Local 149

You can’t love them all. Local 149, a restaurant by the Biltmore Bar and Grill’s Jason Owens has opened up in the former location of South Boston’s much-loved Farragut House.

The Farragut House offered a cozy, unpretentious atmosphere with surprisingly good quality food, a perfect pint of Guinness, and authentic, friendly service. The Farragut House was perfect for what it was, a neighborhood joint that drew people who lived in the area. It was for all ages,  reflected its proximity to the sea, and poured one of the best pints of Guinness in Boston. And they made a perfect fillet of salmon.

Local 149 is a little different, and to be brutally honest, reminded me that change is not always good.

I had high hopes for Local 149 when I heard it was going to be a beer and oyster place along South Boston’s waterfront.

The outside of Local 149 features shiny wood and metal, modern, simple, and while nice, completely out of place in this salty, down-to-earth neighborhood. And nothing, inside or out, would tell you that a beautiful ocean front is a block away.

Local 149 South Boston

Once inside, we were informed of a 15 minute wait. The ladies at the hostess stand were very welcoming, and they ushered us to the bar to wait with drinks. Local 149 has an extensive beer menu, and I had a hard time deciding before finally settling on a Pretty Things Jack d’Or.

Local 149 beer menu

So here’s where I started to get a little annoyed. The bar crowd, at 6:15, was obnoxious. I literally wanted to put my fingers in my ears because of the people around us. There were lots of sleazy men in business clothes loudly hitting on women, who were equally loud. It was not my favorite atmosphere ever. Add in four TV’s and really loud music. We should have left then.

My beer and the bar staff were great.

Pretty Things

After about 15 minutes, the very lovely hostess came to seat us. The first table she brought me to was literally right behind the loudest of the loud obnoxious men, and when I asked for another table, she was more than happy to move us further into the restaurant. It was very much appreciated.

Local 149

Once we were seated, we looked around at the décor which is just busy. I can’t pinpoint a theme, with the glowing bottles and metal cattle horns, brick fireplace, and studded chairs. Coyote Ugly?  I can’t help but say I completely missed how cozy the Farragut House was. I just don’t know what’s going on in this place.

Local 149

But I had high hopes for the food. Again, we had a hard time deciding as the menu offered many great choices. We decided to start with oysters.

raw oysters

The oysters, as I understand, were supposed to be a big part of the restaurant’s Southern-influenced cuisine. They arrived, placed like they were thrown, on a plate of ice, and when I say I have never seen an oyster quite so mangled in my life, you have to believe me. I feel mean even writing this, but it looked like someone took an ice pick and just stabbed them a bunch of times. They were still completely stuck to the shell and a complete mess. To the oysters’ credit, they were deliciously briny, but I was so put off by the appearance, I started to not feel well.

fried Brussels sprouts

Fried Brussels sprouts to the rescue! Perfectly fried globes of green with a slightly spicy dipping sauce and a blue cheese-like dip were fantastic. These would probably be even better if they were smaller sprouts, as we had at the Four Seasons,  just to make them a little easier to eat. We polished off every single Brussels sprout, and things were looking up.

Until our shrimp tempura arrived. Look closely, my friends, at the presentation. Why would smearing sauce all over a bowl be appealing? It looked like someone had something they needed to get off their hand, so they wiped it on the bowl. I didn’t touch this dish, simply because of the way it looked. The husband, never one to care about such things, said the shrimp were great, but the tempura batter was cold and soggy.

shrimp tempura

At the very start of our meal, due to the fact that our table barely fit two beers, two waters, and a candle, we asked that our food be staggered as best as possible which didn’t really happen.

I just wonder if restaurateurs choose tables with actual food and actual people eating in mind. I was so uncomfortably squished and dropping things that I just wanted to go home.

Local 149 South Boston

Our final course, the beet salad with truffle vinaigrette, was a much needed saving grace. It was a stunning dish, dotted with quail eggs, candy cane beets, and topped with an earthy, fragrant truffle dressing. We gobbled this up, loving every bite. Isn’t it so pretty? It was a really nice bridge between winter and spring.

beet and quail egg salad

We also ordered the “spicy” pimiento fries which were just soggy, and never photographed. Not good fries, not at all.

Our meal was about half and half as far as things we liked and things we couldn’t eat.

And here’s where I get a little picky, because it annoys me when restaurants open without editing things. I am by no means perfect, by the way, and everyone makes mistakes. But when you have a menu that is a two sided document, it probably wouldn’t take 10 minutes to have a couple sets of eyes look at it. The menu had many misspelled words, including their ($6!) Guinness (Guiness to them) and tried, perhaps, with the below, to appeal to the Irish neighborhood they are in, with their usquebaugh, the phoenetic spelling of whiskey in the Irish language.


