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Elsie's Deli in Cambridge?

  • d

Back in the 70's, there was an awesome, always crowded, very popular deli in Cambridge. They had the best corned beef on rye sandwich I ever had!
Does anyone know if it still exists?

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  1. Long gone and lamented.

    14 Replies
    1. re: GretchenS

      Elsie's was founded after WW II, probably in the 1950s by Elise & Henry(??) Bauman, Jewish refugees from Germany. It was sold probably in the 70s or 80s to someone with a name like Phil Markel, who ran it until the 90s or so when it started the current series of transformations. By the pre-Atkins 90s carnivorousness was no longer in style and salads and noodle bars had taken over the neighborhood. Combined with the current high rents, the kind of Ma and Pa start-up operation that Elsie's literally was is no longer feasible in the Square. Of all the places I knew from the 60s, Cronin's (an original old fashioned brew-pub on Mt. Auburn St., across from the post office), Charlies Lunch (nearby), Elsies, and Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage. Only Charlies (transformed) and Bartley's remain.

      Elsie's most famous sandwich was the roast beef special, thin-sliced rare meat with onion slices, German mustard, relish, and Russian dressing on a bulky roll. Other specialities were the fresser's dream: ham, turkey, corned beef, swiss cheese, and one or two other meats. Their cheese burgers featured Swiss rather than American. The knockwurst and bratwurst were boiled or grilled. The cream cheese with caviar was a special touch. They usually had two kinds of hot pastrami, Rumanian (big greasy chunks of well-cured meat), and regular, thin-sliced stuff soaked in boiling water. I have never found quite the distinctive match for the Elsie's Rumanian pastrami. It is comparable to Katz's (in NY), Langers (in LA) and Schwartz's (in Montreal).

      When the new owners took it over, a number of the classic elements disappeared, most notably the Rumanian pastrami. It was never the same.

      1. re: VivreManger

        Many thanks for the history. Elsie's together with Cardell's, Cronin's, and the Midget were about the only places that I could afford to eat in after I moved here from Chicago for my first job in October of '62. An Elsie's roast beef special or caviar and cream cheese was frequently my dinner in those days. Your putting Elsie's Rumanian pastrami in the same class as Langer's and Katz's is indeed high praise. Sorry now that I was so stuck on my usual order that I never tried the Rumanian pastrami. Still hope to live long enough to get a first-rate hot pastrami in Boston.

        1. re: VivreManger

          I'm glad someone else fondly remembers the pastrami. Elsie's had a Landsman Pastrami sandwich that was hand cut thick pastrami that was my favorite there.

          1. re: gourmaniac

            What kind of bread/roll was the Landsman on? I remember it with a sharp mustard.......

          2. re: VivreManger

            Thank you for that. My father, who introduced me to Elsie's in the early 60s, said he ate there when he was a student at MIT (1946-50). You bring back such memories, both of Elsie's and of my late father.

            1. re: VivreManger

              Thanks for the memory. I had forgotten how good the thick-cut Roumanian pastrami was.

              1. re: VivreManger

                Oh my, does this date me; I was there when it opened and the Roast Beef sandwich late at night was better than coffee for keeping me stoked up. R.I.P.

              2. re: GretchenS

                years ago, i was getting lunch for a group. there was one guy who would always resist anything exotic for dinner.-- thai, indian, mexican.

                for lunch, i was just going to run over to au bon pan for sandwiches, but apparently, that was too exotic for him --only elsie's would do. thankfully, it was still open.

                1. re: GretchenS

                  I became an Elsie's fan around 1960, the year I graduated from high school & started College at Tufts, a < 15 minute drive from Harvard Square.

                  The "menu" consisted exclusively of signs plastered all over the walls behind the counter. The star of the show was indeed the roast beef Special, always referred to as just the Special. You could have the Special on cissel, but I first discovered it on the original bulky roll & tended to favor it that way thru my college years, although I would switch to cissel occasionally. And there was no mustard on a standard Special, just the trademark russian dressing & sliced onion. The turkey sandwich was called the Turkey Deluxe & had the same dressing plus bacon; it, too, was enormous for the money. I also liked the Landsman Special ("Hot Rumanian pastrami cut extra thick with a heavy hand", said the sign) & the hamburger with grilled onions, & occasionally had the caviar & cream cheese (there was a lox & even a grape jelly variant on this), a thickcut liverwurst on a roll, or the grilled knockwurst. (both of these with German mustard, of course. Oh, & once in awhile I'd go for The Fresser's Dream, which was truly huge & overflowing & I think contained 4 different meats (roast beef, turkey, corned beef, & I forget the 4th - or maybe there were just 3), swiss, cheese, & the russian dressing.

