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Moving to Chelmsford next week, any tips?

Mrbuffer and I are moving to Chelmsford next week for business. While the New Yorker in me cringes at being so close to Fenway Park and I will probably have to retire my Yankee hat, I am looking forward to living up there.

Any tips on where to eat, what to see, what to do, where to shop, etc.?

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  1. Wish I could help you out but all I know of Chelsmford is that it is a small town. However, close by off Route 3 in Lowell you will find some good Greek restaurants. Sorry, I don't know the names but if you go on superpages.com and input Greek restaurants in that area, you will get a list. Welcome to Boston area... You HAVE to at least take the tour of Fenway as it has such charm.

    1 Reply
    1. re: taxi

      My new area favorite is Infusions Bistro: http://www.infusionsbistro.com/ .

      Next time we go, I'm ordering one of each tapas ($21) for my entree. Nice, reasonably priced wine list, too.

    2. On the New England board, there are some good posts about the Chelmsford/Tewksbury/Lowell/etc. areas. Look for posts by lexpatti. She recently posted about Skips Diner in Chelmsford near 495.

      7 Replies
      1. re: three of us

        In Lowell center some good recs are; La Boniche, upscale French/American, Ricardos(mid priced Italian), Cobblestones(mid priced American), and along the Merrimack River is Jimmy's II(mid priced American and great mashed potatos) . 3 exits up Rt 3 is nashua NH where, right off the exit, is a 1-2 mile stretch of retail heaven( malls, etc). You'll find many mid priced chains such as Chili's as well as many independent restaurants. In Tyngsboro, 2 exits up Rt 3, is one of my favorite spots, Silks at Stonehedge Inn. It is in a sprawling inn/spa that is surrounded by gardens and woods. Their diningroom has a lot of glass and is very scenic to dine in. Their Sunday brunch buffet is very nice and a great place to relax on Sunday morning. They're known for thei extensive wine collection and are often mentioned in some of the more upscale wine magazines. They have seasonal wine dinners. As you can guess, it's more upscale. Their fireplaced lounge and spa facilities are also wonderful. Lastly there's a great ice cream place on the Tyngsboro/Nashua/dracut line is a to die for ice cream stand. I can't remember the name of it but am sure all the locals will be able to tell you. Hope this helped.

        1. re: catsmeow

          No more Silks. It is now Left Bank.

          1. re: three of us

            I forgot that. I haven't been since the change. Is it the similar to when it was Silks?

            1. re: catsmeow

              Alas, I haven't yet been. Here's a RW write-up from the New England board.


              I have been wanting to try one of their wine dinners. One of these days . . .

              1. re: three of us

                A friend of mine went to the Left Bank for brunch last Sunday. They don't have a buffet anymore. Maybe they will reconsider if they get enough inquiries.

        2. re: three of us

          I grew up in Chelmsford. All I can say about the dining opportunities is "sorry," and venture into town often. Skip's is NOT a go to place. Not even a good dive. In Lowell you've got some good diners. The Owl comes to mind. If you're venturing toward Tyngsboro, I'd send you to Groton Ctr instead for dinner at Filho's italian Cucina. Very reasonable, delicious, and be warned - very busy on the weekend. Fortunately you're close to some great ice cream! Kimball's, Sully's.

        3. Nashua NH is just up Rte 3 and the choices are pretty good--check the New England board or post there. (Actually, I'm surprised this post hasn't been moved by the CH nannies.) There's a good South Indian restaurant in Billerica called Masalaa.

          1. Lowell has some wonderful ethnic foods, including Greek, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Brazilian. There is very good Chinese Sichuan in Billerica. Chelmsford has a Bertucci's - a local chain for brick oven/red sauce - probably one of the better chains in the area. Places not to bother with include Sakura (standard moonie burb sushi and semi-Japanese food). Truth is that you're not that far out of Boston - for the best dining, make the trip into town. Chelmsford is split by I-495, which is the traditional split between the Boston board and the NE board, so you'll have to do like the rest of us in the area - troll both!

