BOSTON — The Locke-Ober restaurant, a Boston landmark that had been a hangout for celebrities from the political and entertainment worlds, has closed indefinitely pending the sale of its building near Boston Common, according to messages posted on its front door and website.
News of the closing spread through social media networks Saturday night, The Boston Globe reported. A worker at a nearby restaurant posted a Facebook message saying Locke-Ober was closing for good at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
No one answered the phone at Locke-Ober on Sunday.
The restaurant about a block from Boston Common opened in 1875 and earned its reputation as a fine dining haven by serving the city’s most powerful people, from executives and lawyers to judges, senators and cardinals. Some of its customers included John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Paul Newman, James Cagney and Jackie Gleason.
Celebrity chef Lydia Shire and business partner Paul Licari launched a restoration after taking it over in 2001, but they had trouble rebuilding it to its former prominence. The Locke-Ober ended lunch service in 2009 and was closed briefly last year after Shire left and previous owner David Ray returned. Ray ordered another renovation and introduced a new chef.
On Saturday night, more than a dozen people were seen gathered around Locke-Ober’s bar. Several of them were wearing white chefs’ tunics. They refused to let a reporter in.
A message on the restaurant’s website said, “To our loyal and valued customers: Locke-Ober is currently closed for business, pending the sale of our building. From all of our employees and proprietors, past and present, we thank you for your support and the opportunity to respectfully serve the community of Boston for the last 137 years.
“We have experienced many joyous celebrations with you and hopefully provided you with warm memories, memories which will live on. Thank you, it has been a pleasure,” the message said.