                  When I first went to Elsie's the Special cost 50 cents! Knockwurst, liverwurst, & burger were even cheaper, the Landsman & caviar w/creamcheese maybe a quarter more; only the Fresser cost more than a buck, All of this was before mad cow, of course.

                  Elsie's husband's name was indeed Henry, as stated in the thread, & he also worked the counter, as did their daughter for awhile -- I think her name was Agnes, & many of us college boys had a crush on her.

                  I remember well the $5 punch card (called a Meal Ticket), which was worth $5.50 in food. When I was in a dorm at Tufts & had a car on campus, I would sometimes get up a bunch of sandwich orders; using the Meal Ticket, if you brought back 10 Specials, you got your own for zip - that was the delivery commission. I was not the only one to do this.

                  And of course in (slightly) later days, my ex-to-be & I would sometimes make a "Special" trip to Harv. Sq. just to hit Elsie's.

                  Ah, the good old days!

                  1. re: Grampa D

                    Thanks for the memories and a nice first post.

                    1. re: Grampa D

                      Not to mention a great lemonade that would make you pucker! She also had a place in Falmouth in the summers (the old ice cream place next to Goodwill Park - right on rt 28. Always filled!

                      1. re: Grampa D

                        As another student entering Tufts (Medford, MA, just two towns away from Cambridge) in the Fall of 1960, I can attest to the accuracy of Grampa D's post. Resident freshman at Tufts were not allowed to have cars, but I managed to chug my way by bus or hitch to HSQ to Elsie's: I don't think I ate anything other than the roast beef special in all my many scores of visits there over the years. A clamorously boisterous place, jammed seemingly at any hour. Fond memories, indeed.

                        1. re: Grampa D

                          I was a year ahead of you at Tufts and made many trips to Elsie's. No one seemed to mention one famous feature of the Elsie experience: the blinding speed. The sandwich would be ready before you finished getting the words out.
                          I was watching Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins and it made me think of Elsie's.

                        2. re: GretchenS

                          Ah, Elsie's! As a 'Cliffie in the early 60's, I remember walking with my boyfriend (now husband) from Dunster House up to Elsie's on a late Sunday afternoon, and ordering Roast Beef Specials and a slice of chocolate cake with white icing, coated with chocolate icing. What sheer bliss those meals were! Thanks, Vivre Manger, for sharing your history of the place. Brings it all back...

                        3. My own favorite was Elsie's cream cheese and caviar on a roll. The caviar was about as low-grade as you could get but still made for a memorable sandwich. I think of Elsie's every summer as I chomp on my own version of the sandwhich at lunch time on the Wellfleet beach.

                          1. Alas, alas. My fave was the knockwurst and mustard on a fresh bulkie. $1.25.

                            1. I was a fan of the turkey supreme or was it turkey deluxe. Now its an ATM machine.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: chuck s

                                Was the turkey supreme the one with bacon and russian dressing? Or did I make that up myself? MMMMMM good memories from my meat eating days. ;) Whenever I'm back in Harvard Square, I wish I could have just one more sandwich from Elsie's. BTW don't think it closed til nearer '94 cos that's when I stopped working in the square.

                                1. re: Paulabear

                                  That's the one. Don't remember when it closed. I remember it the most from the sixties and seventies. I think the decline started when they expanded next door and added pinball machines.

                                  1. re: Paulabear

                                    Turkey deluxe, definitely. I'd forgotten about the bacon!

                                2. Sorry to hear that Elsie's is no more, but I think I still have some green sawdust in my shoes.

                                  1. It was called Elsie's Lunch, wasn't it?

                                    My dad took me there when I was a kid in about 1985. It is one of those Old HSq ghosts, like the Tasty (still there in 1996 when I was in college, the only all-night establishment in the Square).

                                    How old is the Greenhouse, by the way? Older than me, I think. The food is terrible, but it will not die, whereas the good old Tasty and Elsie's disappeared.

                                    Now that Cappy's Shoe Repair has closed, do you think I should rent that space, quit grad school, and open an all-night deli? Any investors interested?

                                    20 Replies
                                    1. re: Sarah W-R

                                      Agh, the Greenhouse. Opened in the late 70s I think, and it was lousy from the very day it opened. There is no accounting for the lack of taste. Great location, though.

