Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli
Boston, Massachusetts, USA


“Not many places in the world have both large fishing and agrarian communities side by side, as we do in coastal Massachusetts,” says Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, owner of the new waterfront restaurant and fish market Hook + Line in Boston’s Seaport neighbourhood. “It sets chefs here up to do amazing things with seafood and seasonal vegetables. Hook + Line is all about modern takes on classic New England seafood, whether you’re stepping in on your lunch break for a lobster roll or settling into our private dining room for a lingering celebration dinner.”

Originally tidal marshland, and not so long ago a stereotypically American post-industrial expanse of dirt parking lots, Seaport began a tech-era transformation at the turn of the century that has seen a gleaming new village of business and residential space spring up on the South Boston Waterfront. Following the trailblazing lead of the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston) which moved into its spectacular new home here in 2006, global tech giants too have set up shop.

But Bostonians, famously a civically proud tribe, were less than impressed with the early leisure offer, which consisted almost solely of chain stores and restaurants. “It felt like Boston’s diversity wasn’t represented here,” says Tom. “But the developers realised the mistake and have in recent years worked with hospitality business owners from various city neighbourhoods, and things have really changed. I’m one of a bunch of independent Boston restaurateurs with places here, and as more and more residents have moved to Seaport, a sense of community has started to come together. It’s exciting to be part of it.”

An out gay man, Tom is highly attuned to issues around representation, as can be seen in his exemplarily inclusive and immaculately trained staff – and the gender-neutral ‘Whatever’ sign for Hook + Line’s bathrooms. And while he’s too modest to accept much praise for this, he’s happy to contextualise his management model within a Boston that he says is, due to recent changes of direction in state and city administration, “the most inclusive it’s ever been.”

Although just 40, Tom has a long and highly respected career in hospitality that started informally when, aged eight, he would help out in the coat-check of his uncle Chris Schlesinger’s The Blue Room restaurant in the Boston-adjacent city Cambridge. A stellar and awarded career in the city’s elevated bar scene followed, and in 2018 he opened his first restaurant, Alcove, in the central West End area, which continues to make a key contribution to that neighbourhood’s recent revitalisation. |

Photography by Brian Samuels

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