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Boston Market.....my latest Chain Let Down...the Curse of the Bambino has moved to Chicken

What does all of the following have in common;
Janet Jackson's right breast, George W. Bush, Boston Red Socks, Detroit Pistons, New England Patriots, Shrek 2, Spider Man 2, My Life by Bill Clinton, 9/11 Commission Report, Hey Ya!! by Outkast, The last time I was in a Boston Market. (See answer at end of post)

While I will occasionally have Boston Market for dinner it is always when the wife brings it home. I haven't stepped inside a Boston Market since (see answer at end of post) but that streak ended yesterday.

To properly understand my viewpoint you need to understand a few things about me and Boston Market, the company was formed when every Friday Night, I was still under the lights, on the gridiron. After the game I would have Ellen on my arm and we would go out for the night. Often times we would end up at a Boston Market, the bright clean, crisp "healthy" alternative to so many of the fast food options available in the mid 80's. I won't lie.......I've been known to put down a chicken or two on the right night. Generally when my appetite for sacking QB's hadn't been sufficiently satisfied.

As I grew older.......and more experienced in life, so did Boston Market, the company saw remarkable growth in the 90's and was a darling to investors during this time. But like all good things......by the late 90's greed and over expansion of the brand led it to declaring Bk.

Last night out of semi frustration and desperation I decided to run over to our local Boston Market and pick up dinner. When I walked in everything was a little duller than I remember. Much like all our memories of the "glory days" things seemed to have lost their shimmer, the stainless didn't glisten, tables were un-bused from prior meals, the whole place was just a little dank. I walked up to the deli style counter which use to house so many side dishes, mostly healthy choices of a dozen or more sides. Instead I walked up to the steam table version of the ASPCA death row for abandoned pets. I looked at wilted sauteed spinach, empty brown potato product, something that looked like corn, but it wasn't yellow, brown creamed spinach and some other utterly unidentifiable products. All I could hear in my mind was that Sara McLachlin song "Angel".....I wanted to scoop up all those peas and set them free.......no vegetable should be left to dry up and die in steam table like that. I think a tear rolled down my cheek.

With a small amount of disgust I ordered my 3 large sides, mac and cheese, sweet potato (this was empty so I figured they would have to give me a "fresh" one, which took no less than 15 minutes for them to prepare), and for lack of any logic the brown creamed spinach. (I'm sorry I love creamed spinach and was really just confused by everything the words just escaped my lips). I got to the register and paid, and while waiting for my sweet potato to come out of the back I noticed the most shocking part of my experience. The chicken roasters.......!?!?!?!?!?! What happened to the gas fueled open flame, self contained roasters? Wasn't the whole point of Boston Market their fire roasted rotisserie chicken? I can remember them like it was 1985 again.......the glass front rotisseries with open flames, behind a shield and the chickens turning and spinning around in front of the fire in the back of the oven.

What I witnessed last night was nothing more than a large convection oven, with some red warming lights to give a "feeling" of fire I assume, just rotating a bunch of fatty chickens around and around. The fat birds on the spit dripping fat reminded me of.........well it reminded me........oh hell it reminded me of me in a sauna!!!!! And trust me that's not an appetizing pre-dinner visual. WTF???????

I bought the food home, placed it on the table for the family and I heated up some pork chops I had left over from the weekend. I tried the sides which were disgusting, the creamed spinach was sour, spoiled, uneatable.

So can someone tell me when Boston Market slipped so low? When did they get rid of the open fire grill/rotisseries? Isn't that about the equivalent of Mc Donalds deciding they are going to start poaching their burgers? I mean the whole concept of the chain, I thought, was fire roasted rotisserie chicken? Someone? Anyone? Uggghhhhh I don't know if I could ever eat their product(s) again.

Answer to above;
The year 2004

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  1. I remember the Boston Chicken days, and people lining up for the food. Then supermarkets discovered that they could do some business making their own rotisserie chickens, and I think that was death knell #1

    McDonald's owned them for a while, which likely was death knell #2--MBAs all about maximizing shareholder value or some such. Food taste and quality < cost cutting.

    I too hadn't been there in years...a month or so ago I needed to grab lunch and thought, why not. I too got the creamed spinach, which I remembered as being tasty. It wasn't. My sandwich was just meh. It will be a seriously long time, if ever, before I do that again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: coney with everything

      They use to have a delicious chicken salad sandwich for lunch. Now I wouldn't be so quick to trust it. Such a shame. Now that you mention it I do remember Mc Donald's ownership for awhile, that was probably a kiss of death as you mention.

    2. Great post, made me laugh and brought back memories! I wouldn't even know where a Boston Market is located near me these days, much less go to one!

      1. If you want flame-grilled chicken you have to go to Pollo Tropicale... We don't eat Boston Market much - it's EXPENSIVE... but when I'm not feeling well I love their meatloaf with mashed potatoes and dressing.

        1. Wow, surprising to hear. There aren't many around but I used to love their chicken.

          1. I used to like their "Carver "sandwiches.

            1. Based on a serving size of 12.2048 oz. here's what's in the Tuscan Herb Rotisserie Chicken (just check out the amount of sodium in that serving and be glad you've sworn off):


              At the same site on different pages you can view the info on anything the Market sells.

              1 Reply
              1. I never tried Boston Market until the late 90s, apparently the bad old days. ;) I didn't love it but my DH was on a Boston Market kick at the time. It seemed like a small step above a TV dinner to me.

                Over time I developed a craving for the creamed spinach and the sweet potato casserole. MSG? Who knows?

                I stuck to the turkey&stuffing + 2 sides meal until they started counting the stuffing as a side. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Thankfully DH had gone on to like other restaurants better by then.

                Jrvv, I always enjoy your posts. :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: thingmaker

                  Why wouldn't/shouldn't stuffing be a considered a "side"?

                  1. LOL on Sarah Maclaughlin's 'Angel!'

                    Boston Chicken opened up in about '94 two blocks away from where I lived in Chicago (Lincoln Park). For months and months, lines would be out the door.

                    They never recovered from expanding too quickly. Changing their name was another bone-headed move.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KrumTx

                      I actually thought the name change was a good idea.

                    2. I, too, used to go to Boston Market occasionally. But no longer. About a year and a half ago, i stopped at the one on Rt 46 in Clifton, and EVERY SINGLE BITE tasted the same. the broccoli the same as the chicken the same as the whatever else i had.

                      never again.

                      1. I used to like the meatloaf at Boston Market. I'd use one of the $2-off coupons (for $10 purchase) that were almost always in the LATimes Sunday paper, get the meatloaf plate, mashed potatoes, 1/2 dressing and 1/2 corn, and extra beef (darker brown) gravy. I really liked the little cornbread rectangles, too. With a drink (I like their lemonade) it was just over $10 - $2. For a big meal. With friendly, good service for such a place.

                        Alas, the one near me has closed a few months ago. I do sorta miss them -- they are only a few blocks from a golf course I play on the way home. And their soft drink cups were great, bigger and tougher than the usual fast-food cups, ideal for filling with ice and water for my round.

                        1. I used to go often but stopped for a few reasons
                          - when the cornbread starting to morph into a corn wafer
                          - I saw that in the back kitchen, they were weighing the turkey to put in my son's kids meal. Now I understand they want to be fair, but the portion size had shrunk with that too. He was about 5 and would polish off all of his meal and look for more.
                          -when my meatloaf sandwich was burnt to the point of inedible.