So, How Did Those Election Day Restaurant Specials Go?
Suffice it to say the 2016 Presidential Election did not go the way many in Massachusetts had hoped it would. From Somerville beer bars to South End gastropubs, restaurants around Boston celebrated the end of the historic campaign with themed drink and food specials. But as the electoral college map filled in fiery red and the night ticked onward, how much fun were those watch parties?
Well, general manager Elena Todisco is never going to complain about a busy night at the Gallows, and that’s what they had.
“It’s unfortunate that it didn’t end in high spirits like it started, but Boston is a strong city and I think we will recover,” Todisco says.
While it never excludes any people or groups, the Gallows has a fairly liberal regular clientele thanks to its location, and also in part because of co-owner Rebecca Roth Gullo, who is a member of the board of a local Planned Parenthood affiliate and also on the state’s Democratic Party finance board. The Gallows hosted some Hillary Clinton fundraisers this year. Gullo is very upset about the outcome of the election, especially what it will mean for her dozens of employees, she says.
But for Election Night, it meant the restaurant staff was very busy. Todisco estimates 90 percent of guests flashed an “I Voted” sticker, in return for the night’s special poutine. The all-American chicken pot pie-topped French fry boat was made with red, white, and blue potatoes. The Gallows also sold truffle herb-roasted peanuts in homage to the favorite food of the Republican mascot, and carrot soup for vegetable-loving donkeys, and she says the dishes sold in equal numbers.
At Foundry on Elm, “our Nasty Woman cocktail sold 3:1 over the Orange Man, but the drink sales did not translate to actual electoral votes,” says general manager Gary Benacquista. “What started as an evening of optimism and hope for many evolved into a scattering of impromptu support sessions and open weeping.”
The Davis Square spot wasn’t alone. Elsewhere in Somerville, Brass Union was festive as polls closed. The Union Square bar’s three themed cocktails were among the top five sellers of the night, says general manager and beverage director Paulo Pereira.
But “Most of our guests left in somber disbelief at the prospective results as no clear cut winner was announced before we closed,” he says. “Results aside, it was a great turnout and we can’t thank our guests and the folks at [drinks sponsor] Captain Morgan enough for such a great event here.”
Bukowski Tavern, too, “was high energy at the start of the night and then the mood was full of boos and hisses as it began to show Trump winning. It then steadily eased into silent ‘blue state’ disbelief,” says Brian Poe, chef at the Inman Square bar.
His Beacon Hill restaurant, the Tip Tap Room, had a similar scene.
“People asked us to change to channel to CNN so we could see if the results were biased but all the channels were showing the same truth,” he says. “The crowd at both restaurants silently stared on in the same style of shock.”
The returns were broadcast in both of Night Shift’s taprooms, but sound was on only in the Annex. On-duty managers noticed most guests made their way to the second taproom, even as things were going Donald Trump’s way.
“People were clearly invested in this coverage, and wanted to actually hear what was being reported,” says marketing manager Janine Pohorely.
Even if they didn’t like what they were hearing.