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Commentary: Kitchen Nightmares – Not a Dream

“Kitchen Nightmares” production setup on Clark, North and Commercial Streets.

Having Hollywood film their movies and TV shows in the neighborhood is a good thing, right? We are told that it is a compliment. It is good for the city, good for the economy, just plain good news all around.

Until they arrive. Then comes the invasion of our streets and the strains on daily life when they take away parking spaces, block traffic, throw their garbage around, shine their lights until well after a normal bedtime and run their extremely loud generators through the night.

Lower Clark Street was entirely used by the production.

When it was noted in the Herald last week that Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” was going to be taping at Davide Restaurant on Commercial St., most residents envisioned a small crew filming over a weekend. Instead, an entire 4-block area has been blanketed with massive tractor-trailers, tents and equipment on North Street, Clark Street and Commercial Street for an entire week (so far). They also are taking up much of a private parking lot which regularly fills up.

According to Ryan Kenny, Chair of the neighborhood council’s Parking Committee, “Several residents have brought to my attention the fact that “Kitchen Nightmares” has been filming in the neighborhood since December 3rd.  As a result, there are a significant number of fewer parking spots available to residents particularly on Commercial Street, North Street, and Clark Street.  I am curious as to why the filming crew for Kitchen Nightmares didn’t have to present this project to NEWNC or NEWRA and/or offer to compensate North End residents for the parking spots that have been taking up since December 3rd.

Unlike “The Town” and “What’s Your Number?” (no picnics either) this TV production offers no local jobs, negligible economic benefit and provided no mitigation to the community. The financial benefits flow directly to Fox-TV and one restaurant owner.

Ice formations on Commercial Street.

Kitchen Nightmares took away about 15 parking spaces. In addition, there were several incidents of blocked driveways and sidewalks causing significant disruption.

The crew is using water from a Commercial St. fire hydrant which is leaking all over the place. In this weather, the sidewalk turned to ice with several reports of slip and falls. (After a complaint, they finally threw some salt on it.) The situation seems to have caused some permanent damage to the well-used pathway.

With food boxes spewed out over Clark and Commercial Streets, trash is blowing everywhere in the wind. In the morning, there is debris that has “traveled” across Commercial Street into the gutters.

Despite past promises from the City’s Office of Special Events, this production did not even bother notifying the neighborhood groups. This is the office that gives the permit and is supposed to regulate these activities. As we have seen, they tend to side with the producers more than the residents.

At this point, it’s too late. They are here. We live with it. We hope they leave soon.

The lead actor in the “The Town” apologized for the disruption and provided significant mitigation (though many think not enough) to the community. “What’s Your Number?” donated to several local charities and adjusted their plan to minimize disruption. Both appeared before the neighborhood with their plan before filming.

What did Kitchen Nightmares do? As you can see below, the notice offers nothing and was posted just four days before production (and many residents say they never received it).

They will be gone soon. That’s all you can say. All will be forgotten until the next Hollywood invasion. welcomes commentaries on community issues via email to or through our Submit a Post online form. Opinions are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of or other writers on this site. Responses to this commentary can be posted below in the comment section.

15 Replies to “Commentary: Kitchen Nightmares – Not a Dream

  1. Davide's is directly below my apartment on Commercial Street. My sleep was interrupted once again last night, not by Gordon Ramsey's rants, but by a truck backing up into the multitude of resident parking spots reserved for the production. Not to mention that my apartment is lit up like a Christmas tree by the production lights.
    Just the other day, I was blocked from driving down North Street by a tent that was set up…in the middle of the street…I was driving around because there was no parking left for residents in the neighborhood.
    Ryan Kenny was nice enough to address the issue and take it to the NEWNC board. Thanks to NEWNC for doing its part.

  2. Shocker – another North End-er agonizing about having to walk an extra block to park and what will turn out to be great visibility for cash-strapped Boston. I wish people in our neighborhood worried more about the plethora of trash on the streets, the approximately 7 billion cigarette butts on the sidewalks, and the lack of revenue generating events and projects aimed at bettering our fiscal situation. Perhaps we should take a step back and think about the benefits vs the temporary inconveniences of these filming projects. NYC, Chicago, and San Fran are all happy to take the free publicity during these difficult times. We should be happy to have the guests.

  3. What publicity did Boston or the North End get out of this? "Oh, I saw Kitchen Nightmares on TV so I just HAVE to book a trip to Boston."

    Not happening.

  4. I live in the Mariner Building and we really suffered through this last week. The people were disrespectful and rude, ignoring simple requests so we could get in an out safely and not have the lights on all night.

    I'm not sure what publicity this will bring to Boston. Maybe the restaurant will get some business, but that will just take away from someone else. If NY wants it, let them have it.

