Why Doesn't Boston Have 24-Hour Dining Options?

boston skylineJust don’t get hungry. (Boston skyline photo via Shutterstock.)


Restaurants are an important part of any city’s urban fabric, and to be a world-class city (at least in this century), you need a wide range of eating establishments for any budget, culinary inclination, or mood.

Got pho? Of course you must. Pupusas? Only the best. So answer me this: Why does Boston only have two restaurants that are open 24 hours a day?

As a quick refresher in demographics, Boston proper has around 625,000 people. So that means that there is one 24-hour restaurant for 312,500 people based on rudimentary mathematics. There’s absolutely no way we can fit all of those people into Victoria’s and South Street Diner without adding some serious outdoor stadium-style seating to both establishments. We are all going to be waiting a long, long time for that French toast and turkey sausage.

It’s something that college students bring up to me all the time, coming as they do from beyond Boston and sometimes from beyond New England. They expect a full plate of dining options, or at least something better than the “deli section” at the local Cumberland Farms. Why, why, why is that they can only get passable burritos and the ubiquitous House of Pizza during the daytime hours? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with these two staples of the college student diet, but what if they wanted something else a bit more elaborate?

It’s not just the legions of students who suffer. What about the rest of us? What about all of the tourists who’d like a bit more than the usual suspects? Maybe one of the local culinary schools can hang out their shingle for a new 24-hour restaurant with regional late-night specialties, like the celebrated “Garbage Plate” from upstate New York? Or even just some humble omelets would do.

Thank goodness the food trucks are picking up some of the slack around these parts and exploring new, untapped markets, but come on, Boston: We can do better.

  • MJ

    Ha! Garbage plates are awesome! My spouse was trying to tell somebody about them & called them “Road Kill” I knew what he meant & that is scary!

  • KG522

    My favorite is the New Yorker in Watertown Square, followed by the legendary Victoria Diner

    • HIGS

      Because the anti-nightlife Bostononians are organized and diligent. We have to be as political as they are if we want to make changes. We need to have a web site and let eveyone know who to call and what meetings to go to.

  • Alex

    Of course we CAN do better. It’s that certain folks don’t WANT us to. And they are WRONG.

  • Amanda B.

    Because Boston’s not a 24-hour town. I, too, have bemoaned the lack of 24-hr places, specifically diners! But when the bars and other places close by 2 at the latest and the T stops running, how are you supposed to get to those places unless you live near them anyway? As I always say, “Boston: The City that’s Constantly Napping.”