House of Roy

House of Roy was a Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1970s, a favorite of MIT students and others.  Rick and his MIT cohorts, particularly from MIT’s MacGregor House B-entry (Marc Blank, Joel Berez, Mike Dornbrook, Mike Riley, and others) visited the House of Roy weekly starting in 1972.

There were two primary ways we ventured from MIT to the House of Roy at 12a Tyler Street in east Boston.  Mostly, we went on the T, Boston’s subway system.  We walked across the MIT campus to Kendall Square, which at the time was at the border between the east campus of MIT and the slums of East Cambridge.  We took the Red Line from Kendall Square to Washington Street (now called Downtown Crossing) and then switched to the Orange Line.  (One of the denizens at Washington Street came up me and my MIT friends in the T station and interjected a famed phrase, “zip, zap, zoop”.) At other times, we arrived by car, whether Joel Berez’s or others.

The House of Roy was a weekly staple of this MIT crowd on weekends.  (Note that the MIT dining system in this time and era did not serve food to students on weekends!) Check out an advert by House of Roy on page 4 of the 13 November 1959 edition of The Tech!  Wow!  I started eating at House of Roy around 1972!

The usual question once we sat down (and we rarely needed to glance at the menu) was: “n or n minus 1?” To translate: do we want to order main course dishes for everyone, or one less?

House of Roy was located on Tyler Street, not far from the infamous (in its time) Combat Zone in downtown Boston.  Boston in the 1970s designated some areas as its red light district, for prostitutes and others, and it was called the Combat Zone.

Since many of our memories of House of Roy are just that, only memories, here are some other memories of House of Roy to help us out here:

All that said, this seems to only be a first step in the door to this history. Looking forward to more!

– Rick

  4 comments for “House of Roy

  1. 16 November 2011 at 7:48 am

    Thanks for the link to my entry on the House of Roy. Ahhhh, memories.


  2. Daniel Schuman
    12 July 2013 at 3:20 pm

    My memories go back to Tufts medical school days in the mid-60’s…we’d sometimes get takeout and bring it back to the hospital to warm it up in the autoclave that was supposed to be used to sterilize instruments…House of Roy seems real to this day to me, not a memory

  3. stl-rich
    20 October 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I was at the Institute in the early ’60s and hung out at the Sailing Pavilion – we would go to Chinatown most every Sunday night, what ever night that was and House of Roy was a favorite of ours. When we would sit down all utensils except for serving spoons would be removed in favor of chopsticks. Sometimes we would just tell the server the initials of the dishes and we got the right stuff. We liked their lobster sauce but the the things they put in it, so we would just order Lobster Sauce – wonderful on rice (-: Ah the memories.

    13 August 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I used to eat at Roy’s in the 50s. One time I attended with another student that worked with Chinese students. They deferred to him and he was the first to receive the plates from the kitchen. He rapidly scooped out all the meat from the plate and then passed it on. When I received the plate, there was no or very little meat.

    I suggested that if we were going to split the bill, we should each get a chance to receive the plate first. He agreed, and I received the last plate first. It was the vegetable dish.

    I never ate with him again.

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