                                      I think the rents have become prohibitive in Harvard Square for food, unless you are high end or have corporate-chain money behind you. If you open it, though, I'll eat there!

                                      1. re: chowcat

                                        The Greenhouse, while not good, was much better than the Tasty. The Tasty wasn't tasty at all. It was horrible, some of the worst food I ever ate. Plus, they jacked up the prices late at night. Good riddance.

                                        1. re: EatClerk

                                          Ha, But the hot dogs were the best at the tasty. also I think the name was elsie's KITCHEN.

                                          1. re: ed

                                            And Elsie's had the Elsie burger (Gimme an Elsie! the guy would yell) and the HIckory burger, which was a bacon burger with sweet barbecue sauce.

                                          2. re: EatClerk

                                            On cold blustery days hanging around with friends in Harvard Square there was nothing better than a hot dog with onions, mustard, and cheese from the loud fella behind the counter at the Tasty.
                                            The hot dog snapped in your mouth, the cheese was melty and warm and the onions were cool and crisp.
                                            Or else those days when enough stools would be free so that me and two friends could grab a spot, get an order of large fries and eat them out of those plastic black bowls, dousing them with salt and ketchup.
                                            It wasn't the best food in the world, but it wasn't horrible (IMO).
                                            Plus the atmosphere was a reminder of what the Square once was as it was slowly being bought out by chains and the malling began.
                                            I miss the Tasty (can you tell).

                                            1. re: langley

                                              And the Tasty would let me take my coffe outside, so I could sit at a table under the trees in front of Holyoke Center.

                                            2. re: EatClerk

                                              What????!!?? The Tastey dog was fantastic!!!! Breakfast was good there too, French fries for home fries for the win

                                            3. re: Sarah W-R
                                              AlanH™ (formerly AlanH)

                                              Actually I believe it was Elsie's Roast Beef. Sadly missed. Great greasy burgers, fantastic piled-high sandwiches.

                                              1. re: AlanH™ (formerly AlanH)
                                                Stephen Owades

                                                You're probably confusing the name with "Buzzy's Roast Beef," which was located on the traffic circle beneath the Charles MBTA station and next to the prison and Mass General Hospital. It was one of the few all-night food spots in Boston in its day, and if you ignored the level of sanitation the food was decent enough.

                                                Elsie's was formally known as "Elsie's Del-Lunch" in the old days, and somewhere around here I probably still have my last Elsie's "meal ticket"--you could pre-pay $10 and get a card with values printed around the edge; they'd punch out enough to cover your meal and you'd get a bit of a bonus. The "Roast Beef Special" was their most famous offering, although they did pretty well with the pastrami too.

                                                1. re: Stephen Owades

                                                  Actually, no, I'm not. I know the difference between the gastronomic delight of Elsie's and the grease bombs from Buzzy's. Perhaps I'm wrong on the full name of Elsie's, but I do believe at some point the sign at the door said "Elsie's Roast Beef" or "Elsie's Famous Roast Beef".

                                                  1. re: AlanH™

                                                    I agree with you AlanH. It was Elsie's Roast Beef. And while I mostly agree with your assessment of Buzzy's, their handcut onion rings were fabulous.

                                                    1. re: gourmaniac

                                                      Certainly in their final years it was "Elsie's Roast Beef", though I could easily believe it changed over time. (I've still got one of their 80's-vintage menus around someplace; I'll scan it and post it here if I can find it.)

                                                    2. re: AlanH™

                                                      Buzzy's was pretty bad. After the clubs no matter how drunk we were, we avoided it and usually ended up in the north end.

                                                      1. re: libertywharf

                                                        I respectfully disagree. Buzzy's roast beef sandwich with sauce and their knishes were the best in town after 2 AM. There was very little other competition at that hour.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          At 2AM, no other competition........and the most interesting clientele!

                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                            Very true! I would remove my wristwatch and conceal it in my pocket, as the time was less significant than other possible scenarios. I just wanted food.

                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                            All due respect, but at 2:00am with no other option the lid on a trash can would taste great. The knishes were just the usual frozen stuff made at that factory in (Brooklyn?) that recently had a fire.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Maybe no other competition for roast beef. There were diners, Chinatown and one or two places in the north end.

                                                              1. re: libertywharf

                                                                I meant no other competition in the immediate area, Charles St pub goers and MIT folks in particular.

