once, for a couple days, about 30 years ago.) Durgin Park may be your best bet. I've had perfectly acceptable beans and franks at Cabot's in Newton, but I tend to doubt that they were homemade.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      Besides Durgin Park, ARE there any diners serving the prototypical Boston lunch? I had that exact meal at Spanky's in Hyannis recently.

      1. re: Boston_Otter

        Not as far as we know. There are a few that offer some combination - beans with brown bread, maybe with franks, or fish cakes with beans but no brown bread. But we haven't been able to get a solid report of any diner actually IN Boston (including Brookline, Cambridge, or Somerville) that served that exact combination of fish cakes, beans, *and* brown bread.

    2. Durgin Park's are the archetypal Boston Baked Beans. I still have the bean pot that my mother bought there about 50 years ago, and still make their recipe.

      Let me temper this by telling you that I've seen some Chowhounders post *awful* things about the Durgin Park experience. I don't share their experiences.

      1. Agreed- Durgin Park is #1 for baked beans. The recipe is also great and more or less foolproof.

        1. Yes Durgin Park are traditional but my favorite come from Blue Ribbon BBQ. They taste like they have been cooked with brisket juices. Very delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: macadamianut

            Blue Ribbon's beans are great -- one of my favorite things on the menu, in fact -- but southern-style barbecue beans and Boston baked beans are totally different things.

          2. Another place you might expect to see this is at the Omni Parker House. Sure enough, Parker's, Parker's Bar, and The Last Hurrah all serve traditional Boston Baked Beans as a side with their sandwiches. I can't say if they're any good. I have had and enjoyed the beans served with most breakfast dishes at Persy's in Kingston. The Mashpee outlet is not nearly as good.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Persy's can go either way. They're either good or look like they've been sitting in the crucible for 3 hours and have a skin over the top.