Report: Lunch near Boxborough, MA
I'm a combination chowhound and nerd (geek), so I walk around with my iPAQ Pocket PC and use it to jot down notes of various places I visit. I've been working since December, 2004 in Boxborough, MA, and when I asked coworkers about local eateries, all I got were laughs... there's nothing around here!
Boy, were they wrong!
Well, the truth of the matter is that there are very few restaurants in Boxborough itself. There's Bravo Pizza on Rt. 111 (decent chicken parm sub), and down the road a bit to the east is Eurasia Chinese Takeout (a deli that does Chinese takeout, fair but not great food).
So, where do I go to eat?
Continue east on Rt. 111 until you get to Acton. There's a strip mall with two restaurants. Daniella's is a Mexican bar with a tiny seating area with pretty good food with "monthly" specials on drinks, and daily specials on food.
On the other side of the mall toward a child's day care is a hidden gem called Benjarong. The windows say "Fine Thai Food" and this is an understatement. Their Chicken Kra Pao (minced chicken with basil, bell peppers, chillis, and a fried egg on top--no spam!) is exceptional, and they do a very good lunch business there. Prices are very reasonable for lunch.
Further north in Littleton, MA (Rt. 119), you can find Ken's American, which has a nice homey atmosphere and decent (American) food.
Going east on Rt. 2a, you will pass Nashoba Valley and in a little strip mall on the left, you can find Scupper Jacks, which has pretty good seafood, a salad bar, and a really comfortable bar and seating area on the second floor.
Even further north in Westford is a strip of fast food chains with a Chili's and Appleby's (if you MUST do chains!). You can also find the Westford Grill across the street from Chili's, and they have a nice steak and seafood menu.
Heading south on I-495, you can go east on Rt. 62 (or, if you use Google Maps, you can find a short-cut using Rt. 85) and head to the rotary in the center of town to find the Horseshoe Pub. Fifty beers on tap, a great lunch menu and appetisers make their offerings above average for pub fare.
Route I-290 is as far south as I will go (I only have so much time for lunch), but at Solomon Pond Mall at the first exit on 290, you can find more chain stores, including an Olive Garden, Friday's, and Bertucci's.
Is this all? No!
Heading WEST on Rt. 111 (exit 28), you will eventually merge with Rt. 110 and go under Rt. 2 and find yourself in Ayer, MA. This town is near Fort Devens, and has two great Asian restaurants.
Woo Jung is my favorite spot in Ayer, and serves Korean food. Their lunch menu has a lot of variety, and most everybody should find something to their taste. The kim chee is wonderful, as is everything that I've tried on their menu.
Down the road from Woo Jung is Ah Gin Wong's, which has very good Chinese food and mammoth portions.
This is what I've found over the past ten months. I like going out for lunch since usually the food is priced cheaper. I will try any (sit down) restaurant, and even visit the chains once in a while.
If anybody has any other pointers to great food within a decent driving distance from exit 28 (Rt. 111) of I-495 in Boxborough, MA, I'm interested in hearing about it!
Chowhound from NH
Great job! Shows what a dedicated Chowhound can find while others balk.
Not really a lunch destination, but on a nice day, go to Doe Orchards to pick your own apples. Its a small orchard close to you and they will have apples for another couple of weeks. We were just there and baked 4 pies with apples two hours from the trees. Yum! Eat as many as you want while picking. (Address is 327 Ayer Rd (Riute 110/111) in Harvard.
While keeping on the apple tangent, if you're looking for good unpasteurized cider, a small place called Phils Apples, or something on that order.
It's a small orchard, where Phil runs it out of his house/garage. You can pick your own apples and pumpkins there, and he has the most wonderful unpasteurized cider.
I don't know of anywhere else to get unpasteurized cider since MA required makers/sellers to put a "this may kill you" sticker/label on the containers.
the red capped gallons/half gallons are Macintosh cider
and the green cap (generally later in the season) is a mix of something else (red delicious?) and Macintosh. The Mac cider is the best one. Prices are currently at $5 for a gallon, but is well worth it. Doesn't compare to the "Apple Juice" that you can get elsewhere.
lar3ry, you have done a service to chowhoundity with this report.
I agree about Benjarong - look forward to trying some of your other suggestions. Must respectfully disagree about Daniela's - after several good visits we had an awful experience and won't be going back.
Other places to consider:
Monsoon in Maynard (not far from Benjarong down Rte 27 to 62).
Chennai Woodlands in Framingham/Ashland (not sure if that's within your parameters - awesome southern Indian
Stone Publick House in Ashland - excellent Irish pub and also finer dining.
Daniella's isn't a gourmet feast, but my experiences there have been consistent and the food that I've tried there is good.
I'll check out on the other places you mentioned if they are within my driving distance and I'll update my information if applicable.
One of these days, I'll post my notes about Nashua, NH (where I worked for ten years before I got my current job in Boxborough)
re: three of us
That's Agresti's (with a "t")- and it's consistently excellent. If we're branching into dinner-only restaurants in the area, Chloe in the center of Hudson (of all places), while not in the same league as Agresti's, is a good bit better than the average run of places out here at the end of the food chain.
The Irish pub in the center of Ayer is a great casual spot. Lots of beers and good comfort food. I love the sausages. A little further down from Woo Jong is another Korean, Yam Mee (?) that does Korean BBQ. Woo Jong is my favorite, though. In Hudson on Main Street (not too far from Horseshoe)is the Bar Lunch, which is unbeatable for divey atmosphere and good seafood. They also have a delectable sausage and spinach soup, which is sometimes on special. I have driven by Benjarong a hundred times and never gone in there, figuring it's another disappointing suburban Thai place, but I'll give it a try now. Thanks!
I wont eat anything from Bravo, consistantly horrible no matter what you get. Ham/cheese subs with one slice of meat......
Much better choice for pizza would be New London pizza in West Acton.
Eurasia Deli has gone way down hill since the original owner/founder sold it to the new owners.
In Ayer there is a new chinese place that is Excellent. It is called Mango Grill. As you travel down rt111 to the rotary, bear to the right around the Ford dealer on to 2A. It is on your left. Used to be a place called Autumn Woods that was not bad for american food. Mango Grill has lunch specials around $7.50.
I agree on the Korean place in Ayer, great food. You have got to try the Scallion pancakes. They are nothing like the chinese variety you typically get, totally different and very good.
Of course there is also Kimballs in westford if you are in the mood for a gigantic ice cream for lunch!
doh I forgot the 2 best places in the area.
1) Bamboo in Westford. On 119 go past Kens, past Kimballs, past the 99, then it comes up on your left. SUPERB chinese buffet. They have a menu too but the buffet is really top notch.
2) Sorrentos Pizza in Harvard and in West Acton. The best brick oven pizza you can ask for. Also they have subs and italian dinners too that are decent.