Here is another installment in our Who Remembers? series. You can browse previous articles by using the search bar on the right or by clicking here. These articles are strolls down memory lane. In some cases, the buildings, but new businesses have replaced them. In other instances, the buildings or even the properties have been razed. Instead of a building, it may be a TV show, personality, or commercial that no one longer exists. Either way, it can’t stop us from taking the Memory Lane stroll!
As always we would rather this be a discussion. No one knows this area better than those who grew up here! Please, leave constructive criticism, feedback, and corrections. We’d love to hear your anecdotes. Please share!
While I grew up in New Bedford, I spent the last years of high school in the nearby town of Fairhaven. Over the following years of traveling with my gypsy caravan, I would travel, tramp, backpack, all over America, Western Europe and back to Massachusetts. It’s like a tractor beam from which you can’t avoid or escape. I alternated between New Bedford and Fairhaven many times up through today.
I’ve mentioned Fairhaven’s Top Ten Forgotten Landmark’s and iconic business like Barbero’s Pizza and here I’d like to wax nostalgic about another icon, The Huttleston House – a place I ate at frequently growing up.
Don’t flee – I won’t turn this into a “Eyes, Dry Eyes” narrated historical article about the 19th century Fairhaven tycoon, the friend of Booker T. Washington. and Mark Twain. The information on him is voluminous and ubiquitous and would be redundant here.
One of the most popular topics that people like to recall is anything that revolves around food, whether penny candy, certain dishes or a specific restaurant. The list of restaurants that have come and gone in Fairhaven, e.g. Tofu, Ground Round, A&W Restaurant, Naughty Dawgs (Dot’s Donut’s and Roger’s Dairy before that), Homelyke Bakery, and the afore-mentioned Barbero’s Pizza are too long to list.
The Huttleston House Restaurant was a Fairhaven staple for decades before it became “Emma Jeans.” It was a place where people got married, celebrated birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and business Christmas parties. Over the years people would mention that it was the sport where married couples went on their first date, had their first 21st birthday, visited every Mother’s Day or special occasion. Entire generations regularly visited that family-style restaurant.
Attending Fairhaven High School in the mid-to-late 80s, I remember the Huttleston House Restaurant being one of the destinations for bringing dates if you really wanted to impress them. At the time, the only real competition was the nearby Pasta House.
This was a time before smartphones were the third wheel, or actually, I should say before the smartphone went on a date and the people were the third wheels. The Huttleston House Restaurant was considered classy, respectable, and in spite of that, the prices were mostly reasonable and affordable. It had a special ambiance and was especially charming around Christmas time when it would be all decorated inside and out.
The interior always had that antique feel with its low ceilings, dark wood, and actual antique decorations – I believe they wanted to capture a bit of the 19th century, a time when Henry Huttleston himself roamed the town. The waiters would wear white Tuxedo styled shirts, black pants, and an apron. A large selection of wines was available. Slow, easy Jazz was always piping through the P.A. system.
Who cares about that though? FOOD. There was always some complimentary bread, rolls or baked pita crisps that arrived after you sat down and could be served with a homemade creamed dipping sauce or hummus.
I remember falling in love with the clam chowder as a kid. When I think of the Huttleston House Restaurant it immediately conjures up that clam chowder. Oh, and their amazing Baked Clams Casino. The Fried Clam Roll was the real deal clams and not strips, they actually used clams with bellies. Also “famous” was the All Meat Lobster Roll w/a Cup of Chowder, French Fries and a Pickle, which, if I recall correctly, was a healthy portion.
They offered a bunch of Veal dishes including Veal Piccata, Veal Michael – Lightly breaded & finished w/ subtly seasoned Tomato Slices & melted Swiss. Sauce de Veau, and Veal Oscar a La Huttleston was lightly breaded Veal finished w/ Lobster Meat, Fresh Asparagus And Topped w/ Sauce Béarnaise.
Chicken dishes were a mixture of traditional and original like Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Veronique – lightly breaded, sautéed & finished w/ Seedless Grapes & melted Swiss Cheese, Chicken Peach Tree with was sauteed chicken with peach sauce. Of course, every kind of steak you could think of, a variety unique, original salads, Swordfish, Tuna and Salmon dishes, Lobster in a number of ways including Lobster Savannah – removed from its shell, sautéed in a delicate Lobster Sauce w/ Mushrooms & Sherry, returned to its shell and baked to a savory goodness, and the popular Lobster Dewey -removed from its shell, sautéed in a Mornay Cheese sauce w/ additional Shrimp, Scallops, & Crabmeat, A dash of Sherry & Cognac, then placed baked into its shell and dusted w/ seasoned breadcrumbs.
OK, I’m seriously salivating.
Unfortunately, the restaurant began to go downhill in terms of quality. To this day, I am unsure what the reasons were, but bit by bit aspects began to be neglected. It was empty for approximately 5 years before it was demolished. I have read comments from people on social media that said the owner bought Mikey B’s restaurant and that you can actually order things from the old Huttleston House menu!
What were your fondest memories of the Huttleston House Restaurant? Did you have a milestone, anniversary, birthday or first date there?