What Boston Market Was First Called

Known for its rotisserie chicken and healthy homestyle meals that you could serve on Thanksgiving, Boston Market has been a staple in fast-casual restaurants since 1985. According to Money Inc., Steven Kolow and Arthur Cores teamed up in December 1984 to open the eatery in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.

In the early days, Cores prepared some of the dishes himself while he and Kolow borrowed recipes from their grandmothers for other menu items (via Reference for Business). After all, grandmothers have the best recipes, don't they? It didn't take long for the "Nobody Does It Like We Do" restaurant to gain popularity and expand beyond the Boston area.

By 1997, there were more than 1,100 restaurants in the United States, but sadly, after additional partnerships, expansions, and changes, the team ended up biting off more than they could chew. The chain declared bankruptcy in 1998, reported The Morning Call, and was later purchased by McDonald's Corporation (via Supermarket News).

The restaurant underwent one change after another following its 1985 opening. Some good, some bad. One of the good modifications involved the name change to Boston Market, which took place in 1995 (per The New York Times).

The original name reflected the focal point of the menu

When Steven Kolow and Arthur Cores combined their talents and experience to open their restaurant in 1985, they had a specific goal in mind. They wanted to give customers an experience that was one notch above a traditional fast food restaurant while also mimicking an at-home dining experience with healthy food options (via Reference for Business).

Each meal centered around one specific poultry item: marinated rotisserie chicken. The original restaurant name was intended to reflect this staple item that customers loved and nothing more. They simply called it Boston Chicken. According to Reference for Business, customers back then could choose from chicken soup, steamed vegetables, salad sides, sweet cornbread, mashed potatoes, and/or squash to accompany their rotisserie chicken.

The menu expanded during the restaurant's first decade of business, which is what prompted the name change in 1995 to Boston Market (via Money Inc.). The owners wanted something that better reflected the various food options. Today, you can still enjoy all of the above items, plus warm desserts, turkey breast, meatloaf, roast beef brisket, mac and cheese, sandwiches, and a number of other items.

Boston Market today

Boston Market's success since the mid-'90s can be compared to a classic roller coaster ride, with a mix of highs and lows. Boston Chicken saw a successful decade of business before becoming Boston Market and filing for bankruptcy in 1998. The chain regained momentum under the ownership of McDonald's and Sun Capital Partners (per Restaurant Business), but the rebound was short-lived. Sales started to decline once again in 2019, prompting another sale in 2020 (via Nation's Restaurant News).

Today, there are more than 300 Boston Market locations in the U.S., according to the official Boston Market website, and the restaurant continues to evolve in different ways. For example, according to Money Inc., the restaurant now offers catering services and even sells frozen dinners.

The menu also continues to evolve. Paying homage to the restaurant's original name and signature menu item, you can now order lemon piccata rotisserie chicken or rotisserie chicken nuggets (via the Boston Market website). Boston Chicken may now be Boston Market, but chicken will always be the heart of the restaurant.