Cuisine - Italian, Cuisine - Seafood, Places - Massachusetts, Places - New England

Review: The Great Escape

The Great Escape ExteriorIf I ever happen to be imprisoned for any reason in the near future, please let jail be like The Great Escape in Salem, Mass. This new eatery, which opened its doors in September 2010, gives Italian favorites a spectacular pardon.

Now through April 14, it’s Salem Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants like The Great Escape are offering three-course, prix-fixe meals for only $25. Some also have a two-course option for just $15. Who can beat those prices…and you get top notch cuisine in historic Salem.

The Great Escape is housed in what was once the country’s oldest active jail – built in 1813 and operating until 1991, a portion of the old building has been converted into apartment units (not sure if I’d want to live there.) And, while I’m sure there are some grisly stories from inmates’ stays in the jail, according to our waiter – Matthew – some of the restaurant’s staff do believe the building to be haunted. However, he doesn’t believe in those things.

The building is old brick and sits on the corner of Saint Peter Street and Bridge Street, right across from the Salem Depot Commuter Rail Station. Parking is the biggest issue in getting to the restaurant. We happened to find a short-term lot a block away behind the court house. But, with a lack of parking and rainy weather, the crowds weren’t piling into the restaurant – even with a cost-effective deal like Restaurant Week.

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