Restaurants aren’t just places to eat; they’re also a reflection of their times. So when venerable Boston institutions shift locations, as Anthony’s Pier 4 is expected to do eventually, or shut down altogether, as Locke-Ober abruptly did Saturday, changes are afoot in the city — ones that go well beyond a shift in consumer tastes from deep-fried Dover sole to sashimi.
As the Seaport District booms, a famous family-run restaurant on a previously underused waterfront has become a prime redevelopment opportunity. As the Globe recently reported, construction will begin next month on a mixed-use complex in the area where Anthony’s Pier 4 now stands. Within a few years the restaurant will have to move, presumably somewhere else in the Seaport area. This will require some adjustment, both for the restaurant and its customers, but it’s also a sign of a neighborhood reinventing itself as dingy memories of the Central Artery and a filthy Boston Harbor finally disappear.