For the record, the correct Irish spelling is Uisce beatha.

In addition to all of the above disappointments, this place just felt very ingenuine, like they didn’t try at all to think of the neighborhood, history, or people of the location. I actually finished writing this post this morning, and I have to say the overall experience made me sort of sad as I thought more about it.

I rarely say this, but I would definitely not return, which is unfortunate because of Local 149’s close proximity to my house and to the Castle Island beach and walking area that we visit almost nightly in the summer.

You can’t love them all.

Have you been disappointed by a restaurant or other business that you had high hopes for lately?

Local 149 on Urbanspoon

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Tags: beer, disappointing, Food, Local 149, restaurant, restaurant review, South Boston

  1. GirlyGreenGirl’s avatar

    I just have to say that looking at the shrimp tempura dish makes me queasy. There’s no way I could have eaten that either!

    ~ GGG


  2. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Ugh, sorry this was such a bad experience. I appreciate your honesty, however, and have been recently struggling with whether to a not-so-glowing review myself. It was actually of Lineage, which I had so wanted to love. But our service was truly atrocious. Anyway, this post just made me realize there are constructive ways to share bad restaurant experiences.


  3. Elizabeth’s avatar

    That really is a lot of things gone wrong. Unfortunate, but good you made your assessment early on.


  4. ladygouda’s avatar

    Wow. I am surprised! Your review was really balanced and even-handed, though, and I thank you for your frankness. I also thought the Farragut House was great and was sad to hear it go- but had high hopes for the new place. Sounds like the team didn’t really do their advance research on the area, and they haven’t come up with a cohesive, thoughtful approach to the new restaurant. Sad.


  5. Michelle’s avatar

    Yikes, that sounds like a terrible experience. I appreciate your honest review.


  6. Elina (Healthy and Sane)’s avatar

    Man, that’s too bad. Sounds like half the food was ok but there is so much more to the restaurant than just food. All these little things add or detract from the experience!


  7. Daisy’s avatar

    really well written review. you are right, you can’t love ‘em all. thanks for all your attention to detail, in the atmosphere, the menus, each bad dish etc. I will say the brussel sprouts sound amazing and the beet salad looks very pretty!


    1. Daisy’s avatar

      but omg the temupra dish – how can you serve something looking like that? ew.


    2. Megan’s avatar

      Wow… that shrimp tempura plate looked incredibly unappetizing. I don’t have any recent bad experiences to share. The last restaurant I tried was Il Casale and it exceeded expectations.

      I should make business cards to leave at restaurants with unedited menus.


    3. Raija’s avatar

      The worst — losing a well-loved local place in exchange for something with a smear on the plate. Ew.


    4. alicia’s avatar

      Eh, what a bummer. I would be grossed out by the shrimp presentation too.

      Sounds like more and more restaurants are in need of Chromik’s editing skills.


    5. Shailah’s avatar

      I liked this place. Sounds like you really enjoyed the service too. Which is where I think most places fall short. I don’t really understand how the Farragut House of later years thought of the “neighborhood, history, or people of the location”. Southie needs a place like this and most restaurants screw up in the first few months. Give it time. Also, for the record. The Pretty Things beer you enjoyed was St. Botolph’s Town, not Jack D’Or and Usque Baugh is a correct spelling of that word. It traditionally is a cordial, here is a recipe: http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/CookbookBuzz2.htm
      And definition: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/usquebaugh….good enough for James Joyce ……but, Guinness is spelled wrong.


      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        Thanks for your comment and correction on my beer choice! You seem to know the menu very well, do you work at Local 149? The service was fine, not exceptional by any means, and as written, half of the food was pretty bad. I’ve been to lots of restaurants on opening night and absolutely expect a few kinks, but not quite like this! The place was crowded, and I am sure they will do well. It was just not my cup of tea. Thanks again for stopping by. :)


      2. Shailah’s avatar

        No, I do not work there. Just a local foodie that wanted to correct some mistakes in a valid, thoughtful critique of a new restaurant. Cheers!


      3. Grace’s avatar

        Looks like they have a lot of issues to figure out, as many new places do. How does a chef send something like that shrimp dish out?! It doesn’t look clean. . .


      4. Justin’s avatar

        Well, I guess they can’t all be winners. But, those brussels sprouts look amazing.


      5. Terri’s avatar

        Ick. That shrimp appetizer really does not look very appealing. Maybe if the stuff wasn’t smeared on the side?


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