dougo

A year of different lunch places

I started working at Wellist just shy of a year ago. The office overlooks City Hall Plaza in the middle of downtown Boston. I like to get out of the office to get lunch, and there are tons of options nearby, so for fun I decided to get lunch from a different place every day and see how long I could go without repeating. I figured maybe a few months, to last me until winter, when the snow would probably make me want to stick with the Subway one floor down from our office.

This past Friday, on the summer solstice, I decided to end my streak at the 200th different lunch place, Ruth's Chris Steak House at the Old City Hall.

As the streak went on, I developed some ground rules:

  1. Going out to lunch with the team for some occasion (e.g. to welcome a new hire) didn't count. I didn't want to be in the position of saying "sorry, can't join you because I've already been there".
  2. When the company orders food in, that doesn't count. We usually order pizza from the same place, and it seemed silly to avoid lunch if it's right in front of me. Same goes for eating leftovers.
  3. There are multiple locations of a chain within walking distance, e.g. Sweetgreen, Zo Greek, Dunkin', Starbucks. I counted each different location as a different lunch spot. (Yes, I got sandwiches from three different Starbuckses, because I had to spend a $25 gift card and I don't drink coffee...)
  4. Boston Public Market and Quincy Market have many different food stands inside. Each of those counted as a different location.
  5. Lunch trucks definitely count. I probably wouldn't have gone to the same lunch truck in different locations, but that didn't come up; lunch trucks generally get assigned to the same location all season. I probably would have counted a lunch truck separate from its stationary location, but it seems that none of the trucks downtown also have brick-and-mortar locations downtown. I also counted a few street carts.
  6. A couple months ago, I discovered a Fooda had opened up nearby, inside 75 State Street (with an entrance on Kilby St). They have a different pop-up restaurant every day, with some repeats (e.g. every Thursday is Chick-fil-A, although I never went there then because of Chick-fil-A's odious politics). I counted each different pop-up as a different lunch spot, on the theory that it's basically like a food truck.

I still have another dozen or so places on my to-do list, and I could easily expand that-- for example, I only went to one place inside the Corner Mall food court (in Downtown Crossing). But that already seemed a bit too far to walk for lunch. My rough rule of thumb was that I didn't want to walk farther than back to the Park St T stop, since I usually walk from there to work every morning anyway. But I did break this rule a few times: I went to the North End a few times, and once to Chinatown to meet Jasper, and I even walked over the Longfellow Bridge to have lunch with Kristin in Kendall Square (she works at the NERD Center).

Anyway, 200 is a nice round number, and it happened to coincide with the solstice, on a Friday, two days before my 1-year anniversary. So it seemed like a good time to have a ceremonial end to the streak.

For the record, here's my full list, in chronological order, in case you're ever looking for a different place to get lunch in downtown Boston:

