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Jan 19, 2007 11:46 PM

Lunch spot between Westford and Stow?

I have a friend who works in Westford, and I work in Stow (route 117). We'd like to meet up for lunch now and then, but have a hard time figuring out where to eat. Last time we met at Bamboo in Westford. It took about 25 minutes for me to get there, which is not ideal. I would love recommendations for places somewhere in between, and preferably right off of 495. Any ideas?

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  1. slim pickings in the area. I live in that area. Nothing I can think of thats "right off 495".. Couple places 10-15 minutes off of 495 if that works? In the end it would take you just as long as it did to get to Bamboo.. Do a search on "boxborough" and you will see a few threads with stuff in the area.

    1. I haven't been on a long time, but the Holdiday Inn in Boxborough had an okay lunch menu.

      6 Replies
      1. re: hummingbird

        horrible. You would be better off at mcdonalds, better off in mcdonalds dumpster, really. Must have been a real real long long time cause in the past 7 years or so it has been truly horid.

        1. re: hargau

          Yes, that would be the case.

          This when they did chili in a bread bowl, had fried okra and the likes. Plus decent sandwiches.

          1. re: hummingbird

            really is bad bad bad! Even the breakfast went bad there. When i first moved here, they used to do a 1/2 decent sunday brunch buffet out in the big atrium room. Was actually pretty good. Well they "discontinued" that and now moved it to the restaurant. Removed all the deserts, all the entrees, all the salads, all the seafood, just left the breakfast standards eggs,bacon,sausage,waffles.... And raised the price!

            1. re: hargau

              Curiously yesterdays newspaper had a big ad from the holiay inn, saying they have renovated/remodeled the courtyard and the breakfast brunch is back. Also said they are having a new lunch buffet now with different daily themes. Maybe someone has to try it out and see...

              1. re: hargau

                Are you willing to take it for the Gipper?

                1. re: hummingbird

                  Well they have a 20% off coupon for the brunch so i might try that. Not sure on the lunch, maybe someone else can test it!
                  Says: Mon-Oriental , Tue- mexican, Wed- Italian, Thur-bbq, fri-fish..$8.95 buffet

      2. Still closer to Westford than Stow, but look no further; Ken's American Cafe, Littleton, Ma.

        Here's the link;

        28 Replies
        1. re: Harp00n

          Ken's is another one that can range from ok/eh to plain old bad. My suggestion if you go there is stay away from any fish. Last 2 times it was spoiled/old. Since the 2nd time, I have refused to go back. And the Yangtze river across the street is perhaps the worst chinese food i have ever had. Although they are owned by the same people as the lexington one, they do things very very differently!

          I can think of a few places at closer exits to stow but they are far enough off 495 that the time to get to them will be the same as bamboo. There is Nancy's at the airfield in stow much closer to you but much worse for your friend. Also in maynard there are supposed to be a couple decent places, i have not been. Sorrentos in harvard is good, probally equally as far as bamboo. Also in Ayer there is Mango Grill and a korean place. West Acton has not your avg Joes, a mexican cantina , a thai place.Again about 10-15 off 495.

          1. re: hargau

            While I haven't been to Ken's American in probably about a year and it was always for lunch , the several times I did it was always a good experience. How long ago are we talking with your experiences? I'm not contradicting you, I'd just like some time-frame reference. I also thought about Nancy's but ruled it out because of its proximity, as well.

            Maynard's Monsoon; is as good as Indian gets, IMNSHO, West of 128, but again, too far afield for OP's intentions.

            Speaking of Ken's, that's what comes to mind when you mention Yangtze River. We've gone there , off & on, since it's inception, oh so many years ago. I've never eaten at the Western sibling but Lexington's is the Ken's Steakhouse of Chinese restaurants, i.e.; tired and old. Concord's Chan An, IMHO, is the best Americanized Chinese in the Western 'burbs.

            1. re: Harp00n

              I have not gone in about 3 years, I had been about 5-6 times and the last two were really bad so i swore it off. Id rather drive 5 more minutes up the road and go to the 99, the food is superior. I dont know if they still do it but Ken's also always had this annoying magician dude who would come to your table and talk to you and do magic tricks...

              1. re: hargau

                Well I've never, ever, LOL, had that experience! I'd did , once, tip just to get the damn fiddle player to leave and would certainly do so if a mime showed up :-)

                1. re: Harp00n

                  The thing that turned me off is the menu is great and about 1/2 of it is seafood or fish which i love. But the last two times i get seafood/fish and both times it was REALLY fishy and cooked poorly. I ended up just leaving the food uneaten.

                  The gripe with yangtzee is i went once for their buffet and all the bins were empty and if they were not empty they were filled with all filler. Like kungpao chicken where the bin was all celery and peanuts and perhaps 2-3 1/4" cubes of chicken in the whole bin, i kid you not. So i tried it again another time ordering off the dinner menu, figured that was safer. It was equally horrible.

                  For suburban/americanized chinese I really like Bamboo, especially their sunday night only buffet. Also Lotus flower and lotus blossom are both good. China Taste in marlboro also isnt bad..