                                                  2. My favorite was the egg salad all-around.

                                                    I think it closed in 1990-91.

                                                    1. I loved the thick,warm meatloaf sandwiches.

                                                      1. A handcut romanian pastrami sandwich at Elsie's at 2 am after a night at the Inn Square Men's Bar. Such memories! I feel so nostalgic.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Gary

                                                          Elsie's was open that late? And did you ever see New Models at Inn Square? I still have a pink t-shirt from there.

                                                        2. Ah, those were the days.
                                                          I weep.

                                                          1. When I was in junior high school in the '70s, I would ride the T for an hour each way into Harvard Square from Newton in order to buy my records at the Coop (where new releases were sold for $3.99, not the $4.99 that the Newton Centre Music Shop -- which I believe still exists -- charged). Of course I didn't really save $1, as 20 cents of my savings was spent on a round-trip ride on the T (yes, it was 10 cents each way for kids in those days) and the balance was applied towards lunch at Elsie's, Bartley's, Leo's, or the Tasty. But Elsie's was my favorite!

                                                            19 Replies
                                                            1. re: Blumie

                                                              So I recognize now that this is a five-year old thread that's been resurrected, but still I'll take this opportunity to report that as I did my run through Harvard Square this evening, which takes me down Mass Ave from Boston, around Dunster Street, and then back up Mt. Auburn to Mass Ave, I got nostalgic as I passed by the old Elsie's site, which, alas, now is just another Bank of America branch.

                                                              1. re: Blumie

                                                                Me too. Also Pinocchio's and Zum Zum. Is this George?

                                                                1. re: AHan

                                                                  Ah yes, Zum Zum, which in its day had one of the most easily-accessible rest rooms in the Square. Having lived in Germany when I was younger I always found that name really funny. Kind of like calling a place "The The."

                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                    Die Bart, Die= The Bart, The

                                                                    1. re: AHan

                                                                      Well, if you're going to play that way, Die Bart, Die = The Beard, The.

                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                        Actually that would have to be a bearded woman! ;-)

                                                                        1. re: Allstonian

                                                                          Apparrently you missed the Simpsons reference entirely.

                                                                    2. re: AHan

                                                                      Can you remind me where and what zum zum was. I'm not remembering it.

                                                                      1. re: Blumie

                                                                        It was an inexpensive Germanoid restaurant in Harvard Square, more or less across the street from Dickson Brothers hardware (not sure what's there now - that big running shoe shop?). They had two beers on tap, a lager ("hell," meaning light) and an altbier (dark). Their slogan, if I remember correctly, was "Raise hell with your boss!"

                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                          It was right on the corner of Palmer Street, where the Coop is now.

                                                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                                                            I recall it being next to Dickson Brothers. As a youth at the time, I mainly remember hot dogs and ice cream, but I want to recall beer and sausage too.

                                                                            1. re: AHan

                                                                              No, Allstonian's right, it was definitely on the opposite side of the street from Dickson's. Corner of Palmer sounds about right. The food was pretty unmemorable, though.

                                                                              1. re: AHan

                                                                                I found a picture on line, but I'm still not remembering it (although in googling, I was reminded that there used to be a Bailey's in Harvard Square!). The picture shows that it was next to the Woolworth's, which I do remember being directly across Brattle Street from Dickson Bros. Any idea what years it was there? (The picture claims to be from 1970; I didn't discover Harvard Square until the mid 1970s.)


                                                                                1. re: Blumie

                                                                                  Hey, that's me in that picture! Just kidding. I did have similar hair & glasses in 1970, though. ;-)

                                                                                  Going back even further, when I was in high school ('65 to '69) I used to spend a lot of time at Hayes Bickford's, aka "The Bick." I could get a cup of tea or coffee for ten cents and hang out for hours, people-watching. That was approximately where the Alpha-Omega jewelry store is now - or was, until it closed recently.

                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                    Sorry about continuing to pile on, but here's a trip down memory lane:


                                                                                    One place that I know is missing from the list: One Patato, Two Potato. A reminder that not every lost business is a bad thing!!!

                                                                                    1. re: Blumie

                                                                                      Also missing from this list - though I might be misremembering the name - was that great cafeteria-style burger place across from the Brattle Theater. I think it was called Buddy's Sirloin Pit - anyone remember? They had these big open-flame broilers.

                                                                                      Edit: just googled this and found the answer - right here on Chowhound, three years ago! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/327059

                                                                                      I had forgotten that it was actually a sort of subset of the old Cardell's cafeteria.

