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Mar 15, 2009 05:47 PM

Breakfast-Lawrence-Tewksbury-Andover, MA

I spend 4 days a week in Andover, MA and can not find decent eggs for breakfast. I am not interested in the chains like IHOP, Friendly's, Denny's or Cracker Barrel.
I have tried some local places such as the Waffle Restaurant at exit 38 (495) in Tewksbury and Carleen's on RT 28 in Lawrence, BUT the eggs are vile.
What is the Massachusetts fascination with FRYMAX. The eggs taste lousy and they look and feel like greasy plastic. I have not been able to find a traditional Greek owned and operated pre-fab diner that makes great eggs.
When I get desperate, I go into Salem, NH to Bickfords. Eggs are very good, BUT expensive and the place is rundown.
The rest of the week I live in southern CT and there is no shortage of good egg breakfasts at reasonable prices. Why eggs, meat and coffee should cost $10 with tip in the Merrimack Valley is beyond me, especially when they are not good.

Any locals with suggestions? I travel up 290 to 495 to 93 to exit 45.

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  1. Try Shawsheen Lunchonette in Andover. It's on the corner of Rte. 28 and 133. It will still cost you about $10, but their breakfast can't be beat.
    Charlie's Diner in Lawrence up the road from Carleen's (one the same side) heading towards Andover is cheaper, and much better than Carleen's.
    I also like Joe's Landing Cafe at the Lawrence Airport. Great middle eastern food too if you go for lunch.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      Thanks, I'll try Shawsheen. I walked out of Charlie's a few months ago, when I was served very bad food and undrinkable coffee. I vowed never to go back.

      1. re: bagelman01

        Sorry about the Charlie's rec. then. I haven't been there in a while....I had the same experience at Carleen's and have never been back there. I think you will be happy with Shawsheen.
        Have you tried Cedar Crest in Lawrence for breakfast?

        1. re: Infomaniac

          Haven't heard of Cedar Crest.........
          Where in Lawrence? I get off the River Rd exit of 93 and am in Woodland Office Park on Federal St. I'm usually in Andover by 8, but am free til 9, so after a 180 mile drive from home I'm ready for a GOOD breakfast.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Cedar Crest is on Broadway (Rte. 28) heading toward downtown Lawrence past Charlie's and Carleen's. You will cross the river and it's on the right after two sets of lights right after the CVS. You can sit at the counter and watch them cook your eggs. I like their homefries, and they do a good job with eggs.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              I went to Cedar Crest this morning at 7:50.........
              Nice place stuck in a 60s time warp. Lovely hispanic help who were totally competent in English as well.
              Ordered Scrambled soft, well done home fries, bacon , rye toast and coffee.
              The scarmbled were PERFECT, made soft with curds on the griddle. The griddle was treated with buitter, NOT frymax. The home fries were well done, but not burnt and NOT greasy. I drink my coffee black and this was honest strong and fresh.
              The bacon was the only disappointment. The cook put the bacon under a press and I was served totally dried out stips of dark brown something.

              Next time, I'll order the bacon NOT well done.

              The rye toast was good, but I'm still not used to rye bread the color of pumpernickle.

              $4.95 for meat and eggs and potatoes and toast is very reasonable. Coffee at $1.50 is acceptable.

              I hope to try the hash and eggs next visit, I can't believe they charge the same price for hash or bacon or ham or sausage.

              I'll be back, thanks for the recommendation.

              1. re: bagelman01

                cool....glad Cedar Crest hit the spot. Definately stuck in the 60's.
                A warning if you go for lunch as the veggie sides usually come from a can. Their veal on a heal is a winner, and the hamburger is fresh grounfd and patties are made to order.

                1. re: Infomaniac

                  Lunch would not be a consideration.............
                  The look of not fresh desserts in the case is enough to keep me away.

                  I do find it interesting that no one has addressed the Massachusetts infatuation with FRYMAX.

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    What is FRYMAX, some kind of egg substitute? Can you fill us in?

                    1. re: tunamelt

                      Frymax is a vile tasting canned shortening that short order cooks in Massachussets like to use (instead of butter) for cooking eggs.
                      It may work for deep frying potatoes, but makes lousy eggs.

      2. re: Infomaniac

        I also like the Shawsheen Lunchonette. Get there early (before 8am) or be prepared to wait on the weekends. I'm partial to their pancakes, light and tender but eggs and omlettes are great too. Yes, it's pricy compared to the other places in Lawrence but it's really good.

        1. re: Essex County

          I used to go to Top of the Scales in the old N. Andover center, was pretty good. Carleen's in S. Lawrence also good and my stand by good ole Cedar Crest, comfort food from way back.

          1. re: treb

            Thanks, but if you read my original post, Carleens had lousy eggs and bad coffee too!

      3. My favorite breakfast is in Lowell at Four Sister's Owl Diner - eggs every which way but honestly anythign with ham and you'll be psyched. It's off the connector:
        Two other sisters opened places in N. Chelmsford (Rosie's Diner) and Tyngsboro (Dream Diner) but Owls our favorite.

