Where the Boston elite prefer to meet (and eat)

By Cosmo Macero Jr.

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Copyright 2004 Boston Herald Inc. 


Somehow, some way, the great Jesuits of Chestnut Hill have cornered the market in Boston on hosting the ultimate power lunch.

Regular meetings of the Chief Executives' Club of Boston - a creation of Boston College and its Carroll School of Management - feature enough executive power to energize half the Financial District.

It's not just the venue, though for views of the waterfront you can't beat the Wharf Room at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

It's not really the food, though the spread is routinely lavish.

No, it's the mix of A-list corporate Boston and an almost guaranteed top-shelf keynote speaker that makes the luncheon events a must-show for many Hub executives. The lunches are also can't miss opportunities for business-minded reporters.

Where else can you mingle with the likes of media maniac Ted Turner and Fidelity Investments guru Peter Lynch at the same time? Or enjoy a personal chat with Michael Dell?

Most recently, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was the guest of honor in March - just as buzz over his $60 billion offer to buy Disney (since rejected) was peaking. A month before that, you might have spotted Gillette CEO Jim Kilts - alone in a corner of the room - waiting for American International Group czar Maurice Greenberg to arrive. Was Kilts contemplating the idea of life at Coca-Cola?

Chief Executives Club President Peter Rollins and Carroll School Dean Hossein Safizadeh keep the almost-monthly lunch meetings booked solid. Best of all, power attracts power.

So when the program's keynote speaker is among the elite of corporate America, you can be sure the best of Boston in business will be there.

It's the best power lunch in town. And it's not even that hard to score an invitation.

Bigshot hangouts

For Jack Connors, the uber advertising man, it's breakfast at the Ritz Carlton.

Senate President Robert Travaglini prefers dinner at Tecce's in the North End - where an entire city block has been commandeered for valet parking.

You'll find Tommy O'Neill, the public relations and lobbying kingpin, reviewing the morning papers at the Bostonian near Faneuil Hall.

Ditto for Jimmy Kelly, the voice of old Southie on the City Council.

After all, man cannot live on Mul's and Amhreins alone.

When business gets done in Boston - financial, political or otherwise - there's a good chance a kitchen is nearby. Or a golf course.

Trinity Place developer Ted Raymond talks turkey up north at the Myopia Hunt Club links.

Chad Gifford from Bank of America prefers the TPC in Norton. Same goes for accounting guru Frank Doyle.

Kevin White, the former mayor, likes Ciao Bella. And Secretary of State Bill Galvin has learned to like it there, too, ever since his favorite haunt - Maison Robert - bit the dust.

Keep an eye out for Charlie Sarkis at Abe & Louie's on Boylston Street. He acts like he owns the place.

Patrick Lyons keeps it in the family, too, during business meetings at Sonsie on Newbury Street.

Harvard University President Larry Summers knows a good omelette when he sees it. He'll talk, and you should listen, at Henrietta's Table in the Charles Hotel.

Jerome Rappaport Sr. and his high-profile sons, Jerry Jr. and Jim, are partial to the Boston Harbor Hotel.

And so it goes that George Regan can often be found there, putting out PR fires for various clients.

Developer Harold Brown is spending a lot of time these days at the Super 88 Food Court on Commonwealth Avenue.

Larry Rasky: Via Matta. Jack Welch: Via Matta. Suzy Wetlaufer: Via Matta. Robert Kraft: Via Matta.

No wonder the place is always so crowded.

Red Sox chief executive Larry Lucchino likes La Morra in Brookline, where he praises the "wonderful food and very relaxing atmosphere."

Sox co-owner Tom Werner does business over breakfast at The Paramount on Charles Street.

And general manager Theo Epstein sticks close to the front office. Two of Theo's favorites - where he might, say, take a player's agent - are El Pelon Taqueria and Thorton's Grill, both on Peterborough Street.

Republican bad boy consultant Sandy Tenant launched his miraculous comeback from the downstairs lounge at the Bostonian.

That's David D'Alessandro at The Palm steakhouse in Copley Square. Not just the caricature on the wall, but at his favorite table looking out on Dartmouth Street.

Maybe the South Boston waterfront is the next big thing. But for now, the patio lounge at Jimmy's Harborside is still good enough for Foley Hoag's Gloria Larson and her top executive hand at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Jim Rooney.

Rooney used to work for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who used to like La Summa in the North End.

But times have changed since then.

The crowd at the Four Seasons is still as impressive as always.

Staples founder Tom Stemberg likes the breakfast there. So too does Boston Phoenix editor Peter Kadzis - having made the transition to the new Bristol Lounge.

Speaking of the Bristol .... Peter Blute can be found there re-charging after a busy morning of radio.

Tufts Health Care CEO Nancy Leaming talks shop at #9 Park.

But otherwise, Beacon Hill is in chaos.

The Black Goose is closed down.

The 21st Amendment is overrun with annoying legislative aides.

And the bar at The Federalist can't possibly keep up with Sen. Robert Havern and everyone else.

But that's just for breakfast. He does dinner meetings at Brasserie Joe in the Colonnade Hotel.

Because you can't do business in Boston on just one meal a day.