Encore Boston Harbor is an amazing, enchanting place that has changed the face of Everett, Medford, Malden – the region just north of Boston. It is something you have to experience to fully get the magnitude of the street where once upon a time, back in 2014, you could spend your after-hours at Mike’s Donuts. Where today you can still choose Mike’s Roast Beef at 115 Broadway until 2 am, or go to Kelly’s Roast Beef 35 Revere Beach Pkwy, Medford until 1 am – and probably only at the drive-through.
But snap your fingers and say abracadabra and you are in the wonderful land of Oz with the Encore Boston Harbor creating a spectacular environment containing “15 dining and lounge venues; 671 guest rooms and suites including New England’s largest standard hotel rooms,” as I quote from the June 23 press release.
The opulent Sinatra’s restaurant is just one example of a classy space that plays the music of Frank, and has his favorite dishes on the menu. One of many comfortable and inviting restaurants to delight the senses along with Rare, Mystique, Waterfront, The Oyster Bar, On Deck Burger Bar, Fratelli, Red 8 – we are talking major food heaven
Now – you might ask, “But Joe, what about Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.” Some of my favorite shows played at Mohegan Sun – Peter Noone and his Herman’s Hermits, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, and truly a strange night with the late Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane guest-starring with Ambrosia (dear departed Marty made an indelible imprint that night, not only in performance but the huge autograph on the wall that Mr. Noone pointed out to me some months later!) …however Mohegan Sun is such a drive – Uncasville from Boston about one hour and forty-six minutes – which, you know, is two hours coming and two hours going…
Encore Boston Harbor is special and it took seeing the resort to allay the initial fears – fears of more traffic in our neck of the woods or what kind of element will a casino attract, etc. etc. Encore Boston Harbor is beyond casino, it is a true vacation landing place.
With our beloved Mystic River environmentally restored, the Encore boat on the river offers a frequent ride on the water unavailable to so many before the hotel and its beautiful recreational/dining/spa/hotel landed in our backyard. Hey, I miss Mike’s Donuts…really, but we’ve gone from a coffee shop on a road that led to nowhere to Star Wars at Disney World, kinda sorta.
The press release notes that Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Wynn Design, put it all together, citing “Dining outlets onsite range from nationally recognized experiences from the brand’s Las Vegas locations including Sinatra and Red 8 to exclusively local concepts like Fratelli, a casual Italian restaurant from Boston North End restaurant veterans Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano, as well as Memoire, a nightlife fantasy by Boston’s Big Night Entertainment Group. Encore Boston Harbor even touches the city’s local sports scene with private box suites at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden, designed to mimic the opulence for the resort and elevate the guest experience into the city and beyond.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
On the Saturday tour of Boston we were treated to DePasquale and Varano’s specialty bread at their Bricco Panetteria on Board Alley behind the Bricco Restaurant. This was on a tour with a remarkable woman, Carla Pallotta of Nebo. Pallotta is as well-versed as Danielle at Encore Boston Harbor, David O’Donnell of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brigitte Martin – Executive Director of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Flo on the Duck Boats, the information overload was as invigorating as the delicacies we were offered, Cannoli from Modern Pastry, coffee at Polcari’s Coffee courtesy of Bobby Eustace, bread from Bricco Panetteria concluding with special seafood from the brand new – as of June 2019 – Ciao Bella in 5 North Square. See the link for more details Check out the menu for Ciao Bella, the North End’s newest Italian restaurant
To give you more perspective on this writer’s journey, we spent five hours on Friday, June 21 and five and a half hours on Saturday, June 22, exploring the wonderful nuances of what Encore Boston Harbor has to offer. It is beyond casino. This adds to Boston’s legacy as a vacation destination – a destination that is sometimes a halfway point to the seacoasts of Maine and/or Cape Cod. Encore Boston Harbor has made the Mystic River a new seashore with daytime fireworks on Sunday the twenty-third (of June) as part of the grand opening.
Encore Boston Harbor’s aim is to be something special in Boston and that it is, someplace for the after-2 AM crowd that could never quite find the right atmosphere once the clubs in Cambridge and Boston shut down. Condensing ten and a half hours into a story is an art unto itself so consider this part 1, a sort of overview. We are developing a sixty-minute television special for cable access TV on Monday, July 1 with more stories on this incredible resort to follow. I am not a gambler, yet I’m planning on spending much time over at this new resort, at the restaurants, soaking in the atmosphere, on the boats. There is so much to offer it simply can’t be put into one article. Encore, indeed.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.