Checking in on the state of State Street

13 ‘oldies but goodies’ restaurants

It feels like Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” encompassed instead by eight downtown city blocks.

All it takes is a stroll along State Street these days — in the aftermath of the pandemic, civic unrest and ongoing mixed-use high-rise construction projects — to easily grasp the dichotomy. Some blocks feature restaurants that are open and vibrant, doing a brisk business as mask-free patrons return to a sense of normalcy. Others feature mostly boarded-up and/or vacant storefronts where new (and, sadly, established) restaurants fell victim to staffing issues, rising rent or insufficient customer traffic. State Street, still a heavy hitter in our fair city’s restaurant scene, feels trapped at a sort of existential crossroads, with strong pockets of success surrounded by reminders of what used to be.