                  1. re: hargau

                    Thanks for the additional feedback, "hargua". We've never been to Bamboo so that might be a good option with our friends in Ayer.

                    We've lived in Wayland long enough to remember the Scandinavian & the seafood restaurant that occupied the space of what now is Lotus Blossom.

                    We prefer Lotus Flower which I'm sure you know is the same restaurant group.
                    It has the same good food in larger portions, for cheaper pricing and you don't have to circle the parking lot looking for a spot. We like to eat in the tiny bar because my wife loves the bartender, Ming. Well come to think of it, I do too. He's an excellent bartender. When you get the chance you should really try Chang An's in Concord. Also close by and worth mentioning, if you haven't been, is Serafina's.

                    Here's that link;

                    1. re: Harp00n

                      Harp00n, have you tried Water Lily in Wayland? Also affiliated with the Lotus B & F group, more laid back and much smaller than the Sudbury restaurant. Not sure if it's pricier, for the atmosphere difference it's worth it to us. To me the food is just as good.

                      And you do take me way back - Tom Shea's for seafood and the Kaffestuga for swedish meatballs! Boy, I haven't had those in a long time...!!!

                      1. re: ns538bmk

                        No I haven't, I'm embarrassed to say. It's not like there's an abundance of dining options in Wayland, LOL, But I have heard good things about it.

                        The price is just a throw-in with Lotus Flower. I just can't stand the interminable circle the parking lot routine in Sudbury.

                        I wish we still had Tom Shea's. The original is still there in Essex but we usually go to the Clam Box or Village Restaurant when we're up that way. I'm told, by friends, that Tom Shea's is up & down these days. All I know is that we sure could use more good seafood options in the Metro-West. There's plenty of hyphenated Chinese options already.

                        1. re: Harp00n

                          For seafood i like:
                          Hudson super buffet for all you can eat oysters, clams on 1/2 shell, crab legs, and shrimp galore.

                          Hudson bar lunch for fried seafood- total dive.

                          Weathervane in leominster for fried seafood. Yea i knows its a cheesy chain but i like their onion rings and fried stuff.

                          coral seafood in marlboro isnt bad.

                          Then of course you have the normal chains on rt 9 framingham. Naked fish, legals, etc..

                          Also in worcester you have sole prop.

                          1. re: hargau

                            Thanks for the feedback, hargua. I've eaten at Coral a couple of times and wasn't, quite frankly, very impressed. The decor of the place also left me a bit uneasy but I can't explain exactly why....strange. My Henry the VIII gene, that's sit, order and let 'em bring it to the damn table, normally over-rides my cheap all-you-can-eat gene. I've read your championing Super Buffet a number of times and I really should try it sometime. Hudson to me is The Horseshoe Pub or Chloe, normally.

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              Yea coral is ok but nothing great. I have mostly been at lunch for fish and chips or something simple. If you dont like buffets then hsb is obviously not for you. Horseshoe has a great beer selection but the food isnt very good. Have you been to Kennedys? You can get decent fish and chips and some other basic seafood there. I forgot that one. Not a total dive like bar lunch and much better food then horseshoe.

                              1. re: hargau

                                I don't know whether you been to the 'Shoe since the extensive renovation, which is well over a year ago now. But I couldn't disagree with you more vehemently regards the quality of the food or the presentation. Keeping in mind that it's a pub and not a bistro,

                                My wife & I eat there at least twice a month and our next less than very good meal would be our first. We were there this past Saturday. I had twin medallions of pork with a sweet & hot Cajun sauce on the side. She had the salmon and wouldn't share with me :-). They were both excellent and presented as order. Mine was like $13.99 and hers was $15.99 and we're talking large portions, as well. As an aside; we're roadhouse people and tend to sit at the bar and the new one has a really light & lively feel to it.

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  I was last there when it was still warm enough to sit out on the patio, so probally september im guessing. To me its on par with picadilly pub or the 99... sorry! I think Kennedys is better though.

                                  1. re: hargau

                                    Well we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I've been to Kennedy's and it's fine. Not anything that I would rate as better than The 'Shoe but very good, none the less. The bar, however, doesn't come anywhere near close. Even if you're just talking Irish brews. Hell, they think Killian's Red is actually Irish in there. The "Shoe carries several stouts, not just Guinness. That includes the great O'Hara's Celtic Stout which is as scarce as Hen's Teeth locally.

                                    I will get of my ass, LOL, and try the HSB. So thanks for the rec :-)

                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                      Im talking food not bar. Yes the shoe has many many more beers. I thought we were talking about the food.

                                      I think you would hate hsb, i dont recommend it to you.

                                      1. re: hargau

                                        I'm a little perplexed by your comments, quite frankly. You mention Kennedy's Irish "Pub", that nominally purports to be just that,.and you think the offering at the Pub bar are off-topic? In Ireland, and increasingly here, some of the best cuisine to be had in Dublin, Cork & Kinsale is in the New-Irish pubs staffef by Cordon Bleu trained staffs.. The pairing of beverage, albeit; wine, sake. or ale is an inextricable part of the pleasures of dining in most cultures. I plead guilty to enjoying a big cabernet with my Chateau Briand at the Oak Room. I also plead the same for preferring a Lost Sailor IPA with my mussels at the John Stone Tavern in my pairing over, say, chai tea at Rein's Deli.

