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.