Anthony Athanas, the owner of Anthony's Pier 4 and other restaurants in the Boston area, died on Friday at age 93.

Anthony's Pier 4 is the place to go in the Boston area for graduations, special birthdays, new jobs, and other big occasions and celebrations. It's also a mandatory stop on the campaign trail for Boston politicians and a major tourist trap.

The food is good but not great, the setting is dark and old-fashioned, the wait for a table is famously long, the service is spotty and the prices are outrageous. But there's also the spectacular views of Boston's waterfront, the foyer walls that are covered from floor to ceiling with photographs of celebrities and politicians who've dined there, and Anthony himself, who really was a Boston institution.

Anthony was a tiny little guy with a great big goofy smile. He was at the restaurant seven days a week, seating customers and watching over the waiters and darting in and out of the kitchen and making the rounds of the tables, chatting with customers and congratulating them on whatever they were celebrating.

The Boston Globe touched on some of the reasons that Anthony was a Boston institution in this article and in his obituary, but I don't think those articles totally capture what this consummate host was really like.

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This picture was taken at my mother's 50th birthday celebration. See, that's the thing about Anthony Athanas--he wasn't just nice to politicians and celebrities. From Billy Bulger to Don Rickles to my own mom and dad, he treated everyone like they were his best customers.

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