A New Lease on Life For Jacob Wirth’s?
When a fire destroyed the former space of Jacob Wirth in June of last year, Boston didn’t merely lose one of the few options for German cuisine (which was never a crowded field to begin with.) It lost an institution which had staunchly withstood both trends and circumstances since 1868. It wasn’t merely the loss of a historic landmark which remained in stark contrast to the perpetual redevelopment of the Theater District, and it wasn’t merely the loss of one of Boston’s oldest continually operating restaurants - it was the loss of memories. Sure, it was frequently a tourist-centric logistical nightmare which could cause a concussion if you leaned your head back ever so slightly. But who among you doesn’t have vaguely foggy memories of slurring along to songs whose lyrics you were never quite entirely sure of—and most of which you were entirely unfamiliar to begin with—over a plate of almost aggressively negligible spätzle and an overflowing mug or four of pilsners with unpronounceable names? If you raised your hand, fine. Enjoy Boloco’s new late night menu. I hear they’re open until 7 for you night owls.
Jacob Wirth eventually wound up being sued in August by Simboli Real Estate, its former property manager, for failure to pay back rent. The eviction notice, coupled with extensive water damage as a result of the blaze, seemed to indicate inevitably that the restaurant which had been a focal point for so many drunken memories was destined to become wistful nostalgia at best—and an annex to the Westin Hotel offering $65 poke bowls at worst.
But it may soon be revived; albeit in a drastically altered form.
Universal Hub reports that William Gateman and Nancy Maida (both of whom are affiliated with the Greater Boston Bar Co., which also operates the nearby Tam as well as the Beacon Hill Pub) formally appeared before the Boston Licensing Board earlier this week in a bid to purchase the liquor license of Jacob Wirth, which they hope to reopen operating as a sports bar to ostensibly be dubbed JW’s Sports Bar & Restaurant.
Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce has neither approved nor denied any action on the request, instead deferring approval until after the pair meet with three neighborhood associations. The Midtown-Park Plaza Neighborhood Association, the first of the three, will discuss plans starting next week.
Gateman and Maida's attorney, Mark Zuroff estimated that it would take approximately nine months and substantial capital to rebuild the Greek Revival facade, which has been registered with as a historic landmark with the National Register of Historic Places since 1980.
If only the Greater Boston Bar Co. would consider reviving Peking Tom’s, there just may be no need for heaven because we’d already have it here on earth, in the nebulous interzone between Chinatown and the Theater District.