THE Toll House (311/365)

Project 365 // Day 311


The birthplace of the Chocolate Chip Cookie is just a few miles from my house. We were driving by it yesterday and I knew instantly what my 365 shot was going to be for today.

365-311 005a The Restaurant and Inn where the cookie was created is long gone but the sign has been rebuilt and restored and a plaque errected telling the story. It goes a little something like this…

In 1930 Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield purchased a Cape Cod-style house on Route 18 (Bedford Street), originally constructed in 1709 and located in the vicinity of the building used to collect the tolls from those traveling between Boston and New Bedford. The Wakefields opened the Toll House Restaurant and Inn that year, and as word of the delicious meals served, thousands of hungry travelers would stop in to sample the menu, including many celebrities; the Kennedy family, Bette Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt and local boxing legend, Rocky Marciano.

In keeping with the tradition of creating delicious homemade meals, Ruth also baked for her guests. One day, while preparing a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, a favorite recipe dating back to Colonial days, Ruth lacked the nuts called for in the recipe. So she cut a bar of Nestlé Semi-Sweet Chocolate into tiny bits and added the bits to her dough, expecting them to melt. Instead, they held their shape and softened to a delicate creamy texture. The resulting creation became very popular at the Inn. Soon, Ruth’s recipe was published in a Boston newspaper as well as other papers in the New England area. The Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie was born!

Nestlé Semi-Sweet chocolate sales skyrocketed! Eventually, Ruth and Nestlé reached the agreement that allowed the chocolate manufacturer to print the Toll House Cookie recipe on the wrapper of the Nestlé Semi-Sweet Chocolate products. In exchange, Nestlé would supply Ruth with all the chocolate she could use to make her delicious cookies for the rest of her life. In 1939, Nestlé made life easier for bakers by creating Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Morsels. Today, each bag of those wonderful morsels still features the famous recipe.

In 1967, the Wakefields sold the Toll House to the Noel Family of Maine. In 1972, the Saccone family purchased and renovated the building. The Toll House burned completely on New Year’s Eve 1984, in a fire that originated in the kitchen. While the restaurant and inn were not rebuilt the Nestlé Toll House logo includes an image of the original inn.

On July 9, 1997, The Chocolate Chip Cookie was designated the Official Cookie of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A third grade class from Somerset proposed the bill to honor the cookie invented at the Toll House Restaurant, and Nestlé representatives celebrated the even by baking thousands of Nestlé Toll House Cookies locally and giving them away at a ceremony held at the Whitman Town Hall.

0 thoughts on “THE Toll House (311/365)

  1. Thanks for the excellent flashback!

    I remember the sign surviving the fire and sitting on an empty lot for quite some time… but the sign looks much snazzier now.

    And is it true though that that land is now home to a Wendy’s restaurant and Walgreens Pharmacy?


    Rick Astleys last blog post..Sunbeams


  2. Two quirky things I remember about the restaurant:

    1) The tree that was growing in the middle of one of the dining rooms.

    2) When ordering food, the waitresses (don’t ever recall waiters there) were not allowed to write any orders down at the table, nor were they allowed to ask who ordered what when the food came out. Mrs. Wakefield ran a class establishment, and thought that it was only proper that her staff remember what was ordered.

    Oh, yeah, on a personal note, many times Mrs. Wakefield would be at my dad’s fabric shop across the street to get fabric for new drapes or something for the restaurant. If my brother and I were there, we always were invited across the street for a Toll House cookie and a cone of Toll House Ice Cream.


  3. Remember the tree, the pineapple on the front step, and the fire. My mom was hostess and my brother was busboy the night of the fire.
    And no, it doesn’t seem that long ago!


  4. When I was a little girl in the early 1950’s, my family’s most special treat was to get dressed up and go for dinner at the Toll House. There was a huge tree growing through the middle of the dining room. At the end of the meal, my brother and I would order “clowns”…Toll House cookie base, with a ice cream cone upside down on top of it with eyes and mouth out of candy…and THEN they brought around a bucket of small toys and you could pick one. Absolute heaven!


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