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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Putnam Restaurant
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Putnam and Thurston's oh those memories... My sixteenth birthday was on Mother's day and that meant it was a Sunday afternoon dinner at Putnam and Thurston's. My father, mother, and brother were all there. We had a fine dining experience that was topped with two singing waiters and a birthday cake for me! My father being a Scot had to follow tradition and butter my nose while announcing loudly that I was sweet sixteen and never been kissed!
Jon Melick - Report this comment
WOW -- does this bring back memories! My grandparents were Worcester natives, and lived there or in Auburn for their whole lives. When I was young, one of the absolute best things that they could do for me was take me to "Putt's" for dinner. When I was at Clark University in the early 1970s, I made sure that my girlfriend (now my wife) got to know the place as well.
Roger H. Frost - Report this comment
Dear Fellow Townspeople of Worcester, Just a note. A big gathering in Putnam's was in 1986 with George Wallace was running for President. Many young people earned their first paychecks making way for college and tradeschools at this fine establishment. God Bless Residents who invest their talents in our towns. Amen. Take Care All, Roger
Brad Davis - Report this comment
WOW, I just decided to enter the name of this place into the web and here I am. My father, Ralph Davis, owned "Gentleman's Quarters" at 55 Pleasant St some 38 or so years ago. I remember Dad bringing me to PnT's many many many a time. He was quite a hit w/ the waitress' there I do remember for sure. One day we were there and I was told there was a baseball player in the main dining room and did I want his autograph? Well, even to this day I do not get "Start Struck" meeting several Celebs in my contracting business. SO the waitress brought me to a table and there was Carl Yastrzemski "YAZ" of the Boston Red Sox, and he was dining w/ TWO beautiful females. Now understand I am only like 8-10 years old and I still remember how Pretty those girls were! So I asked for his autograph and I got it and I still have it to this day, I bet ya it is worth a few dabloons, it is even on a PnT's NAPKIN I am sure of it. I am getting very old... LOL All of 48 or so... Brad
It was a very special occasion to warrant a trip to Putnam & Thurstons. I also remember The Charles on Millbury St being a popular alternative.
Patti Lake - Report this comment
My grandmother, Ruth Swanski, was a cocktail waitress at Putnam's in the 1940's. She was required to wear evening dresses and "be sociable" to the customers. She equated it with the earliest version of a Playboy Club with the style of dress more appropriate to the times.
jim sadowski- June 26, 2007 - Report this comment
I worked there as a buss boy 1961-2. Remember one of my jobs was to come in about noon on Sunday to oil down the bar, this was a job the bartender did other days of the week. more info of the postcard pictured can be found at
pat k- August 30, 2007 - Report this comment
remember eden gardens too? i'm almost 47...right up there with you all!
Nell- October 15, 2008 - Report this comment
How about finger bowls??It cracked me up even as a kid that any place in Worcester was that fancy!!
ann c- January 06, 2009 - Report this comment
I checked to see if anyone had a photo from the Eden ... That was a place with great history too. Surely there are some reporters out there who could fill in some blanks ...
jim sadowski- February 16, 2009 - Report this comment
The original 1858 Putnam & Thurston's restaurant was located at 381 Main Street in a row of buildings associated with "Barnard, Sumner & Putnam" selling dry goods & other things. The location moved to 19-47 mechanics street and is no longer a restaurant, its now called "Mechanics Place". The Davis family is much associated with the restaurant into the late 1800's.
jim sadowski- March 04, 2009 - Report this comment
The "Putnam & Thurston" finger bowls always had lemon on the side. Squeeze the lemon then wash a finger or several. Also special forks for a lobster or shrimp. Miss the friends who worked a "Put's", one fine restauraunt.
Mike W- June 15, 2009 - Report this comment
My mom (Georgia) was a waitress at Put's from the late 50' through the 60's and my step-Granddad (Harry) on my father's side was the chef. I remember the Davis family who owned the place well. I used to go with Dad to pick her up when her shift ended at about 10PM. On Friday's they had a Twin lobster special for $9.95.