        9 Replies
        1. re: lexpatti

          We've tried the owl diner, but my wife and I are unimpressed. Nothing really bad, nothing great either. Shawsheen Luncheonette is a terrific place, nice atmosphere and very good omelettes.
          As for Cedarcrest, this has to be the WORST breakfast ever. Greasy eggs, weak coffee, and dingy, dark atmosphere. Avoid.

          1. re: derekj

            I'm not sure how many times you have had breakfast at Cedar Crest, but I've never experienced any of the things you mention about the place on any of the numerous times I've been. It's no Shawsheen Luncheonette, but it's certainly not anything like what you mention.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              Thanks for giving CC a response, to me it didn't seem like derekj ever ate there cause breakfast is only served on the diner side with large windows that throw in a lot of light, never dark. In fact, their breakfast cooked on those immaculate grills are never greasy and the coffee, while not gourmet, is just good ole regular coffee and finally, the price can't be beat. It's been that way for ever, total comfort food, and I hope it never changes, even Eddie would agree!

              1. re: treb

                oh wouldn't be the same without him.

                1. re: treb

                  I was there on a rainy day, no appreciable light through the windows, and I was referring to the inadequate interior lighting. My eggs must have been cooked next to the bacon, as they were mired in bacon grease when I got them. I absolutely stand by my post, and please let me add, treb, that we are all entitled to disagree here, the difference being that when I don't agree with someone, I accept the fact that opinions vary, rather than arguing with them, or worse, calling that person a liar.

                  1. re: derekj

                    I have no problem with opinions, that's what's the board is all about, I just think your post is plain and too general.

                    "My eggs must have been cooked next to the bacon, as they were mired in bacon grease when I got them". I don't think CC would ever plate and serve a breakfast like that, a bit over exagerated maybe?? However, if they were 'Mired' in bacon greese, why didn't you send them back where CC will always replace any item with no questions asked. Curious, have you eaten there more than once?

                    1. re: treb

                      What I don't understand is why suggest to anyone to avoid a place just because they went one one dark rainy morning, and bacon grease touched their eggs. Hardly the worst breakfast ever. Some people like to cook their eggs in bacon grease.

                      1. re: Infomaniac

                        Warning to derek:
                        There are those on chow who take it very personally if you don't happen to like their favorite place. They can go to great extremes to defend it. Please don't let this be a deterrent to future posts. All opinions should be welcome here, but it seems that criticism should be limited to the restaurants, not the posters.
                        As for cedarcrest, while its not the worst breakfast around, IMO, its nothing to crow over either.

            2. re: lexpatti

              I took my son to eat at Rosie's in N. Chelmsford. The people were really nice but the food was just okay with a hefty price tag for what we got.

            3. we like cedar crest also. joes at the airport is good too. the early bird in plaistow is also good. we got a decent meal years ago at carleens but was very unimpressed the past few years.

              1. I've alway found the Shawsheen Luncheonette good but over priced. There's also the Lantern Grill and Boston King Cafe and Grill both in Andover.

                King's Deli on rt 38 in Tewksbury is a cafeteria style short order grill that has a complete breakfast offering nothing fancy but you can get your fill of eggs, pancakes, hash browns, etc.

                If you're willing to go up to Salem NH , Maddie's Bagel and Eatery has great food, great service , great prices



                1. Cedar Crest is kaput, but just up Broadway (Route 28), toward Methuen, is the Sunnyside Cafe, which I'm enjoying immensely. It's no super bargain, but the food is excellent. If you have a hearty appetite, the Power Breakfast (2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 bacon, homefries, juice and 1 pancake) is a tasty way to stretch your stomach. However, they have one-, two-, and three-egg combos, as well. Once drawback: the place is open only until 1 p.m. (though I think they're pushing to go an hour later) and breakfast is served only until noon.

                  Re: Carleen's -- I typically have lunch there (among their delectable choices are the buffalo (sauce) burger, the Cuban sandwich, chicken-and-sausage gumbo) and have been impressed with both the quality of the food and the prices, but I haven't eaten their eggs.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: io_saturnalia

                    I tried Cedar Crest twice and while the eggs were good, the coffee was undrinkable and the early morning waitress and cook ignored me until I spoke Spanish.

                    Carleen's lunch is ok, but their breakfast is overly expensive and their eggs are a pile of grease, good coffee.

                    It's now 19 months that I'm in the area 4 days a week and still can't get a good, reasonably priced egg breakfast..............

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      have you done the owl yet? Lowell?

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        Yes, but it is notin the geographic restrictions I placed in the original posting.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          I would think Cracker Barrel would do it right,, I've only been once or twice and quite some time ago but they certainly have a crowd. They are just off Rt. 495 at Rt. 133 in Andover (might be Tewksbury there though) - it's the exit before 93.

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            If you see the first sentence of the OP, I am specifically not interested in Cracker Barrel or other chains.

                            Cracker Barrel takes forever, is highly overpriced, extremely salty and that is the best I can say about it. The fact they are on the highway and get business from travelers in no way speaks to their quality or ability to deliver a good breakfast

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              I always liked the Lunchonette in Andover across from Woodworth Motors. Also, if you like lamb and eggs, Lebanese style, Joes Landing at the N. Andover Airport does that dish well but his other offerings are so.. so and his homefries are horrid.