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Two Weeks in Worcester - Cheap Eats and Must Eats?

I'm a New York writer who's in Worcester for two weeks of research, and I'm am eager to check out the hounding scene here. Anybody have great recommendations for cheap eats, little gems, the best of the local diners, and must-try spots (other than fancy dining -- as I said, I'm a writer and living on a writer's budget....)? Fortunately, I love Vietnamese and Middle Eastern (apparently Worcester's two specialties) and most other ethnic cuisines.

I've already been to Pho Dakao (really good pho, but a little pricey, I thought) and tonite I had two dogs with the works at George's Coney Island (yum... I could've gone for a third). I plan to check out One Love soon, too.

I heard there's a bahn mi place nearby -- anyone know where? And all other recommendations welcome. I have a car and can get out to some of the nearby towns as well if there's something I've gotta try while I'm here.


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  1. Viet: Banh Mi on Millbury St. at Asadoorian Plaza(don't lnow the name) has consistently good, not outstanding Banh Mi. The son recently took over and expanded the menu. There is also another place on Chandler St. and one on Main St. near Clark U. a fast food Viet place. The first time I thought I had my new Banh Mi, very good, fresh with lots of filling. Second time I got grossed out by the mayo. Da Lat is my favorite Pho on Park St.There are a couple others on Park. I've eaten at the one near Royal pizza.Also, the market on Green St. has Banh Mi.
    Middle Easter: El Basha has the best, and I prefer Belmont St.Can't go wrong with the mezza, fattoush, kibbe, etc.Sahara is also good. A little nicer. Then there is Bay State bakery on Water for fresh bread and good sandwich lunch. Kays on Hamilton has the best bread. They don't make much. Bahinian on Pleasant has good baked and other goods, Ed Hyders is a great market also on Pleasant.Shiraz has very good Armenian, no atmo.
    Dippin Donuts on Main.
    Neh Veh, African on Providence St. on Vernon Hill has spicy filling African food. There is another African place on Cambridge St. I don't know enough to recommend anything.
    Pizza: Wonder Bar on Shrewsbury, the place on Highland.Sorry, forgot Juniors on Highland.
    Tripe at Big Joes on Shrewsbury.
    Diners, Diners, Diners. My favorite is Mac's for lunch. Kenmore for breakfast, and also the Boulevard.
    Someone elses turn, now.

    1. I don't know a lot - I just have a kid at Worcester Polytech - but somebody on here turned us on to Corner Grill. We LOVE it. If you like THIN pizza with all sorts of tasty and interesting toppings check it out:


      1 Reply
      1. re: CindyK

        Corner Grille is the best pizza I have had outside of Regina's in the North End.

      2. Best "bang for the buck" that I've found is the Puerto Rican place by Clark next to Saigon Restaurant. My wife had to hold me back to keep me from buying everything on the menu, and even then it would have been less than $20!

        1. The Bamboo Hut at 1394 Main St has really good Vietnamese cuisine. I stopped there with three friends after the Hunting and Fishing Show last Saturday. We were very happy with the food and the prices.

          1. Bamboo Hut is a must. Splurge on a special if you can spring it. Tell them what you like -- they will work with you there.

            Corner Grille is great but Via's pizza on Shrewsbury St. is even better.

            For a lunchtime treat go to Emilia's on Pleasant St and have a fabulous middle-eastern sandwich. The fish sandwich (Wednesdays and Fridays, I think) cannot be beat. Lentil and onion is also righteous.

            Mighty fine banh mi to go at the Ha Tien market on Main St.

            For a middle-eastern dinner treat, order the lehmajun plate at Shiraz on Park Ave.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Rick_V

              Rick -- Is Via's real thin? Thanks.

              1. re: CindyK

                IMO, I think Via is good but not great. for what they they charge and the service is a joke. I ran into a bartender at funky murphys who used to work at Via and even he said he thought the food wasn't that great. as compared to the sole and the 111 chop house. I'd rather go to the boynton on highland for pizza than Via. again, just my opinion.

                1. re: CindyK

                  Yes -- very thin and crispy. It's the closest thing to pizza from Italy I've tasted in the Worcester area.

              2. Thanks for all the recs! I'm looking forward to trying some more on this list, especially Banh Mi, Corner Grille, Bamboo Hut, Da Lat, Shiraz and Emilia's.

                Also on my list, after scouring some other posts, are the Kenmore, Parkway, Mac's and the Broadway. If only I had more time (and if only it weren't blizzarding every other day!).

                1 Reply
                1. re: historygeek

                  For sure you won't go wrong with Bamboo Hut. Last time I was there I had a delicious winter goat stew...also have had the crispy sea bass or catfish which was out of this world.....it is BYOB so bring a nice bottle of wine if you would like to partake

                2. You really MUST go to Baba sushi.......best I've had in New England, and probably on par with the best NYC has to offer. Wilson is the owner, and he will take very good care of you.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Science Chick

                    Yeah, but not exactly a "cheap eat". I agree, a "must eat" if he gets to expense it. ;)

                  2. We make a detour to George's Chile Dogs every time we pass through. The restaurant has a great low class ambiance, but the bar has enough local color for a novel. Down the road is also a fine old diner ( and in between a bar with nude dancing!). Locals, help me out w/ the street.
                    Robert Jordan

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      That would be Southbridge Street. George's Coney Island. Look for the big neon dripping hot dog.

                      1. re: mmmpointy

                        We had pizza at Corner Grill. The middle was uncooked on 4 of the 5 pies. Great flavor and choices. I think the list given is pretty concise. Have fun dining around. The India Cafe on Route 9 in Shrewsbury is very good as well.

                        1. re: phelana

                          I'm really surprised about the pizzas.........never had that happen. Did you let them know? I'm sure they would want to know and would comp you somehow...

                    2. wow! Everyone here has some great recs!

                      My suggestion is for good very very cheap breakfast.

                      Head over to Gold Star Restaurant. Great traditional diner food, but at amazingly low prices. Their corned beef hash is freshly made every day - yum!

                      It's located on Gold Star Boulevard, in the same building as the eastern boarder. Don't trust google maps' directions because it's wrong - at least last I tried. From 290 to 190, take gold star blvd exit, follow gold star blvd a few blocks down (4?). Entrance is on the very corner of the building, and it is right across the street from a non-brand name gas station. Parking is on the other side of the building (same street) past the eastern boarders entrance. Street parking is usually what I've done (easy convenient) because the small lot is usually full.

                      1. For a great Worcester bar scene experience, head to either Vincent's or Ralph's. While at Ralph's, get a burger at the bar.

                        Breakfast - try Shaker's on Hamilton Street. Wonderful breakfast with a Lebanese bent. (Scrambled eggs with kibbee, crispy syrian toast with feta).

                        Another really, really good and new option, Wild Willy's Burgers on West Boylston. Fantastic burgers (they will actually serve them medium rare!!) and top-notch hand-cut fries.

                        Another great and cheap Vietnamese to try is Anh Thu on Park. I like the Pho there better than at Da Lat, which is really saying alot because Da Lat is excellent.

                        Glad you already made it to George's, but not quite sure how you stopped at 2 dogs. Looking forward to hearing what you think of One Love - it's a favorite.