Bostonia Public House
b.good
Karo's BBQ
Revelry truck
Spyce
Dragon Roll truck
Chicken & Rice Guys
M & N Great Taste
Zo Greek (Pemberton Square)
New Sushi, Inc
Saus
Upper Crust Pizza
Piperi
Panera Cares
1000 Degrees
Redbones truck
Cafe Artigiano
Melt truck
Al's
Shawarma Falafel
Uptown Cafe
Potbelly
Dig Inn
Falafel King
Au Bon Pain
Noon Mediterranean
Zaaki truck
Sam La Grassa's
Kinsale
Chipotle
Legal Fish Bowl (Quincy Market)
Cravin' Shallot truck
Trolley Dogs truck
Corned Beef Bus (Get Your Irish On)
Inna's Kitchen (Public Market)
Sach Ko truck
Amigos Locos truck
Cultivar
Viga
Luke's Lobster
Archie's Place
Sa Pa truck
Pita Thyme
Clover
Grotto
Beantown Pastrami (Public Market)
State Street Provisions
Boston News Cafe
Carrie Nation Cocktail Bar
Steve's (Quincy Market)
Doghouse (Quincy Market)
Noodle Labs (Public Market)
Bacon Truck
163 Vietnamese Sandwiches (Chinatown)
State Street Sushi
Silvertone
Bon Me (Public Market)
Shed's BBQ
Jen Lai (Quincy Market)
Tip Tap Room
Bailey & Sage
Barracuda on the Fly
MAST'
Bruegger's
Boston Smoked Fish Co (Public Market)
Crush Pizza
Ginger Man
Boston & Maine Fish Company (Quincy Market)
Anthem
Versus
West End Strollers (Quincy Market)
Pizzeria Regina (Quincy Market)
Caffe Nero
Zo (Merchants Row)
Marliave
Starbucks (City Hall Plaza)
Wheelhouse
Red's Best (Public Market)
Recreo Coffee (City Hall)
Sterling's
Render Coffee ('brunch' interview)
Scholars
Joshua's Deli
Sweetgreen (State St)
Subway (City Hall Plaza)
Boloco
The White Bull
Starbucks (School St)
Boston Chowda Co. (Quincy Market)
Dunkin' (City Hall Plaza)
Boston Kebab House
Koy Korean
Five Guys
Gene's Chinese Flatbread
Starbucks (Washington St)
Gourmet India (Quincy Market)
6B Lounge
Boston Kitchen (Quincy Market)
High Spot Deli
Italian Sausage Hotdog (cart, Washington & Bromfield)
Wagamama
Granary Tavern
Dumpling Daughters
Mmmmac & Cheese (Quincy Market)
Cosi
Swissbäkers (Public Market)
Aris BBQ (Quincy Market)
El Paso (Quincy Market)
Milk Street Cafe
Philadelphia Steak & Hoagie (Quincy Market)
Dunkin' (Tremont St)
Fill-A-Buster
Ueno Sushi (Quincy Market)
Warehouse Bar & Grill
All Star Pizza Bar
Bon Appetit Creperie (Public Market)
Sweetgreen (School St)
Law of Pasta (Public Market)
Mike's City Hall Coffee (City Hall floor 1)
Ogawa Coffee
The Popover Lady (Public Market)
Florina Pizzeria / Paninoteca
Megumi (Quincy Market)
Curry House
Cocobeet
Cafe Podima
21st Amendment
Fisherman's Net (Quincy Market)
Villa Mexico Cafe
Sabroso Tacqueria
Casa Razdora
Oyster Bar (Quincy Market)
Max's Deli
Ziggy's Coffee Bar
Oisa Ramen
North End Bakery (Quincy Market)
Espresso Love
Dunkin Donuts (State St)
Tradesman
Lucky Rice
City Hall Deli (8th floor)
Walloons truck
Lanta Thai
Oceanaire
Flame Cafe
Bell in Hand
Chikchak truck
Dining Car truck
Wicked Lobsta (Quincy Market)
Across the Border truck
Baja Tacos truck
Green Dragon
Wahlburgers truck
Tatte
The Prime Shoppe (Quincy Market)
Mediterranean Home Cooking truck
Da Bomb truck
Dock Square Cafe
Teri-Yummy truck
Moyzilla truck
Bibim Box truck
Pret a Manger (Post Office Square)
Walgreens (upmarket:sushi) (School St)
Ernesto's
Trolley Deli (Fooda)
Sate truck (aka Momo Goose)
Bartleby's truck
Clarke's
Maria's Taqueria truck
Farm Girl truck
Shed's (Fooda)
Itadaki Express (Fooda)
North 26
Donut Villa Diner (Fooda)
Foumami
The Halal Guys (Fooda)
Moldova Restaurant Comfort Food (Fooda)
Blackstone Grill
3 Amigos (Fooda)
Bourbon Street (Corner Mall)
Brothers Tacos (Fooda)
Bonapita (Fooda)
Burger King (Tremont St)
Unnati's (Fooda)
U&D Kitchen (Fooda)
Larry J's BBQ Cafe (Fooda)
Boston's Best Burritos (street cart, Washington St)
Pita Boston (Fooda)
Pancho's Taqueria (Fooda)
Syo Japan (Fooda)
Bittersweet Homestead (The Patios)
Papagayo (Fooda)
La Qchara (Fooda)
The Point
Farm Girl Brazilian (Fooda)
Nirvana Indo-Chinese (Fooda)
Mooyah
Bean & Leaf
Black Seed
Ruth's Chris


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