                                                                                      1. re: Blumie

                                                                                        A bit OT, but Mo has published a beautiful full-color coffee-table type book chronicling the Square from 1950's to the present. Pretty cool. Lots of pictures and interviews.

                                                                          2. re: AHan

                                                                            omg, you're OLD. I remember Zum Zum! Harvard Square ain't what it used to be. Sigh.

                                                                            And here's a picture of the inside of Zum Zum:

                                                                        2. I'll join in the reminiscing.

                                                                          After wandering around the cool stores (Truc, George's Folly Paperback Booksmith), I'd get a hamburger and texas toast at Buddy's Sirloin Pit. The guy taking orders called you son, cuz, or pops depending on your age. I felt grown up the first time he called me cuz.

                                                                          I had my first Mexican food at La Piñata. I still remember their flautas fondly, though I'd probably hate them now.

                                                                          Hot fudge sundaes with marshmallow sauce at Bailey's.

                                                                          There was a tiny pizza place on Plympton St. (behind the Lampoon building) that served thin-crust pizza I loved.

                                                                          Eating pastry at the outdoor café at the Window Shop/Blacksmith House. And I got my first job there, so then I could eat Sacher torte, Swiss roll, and rum balls every day.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: twisty cup

                                                                            "After wandering around the cool stores (Truc, George's Folly Paperback Booksmith), I'd get a hamburger and texas toast at Buddy's Sirloin Pit. "

                                                                            You just described to a T my typical Saturday afternoon in high school!

                                                                          2. Can't believe nobody mentioned the knishes! The Special was definitely the bomb for lunch, but an Elsie's knish (or two) was the ultimate mid-afternoon snack. So much greasy goodness for so little money. Oh, for the metabolism I had in the early '80s...

                                                                            1. Love it! I too was a big fan of Elsie's back in my high cholesterol days. The egg salad on dark Russian rye and the pastrami on a real bulkie (where have all the bulkies gone?).
                                                                              Oy! I wish they were back.

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: CocoDan

                                                                                Good question - where HAVE all the real, old-style, crusty outside soft inside bulkies gone? You can't even get one at Kupel's anymore. Whe I was a kid I used to go with my dad on weekends to pick them up fresh from Green & Freedman's. The last place I knew that still made the real thing was Zeppy's in Randolph, but they shut down their retail operation a few years back.

                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  Zum Zum had sauerkraut with juniper berries, but the kockwurst was better at Elsie's, they had snappy knocks on sissel bread, they had sweet crescent pastry with rolls of cinnamon pastry, rolled thin and then into a crescent shape, Joya chocolate covered jells, halvah, Fresser's dream - turkey, roast beef, corned beef and pastrami - and it was served with potato salad - just to make sure you were full. The Landsman - same pastrami as the regular but you got it cut with a knife instead of in the slicer - always tasted better that way. Turkey Deluxe was always delicious, but my favorite was the "Special" - thin roast beef, thin Bermuda onion, and Russian dressing on a bulkie.

                                                                                  Save me a seat, Marla - I'll sit next to the fellow with the Nordemende short-wave radio that was learning Manderin Chinese - he know about a dozen languages and all about his radio inventors - AM/FM, Armstrong, DeForest, Fessenden, Marconi... Great food and great fun. Great memories. Remember the frappes? The coffee one was really good - Thicker than Brighams or Bailey's - but only Brigham's is left - even Fannie Farmer is gone, Where have all the good deli's gone? Margie Donovan was a cutie from the 1970s who worked there.

                                                                                  1. re: djringjr

                                                                                    Ah, the Special and the Landsman... I was just thinking of them a few nights ago as I walked past the Bank of America ATM now in that sacred space.

                                                                                    The NYTimes recently published almost-a-eulogy for the delis in that area. Same goes around here, sadly. Rubin's in Brookline come close, at several times the price and inconvenience.

                                                                                    1. re: peregrine

                                                                                      I worked one summer at the Coop in the "cashier's office," and "The Special" was one of the only bright spots in a day filled with annoying Harvard summer schoolers prancing about like little lord fauntleroy looking for their Coop cards. The sad truth was, unless you had a "real" Coop card, the temporary summer one got you next to nothing off, and the prices were grossly marked up to begin with. Bailey's was another high point - their hot fudge was so good. Cardullo's and Algiers seem to be the only holdovers from that era.