            2 Replies
            1. re: applehome

              Drive up Rt 3 about 13 miles from Chelmsford to Exit 6 in NH. Get to Main St. in Nashua and go to Surf. Great service, nice seafood and a somewhat "hip" scene.

              1. re: applehome

                Bertucci's is pretty much the only local chain restaurant I recommend. Wood-fired pizza oven. Great rolls made from their pizza dough. Reliable entrees.

                I second the southeast Asian food selections in Lowell. It's stuffed full of them.

              2. You won't be too far from Acton, so you m;ight want to check out this thread. There are a few decent rec's. Welcome to Mass!

                1. Pho 88 on the Lowell line is the best in the area, and beats out the Vietnamese in Boston, IMO. The good Szechuan place applehome mentions is awesome indeed, and is called Sichuan Gourmet. There are a ton of good banh mi places in lowell, as well as a decent SE Asian buffet called Southeast Asia. Il Forno in Acton has decent italian food, is BYOB, and has good pizza (though probably not up to your standards).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foolishmortal

                    Im a big pho 88 fan. They also have very good shabu shabu with new tables with built in cookers.

                    Bamboo in Westford does a nice Sunday night dinner buffet with lobster, sushi, shrimp, etc. Mostly americanized chinese but very good quality.

                  2. Also, Michael Timothy's in Nashua is very very good for upscaley-type food, and Dream Diner in Tyngsboro does good traditional American breakfasts..

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foolishmortal

                      Dream Diner (Tyngsborough, MA), Owl Diner (Lowell, MA), and Rosies Diner (North Chelmsford, MA) are part of the trio of diners owned by 3 sisters, so you'll find (at least I've found) good quality diner food at all 3.

                      If you like ham, Lexpatti and I would recommend you get something with ham in it there. I love the Eggs Bennie there. Nice big slice of ham, and good hollandaise sauce. Yum!

                      (I think in this case, I've heard enough from Lexpatti about the ham, that I'm ok speaking on her behalf here :)

                      (for some reason, Link to a place isn't linking to Rosie's -- it's at 21 Vinal Sq. in North Chelmsford)

                      Dream Diner
                      384 Middlesex Rd, Tyngsboro, MA 01879

                      Owl Diner
                      244 Appleton St, Lowell, MA 01852

                    2. Pho 88 is fantastic. Watch out if you go to the Chelmsford Starbucks, there was a guy who worked there who had a tendency to lick his fingers before grabbing cups, lids, handling money, etc.

                      1. I've been dieing to try Infusion Bistro looks, great. Many of my favorites have been mentioned but heres a few more:

                        Good Thymes in Lowell - awesome service, great food, nothing fancy just fresh, good price, well run, good value, excellent prime rib and fresh haddock. fresh fresh fresh

                        Skips in Chelmsford has awesome prime rib - again, nothing fancy here, good prices, good food, great value.

                        Excellent asian - Pho 88 and Southeast Asia (both in lowell)
                        Awesome Italian - upscale and great bar, Ricardo's trattoria cafe in Lowell

                        Best Breakfasts - Owl Diner in Lowell, Rosie's Diner in Chelmsford, and Dream Diner in Tyngsboro (all owned by sisters from the same family - love all of them - ham is to die for so Eggs Bennie is a roll over in the grave for)

                        La Carrata's - excellent mexican in Nashua NH but I still want to get to a place in Lawrence that many rave about "Cafe Azteca" (something like that).
                        Red Leaf in Nashua - my new favorite for sushi (without having to travel too far)

                        We were just turned on to a great pizza place in Nashua by fellow CHers, "Olive n Herb" - we loved it.

                        La Boniche in Lowell is great french dining, but I haven't been in a while.

                        I'm starting to love and enjoy exploring Nashua: Michael Timothy's is excellent, upscale, creative dishes. We just recently did Manhattan on Pearl for some exciting tapas. I can't wait to try Surf, been on my list can't believe I haven't gone yet - I'm a seafood freak!!!!


                        It's a great area, you'll love it and Boston isn't but a short drive. If you're outdoor adventurers, go kayaking out of Newburyport with Plum Island Kayak - we did recently and had a blast.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lexpatti

                          Vietnam Noodle House on Main St in Nashua is authentic and good. There are many vegetarian selections available too.

