Say goodbye to another Lynnway institution: Crews demolish the shuttered Christie's restaurant


May 31, 2018
By Thomas Grillo and Gayla Cawley/The Daily Item

It took a few days, but a construction crew demolished Christie’s, the modest one-story, concrete block restaurant on the Lynnway.

The beachfront take-out restaurant was launched in 1903 by the Dean family, where sales of hot dogs, milk shakes, hamburgers, fish sandwiches, and onion rings routinely caused a traffic jam near the spot where Lynn and Nahant meet. The seafood takeout joint closed two years ago.

A crew demolishes Christie's on the Nahant Roatary.

A crew demolishes Christie's on the Nahant Rotary.

Christie’s is the latest Lynnway landmark to bite the dust. Last week, Garelick Farms told its employees it will close its Lynnway plant in the fall. In addition, the Porthole Restaurant said it will serve its last meal in the next few months after 51 years.

Chris Dean, whose family has owned Christie’s 31,200-square-foot waterfront parcel for as long as anyone can recall, was in his blue pick-up Thursday as the final bricks to the front entrance were hauled away.

The youngest member of the family declined to reveal their plans.

“None of us are talking,” he said.

Clint Muche, deputy commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department, said the Dean Family Children’s Trust recently paid $424 for a permit for demolition work estimated to cost $26,475.

The application said the building would be razed and removed while the foundation would be filled to grade level with gravel. A review of city records did not uncover any development plans for the parcel, which is assessed at $1.1 million, Muche said.

North Shore residents may have spotted Christie’s in a breakfast scene in “American Hustle” filmed at the restaurant in 2013.

The Dean family ran into a tidal wave of opposition in 2006, when they proposed leasing the Christie’s site for construction of a CVS with a drive-through. The city denied their application for a permit, the pharmacy chain sued, but eventually withdrew their bid to build.

James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, said waterfront zoning for the .75-acre parcel allows for mixed-use with apartments or condominiums with ground floor retail, or a hotel.

“It’s one of the most valuable pieces of land in the city of Lynn,” he said. “The fact that they razed the building makes it more attractive, not less attractive. But a developer would want to acquire the land and bring it to its highest and best use.”

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