5.8 min readBy Published On: March 2nd, 2024Categories: Features22 Comments on How to order at Sully’s

That’s right, Sullivan’s is back.  And with all the jamokes who don’t know the Sully’s Rules (PS Hey, TLC! Sully’s Rules – about the goings on in Sullivan’s is actually a show I’d watch)

Sure, there is no brighter light at the end of the winter tunnel. It truly warms my soul, and then it drives me nuts at the same time.

We live in a civilized society, and as members of polite (or even polite-ish) society there are rules, both written and unwritten we agree to follow.  These rules extend to a trip to Sully’s; written rules like, I can’t punch you in the back of the neck if you order the last batch of onion rings, and unwritten rules like, you can’t order a cheeseburger medium rare with bacon and fried egg.   

Ok, now that I have explained what rules are (some of you needed the primer, I’ve seen the way you behave in public and it’s appalling).  Sullivan’s is a tiny place, and we all have to share.  Whether you’re a lifelong neighborhood gal such as myself who has never missed an opening weekend (yes, I’m proud of both of those facts and if you don’t like it, you can take a flying leap off Fort Independence) or you’re some hipster foodie who heard about it on Chronicle, we’re all in this together…for better or worse.

That’s why I, your homegirl Heather, am here to help. You could call these my tips, but let’s pretend they’re hard and fast rules. And since I’m not really your homegirl just assume I’m behind you in line ready to pounce.  Also, pretend I’m wicked tough, and you would actually be intimidated if you saw me and my lumbering shoulders in a dark alley.

First things first: before you even step foot in the door, leave your gigantic stroller outside. It’s tight in there – barely enough room for people, never mind your double jogging stroller, or your bike, your kid’s scooter, your dog, your nephew on rollerblades, your cousin on their pogo-stick, the cooler full of fish you just caught at the Sugar Bowl, your easel and paints, or anything else common sense should tell you to leave outside. Thank you in advance for realizing you are not the only person on the planet.  It took you a while to get you there, but I’m proud of you.

Now that it’s just you, take that moment of to figure out what you’re going to order when you walk up to the register.  The lines this weekend will (hopefully) be shorter than they are in July, so you won’t have that 15 – 84 minutes to hem and haw about whether to get fries or onion rings (get them both, ya dummy). You are wasting everyone’s time and testing everyone’s patience, especially mine (remember, I’m behind you and I’m terrifying and I have a short fuse). Everything is very good in a very bad way; you really can’t go wrong, so friggin’ pick something and move on.

Did I say move on? Yeah, I meant it, like literally. Get out of the way. It’s very simple: place your order, check the number on your receipt, then move all the way to the left and back away from the counter. I hate when people order their food, take a couple steps to the left and camp out in front of the counter to wait for their food.  Do you think your food is going to appear magically? Like some little clam strip genie is going to fold her arms and blink her eyes* and BAM, your food appears?  Sorry, but that’s not how food works.  Unless you’re just getting a coffee you will have to wait a few minutes for your order, and if you are getting a coffee may I suggest living a little?   If you go camp out at the counter immediately after you order, that means everyone else has to maneuver around you when their number is called, and they hate you, and they hate you so much…seriously my friend (who should have known better) did this once, and a Russian lady yelled at her, it was great.  And while we’re at it, why do you think that your order will magically appear out of thin air while everyone else has to hang back and wait?  Head to the back and pretend to think about buying a membership to the Castle Island Historical Society, aka the CIA, while you’re really just trying to avoid talking to an annoying person you know from 100 years ago who also decided to have hot dogs for breakfast like all the normal people, please.

Are we good? Did you say hello to Chris Lane?  What’s that you say?  You don’t know Chris? ) Well, you still have to say hi to him. It’s one of my rules.

Once you have your cardboard box of food, you’re faced with a pretty big decision: Where to eat?  Your choices are: outside around Fort Independence; in the car; or you can take it home.  Decisions, decisions. Personally, I always eat in the car or take it home, but that’s partly because I don’t like people seeing me eat (issues) and partly because birds are effing disgusting.

I know Castle Island is beautiful, and I’m very lucky to have such natural splendor in my backyard, but it’s tough to enjoy my cheeseburger while the jerk next to me is feeding the birds. Do you know what happens when you throw your last few fries and then take off?  The flea-infested pigeons and seagulls on steroids don’t leave (seriously, is there anything scarier than an urban seagull?). Instead, they multiply, hover just overhead, and dive-bomb everyone in your vicinity.  And if your little special snowflake wants to feed the birds?  Well, this is a great opportunity to teach him that there are other people in this world, other people who maybe don’t want to get Bubonic plague from the flying rats you call birdies.

Are you still overwhelmed about hitting Sully’s opening weekend?  Need a little more guidance? Okay, go with the cheeseburger with extra cheese, a hot dog (I’ll let you decide the toppings, if you can’t handle at least that I’m sorry we can’t be friends  – it’s not me, it’s you), French fries, and onion rings.

And here’s my final tip, the greatest insider tip of all: Order two Pepsis, so everyone thinks the food is for more than just you, you don’t need that kind of judgement in your life.

*Yes, I said the clam strip genie is a she!  Women can be anything they want, even genies, you misogynist.

Image via Sullivan’s Instagram


  1. Roy Rider February 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Good one Heather…  Excellent advice…

  2. Lisa O'Neill February 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm
    Oh, Heather! You make me miss Southie so much…until I remember the Southern California sun keeps the temperature around or above 70 for more than 3/4 of the year.