  5. Len:
    It's not about walking extra blocks. In fact, I walk most days. It's literally about finding parking and wasting my time. The production crew also took up extra parking spots for which they had no permits, blocked entrances with trucks, and also with production equipment.

    I agree with you though that it is about extra publicity and revenue for the City. I bet you will enjoy watching the Food Network with your underground garage spot and a nice glass of cabernet.

  6. Street parking – Waterfront Cafe loving – regular person Nick. I dealt with the filming of The Town just like everyone else – I just don't whine about the bright lights. Jimmy's comment is just about as narrow minded as they get – and yes – that is exactly what I am talking about. The Town didn't get us any publicity did it? It's just a global movie release. Based on the thousands of tourists that walk through the NE on a weekly basis, I would say they're finding out about us somewhere Jimmy. TV, nah….

  7. The North End is one of the first tourist destinations in Boston so, no…this show does very little to attract additional visitors. The 3 people that actually watch this show probably don't know how to book a flight anyway. The extra nickel is not worth the trouble it caused residents.

    Bottom line on all of this, the city screwed up and should have let people know what was going on and didn't.

  8. I live next door to Davide's Restaurant and did not receive any notification of the filming. Found out from the reliable reporting of the While I am open to bolstering publicity and revenue for our neighborhood, I doubt that this small scale production will generate much of either. Unfortunately, Kitchen Nightmares did little to communicate to those who would be affected which does not generate good will. In a world with multiple connectivity vehicles and news outlets who would gladly cover the story, it was not an insurmountable challenge to reach out to the community. Were any of the neighbors invited to dinner?

  9. @Len….aren't you the unpleasant holier then though yuppie who thinks that anyone who finds the bright lights and idistruption caused by film crews in the cramped neighborhood is a whiner who needs to man up.

  10. Seems more than inconsiderate. Copy of article needs to be forwarded to the Production Manager with gentle suggestion of contribution to local chariities for disruption, and request for greater consideration re filming hours, parking infringement, etc, in future.

  11. I live directly above Davide's and did not have as many problems with the production as some people are claiming…I found that the noise was kept to a minimum (maybe others on the other side of the building were more affected?), at least until the final night of production when there was noise until late in the night as they packed up – but then, I expected as much. They lit up the street like midday on that final night too, as they filmed – so I just shut my curtains…problem solved! Anyone I encountered with the production was apologetic about taking up space in the neighborhood and I appreciated that. And the sidewalk covered in ice? Yes, definitely not a great situation (I was actually more concerned about how much water they were wasting having it spill out everywhere rather than the ice that formed in the final days – come on guys, we live in Boston, ice is practically a season here!), but that sidewalk was already in disrepair, long before they got there.

    I think we have bigger fish to fry in this neighborhood than worrying about one week of a tv production…that's already over with.

  12. I lived right next to this production as many of you did and I’m guessing how you were impacted depended on particular encounters and your living space relative to the noise lights etc. I consider myself lucky in that during the time they were here I lost no sleep except for as one person mentioned the last night when they were packing up late. In fact the lights and noise was less disruptive to me then the drunk college kids walking down commercial at 2.a.m. I agree that these productions are less then ideal, however, they certainly do not hurt the buzz and publicity the N.E. receives because of it. Again maybe I’d feel different if the noise or bright lights were keeping me up, however, overall I would say these types of things are much less an issue then the College invasion (and the noise, broken bottles, trash, dog waste etc. it creates) and Non-Residents who continually take up Resident spots with apparent disregard. I have lived on this side of the N.E. for 7+ years now and these issues are getting worse not better. I understand units need to be rented and we don’t want to drive tourists off by ticketing and towing, however, there has to be a way to address these problems, which, in my opinion have much more of a negative impact on our lives then studio productions.

  13. Wow!
    I'm been more disturbed on a consistant bases by the very LOUD and very DRUNK college students were have increasinglky taken over our neighbor. Guys sream and swaering ath thei girlfreinds becasue so guy at some bar said hi to her. Or the drunk guys fighting.
    I am more appalled by beer bottles and cans and plastic chairs being tossed for rooptops during the warm weather.
    I am more disgusted by the not so in frequent used condoms on the the sidewalk, the public vomitting or urinatiion by said popluation.
    Give me the infrequent, tempoary film crew any day.

  14. I definitely agree with Marie, Carol and "Commercial Street Resident." I live on Clark Street, a few feet from where the production trailers were parked. I walked by a few times each day and the people working were really friendly and seemed to be trying to be as respectful of their situation as they could. I've worked on TV shows before and I was impressed with how unobtrusive this one was.
    And yes, I did have to circle around to try to find a resident spot, but I have to do that every time I try to park in the evening–film crew or not, I didn't notice any difference.

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