Restaurateur Garrett Harker of Eastern Standard - Biography

Boston, MA

November 2011

At the age of 15, Garrett Harker found his calling in the restaurant industry. Today, as a nationally respected restaurateur known for his hands-on approach, he has achieved enduring success while ensuring that every element of his establishments stay true to his personal philosophy of hospitality.

High school years in his hometown of Baltimore were spent bussing table and washing dishes. After graduation from Pomona College, Harker moved to San Francisco to work for the Kimpton Group. Quickly rising through the ranks, Harker became the youngest general manager in the company's history during his tenure at Donna Scala's urban outpost Scala's Bistro.

Family obligations brought him to Boston in 1998, where he took a chance by coming on board as general manager for a soon-to-open restaurant called No. 9 Park. Harker recognized a similar passion in No. 9 owner Barbara Lynch and together they built what is now one of Boston's most beloved restaurants. In 2003, Lynch and Harker opened B&G Oysters, a 38 seat oyster bar in Boston's South End, and then the wine bar, The Butcher Shop, across the street.

In May of 2005 Harker ventured off on his own, opening Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Kenmore Square. In what was once a barren and gritty section of the city best known for college students, seedy clubs, and baseball, Harker’s innate approach of engaging diners on every visit through food, drink, and service proved unbeatable. Five years later, Harker opened his next restaurant, Island Creek Oyster Bar, also in Kenmore Square. In partnership with Island Creek Oysters’ Skip Bennett and Eastern Standard Executive Chef Jeremy Sewall, Island Creek Oyster Bar weaves the vision and ideals of the farmer into a vibrantly comfortable space dedicated to bringing the restaurant to the farm by offering guests the opportunity to eat, drink, discover, and discuss where our food comes from and learn why it matters.

In November of 2011, Harker opened The Hawthorne with longtime Eastern Standard and ICOB Bar Director, Jackson Canon. Pairing Cannon’s national reputation for the finest in craft cocktails with a space that commands the heightened focus on hospitality, comfort, and geniality that has become expected in all of Harker’s establishments, The Hawthorne rounds out the Kenmore Square food and dining experience. Today widely considered one of Boston's leading restaurateurs, Harker continues to raise the bar in Boston.