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Tho for La Carretta, Applehome and a few others have mentioned that the quality seems to have gone downhill some.. I can't vouch personally, as last time I was there was about a year ago, and was fine then.

                          2. i moved to the area (lowell) the next town over, 7 yrs ago and i find you have to travel a bit up here 10-60 min trips depending on what you want.
                            not being specific but ...like 3 towns away for a good bakery or the next town over for the best asian food etc. chelmsford is more of just a nice place to live(please not meant as an insult) than a hub of the food world and if you have kids real good schools

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: foodperv

                              No kids, we are moving up there to become the resident managers at Summer Place, an independent retirement community off of Rt. 4?

                              Really looking forward to it. We move on the 22d, and start work on the 24th.
                              It seems like a really great area and I'm excited about being so close to Boston, the North Shore, Nashua and NH/Maine.

                              1. re: mrsbuffer

                                Welcome to the area! Once you get settled in, you'll be happy with the wide range of food choices. You've also got Trader Joes and the Wine Society in Tyngsboro.

                                1. re: mrsbuffer

                                  Very kewl, I know someone that works there - heard great things. There is also a great deli across the street in that strip mall - everyone raves about it but I haven't been yet. I really like Sakura's in that strip mall for sushi, nothing really special but they are very fresh, people are really nice.

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    I heard there was a strip mall right across the street from Summer Place with a few decent restaurants. Is there a Stop & Shop there, too?

                                    I would love to have you come in for a tour...

                                    1. re: mrsbuffer

                                      Yes, Stop & Shop is right there and a new little fish place around the corner, although we weren't impressed with the dining but the fish market looks excellent "Fish Bones". Great little square there, technically it's called Central Sq. but most called it Chicken Corner. Great little Bakery "Flakey Bakery". Really neat hip shop "Marcus and Leslie".

                                      Thanks for the tour, but I'll pass - unfortunatly I have my fill visiting Mom in the lakes region once or twice a week at an assisted living place - alzheimers is stealing her from us.

                                      1. re: lexpatti

                                        I know what you are going through all too well - my mom back in New York was diagnosed 4 1/2 years ago :( She's just started sundowning but she still remembers us, somewhat. She's home still with home care with my sister living next door. My prayers are with you.

                                        1. re: mrsbuffer

                                          Thank you, my prayers with you too - not fair for anyone. Big meeting today with Dad, sisters and Assisted Living - 1st since she has been in there.

                              2. If you like good venues for music, try Londonderry's Tupelo - awesome small venu - great music. And great shows in Lowell at Merrimack Repitory Theatre and Memorial Auditorium.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  lexpatti, I second the Tupelo rec. Where else can you go where you can sit at comfortable tables in candlelight and listen to incredibly talented acoustic musicians just a few feet away while sipping on your byob of choice? Less than an hour from Boston. Reasonable ticket prices. They have really marginal food service, but who cares. It's a great night, just eat before and/or after the show. $3 fee pp fee if you are drinking, I believe. We've had many a pleasant evening there.

                                  1. re: bear

                                    I really wish we went to more shows at the Tupelo, you're so right - it's such a hidden gem. Like having great talent play in your living room.

                                2. About 30 minutes west of Lowell on rte 40 is Gibbet Hill.

                                  For shopping - head north on 3 or 3a to Nashua,NH. There's pretty much everything you need there, with no sales tax.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: steve999

                                    Yes yes, I love Gibbet Hill too. Very nice ambiance in the country. Another nice, not to far ride is Nashoba Winery - J's Restaurant. there are nice events there too besides the orchard picking and winery.


                                  2. Not in Chelmsford but close by ...
                                    for breakfast/lunch try River View on Route 4 at the Concord River in Billerica,
                                    for lunch/dinner try Dalyas (excellent american/continental) or Ginger (sushi) in Bedford further down Route 4,
                                    for lunch and even better for dinner try Cafe il Cipresso (very good Italian) on Route 3A in Tyngsboro.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cap

                                      Sooo right about Cafe il Cipresso in Tyngsboro - haven't been in a while - family run, everything homemade, it's very very good.

