Sullivan’s at Children’s

by Rick Winterson

History was made last Thursday, June 29, at noon. After 66 years in existence, the iconic Sullivan’s at South Boston’s Castle Island opened its first branch eatery. Sully’s new branch is located in the equally iconic Hood Milk Bottle at the Children’s Museum on South Boston’s side of Fort Point Channel. It’s open seven days a week; 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.; 9 p.m. on Fridays.

Sometimes (but rarely), both history and geography seem to come together in surprising and unexpected ways. Very likely, these coincidences are just that – only coincidences. But there’s some folk wisdom about coincidences that says, “There really are no coincidences – coincidences are just God’s way of doing favors for us, without letting us know it was Him.”
The first ever branch of Sullivan’s opened at noon last Thursday, June 29, in the landmark Hood Milk Bottle at the Children’s Museum. This brings together three Boston icons onto one South Boston site – the Museum’s plaza on the edge of the Channel in South Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. How is that for a coincidence? South Boston Online will leave it to you to decide how that coincidence might have originated.
As for intersecting trajectories, the Children’s Museum was originally located in Jamaica Plain on the Jamaicaway, across from Jamaica Pond near where Mayor/Governor/Representative James Michael Curley, the Purple Shamrock, once lived. The Museum was founded in 1909; 70 years later it moved to South Boston by Fort Point Channel, in partnership with the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. However, this partnership did not work out, so the Children’s Museum soon became the sole occupant of their South Boston site.
The Hood Milk Bottle first came into existence in the 1930s on Route 44 in Taunton – not exactly one of your modern superhighways at that time. It’s a 40-foot structure and fittingly for something shaped like a milk bottle, it sold ice cream. Hard times eventually ensued, and the bottle fell into disrepair. Eventually, it was bought by Hood Dairy, donated to Children’s in 1977, and installed the next year on the Museum’s plaza. The Milk Bottle has been the occasional home to various concessions, but its 18-foot interior was tough to work with (and in). Now we can leave it to Sully’s to solve that problem.
Despite its 66-year reign as a South Boston landmark on Castle Island (Sullivan’s first opened in 1951), Sully’s is really “the new kid on the block”, compared to the Hood Milk Bottle, which was originally built in 1930, and the Children’s Museum, founded more than a century ago in 1909. So Sully’s, led by owner Bernie Sullivan, is comparatively young, spunky, and a great purveyor – especially of hot dogs. And the venture into the Children’s Museum Hood Milk Bottle is the first time Sully’s has opened a branch operation of any kind, anywhere. This is a business venture worth watching. It’s really news.
To complete this story, recognize that Sullivan’s is locating their first ever branch in another South Boston location. From our hometown’s easternmost point – Castle Island – Sully’s has now opened another dining location at South Boston westernmost site along Fort Point Channel. It joins the Children’s Museum and the Hood Milk Bottle, both of whom “came home” to South Boston 38 years ago.
Is this therefore “back to the future”, or “what goes ‘round, comes ‘round”, or some other kind of coincidence? South Boston Online will let you figure that question out, but in the meantime, be sure to visit the new Sullivan’s branch in the Milk Bottle at the Children’s Museum.

Jeanne Rooney

Jeanne Rooney is the Editor in Chief for South Boston Online.