What is Hell Night? The History. The Myth.
Dear Chile-Heads and Their Loved Ones,
Before our next 4-night over-the-top fiery food challenge between the East Coast Grill and our heat seeking public, I think it's important to remember the exact nature of our original dispute.
I've always liked spicy food and, in the early days of the East Coast Grill (circa 1986), we had gained a little reputation for serving some spicy dishes, which was a little unusual outside a Thai or Mexican restaurant. Unsuspectingly, I was baited into a culinary dare by a small, sick sect of the dining public whose taunts of "that really wasn't that hot" finally got the better of me and my formal training. I could not control the burning desire to silence at least a few. The resulting creation was the now infamous Pasta From Hell, fueled primarily by the original Inner Beauty Hot Sauce.
Customers dropped like sweaty, panting, weak little flies. The kitchen howled at their tormentor's agony. But when the smoke cleared there were a few left standing, a crazed, goofy, half smile on their faces and a faraway look in their eyes, and, as I looked out from behind the grill, I would get an almost imperceptable, knowing nod. Their fix had been had and, lost in that chile stupor, they acknowledged the contest was a draw. But, like a gunfighter in the Old West, I knew this was only the beginning. They would return, they would bring their friends to face the true test.
Word spread until there was an actual demand for a night when only wicked hot food was served. The brave and the super freaks came in droves to feed their strange and weird addiction. The first Hell Night was born. More came and we created the Hell Doubleheader and today, for the only time in world history, you are participating in not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 straight nights of pure atomic cuisine -- the only Hell Quadroheader known to humankind. Chefs battle today with recipes handed down by chefs before them. The legends of past fire eaters are whispered to new staff. So here we are in continuation of the eternal struggle. New dishes are designed, new chile mixes created, gas masks distributed. The kitchen is ready... are you?
We won't stop until you do.
Chris, Jason and James
We release Hell Night Dates 2 months prior to the next Hell Night Series. We take reservations 1 month prior to the event start date. We take PHONE CALLS ONLY one day and one day only. There is only one number to call 617 491 6568. We know that this process can be VERY inconvenient and not always seem very fair. We do our very best and each time try new ways of making it easier for our beloved Chile Heads.
Dear Frustrated Friends of Hell Night,
The good news is that Hell Night is more popular than ever. The bad news is we feel a little bit like Dr. Frankenstein, having created a scary monster that is difficult to control. We always keep a watchful eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and in the past we've heard and thoughtfully considered your concerns and frustrations about the Hell Night reservation process.
We totally agree our reservation system is imperfect-we work 3 people, 2 phones-and the response to Hell Night although flattering, is also overwhelming. Every year, we try to tweak the reservation process to make it easier and more efficient for you, our guests. And even after 28 years of business, we continue to grow and learn. Recently we added the “Walk In Reservation Option” and hour before the phones open. This seemed to over joy some and frustrate others. We had some Chile Heads coming to wait in line from as far as Cape Cod! We understand not everyone can make it to the restaurant but only hope you understand we are trying all that we can and keeping it local.
As we have done in the past we will offer Hell Night reservations for 2, (everything but tip and drink included) to those Chile Heads whose suggestions get incorporated into the system and ultimately make it more workable and efficient for the future. We ask you to please e-mail us any thoughts and suggestions on improving the system to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject CHILE HEAD.
From our hearts, we are sorry that some of you have had difficulty getting through to us. If you live in the Greater Boston area, a great way to participate in Hell Night is to come and try to snag seats at the bar on the early side of the evening (5pm) or later side of the dinner rush (9pm and onwards).
We have also started offering “My Own Private Hell Night" which is a private party in our Lava Lounge for you and up to 27 of your friends. We also offer "Hell on Wheels" off site catering options where we bring Hell to your place.
In closing we can say we have thought many times of holding more Hell Nights but have concluded that it takes months for our staff to recover. Literally.
In any event, thanks for your enthusiasm, feedback, patience and understanding.
Jason, James and ECG Staff