                                    2. Check out my recent post about a new sandwich shop called Bouno Panini.


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: mjg0725

                                        Although not a mecca of fine restaurants, there are a few bright spots:
                                        Fishbones, Sakuras, Urban Cafe and Yoong Tong II Thai Restaurant are all within walking distance of Summer Place.
                                        For coffee, wine and a bite of food, the Java Room, in the same plaza as Bertucci. A bonus is live entertainment on weekends.
                                        And there's Vincenzo's in South Chelmsford.
                                        Also a new breakfast/lunch grill whose name I forget which just opened in the Center near Travelling Rhino.
                                        Thai Jasmine and India Palace are both decent on Rte 110 toward Westford.
                                        Evzon is an excellent, family-owned, all home-made cooking Greek restaurant at Drum Hill (behind Pho 88).
                                        The deli mentioned above has a variety of take-out and Amici's, also in the strip mall, has passable Italian.
                                        Although I feel it has gone downhill in recent years, some people enjoy Bainbridge's, particularly for burgers, and just down the street, also in North Chelmsford, are Princeton Station and the Glenview, nothing fancy but reasonable large portions (and usually a wait to be seated).
                                        I guess what I'm saying is that there are places where you can get a decent meal in Chelmsford if you don't feel like driving far, as well as the excellent suggestions from the other Chowhounds above when you do feel like traveling a little.
                                        Welcome to Chelmsford!

                                        1. re: IreneC

                                          Hmm! I'd be interested in hearing more about this "all home-made cooking Greek Restaurant at Drum Hill"

                                          Knowing where Pho 88 at least *was* a few years ago, I don't know how a restaurant could be *behind* it, AFAIK it was in a strip mall that has no buildings behind it accessible from Drum Hill Rd.

                                          I know Pho 88 has been expanded, but did they move too?

                                          1. re: Keithel

                                            We tried that Greek Restaurant as well and was good, nice people too. It's in the strip mall behind it Pho88, but you have to walk around behind the laundromat and apartments to get to it. Or down Parkhurst Rd. - in same strip mall with Drumhill Liquors.

                                            IreneC's brought up some places that I forgot about - and We love the glenview - awesome calamari!!!!!

                                      2. Up the road into Bedford N.H. is the Bedford Village Inn and Sparks. The best ice cream in the world is Kimballs in Westford. I live in Florida now but grew up in the area.

                                        1. There's a brand new Spanish/Cuban/Tapas place called Cafe Madrid, right across Alpine Rd. from the Chelmsford Post Office. They're open for breakfast/lunch. I was nearby and picked up a menu but didn't get a chance to eat there yet.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Dinsdale45

                                            oooohhhh, me like tapas!!!! Thanks - have to check that out.

                                            1. re: Dinsdale45

                                              I've been to Cafe Madrid twice. Ownership is very friendly. Had the Pressed Cuban Sandwich one time - not impressed at all. Sandwich was very skimpy, pork had little to no flavor, two slices of baked ham, pickles and a honey mustard dressing. I had to request swiss cheese, it does not come with it. The fresh baked bread was excellent though.

                                              On the other hand an excellent omelet the other time. They have about three different types of omelets. Mine was simple - egg and potatoes. They serve them in fresh baked croissants, but I had mine without it.

                                              Tapas look interesting, nothing out of the ordinary though.

                                            2. I asked the same question when I moved to Chelmsford and have been compiling my own list over the past two years.

                                              A lot of good suggestions on: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/155003
                                              My personal comments on the places mentioned:
                                              Old Court - I like it, Shepherds pie was very good.
                                              Cobblestones - Decent, but overpriced for the quality.
                                              Mambo Grill - This is a favorite of mine and my wife's.
                                              Southeast Asian - Very authentic, maybe too authentic. But was very good.
                                              Athenian Corner - Excellent. While Gyros wasn't on the menu, they made them and was the best I've ever had. Grape leaves were excellent as well.