Donna- June 17, 2009 - Report this comment
Just took a walk down memory lane. I was walking around Worcester on my lunch break and walking down Mechanic St. brought back memories of Put's. Grew up in Worcester...went to Classical High School. Used to to to Put's with my mom as a special treat. I remember the prime rib carved at your table. ( I was born in 1943 )
Paul- July 05, 2009 - Report this comment
Put's was definitely a treat, usually a special occasion only type of dining.I have an old menu from the early 50s and reviewing the prices staggers the imagination, $3.95 for a lobster dinner, shrimp cocktail @ 75 cents, etc. My Dad had evidently kept it as a souvenier and then many years after his death, I was looking at it and turned it over and there was a personalized autograph from Alan Ladd from 1955. Now I know why he kept it. Paul
jim sadowski- October 25, 2009 - Report this comment
regardind posting of "donna 2009june17". One trick used by Put's when a perfect "rib, steak, pork chop, etc." was returned. The kitchen would put beet joice in the same meat making it then look less cooked. It worked 99 percent of the time. Food was good and safe, only the color was altered with a natural product. I'm a Classicl graduate 1962, probably passed you in a hall '59 to '62 (along with circa 1,000 students).
Anne Fidler Ancona- November 14, 2009 - Report this comment
I was just talking to my mother, her 79th birthday today. She said 60 years ago my father, whom she was dating at the time, sold his blood (had to go to Hartford) for $25.00 to take her to dinner at Putnam and Thurston's. She was at Becker Junior College and my father was a senior at Holy Cross. He said to order anything on the menu, so she ordered lobster. I think they are having lobster tonight in honor of her birthday.
jim sadowski- December 08, 2009 - Report this comment
To Mike W. I remember your mom "Georga", she was sweet to everyone. She shared her tips very well with me the "bus boy". Remember making about $2 per night from the 5 or 6 serving the tables (about $12/nigh) plus the 65 cents per hour pay. Georga was what I'd call a hot sketch, always talkative. Many folks had a special table or waitress, the male waiters made bigger tips back then.
David- December 16, 2009 - Report this comment
To All with memories of Putnam & Thurstons.....I recently read a book by Duncan Hines who noted the name of this place .... and me being interested in food and restaurants...I was curious about it, and knowing full well it must have long since closed. What a surprise to see and read all of these fond memories, and look at photos of the place. Seems I would have enjoyed it just as much as all of you had. Next time I am in town...I will take a walk past the old address, and think of all who were lucky enough to pass through those doors for a memorable meal and share good company. Thanks.
Mike W,- January 06, 2010 - Report this comment
Jim, thanks for the kind comments about my mom Georgia. I remember many nights as a kid sitting over in breakfast area with bthe ig round counter next to the dining room waiting for her to get off work in the evening and talking to Spiro and Charlie Davis. My mom died 35 years ago but I do remember her as "hot sketch" to the very end.
Soly Bina- May 10, 2010 - Report this comment
During 1965-7 I was a student at the Worcester Junior College. I supported myself by working as a bus boy at the Putnam restaurant. I remember the great food, the carved meat cart, the lobster, the lobster bibs, and the lovely waitress, Anne. I went for a recent visit to Worcester and i was so saddened by the condition of the city. Worcester Junior College does not exist anymore, the whole city is dilapidated, occupied mostly by the homeless and bums. I did not get a chance to check and see if the building which used to house Putnam's and Thurston Restaurant still stands.
Z. G. Standing Bear- July 07, 2010 - Report this comment
I worked at Putnam & Thurston's in 1956/57 as a part time after school (Shrewsbury High) job and fondly remember the wonderful wait staff, especially Georgia (wasn't she also a motorcyclist?), Ann Young, and the two old Greek waiters, Charlie Latches and Alexis Hatjakos. The Davis family that owned P&T were also a Greek family whose original name was Kostilimbas (as I recall). It was a great place to work, although the Maitre'd, Mike Zois, was an accomplished grump.
Mike W- July 08, 2010 - Report this comment
ZG - As I mentioned above, Georgia was my mother. She worked there from the mid 1950's into the late 1960's. Her and my dad both loved to ride motorcycles and traveled a good deal on them. I also remeber the Davis well - the father Charles and the son Spiro. There was another son too but I can't remember his name.
