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Dining Decor

The story behind the neon sign at Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake

Reagan Communications

Where: Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake

What: Neon serpent signage dating from the Back Bay restaurant’s 1990 opening, visible from the street.

Whose Idea: The “Rattlesnake” name came to partner Gordon Wilcox in a dream while living in California in the 1980s, says co-owner Tony Castagnozzi. “He had the idea, and we opened in October 1990 — and now that neon sign is a lot older than some of our customers,” he says with a chuckle. Things have changed over time. Now the restaurant is called Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake with the addition of chef Brian Poe. The horizontal sign out front was replaced several years ago. But the neon serpent remains. A customer drew the snarly snake design in a logo contest when the restaurant first opened, and it’s been used on shirts and glassware since. Just one problem: “We get asked all the time if we serve rattlesnake. And we used to, marinated in buttermilk and deep-fried, but the shelf life is short. Snake is a bit gamey,” says Castagnozzi. Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, 384 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-859-8555, www.rattlesnakebarandgrill.com

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kara baskin

Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.