                                              Glenview Grill and Pub (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/162086
                                              )This place is very good. Enormous menu. Very good lobster bisque. Everytime we've gone it's been very busy. But worth a wait. You won't find it by accident though, it's pretty out of the way.
                                              Szechuan Chef (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/328315) is probably the best Chinese we've found in the area.
                                              Pho 88 - Excellent Vietmanese, another favorite of ours.
                                              Amici Trattoria - Nice, small italian place right across the street from you. Try the Tortellini Pescelli.
                                              Brother's Pizza - Also right across the street. The only pizza/subs we order in the area.
                                              Cavaleiro's in Lowell - Nice Portuegese restaurant. A little pricey, but good.
                                              India Palace - On Rt 110 out towards Westford. Good Indian food. Probably my favorite in the immediate area.
                                              Tamarind Bay - Down near Harvard, but I have to mention it as it is probably my favorite restaurant.


                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: planetmn

                                                I forgot about my recent love find of Portuegese food - both Cavaleiro's and Friends (across from Southeast Asian on Market St. in Lowell). And now you have me thinking of more but haven't been in a while, brazillian - Oasis Grill on Gorham St. in Lowell.

                                                I always send people to Glenview too - awesome calamari!!!

                                                1. re: planetmn

                                                  Ooh! I haven't seen anyone mention Old Court for food..

                                                  I've been there a number of times after UML hockey games to grab a drink at an Irish pub. I love the decor and ambiance there. Definitely gives me the feel of a real Irish pub. My GF (who is Irish and has visited Ireland at least twice) I believe mentioned to me while there that she wouldn't be suprised to walk out the door and find we were on a street in Cork.

                                                  I always thought that either there was no food at Old Court, or that it wasn't very good. Do they have a 'restaurant proper'?
                                                  I know they have an upstairs, but whenever we have come it has housed musical acts for some cover charge, of which we didn't have time for (just in for a drink after the game).

                                                  Oh, and BTW -- for great Sichuan cooking, head up to Billerica to the Sichuan Gourmet -- it's right on 3A, beyond (east of) the center of Billerica, just past the K-Mart plaza in a small strip mall, shared with a nondescript italian place, package store and laundromat.

                                                  old court
                                                  lowell, ma, lowell, ma

                                                  1. re: Keithel

                                                    At Old Court, try the Shepherd's Pie (my favorite) and the Fisherman's Platter (it might be called something else, basically a bunch of battered and fried seafood, including huge pieces of fish, served on a plate of fries).

                                                    The bartender there when we've gone says he's Irish and has the accent to back it up. From my trip to Ireland (back 10 years ago now), I'd say the Old Court is close, but still a little too clean and American compared to the pubs over there.


                                                    1. re: planetmn

                                                      It's definitely a lot better than the 'trendy' Irish pubs that have been popping up..

                                                      Hmm, I'll have to stop by, seeing as the Hockey season is starting soon (and I have my season tickets!)

                                                  2. re: planetmn

                                                    So we've been here a week. Saturday night went out to try and find something...anything...since we were dog tired from moving in. Went to Vitelli's? (DH is hopeless at directions and didn't feel like exploring) and that was adequate.

                                                    Sunday I went to Wal-Mart for a couple things, took a wrong turn out of the parking lot and ended up by some train station in a neighborhood that made Beirut look like Park Avenue. Apparently I was in the bad section of Lowell, but finally got back to Summer Place in about 20 minutes.

                                                    The Stop and Shop by Summer St is really ghetto...and IIRC was expensive. Any others?

                                                    1. re: mrsbuffer

                                                      For Grocery stores and price your objective - it's Market Basket. I shop the one in Beliverdere on Rt. 38 but there may be one closer to you, like the one on Rt. 110 (just off Rt. 3) by TJ Maxx. Some are bigger than others.


                                                      1. re: mrsbuffer

                                                        To the first time visitor Lowell can seem a little intimidating--after all, it started out as a gritty mill town, and has gone through cycles of urban decay. It unfolds its charms slowly. If you're from upstate New York, Nashua might be a little easier to navigate--it's smaller, and Main Street has interesting shops--there's a gourmet food shop called Cooking Matters that has great baked goods and other items: http://www.explorenewengland.com/trav...

