Take A Bite Of Authenticity
By Julie Young
When walking into The Haven, Boston’s only Scottish restaurant, the diner is comforted by thematic plaid pillows, old-fashioned portraits on the walls, and beautifully crafted antler chandeliers. The Haven resembles a classic pub in Glasgow, Scotland.
Since the restaurant’s opening in 2010, owner Jason Waddleton could not be more proud of his business as it continues to thrive. Waddleton decided to open a Scottish restaurant, staying true to his cultural roots. “Being from [Stonehaven,] Scotland, I grew up with Scottish produce, and the story of its food is fantastic. It runs the gamut from high quality produce to outstanding craft beers and, of course, a culture of great hospitality,” said Waddleton.
A unique taste sets Waddleton and his restaurant apart. The location was chosen after a three-year search, and Waddleton thought Jamaica Plain was a “great neighborhood with a diverse mix” that would likely welcome a Scottish restaurant. The Haven’s distinction as the only Scottish restaurant in Boston “is something we don’t take lightly. We have become a destination for any Scottish happening. It’s very inspiring and fulfilling,” said Waddleton.
The menu at The Haven is continually evolving. “We have had three different chefs…each one has had an influence within The Haven that was fantastic,” said Waddleton. The Haven Burger has won several accolades; it holds a spot on a national list of Juiciest Burgers. In addition, the Haven’s Deep Fried Mars Bar is listed in “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die,” by Mimi Sheraton. This delectable dessert was invented in Stonehaven, and customers of The Haven love trying it for the first time.
Since the restaurant often strives to switch up the menu, customers may choose a classic favorite but can also enjoy the thrill of tasting the newest addition. “We change [the menu] seasonally, but our chef, Alex DuBois, adds to it whenever the opportunity arises. We buy from some local farms and get fish from Shetland and Scotland,” said Waddleton.
Welcoming its neighbors and those who are interested in trying Scottish cuisine, “[The Haven] offers quality food and drink in a unique setting with a neighborhood feel,” said Waddleton. Stopping by this one-of-a-kind local gastropub is definitely a to-do while in Boston. The Haven keeps its customers and friends coming back for more by offering an authentic Scottish experience. “We play modern and traditional Scottish music, offer modern and traditional food, and try to be attentive, be on point, and deliver a consistent experience.”
The Haven was the first place in the United States to replicate the traditional Stonehaven Fireball ceremony, which is celebrated on the last day of the year. “It consists of a pipe band leading fifty ‘swingers’ with lit fireballs down High Street in Stonehaven. We copied it for three years,” said Waddleton. In addition, The Haven hosts a wide range of events, from weddings, to baptisms, to Game of Thrones nights. “You name it, we’ve done it!” said Waddleton. The restaurant is enthusiastic about taking on more.
Tourists seeking the delectable tastes of classic Scottish cuisine at a local pub should look for The Haven name, as plans for expansion are in the making. Motivated by his dreams, Waddleton strives to learn more about his business every day. “I want to see us doing what we do now and evolving with the same passion and drive. That will be the achievement,” said Waddleton.