                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                          I've been meaning to go back there. I assume the decor hasn't changed? I guess Bartley's counts, too.

                                                                                          1. re: nsenada

                                                                                            Last time I was in there was four or five years ago and it was still pretty much unchanged. They've added the back beer garden, though - that was not original.

                                                                                            And Bartley's, of course - how can we forget Bartley's? And I suppose we should probably throw in the Hong Kong for good measure, though it's been decades since I set foot in that place.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              Ah, fond memories - or, rather, Scorpion-Bowl induced lack thereof - from the Hong Kong.

                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                While we're into Harvard Square nostalgia - do any of the rest of you remember that bar that was in the basement of the Commander hotel on Garden St? I recall it had Scheherezade-style booths with curtains - very nice for dating and canoodling!

                                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                                  No, but reminds me of Casablanca in the old days, with those wicker love seats, and red tapestries (if I'm remembering right). Kind of like a Pier One bordello. I had forgotten about the Hong Kong - I think I may still be on some kind of "list" there.

                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                    I remember it - sort of like a hippie's dreamscape. I don't recall the name, but it was a pretty cool place for a date.

                                                                                2. I met my husband there, in 1979, over a roast beef...and we're still married!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: drmarla

                                                                                    I remember when you met you're husband!

                                                                                    1. Ah the square in the 70’s! One of my Harvard sq. apartments during that time was directly above the Patisserie on what is now JFK Street. The rear stairway led directly down to the kitchen. I would wake up most mornings to the smell of French roast coffee & the first batch croissants coming out of the oven. Then I would walk down 2 flights of stairs to find my friend Maurice rolling out dough for the next batch & would sit with him to have my morning coffee & croissant. One of the best apartments I ever had.
                                                                                      Re Elsie’s: I still have an Elsie’s meal card not completely punched out.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: sqguy

                                                                                        Alas, I have lost touch with nubile young gals she hired for her Falmouth summer Restaurant.....and....um.I think my card got punched out long ago

                                                                                      2. Sadly gone. Here's a good article about the closure: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/199...

                                                                                        1. On a whim, I did a google image search for pictures of Harvard Square in the 70s. This is a total aside, but who here ate at the sandwich counter at Woolworth's in the Square? (I did!)


                                                                                          Here's the full gallery. Sadly no pictures of Elsie's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/antydilu...

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: phreddo

                                                                                            Mr. Berheenia ate there all the time- he worked at Brine's Sporting Goods around the corner in his youth......

                                                                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                              A tad off-topic, but: Mr. & Mrs. Brine lived downstairs from us in a small Auburndale 2-fam when I was about 4 years old (mid-1940s). They were our landlords. And yes, they were the Brines who owned a sporting goods store.

                                                                                              1. re: Grampa D

                                                                                                I told my husband as his Grandparents also lived in Auburndale in the 40's. But he met the Brines years later when he was a teenager in Harvard Square. He says they were nice people.

                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                  What was your husband's grandparents' last name? Just wondering if I might have known them in Auburndale. No problem if you'd rather not divulge.

                                                                                                2. re: Grampa D

                                                                                                  Years later I lived on Grove St. In Auburndale. Lovely Victorian homes with large porches and shade trees.
                                                                                                  My first car was stolen when I went to Elsie's Deli for a turkey deluxe in 1975. It was a good sandwich, though.

                                                                                            2. Long gone but still remembered. Located on Mt Auburn on the left. There was one in Falmouth for a spell. The one in Harvard sq was great. It went out of business not so much for bad business policies but the beginning of am ever changing square.
                                                                                              I used to go here, dunster street downstairs and Tommy's lunch all the time.
                                                                                              There'll never be another Elsie's, thanks for the post.

                                                                                              1. Another aside, but does anyone remember Nick's Beef and Beer House on Mass ave heading to Porter Square? The sign always had broken lights, so we used to call it "Nick's Beef and Beer Hose." Horrible food, but you could get lots of it along with cheap beer. I think it was where the Temple Bar now stands.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: phreddo

                                                                                                  Nick's had like $2 pitchers of beer (shit beer, but 2$!!!), food was EXACTLY like Charlie's Kitchen, I guess Nick and Charlie wre partners, but had a falling out

                                                                                                  1. re: devilham

                                                                                                    And in 1977, when I was senior in college, late night happy hours. I consumed many a white and black russian after finishing academic work.

                                                                                                    1. re: devilham

                                                                                                      Wow, I never made that connection!