    Thanks for this tutorial. Hopefully you don’t run into any 4yo a-holes with moms that let them feed the rats with wings. I hate them too. By “them” I mean the a-holes feeding the flying vermin.

    Now, if you’ll kindly ship me two dogs all around and two Pepsi’s (that was always my trick too!), I’ll be more than happy to share the sun with you. I’m pretty sure that’s out of my control.

  3. Java Jackie March 11, 2012 at 4:13 am
    Thank you for this article it is amazing!
  4. Sara March 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    You seem very angry… I hope you are never behind me in line (I do order quick and move away) but seriously.. we want people to come to Sully’s… not scare them off!  No need for huffing and puffing behind someone ordering not “your” way.  Pake a deep breath and… relax… it’s Sully’s.

  5. Cdogg March 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Someone is grumpy grumpy grumpy. 

    Oh did some careless yuppie run over your foot with their stroller ?  Get over it.  This article reminded me of my ride on the 11 this morning.  When I got on some Old Southie lady had sat taking up two spots.  I figured she would be a decent person and eventually move over.  So I sat in the back.  All these people got on the bus packing it in, a few were left stranded at the stop.  Did she move?  No.  And when asked to she replied I dont move for yuppies.  So I ask who is the As#%$ole ?  She got what she deserved in the end, the person in back of her through stuff in her hair and she did not even know. 

  6. Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Funny I didn’t see the word ‘yuppie’ once.  Sounds like someone is projecting.

  7. Sully April 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Very condescending.

  8. Ryan W April 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    One Zero Sweet and Low.  If you worked at Sully’s in the eighties, you know what it is;)

  9. Jenny February 22, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Tell the Yupsters they can not get chili or sauerkraut on their dogs.

  10. WOW What A Clown... February 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    you’re the reason that old southie lady didn’t give up her seat. a real man or may i say human being wouldn’t care if she took up the front half of the bus. I bet you’re the same person who wont give up your seat to a pregnant woman on that same 11 bus, what a winner! i bet your elederly mother or grandmother had a “driver” and never had to ride public transportation. god for bid the disgrunted “new southiers” have to wait for another 11 bus 5 minutes later instead of making themselves feel better by tossing stuff in an elderly ladies hair. And worst of all you consider the person behind the lady tossing stuff in her hair to not be not an “As#%$ole”? makes you wonder huh? Karma buddy!

  11. Tara February 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Bravo. My sentiments exactly.

  12. Anonymous February 23, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Lighten up!!   The article is tongue in cheek, but you don’t get it.

  13. lbod February 23, 2013 at 1:09 am
    @stupid Southie, get over yourself. People from Southie are not called Southies. You should have more respect for older people. Sometimes people take two seats, especially guys ( try keeping your knees together).The Bayview has always been horrible.
    @ Hate much? Heather isn’t being condescending, she’s telling it like it is. Just be nice and remember her helpful hints or go somewhere else.
  14. lbod February 23, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Get over yourself. She’s telling it like it is. Are you calling Southie stupid or an old woman from Southie, stupid. Whatever the case, you don’t have to come here. If you live here then you should know people from Southie are not Southies. So, an old woman didn’t move over for you, it happens. Have some respect. I find that alot of male passengers take up two seats because they don’t know how to sit with their knees together. The Bayview Bus has always been horrible. Call the T for additional buses on the line. If enough people complain they may do it. 


  15. lbod February 23, 2013 at 1:49 am

    This article hits the nail on the head. Heather is giving friendly advice and is neither a hater nor condescending. 

  16. IrishMoe February 24, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Spot On Heather with everything that raises my blood pressure at Sullys. Especially the feeding the birds that I just can’t tolerate.

  17. Anonymous February 25, 2013 at 12:49 am

    So funny Heather.  Thanks for the “tips.” I always have stage fright the first few times I go each year.  Now I feel empowered.

  18. Anonymous May 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Love this article Heather!!  To a few of you with the negative comments above…this is not an article about “us” and “them”.  This is an article about efficiency with some very helpful ordering tips.  You want to get in, get your food and go.  PERIOD!  Lastly, to the person who wrote that they actually witnessed (and agreed with) someone throwing something in an elderly womans hair….SHAME ON  YOU!!! No matter where you are from or where you live now…..elderly should be treated with respect.     

  19. Sully May 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    These Yuppies don’t even know where to stand. It’s pretty obvious, look around stupid and do what everyone else is doing. Jeez, these people are so dense. Maybe they should stick to Local 149.(and I bet this isn’t printed because they are one of the advertisers).

  20. Anonymous May 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks for the advice, Heather!  I do find the lines and choices a bit intimidating.  Your advice helps to make the process smoother.  And for those of you who tried to make this about old-timers versus Yuppies, please get over it.  The neighborhood is changing and that’s what happens with time.  You have to learn to accept the changes – good and bad.  Making comments about yuppies or “Southies” (yes, I am aware people from Southie are not called “Southies”) doesn’t do anyone any good.  Please stop the us versus them mentatlity and let’s all live together peacefully.  Oh and by the way – that wasn’t at all what this article was about!!  Not sure why people found the need to try to make it about that…

  21. Bob O March 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    The only exception to all this is if you went to Southie High with Harry Markerian and Harry recognizes you in line and decides to "Chat", then I am sorry but you will have to squeeze around me, wait while I get my number several times and understand that the conversation is over and you are free to move about the building only after Harry and I are through talking.


  22. Anonymous March 24, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I say the same things everytime I go there. If u don't know how to order then don't go


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