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Name of Restaurant that used to be in Combat Zone

My wife and I used to go to this little hole-in-the-wall place in the Combat Zone- this would be mid 1980's. I believe it was on LaGrange st. It was very good- there was a chef who did everything--even served you if I recall. It seemed like it was far ahead of it's time. A little bistro type place, when there wasn't really anything like that in Boston.
Does anyone recall the name of this place or the chef and what became of him? I wanna say the name had the word "market" in it, but can't really remember.
Thanks for any help on this--it's driving us nuts-- our son goes to school near there now and we try to remember every time we walk by there.

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  1. It was the Downtown Cafe.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Allstonian

      Sorry - was in a hurry! I only recall the LaGrange Street location, but apparently in 1991 it moved to Washington Street near the Chinatown Orange Line entrance. I only ate there a couple of times but remember it fondly - quite an eccentric little place, and clearly a labor of love for the owner/chef/waiter/etc.

      1. re: Allstonian

        The proprietor/chef/server was Dan Holmes. He was a great guy who also gaveguided tours of the Combat Zone and Theater District.

        Today Boston has superstar chefs such as Todd English, Lydia shire and Jasper White but they don't have the courage and vision of Mr. holmes

        1. re: Allstonian

          I live near LaGrange St and my wife and friends
          were frequent diners at Downtown Cafe. The street also had strip clubs, Glass
          Slipper, another club and now Centerfolds. I would regularly receive a phone
          call at home to walk the girls home from La Grange St. There was a lot of illicit
          drug activity and the women didn't feel safe; outside of the restaurant.

          -----
          Glass Slipper
          15 Lagrange St, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: 9lives

            I love that there's an automatic link for the Slipper

            1. re: 9lives

              The Naked Eye

              1. re: 9lives

                Was the "other club" Good Time Charlie's, by any chance? IIRC, this was at 25 LaGrange, and it closed in the mid-80s.

          2. Dan Holmes made many memorable meals for my husband and our friends. Besides the amaxing meals the after dinner conversations with the chef made you feel like you were truely welcome at the Downtown Cafe. Ahhh for a time warp machine to relieve the experience. As the other writers have posted this was a very special place

            1. Thanks for the answers. I guess it was the generic name that made it hard to remember. A great slice of Boston culinary history.

              1. I'm sure my memory is pretty fuzzy as I'm trying to recall back to the early 70s. I recall a little divy place on LaGrange St that served some pretty amazing eggplant parm and an older woman doing all the cooking. We would go there a few times a week on our lunch hour. Could this has been the same place?

                6 Replies
                1. re: Pegmeister

                  yes..I don't recall them being open for lunch.,but they could have been. It was a chaming little divy spot on LaGrange..about where Centerfolds now stands. It was an oasis on a pretty rough street...South side of street.

                  Bella, I know Glass Slipper was roughly across the street but I recall Naked I being on Washington. I could be mistaken and Naked I moved to LaGrange for a bit..after closing on Washington. Glass Slipper was also on the n side of the street...and moved in the 80's??

                  I don't think I'd eat at either..:) Not exactly CH cuisine; though people did bring in takeout from CTown.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    My recollection also is that the Naked I was in Washington.

                    It's possible that the restaurant Pegmeister recalls from the early 70s was in the same location as the Downtown Cafe, but I don't think it was the same restaurant. Dan Holmes really did run that place nearly single-handed; eating there was much like going to dinner at the home of a rather eccentric friend except with menu choices and a price. (My recollection also is that the menu was changed daily or at least weekly.)

                    1. re: 9lives

                      I knew it was 'I' and not "Eye" as soon as I hit post! I once had a poster of all the girls out front that I foolishly gave away. Don't remember dates of locations.

                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        No worries!

                        Don't forget the "more intimate: Pussy Cat Lounge on Beach. They had an announcer with a voice like BarryWhite.he moonlighted the 504 bus to/from Watertown. That was a shocker when I heard him...:)

                        So don't think I was a major patron of these joints; we all went trhrough divorces in the late 80s and were genuine friends....Glass Sl owners wife was a neighbor..wife friend. We went to LV or AC..first class all the way. Ringside at major events..Lots of drinks, I passed on the women and other party favors. They're all dead. I'm not.

                        1. re: 9lives

                          That's to be expected. You have 9lives.

                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                            I was friendly with the owner of Glass Slipper. He died of a heart attack in his early 50's about 10 years ago.

                            The recent owner of Centerfolds was a neighbor in my hirise. I never knew him cept knew his beautiful car and to nod hello in the elevator. He also died recently of health problems. relatively young.

                            -----
                            Glass Slipper
                            15 Lagrange St, Boston, MA 02116