Edition 2: Tony Messina
Reminiscing on a nostalgic city with a brand-new spark
With extreme trepidation, I traveled across country to Boston, Massachusetts to set my
youngest son Dante up in his first apartment. The pain of cutting yet another apron string is gut
wrenching and in the middle of a pandemic is quite terrifying. However, one must give Boston
tremendous accolades and kudos for maintaining strict safety measures and respect for the
common health and good of all. Everyone and I mean everyone, were courteous, kind and
aware of the potential health hazards and risks. From my hotel and its staff, to grocery stores,
to the bigger chain stores, to boutique stores, to ALL the pedestrians sharing the street. I felt
quite safe and certainly slightly more relieved leaving my son in Boston.
It is the restaurant scene that made me giddy with glee. Some of our traditional restaurants
were closed, so Dante and I had to venture out of our regular restaurant haunts. With the help
of Jill Buss and her steadfast research and perseverance of all things great, we were blown
away by what are now our new haunts. Boston is becoming a mecca of fine food and wine. No
longer can I stay just a week and exhaust the culinary delights. One simply cannot be bored
eating your way through Boston.
Every time I go to Boston, it is a walk down memory lane, as I too lived there for 3 years while
attending Emerson College, as did my oldest son Enzo and currently my youngest son Dante.
We spent every summer in Nantucket and often stopped in Boston so Enzo and Dante could run
the commons and feed the ducks. I have been fortunate to watch Boston evolve through the
years: as a college student, a mother of young children and now a mother of sons going to the
very same college I did. Trippy!
Knowing my love for cutting edge cuisine and fine food…Jill Buss demanded and implored me to
give UNI a try. Imagine my joy when our car pulled up to the Elliot Hotel and Bar where I had
often found myself in my youth running the streets of Comm Ave. Memories, Déjà vu and slight
embarrassment as I climbed the steps with my child.
In this edition, I am thrilled to introduce Tony Messina, a James Beard Awarded Chef. His menu
is tantalizing, surprising and delightful. Blue collar roots, values and ethics, combined with the
free spirit of an artist, takes you on flights of fancy while still keeping you rooted in umami
earth tones. Tony marries Asian flair with his Mediterranean roots. A coupling one can’t
imagine and still he manages a perfect marriage.
I was mesmerized days after by our dining experience at UNI and just had to meet the chef.
Gratefully, Tony granted me a meeting and an interview. I hope you enjoy our repartee as
much as I enjoyed meeting him and devouring his food.