Z. G. Standing Bear- July 08, 2010 - Report this comment
Georgia was a kind, generous, and energetic soul that I still fondly remember even after over 50 years. Her fondness for motorcycles and speaking of her travels did, I think, ease my concerns about them when, some four years later, I became a motorcycle officer for the New York City Police Department, serving in the Tactical Patrol Force - Manhattan South. As I remember, the two elder owners were brothers Charles and John, and they also owned the Hickory House, which was sort of north and west of Worcester center. I do remember the son, who had a hand in the daily operation of P&T, but I do not recall his name as Spiro, but rather as a fairly "ordinary" non-ethnic name. And then there was the coat/hat-check lady, who was very popular for giving the men big hugs.
jim sadowski- August 18, 2010 - Report this comment
The hat check was a big thing in the 1960's. The hat/coat check room was aside entrance, for the bar and main dining room. People came in dressed up, and enjoyed an evening of fine food and drinks. Part of dressing up was your coat and hat. Hats wern't as popular as they were in the 1950's or earlier. Part of dressing up was a fine over coat. Fur coats were in fashon and way too big to for the dineing table.
A.V. Allen- August 13, 2011 - Report this comment
I just recently found my collection of matchbook covers. My very first one was Putnam and Thurston's restaurant, as it was my first expensive restaurant in my business career. I've never been back, but I remember it well. Pittsburgh
Bob O- March 18, 2012 - Report this comment
The Castle Restaurant (which is a great restaurant) in Leicester has some pieces of Put’s coffee service: creamer and sugar bowl. I never went to Put’s but remember my grandfather talking about it frequently. When he was a young boy he was a message boy for the Western Union. He told me the message boys were allowed to eat for half price, probably at the counter or in some back room. Later in life, during prohibition, you could buy a $2 “special” in a coffee cup—wiskey.
Richard- May 30, 2012 - Report this comment
Putnam & Thurston's was a place my family went on special occasions. I was excited that my parents decided to take me there for my 15th birthday. However, the excitement turned to sadness, as the day was Nov 22 1963, JFK's assassination. We still went but it was very subdued.
Brad Davis- November 10, 2015 - Report this comment
My memories are vivid. As a very young man I remember VERY BAD feelings when I saw my father, Ralph Freeman Davis, kissing one p&t waitress in an embrace I had never seen before. Of course NOW I know what was going on and I have been told of my fathers disgusting ways by his "friends" of whom feel need to set the record straight and make me aware of just what a POS Ralph Freeman Davis was / is.
Donna- February 19, 2018 - Report this comment
I'm trying to find someone who remembers Jackie Gleason frequently being at the Eden Gardens Restaurant in Worcester, MA. He was good friends with my mother(Inez Ford) who was a waitress. I remember his bar stool was either the third or forth one from the front entrance. I use to sit on his lap and he would pull quarters out of my ears and buy me Shirley temple drinks.
Bill Martin- February 08, 2019 - Report this comment
Just thought of this place as in 1968 my dad took me on a business trip with him ( I was 14 ) and I remember perfectly having my first lobster thermidor here. A great experience!!!Living in CA for a while we went to see our old home in west Peabody..... great memory then and now!!!
Marianne Szlyk- December 14, 2020 - Report this comment
Thank you for sharing your memories with everyone. I remember that my mother told me that Putnam and Thurston's was for MEN only. (I was about five or six at the time. At that point, my family mostly went to Howard Johnson's or the restaurant at Grant's.)
Anthony and Jo-Ann- December 24, 2020 - Report this comment
We were married June 1st 1957. our wedding reception was on the 2nd floor of this restaurant. We are still enjoying a great life together. Food was always great
John Newell- May 29, 2021 - Report this comment
I remember when P&T’s gave me a banquet bus boy job, the Grandfather Davis, Mr.Davis, and the salad chef I used to help. I work the Knights of Columbus Banquets and other events like that After the event was over I used to go to the podium and practice public speaking to an empty room with the mike on Talking about things I made up while i went on. That helped me overcome a fear of public speaking And Mr. Davis did not mind as long as the room was cleaned up first and Grandfather Davis was still counting the money and there was lots of it. I have many great memories of P&T’s that we never went to as a family except once when a rich uncle came to town and took us there.

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