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          I had said in my 1st post on the subject that the shoe had many more beers. However i wasnt impressed with the food. I had then said that I thought the food at Kennedys was better. Your reply spoke of many of the beers offered at the shoe, something that i never argued to begin with. I was talking about the food not the beers. If i wanted alot of beers, no doubt i would pick the shoe over kennedys.

                                          I will also add that you can get a nice lunch to go at kennedys market. They make sandwiches, and have daily specials like fish and chips, etc...

                                          1. re: hargau

                                            Well I'm still going to try HSB and if I don't like it I'll still blame you, LOL:-)

                                            1. re: Harp00n

                                              If you like seafood and dont mind a buffet type place then you should like it. Only try it on a thur-sunday evening. Or anytime sunday day. Seems to be not as busy/good other nights and lunches are a different/cheaper menu. Dinner I believe is $13. It has typical buffet type ambiance, and plenty of items that are not recommended out there, they try to appeal to all. I stick with seafood only when i go. The waitresses are very attentive for removing plates, filling water and bringing napkins. Other then that, its get your own!

                                              oh and my comment about you not liking it was independent from the kennedys/show discussion it was in reference to you not liking buffets. There is no hiding that this place is a buffet!

                                          2. re: Harp00n

                                            I'll have to give the HSB a try next time we're in the Stow area. I have enjoyed Chloe's, Romaine's, Wildwood (good osyters) and Kennedy's as well as Willie's (maybe Northborough). I wasn't real impressed with Coral Seafood (felt like a converted car dealer showroom and the food was ok and service was slightly short of ok). I also need to grab a clam roll at the Bar Lunch (usually it's grinders to go from Brothers).

                                              1. re: TonyO

                                                Willy's is very good. As an aside Tony, this is owned by All-American Fred Willis, class of ''71 .the 1st B.C. running back to go over 1000 yds. in a season. He was drafted by the Bengals in round 4 and played for for both the Bengals and the Oilers for 6 yrs. as a pass receiver / RB specialist. Not food, factoid running around in my head. Make the voices stop... :-)

                                                1. re: Harp00n

                                                  Thanks for the info. I think that Willy's is a great all around place. Nice to combine great sushi with traditional fare.

                                2. re: hargau

                                  Yikes. Hargau, I have to disagree with you on HSB. We went for our annual "Wednesday before Thanksgiving" Chinese food outing, and I can honestly say it was the worst Chinese food I've had since our previous year's outing to the China Ruby in Maynard.

                                  1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                    I never said they had good chinese food, we go for the seafood. Crab legs, shrimp, oysters, couple shrimp dishes. If you dont eat seafood its not great. Also Wednesday is a bad day, also the lunch is a bad time (different menu). Thur,fri, sat nights or anytime sunday is the time to go.

                    2. re: Harp00n

                      Thanks, Harp00n. I really like Monsoon as well, but I don't think it is convenient for my friend in Westford. We head to Maynard for lunch all the time - slim pickin's in Stow.

                  2. re: Harp00n

                    Nancy's Air Field cafe used to be pretty good for breakfast and lunch. They are opened for dinner now.

                  3. Ken's might be the place. Thanks for the recommendation! Though I'm troubled by their spelling of "vegitarian." Hopefully that's not indicative of their attention to detail.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                      let me know how it was, hopefully they have improved. Give us a report after you go.

                      1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                        You're welcome EiW, and as hargau states above, give us some feedback, please.

                      2. We have grabbed decent sandwiches at Great Brook Farms just off 495 in Stow. Kind of an odd place that is primarily a garden shop but they are convenient when getting on 495 and their stuff is fresh and reasonable.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: TonyO

                          It is an odd place, isn't it? I've picked up sandwiches there and, while nothing to go wild aobut, they are fresh and tasty. If you go further down the road, on the right there used to be a small store that had a lunch counter. It's been a few years but it was a quiet place to sit down and get basic breakfast or sandwich fare.

                          1. re: TonyO

                            Hey TonyO, you're as bad as me. Is there anywhere in New England that you haven't dipped a fork? :-)

                            1. re: Harp00n


                              I try to hit all the spots I can ! It seems that good chow can be found almost anywhere if the effort is made. There are strengths to each area but there are certainly weaknesses as well !

                            2. re: TonyO

                              TonyO, I really like Great Brook Farms, as well. I was sort of hoping for someplace more in-between Stow and Westford, but if we can't find a better option I may ask her to come down to GBF. (Another problem with GBF - a ton of people from my office stop in there for lunch. Hard to have a private catch-up conversation in that tiny spot with coworkers nearby.) But I definitely second the recommendation. They have fabulous barbeque from their own smoker, and the sandwiches and soups are top quality.