towne stove and spirits is a warm, welcoming respite in Boston’s bustling Back Bay. It’s a place where all are welcome and the savory scents from our wood-fired rotisserie mix with the hearty sounds of laughter and good conversation. A place where people relax and enjoy culinary surprises from around the globe.
It’s a place for special celebrations, power lunches and private parties. A place where our valets take as good care of your car as our servers do of you. It’s a place where life is good. Whether you live in the neighborhood or are visiting the city, our towne is your towne.
Conveniently located adjacent to the Hynes Convention Center, towne is open daily for dinner and Saturday/Sunday brunch.
A powerful creative force, Lydia Shire’s passion for excellence and culinary talent is evident in all that she does. In her most recent venture, Shire teams up with fellow culinary great Jasper White as culinary directors to create Towne Stove and Spirits, an eclectic and exciting restaurant poised to become as iconic as its founding chefs.
Born in Brookline, Mass. and raised by artist parents, Shire grew up learning the importance of bringing quality to everything you do in life. At age four, Shire was peeling garlic alongside her father as he cut out recipes from The New York Times. Her first professional position was slicing paté and opening oysters as the “salad girl” at Boston’s revered Maison Robert. In 1971, Shire attended London’s Cordon Bleu Cooking School, after which she returned to Maison Robert but this time as a line cook. Three years later, in 1974, Shire became the head chef of this prestigious dining room.
Throughout the mid-to late-70s, Shire made her mark in Boston’s most respected restaurants: Harvest, Café Plaza at The Copley Plaza Hotel and Parker’s at the Parker House Hotel. In 1982, she opened Seasons at the Bostonian Hotel with Jasper White. The restaurant and the chefs quickly became nationally recognized for culinary “excellence” and “daring” – two words that still embody Shire today. The James Beard Foundation awarded Shire the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” award in 1984. In the fall of 1986, Shire was asked to open the new Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. This move made Shire the first female Executive Chef in the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Company to open a luxury property. A few years later, the sun and glamour of California could not sway Shire from her ultimate dream of opening her own restaurant in Boston, and in 1989, she returned to Boston and launched BIBA (“Back in Boston Again”). Shire was further recognized as a chef of amazing vision and talent, as she presented an internationally-inspired menu arranged by types of food: fish, offal, meat, starch, legumina and sweets.
In 1992, the James Beard Foundation honored Shire as “America’s Best Chef – Northeast.” That same year, Food & Wine reported that Shire was “One of America’s Top Ten Chefs.” After opening Pignoli, a robust Italian bistro in Copley Plaza, to rave reviews in 1994, Shire earned the prestigious Ivy Award by Restaurants & Institutions magazine, and the James Beard Foundation again acknowledged Shire, this time nominated as “One of America’s Top Five Chefs” in 1996.
In 2001, Shire sent a shock through Boston’s culinary scene as she dared to take over the city’s venerable Locke-Ober. Again, she made history as the chef and owner of an institution that had prohibited women from its dining room for 97 years. Shire restored the restaurant’s opulence and grand tradition of fine American and European cuisine. Shire’s Locke-Ober continues to be revered as one of Boston’s best restaurants today.
In 2003, Shire impressed Bostonians once more with her reincarnation of BIBA, transforming it into Excelsior, a bold, contemporary eatery with a glass elevator shaft that houses wines in the center of the dramatic space. Four years later, in 2007, Shire opened Blue Sky in the beloved York Beach, Maine. Here, a true Maine setting and New England menu allows Shire to showcase her obsession with lobster, with nine unique dishes on the dinner menu featuring the crustacean. Shire launched her sixth culinary destination, Scampo, the dynamic first floor restaurant in Boston’s Liberty Hotel, in 2008. Recognized that year by Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in America, Scampo defies tradition with its Italian-inspired cuisine unrestrained by borders and inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East. During the summer of 2010, Shire opened the internationally eclectic Towne Stove and Spirits in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood which was also recognized by Esquire magazine as “Best New Restaurant” in 2011.
Shire’s kitchens have been a training ground for some of the city’s finest culinary talent, such as Jody Adams, Dante de Magistris, Gordon Hamersley, Amanda Lydon and Susan Regis. An avid collector, Shire’s zest for life is fueled by her love of travel and her eye for quality. She has logged thousands of miles traveling the world, bringing to her home and restaurants additions to her collections of copper, silver, antique children’s clothes and photography. Her collection of culinary relics includes doll size antique stoves, a brass pie crimper and miniature waffle iron. Shire lives in Weston, MA, with her husband and son.
Jasper White has built a career on showcasing New England seafood, culinary depth and a love of local farm-fresh food. In his latest venture, White teams up with fellow iconic Boston chef Lydia Shire as culinary directors to create Towne Stove and Spirits. At Towne, White continues to bring to life his extensive research into the historical and cultural aspects of New England foodways and gives guests unique access to the 30-plus years of cooking experience that has made him a trusted authority on New England foods.
White was born in New Jersey in 1954, where he spent much of his childhood on a farm near the Jersey Shore. He credits his love of good food to his Italian grandmother. White began his cooking career in 1973, and after graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, spent several years working and traveling around the United States. Before settling in Boston, White worked in New York, Florida, California, Washington state and Montana.
