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Help! Historic/colonial restaurant in MA with GOOD food? [moved from Boston]

I'm trying to avoid a place where the building is the draw and the food is an after-thought. I'm planning a dinner for a large group (20 or so). I've ruled out the Publick House in Sturbridge. My last meal there was awful. Also, the Wayside Inn is not on my list. Food is good but I get the feeling they don't care if they have my business or not.
Sherborn Inn maybe?? I don't have any real limits on location. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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  1. You'll have to call them to see if they can handle a group that size smoothly, but I've thought my meals at the 1640 Hart House in Ipswich were good. Not great, but good, especially if you stick to meat and fish. The portions are large and the prices are pretty good, especially in light of the portions. Some things are a little sloppy in execution (premade side salads on cold plates, American-ized overcooking and oversaucing of things like pasta and risotto), but if you stick to what they do well, it's pretty good.

    Hart House the 1640
    51 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938

    1. I had a very nice, if not outstanding, meal at the Colonial House in Concord last fall. Their crab cakes are above par.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Boston_Otter

        That's Colonial Inn.

        Out-of-the-way Pickity Place in Mason NH certainly fits the bill for history and outstanding food but I am not sure they do large groups. If so, they would have to be seated at several smaller tables. http://pickityplace.com/ They only do luncheons so not an option if your event MUST be dinner.

        Colonial Inn
        48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

        1. re: Boston_Otter

          I second the Colonial Inn. Sherborne Inn is also very nice.

          Colonial Inn
          48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

          1. re: BostonMAC

            Colonial Inn also has some 1/2 price coupons on Coupon Clipper, probably not valid on a large group outing...but might be

            Colonial Inn
            48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

          2. re: Boston_Otter

            This might not be fair because I haven't been back in over 10 years, but my last meal at the Colonial Inn was so bad that I haven't been back in over 10 years. It tasted like high school cafetaria food.

            1. re: Blumie

              Yea thats pretty much what i thought but didn't say anything since people seem to like it. maybe its changed...

              1. re: hargau

                We last ate there on NYE 2010. It was memorably bad, as in my husband's prime rib had gone off to the point of being rotten. I know it's not fair to judge a restaurant based on what they serve NYE and other holidays, but there is no excuse for serving bad meat. And that was only the beginning.

                I would only go there for afternoon tea. It's hard to screw that up.

                1. re: Isolda

                  It's completely fair to judge a restaurant on NYE or other holidays. There's no excuse for a restaurant serving bad food.

              2. re: Blumie

                In that case, I certainly wish I went to your high school. Excellent pot pie, nice baked beans and the aforementioned crabcakes... not stellar but I'm guessing they've changed in the last decade since your visit.

              3. re: Boston_Otter

                We've had a couple of decent meals at the Colonial Inn over the last few months. We usually stick to New England types of dishes - beef stew, Indian pudding, etc.

                We went to one of the Salem Cross Inn spit-roast dinners and had a great time. I don't know how the regular menu is. The clam chowder/popover/prime rib/apple pie meal we had was good (not great), but the whole experience was really memorable.

                Colonial Inn
                48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

              4. Durgin Park has some pretty good selections: prime rib, baked beans, Indian Pudding and of course the place is historical. Haven't been for awhile so recent visitors may pipe in one way or the other.

                Durgin Park
                1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                2 Replies
                1. re: emilief

                  Thanks so much!! I'll contact all 3 restaurants and see what they offer. Great ideas! Thank you all.

                  1. re: emilief

                    Went 2.5 years ago for a friend's birthday and at the end of the meal we unilaterally declared to the friend that he was never allowed to have a birthday there again. Mediocre food, especially for the price. Also it was a madhouse but I suppose that's part of its shtick.

                  2. The Barker Tavern in Scituate has a great historical building and very good food ("American" fare). It's one of the few Colonial style restaurants I would recommend. Always a treat.

                    Barker Tavern
                    21 Barker Rd, Scituate, MA 02066

                    1. How about the Bull Run in Shirley? http://www.bullrunrestaurant.com/Home...

                      Bull Run Restaurant
                      RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

                      1. Are you willing to travel a bit further west? One of my favorite things to do during the colder weather is the "Fireplace Feast" at the Salem Cross Inn, in Ware. The inn is dripping with history, the atmosphere is really wonderful. The meal is cooked in the original way, with baking done in a beehive oven, meat roasted in a spit over an open fireplace, and guests are invited to help with some of that preparation, if they would like to. Finally, to your point, the food is very good. I usually go every other year, and always enjoy it.

                        I see by their schedule that they have dates in March and April, so check it out.


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mwk

                          Salem Cross is in West Brookfield, not Ware. ;)

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            Oops, you are right. Sorry about that.

                          2. re: mwk

                            Second the Salem Cross Inn - loved that massive fireplace spit. I think we also took a horse drawn sleigh ride or something - details are foggy as we took one of those party buses there.

                          3. The Sherborn Inn is really inconsistent, and their desserts are currently dreadful (everything is round, tall, and way too sweet) since their last pastry chef left. But the menu has something for everyone and the atmosphere is very pleasant.

                            If you want a real historic dining experience, Sturbridge Village actually has an adults-only, cook it yourself dinner in one of their house museums. I don't know if they'd do a private party, though, but it might be worth a call. I'm sure they'd consider it if you paid enough!

                            I also remember 1640 Hart House being decent, but I haven't eaten there in years.

                            I'd skip both the Colonial Inn and the Wayside.

                            1. Not exactly colonial, but 1834 Stone's Public House in Ashland has very good food.
                              Keep in mind, the Wayside is a non-profit.

                              Stone's Public House
                              179 Main St, Ashland, MA 01721

                              1. Fruitlands in Harvard (www.fruitlands.org) has historic buildings from the Shaker and Transcendentalist (Bronson Alcott) era. I have not been to their restaurant but heard it is run by either the people from Cast Iron Kitchen in Maynard or L'Andana in Burlington.

                                86 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA 01803

                                Cast Iron Kitchen
                                177 Main Street, Maynard, MA 01754

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  Cast Iron Kitchen was running it, unless that has changed.

                                  Cast Iron Kitchen
                                  177 Main Street, Maynard, MA 01754

                                2. I can't attest to the food (haven't tried it) maybe others can, but I wonder if Gibbett HIll Grill in Groton is historical enough for you? It sits in a beautiful area.

                                  1. Salem Cross has a beautiful setting and there are a couple private rooms (20 would be a little cozy), but don't expect any fancy fare...they are all over the prime rib and baked or mashed potatoes though! It is certainly worth a call to see what rooms, or even if the downstairs tavern are available.
                                    Perhaps you might also check out the Oliver Wright Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village. It is not the tavern actually within the Village. They are open for lunch, dinner on Weekends, host tea parties, receptions... the menu is a little more interesting than Salem Cross and ambiance in lovely, though more 1800's vs 1700's.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: farmersmarkethound

                                      Building is historic, I would like to hear recent comments on the food.

                                      Lafayette House
                                      109 Washington St, Foxboro, MA

                                    2. This is probably not practical because it's in CT but it IS New England. The Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic, CT was built over 200 years ago and the food is just as good as the ambiance. Maybe a two hour ride depending on where exactly you are in Mass. May not work for you this time but if you ever find yourself on the CT shoreline and you want a restaurant with a colonial atmosphere, this is the place.