The Real Reason Boston Market Changed Its Name

Have you ever eaten in a Boston Market? Although its name might indicate that it can only be found in New England, this fast casual restaurant specializing in rotisserie chicken and home-style side dishes has grown far beyond that region (via Boston Market). According to ScrapeHero, the chain is now found in 27 U.S. states with 344 locations. As you might expect, the chain was indeed founded in Boston. According to Funding Universe, in 1985 Boston residents and graduates of the city's Northeastern University Arthur Cores and Steven Kolow opened the first rotisserie in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. While the university-filled city of Boston was regarded as a fancy, preppy place at the time, Cores had noticed when working in gourmet grocery stores and catering companies that many people were looking to buy simple food, not fancy fare. "I saw the trend in gourmet shops that people wanted to buy plain, simple, everyday foods," he told Boston Business Journal in 1990.

In response to this trend, Cores and Kolow focused on rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread, oatmeal cookies, and other homey dishes in the Newton restaurant. The first shop was called "Boston Chicken." You might even remember that earlier name, which was used at the many locations that opened across the country in the 1990s. So when — and why — did the chain become known as Boston Market? 

More than just chicken

When it opened its doors in 1985, the restaurant chain now known as Boston Market had the name Boston Chicken, reflecting its focus on rotisserie chicken. As the restaurant gained steam and opened dozens of restaurants throughout the early '90s, those locations were also known by that moniker, but in 1995 the chain changed its name to the one you might recognize today: Boston Market.

So why the change? According to Funding Universe, the restaurant's expansion of its menu from basic chicken-and-sides options to a more comprehensive offering accounts for the name change. Boston Chicken's original menu featured rotisserie chicken, recipes for chicken soup and oatmeal cookies the founders got from their grandmothers, and a few simple sides such as mashed potatoes and squash casserole. But over the years, it's grown to include a whole lot more items, like sandwiches, salads, and prime rib (via Boston Market). So now you know: Boston Market is a whole lot more than just chicken.