In 1979, he met aspiring chef Lydia Shire, and together they presided over some of Boston’s venerable hotel kitchens including The Copley Plaza, The Parker House and Seasons at The Bostonian Hotel. These three hotels were the core of the renaissance of Boston’s restaurant scene, but it was at The Bostonian Hotel in 1982 that White and Shire truly introduced Boston to contemporary American cooking.
In 1983, Jasper’s Restaurant opened on Boston’s historic waterfront. Both Chef and restaurant received numerous honors including a James Beard “Best Chef – Northeast” Award and two additional nominations. In opening his own restaurant, White cultivated a new generation of innovative Boston chef/proprietors, many of whom have gained national prominence. After 12 years of being Boston’s premier restaurant destination, however, he faced the prospect of operating a fine dining restaurant in the midst of Boston’s decade-long “Big Dig,” so he boldly chose to close his restaurant in 1995 and took time to write two cookbooks: Lobster At Home (Scribner 1998) and Fifty Chowders (Scribner 2000). His first book, Jasper White’s Cooking From New England, was published in 1989. In 2007, Jasper released his latest book, The Summer Shack Cookbook – The Complete Guide to Shore Food (W.W. Norton & Company 2007). All the books are still in print and continue to delight home cooks from New England and beyond.
In May 2000, White surprised people who thought he was inextricably linked to fine dining when he opened Jasper White’s Summer Shack in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Where Jasper’s Restaurant had been quietly elegant and formal, Summer Shack is a loud, energetic clam shack that seats more than 300 people in five separate areas. Lobster tanks and steam kettles are the focal point in a central big, open space. Lobsters, clams, oysters and many other varieties of seafood dominate a New England menu that features everything from corn dogs and fried clams to traditional favorites like cod cakes and baked beans. While the ambiance had changed, the quality did not, and White continues to succeed in his mission to demonstrate that fine food doesn’t have to be haute or elegant.
The success of the Cambridge restaurant spawned more Summer Shacks in Boston’s Back Bay, Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham and on the Boston Harbor Islands, as well as its party-in-a-cart, Clambake on Wheels, and numerous other catering opportunities. From their inception, Summer Shacks have received enthusiastic reviews from local and national press, including the 2001 James Beard Award Nomination for “Best New Restaurant.” All Summer Shack locations maintain a commitment to the highest quality ingredients by purchasing only the freshest seafood, produce and meat from local fishermen and farmers. Every day, Summer Shacks demonstrate that great food is not the exclusive domain of fancy restaurants, and that Food is Love™.
In order to maintain complete control over the quality and freshness of seafood in all his ventures, in 2005 White launched a fully licensed HACCP-certified wholesale seafood company based in South Boston, Summer Shack Fish Department. Seafood Manager Max Harvey procures the freshest seafood everyday for Summer Shack restaurants, markets and select clients.
Jasper White currently resides in Somerville, Mass.
As Lydia Shire’s “go-to” man for the past 20 years, it was only natural for Mario Capone to take the helm at her most ambitious venture, Towne Stove and Spirits. In his role as Executive Chef, Capone is responsible for creating a menu that reflects the global cuisine concept set forth by Culinary Directors Lydia Shire and Jasper White for the 397-seat Back Bay restaurant.
As a first-generation Italian-American, Capone’s childhood revolved around mealtimes with his family. His memories are colored by his parents’ large backyard garden, the sacredness of family dinner time, his father’s homemade wine and annual summer trips to his parents’ hometown near Avellino, Italy. With a passion for cooking, Capone headed to Johnson & Wales University and graduated with a degree in culinary arts in 1988.
His first position as Tournant at Seasons Restaurant in the Bostonian Hotel would be a fortuitous one because it was here that he first met and worked with Lydia Shire. In 1991, Capone followed her to open her first restaurant, Biba, as Sous Chef (and later as Assistant Pastry Chef). During the next five years, he worked at Biba with a short break to help train and develop the team at Shire’s second restaurant, Pignoli, and one year in New York as Saucier at Daniel Boulud’s Restaurant Daniel.
After eight years working in Boston and with Shire, Capone headed west for Las Vegas. Here, Capone held positions as Chef de Cuisine at Neros Restaurant in Caesar’s Palace, where he received a “Rising Young Star Chef” nomination from The James Beard Foundation, and Executive Chef at Aladdin Resort & Casino overseeing Elements Restaurant, Tremezzo Restaurant and Bonsai Sushi Bar.
In 2004, Capone returned to his home city and to Shire, accepting the position of Executive Chef at the iconic Locke-Ober restaurant, recently renovated through Shire’s creative lens. While at Locke-Ober, the restaurant received awards from Gourmet magazine as one of the “Top 50 Restaurants in America,” a glowing 3.5 star review from The Boston Globe and an “A” from Boston Herald.
In 2008, Shire again tapped Capone to launch a new venture: Scampo at The Liberty Hotel, where he executed exciting Italian-inspired cuisine unrestrained by borders, drawing on flavors from the Mediterranean and Middle East. In its first two years, Scampo established itself as one of the hottest, busiest restaurants in the city with accolades in Gourmet, Esquire, Food & Wine and countless national and local news publications.
When not launching a new restaurant, Capone spends time at home with his wife and two sons in Lexington, Mass.