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No Name Restaurant announces closure after 102 years

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

The century-old No Name Restaurant on South Boston’s Fish Pier said Monday night that it would close, ending a historic run for the classic eatery along a stretch of waterfront that has seen a period of dramatic transformation.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the restaurant’s management expressed appreciation for its patrons and employees.

“We want to thank our generations of customers for all the years of loyal patronage, and for helping make the No Name a landmark location,” the restaurant’s management said in the statement. “To our employees, many of whom have been with us for decades, we cannot thank you enough — we thank you for your tireless dedication and hard working service.

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“It has been an honor to be part of your celebrations and your everyday lives for so many years. We will miss you all,” the management said.

Members of the Contos family, which has owned the No Name since its founding in 1917, did not respond Monday night to multiple requests for comment.

The No Name faced financial difficulties, according to federal court documents. On Monday, the establishment filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, which provides for the liquidation of business property and the distribution of assets to creditors.

A note left on restaurant's window.
A note left on restaurant's window. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

For decades, the No Name was alongside waterfront institutions such as Jimmy’s Harborside Restaurant, which served up seafood for eight decades before its closure in 2005, and Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant, which closed in 2013 after 50 years.

Today the young people who work, live, and socialize in the Seaport have a more trendy and international selection of restaurants that includes Ocean Prime, Empire, and Rosa Mexicano.

On Monday, the restaurant, nestled among more than a dozen commercial lots on Fish Pier, was closed for dinner. Taped to the door was a sign: “Dear No Name Restaurant Patrons, We will be closed today for a management meeting. We thank you for your understanding. Happy Holidays.”

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Commercial trucks for various fish companies lined the parking lot, but no one stopped by the eatery. The neighboring shops and restaurants were dark as well.

Within minutes of the restaurant’s announcement on Facebook, longtime customers began posting messages expressing their disappointment.

“My first visit there was in 1975, when there was a single counter with about 10 stools and just one little room in the back,” one admirer wrote.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Others praised the quality of the food and the hospitality and fondly remembered the years when diners sat at picnic tables drinking beers from their own coolers. “Remembering Friday nights waiting in line with our cooler of beverages with no liquor license back in the day!” one woman wrote.

Nick Contos opened the restaurant as a destination for fishermen who needed a place to cook up what they’d caught. He never gave it a name, and it never got one.

The restaurant maintained a loyal crowd of regulars and a place in Boston dining lore with a formula that never changed much: good chowder, fresh seafood, big portions, and decent prices.

It’s just the latest high profile Boston restaurant to recently close.

Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain shut its doors this fall after 137 years. Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall closed early this year. L’Espalier, a high-end offering in the Back Bay, closed at the end of 2018.

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Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Globe correspondent Abigail Feldman contributed to this report.