                                                        1. re: whs

                                                          It looks like there are a lot of good authentic Thai places there.

                                                          Lowell reminds me of downtown Poughkeepsie -- there are places there that you don't go to at 3:00 in the afternoon, let alone at night. But once you know that, it's cool. I worked in Manhattan for years, so not a lot of areas intimidate me.

                                                          I am going to head up to Nashua tomorrow while Chris is in football mode -- the mall looks interesting and I need a haircut desperately.

                                                        2. re: mrsbuffer

                                                          Closest Super Stop&Shop is in Bedford - just go down Rt 4 all the way. It's a bit of a ways - but there's also a Whole Foods on the way (ridiculously expensive, but decent selection of cheeses, fish). In the middle of Bedford, there's Ginger, a half-decent burb sushi/Japanese place. Next to them is a sandwich shop with the term NY Style deli on it... Of course, it's not the real thing, any more than the burb sushi, but it's an edible corned beef sandwich.

                                                          Other Super Stop&Shops are going to be down Rt 28 (there are like 3 of them on that one road), in No Andover, Reading, and Wakefield. Not worth the drive, IMHO - as you have noticed, they are expensive. BTW - the super S&S's all stay open 24 hours M-Sat midnight - in case you feel like shopping at 2 AM.

                                                          Like Lexpatti says, the local Market Baskets are probably the cheapest, with decent fresh veg's - much better than that small S&S in Chelmsford - they should have fired that grocery manager a long time ago. Also, the Hannaford next to the Wal-Mart in the Drum Hill area is a decent grocery store. Don't expect any decent breads in any of the grocery stores in the areas - you're better off going to bakeries - even chains, like the Panini Bread in that same shopping center (or the Einstein's bagels - which is about as close to NY bagels as you'll see in the area).

                                                          Drive up to Nashua to TJ's (Trader Joe's) for some decent selections of cheese, dairy, non-nitrated bacons and hams, nuts, and of course, chocolate!

                                                          Lowell is wonderful, once you get to know it. I hope you give it and the South-East Asian food there a chance. Battambang is a huge grocery store with fresh (living) fish, very cheap frozen shrimp, great chicken (including feet and other parts) and exotic vegetables. I don't know of any area to be afraid of driving through - my youngest son is at UML now, and he keeps discovering new places to eat. Of course, I started him out by pointing him to the Banh Mi places for cheap sandwiches for lunch.

                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                            I agree with applehome, I love Lowell - (looks can be deceiving about a place, but always good to watch your back no matter where you are). Near the train station - you were really close to one of the best asian restaurants outside Boston - Southeast Asain on Market St. and best breakfast @ Owl Diner. And an awesome YMCA just off the connector.

                                                          2. re: mrsbuffer

                                                            I'm from Worcester and I'll take Lowell any day of the week and twice on Sunday. So many great ethnic restaurants and the wonderful Cambodian people are doing a great job restoring neighborhoods. Now, Lawrence is a tough city to warm up to...

                                                            1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                              Knowing where your going in any of these towns makes a big difference. I was just in what most would call The Hood of Lawrence. I definitely looked out of place, but I get the best spanish food around in this area, and have never had an issue in any of the places I visit, and the staff working at these places treat me with the same respect. Knowing a little Spanish helps too.

                                                              1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                There's a very recent thread going around about the awesome food in Lawrence too. I'm new to discovering what Lawrence has to offer but I try to keep an open mind, as so many cast negative votes on Lowell before loving it. I'm loving my new discoveries in Lawerence. Maybe it's natural instinct to fear unknown territories - who knows.

                                                          3. 4 Sisters Owl Diner in Lowell Best Breakfast, Espresso Pizza in Lowell Best Pizza, Ray Robinsons in Lowell best home cooked lunches , The Brewery Exchange in Lowell outside seating, dinniing room , pool tables, sports bar, close to ball park and hockey. Athen Corner in Lowell for Greek Food, TD Waffles RTE38 Tewksbury for breakfast.