Ok, so by comparison, this winter was/is pretty mild. Compared to some years it’s almost as if it really never arrived. Officially, we have another couple of weeks of winter according to the calendar. But in South Boston as we all know it doesn’t matter what the calendar says. Spring arrives the day Sullivan’s Restaurant or ‘Sully’s’ as it’s so affectionately known to locals opens for business. And this Friday, March 1st, is the very much anticipated day and expected will be the annual onslaught of hungry hordes coming in from far and wide showing up with big smiles and even bigger appetites. This season, Sully’s will mark and will be celebrating its 68th year in operation at Castle Island. Sullivan’s has become one of the best-known landmarks for miles around. Yes, tourists come to Boston to walk the ‘Freedom Trail’, take a ride on the Duck Tour boats and visit Faneuil Hall, but a trip to Sully’s for some of the finest food around is often on the itinerary whether you come from South Boston or South Carolina.
Most locals know the story of how Sullivan’s came to be. Dan Sullivan Sr. opened it back in 1951. His goal was to give the customers great food for reasonable prices. Add in quick and friendly service and you have the recipe for success. If you’ve ever seen the lines on a warm summer’s day, you know how popular the place is and how quickly a long line moves.
It’s now 2019 and Sullivan’s has come a long way since it first opened these now nearly seven decades ago. It moved from one part of Castle Island to the other and increased in size as it was rebuilt and remodeled. When you walk through the door you immediately notice that the Sullivan Family has installed state of the art technology for taking your order and serving you even faster than ever. But the food, like always is worth making the trek to the island for because it is so tasty. Each year the menu gets a little bigger. The old standbys are of course their wildly popular hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and onion rings. They have a great sea food selection; including their lobster rolls, chicken, their famous grilled cheese sandwiches and other traditional items you’d expect to see at a restaurant near the beach. But they also have salads, smoothies, ice cream and yogurt treat, and a variety of drinks. And what everything on the menu has in common is that all of it is absolutely delicious.
Heading to Sullivan’s for a meal, a snack or just for something hot or cold to drink is always a good experience. Most years, weather permitting, opening day draws so many people that the crowds line up and stretch from the order and pickup counter all the way back to the Harry McDonough Sailing Center at various times during the day. So massive are the enthusiastic crowds that Boston’s news channels sometimes film it all from above with helicopters. But even with this many people, the line moves quickly, everyone gets fast service by the smiling staff who clearly like their jobs and everyone leaves happy.
Yes folks, opening day at ‘Sully’s’ isn’t just an enjoyable experience, it’s an adventure. Oh, and remember, the hot dogs are always half price during the first week of the season.