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Anyone Remember this Place in Lexington Center?

Hey folks,

This is a pretty odd question, but something made me think of this place the other day, and I was trying (and failing) to remember its name, or really anything significant about it.

Back in the late 80s (I think) there used to be a place in Lexington, right in Lexington Center in that building where the banks, and Mario's Restaurant and the bookstore are, that sold homemade English Muffins. It was, as far as I remember, their only product. They came in little plastic bags of half a dozen or so, a little stack of them, and they came in several varieties, and they were REALLY good.

I remember the place was all the rage when it first opened, or at least it was with me and my family. We went there quite a bit. I think they got quite a bit of press coverage, too, and good reviews. My recollection is that they only sold them for take-out -- they didn't serve anything there or anything. But I could be wrong about that.

I also could be wrong about them calling their product English Muffins -- they might have called them Scones, but I don't *think* so.

I have long since left the area, first to downtown Boston (North End) and more recently to New York, but I still remember that little place and their English Muffins very fondly. They had a really good, if somewhat unconventional, product and I always thought they had a chance to be the Next Big Thing.

That never happened, but I'm hoping, at least, that the people who started it didn't end up losing money or anything.

Does anybody else remember the place, perhaps what it was called, and does anyone know whatever became of it or the person/people who started it? I'd love to know.

Thanks!

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  1. I remember the place, only I think it was a few door down from where Mario's is, on the first floor of the building where Bel Canto pizza used to be (more recently, an Indian restaurant).

    The one and only product was English muffins. Big really thick English muffins. They were heavenly. It wasn't the only place those muffins were sold. I first bought them at Wilson Farms, and liked them so much I decided to go to the source!

    There were a few flavors. I remember plain and cheddar cheese. If memory serves there were blueberry ones too, but then again, the memory is not what it used to be.

    Thanks for bringing this up. Every so often I have thought about those English muffins, missed them, and wondered what happened....

    1 Reply
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      Interesting that you should mention Wilson Farms. Prior to posting this query, I did my research here like a good doobie to make sure nobody else had already bought it up. And in searching for messages about English muffins, somebody mentioned that Wilson Farms has really good ones -- and this was recently. I wonder if they're the same stuff; maybe the people closed their store but continue to make them for Wilson's.

      Hm. I might have to check this out next time I'm in town...

    2. Oh man...yeah!
      They were soo good.

      I think we bought a little "holder" and some kind of weird fork/knife looking thing from them, in order to slice them right down the middle.

      Blanking on the name though...

      3 Replies
      1. re: rknrll

        Could it be Joyce's Gourmet English Muffins? They had a location in the Atrium mall in Chestnut Hill that my family visited weekly in the late '80s and had like a dozen flavors. Too bad giant luxury english muffins never caught on. I still miss the cheddar flavor.

        1. re: Desineguy

          Hmm. That sounds vaguely familar, but I can't figure out if that's because the place in Lexington was Joyces English Muffins or because I have a cousin named Joyce.

          If it is Joyce's, then here's an interesting article on the company and it's founder, David Vickers (and his brothers Rich and Dan):
          http://www.boston.com/news/local/mass...

          This says that Joyce's was at the Atrium from 1987-1991, which might be about right. It also says that the brothers started a new business ("New English Muffin Company") in 2004, which operated out of a warehouse in Woburn and sold its muffins through supermarkets and gourmet stores (including Whole Foods). I found a NY Times article from 2006 saying that the company had expanded into New York.

          But alas, New English Muffin Co. seems to be gone now, too. Their website seems to be down and their phone number has been disconnected. Also, none of the stuff I've read has said that Joyce's had any locations other than the Atrium Mall one, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

          I dunno... does anyone else remember the place in Lexington being called Joyce's? I'm not sure about that. But I'm not sure it wasn't, either...

          1. re: BoTo

            That article doesn't mention Joyce's ever being in Lexington but it caught my eye because I remember once going to a shop in Arlington that had only English Muffins and thought it was named something like Jane's. I wondered if that could have been another location of the still-anonymous place mentioned by the OP. I must have read a recommendation somewhere, because Arlington is off my passer-by radar. I have a feeling it was near or at the interesection of Mass Ave and Lake St. but recall for certain that it was on the side street, a door or two down from the south side of Mass Ave. The muffins were quite thick but I found that I preferred Thomas' thinner interpretation after all - those crispy nooks and crannies!

      2. I remember Joyce's in the Atriem, but not the Lexington place.
        My question is was there a maybe French restaurant where Kushboo is? I remember something upo there but no specifics.

        5 Replies
        1. re: trufflehound

          Bel Canto, which specialized in deep dish pizza, was where Khushboo is now but that section of the block-long building was rebuilt after a fire. I'm not sure there was originally a second floor but know for certain that Bel Canto's first location was on the ground floor, and I believe it was not at the end of the building.

          1. re: greygarious

            Not Bel Canto. It must have been mid-eighties. Being in Khushboo gave me deja-vu.

            1. re: greygarious

              I remember Bel Canto being in the upstairs, end-of-building location at one point. I also remember them being somewhere else originally, a ground floor location, though my recollection was that it was not in that building. I could be thinking about a location in a different town, though, I dunno.

              1. re: BoTo

                Bel Canto was in three locations in Lexington.

                First, they were in the building that had the fire. I don't remember if they were upstairs or downstairs.

                After the fire, during the rebuilding phase, they were down Mass Ave a few blocks in a small stand-alone building that was later an Asian restaurant of some kind. Sorry I cannot remember the name, then or now.

                Finally, they moved into the space where Kushboo is now.

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  I think Bel Canto's temporary location was actually the former Kentucky Fried Chicken (which closed long before it became KFC) in East Lexington, that was later New Asia and is now Three Gorges.

                  The last time I ate there, which was well over a decade ago, I was sorely disappointed that they no longer made their distinctive deep-dish pizza and instead licensed some other restaurant's pizza (Regina, I think). I don't think they lasted long after that.

                  -----
                  New Asia Restaurant
                  326 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                  Three Gorges
                  211 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA 02420

          2. Don't remember the English muffin place in Lexington Center, but yes, can personally attest that Wilson Farms has completely amazing, huge English muffins (plain, cheese and cinnamon raisin) in the refrigerator case facing the bakery.

            1. HI Everybody. Just a brief note. Nostalgia can be fun, but it doesn't help anyone to eat better right now. Please continue with more good suggestions for English Muffins currently available in Boston. Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                Actually, that's where I was headed. I wasn't so much wondering if people remembered the place for nostalgia's sake, I was wondering if people remembered it because I wondered if the people behind the place were still making their product and selling it somewhere. Alas, I seem to have hit a dead end there. Oh, well.

              2. It was Joyce"s Gourmet English Muffins in Arlington, Lexington center & the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill, and later on New English Muffin Co in Woburn, Ma

                I was the Baker for both JEMCO & NEMCO and unfortunately we fell upon hard times. and no the Wilson Farms muffins are not the same (not even close) they are made by a company we contracted out to after our bakery closed and they kept on making them they never got it right believe me. I'll be back some day

                2 Replies
                1. re: Muffin Man

                  The company was Joyce's Gourmet English Muffin Company. I worked at the small shop in Lexington center while I was attending college in Boston and living at home in Lexington (I started in 1989 I think). It was directly across from where Waldenbooks used to be.

                  We sold the delicious english muffins carry out and in the mornings we did toast muffins and serve coffee. Joyce's also sold really neat teapots, teas, jams & spreads. Also lots and lots of gift baskets. The muffins were baked down in Arlington. I loved the plain ones with just butter and the cheddar cheese muffins were incredible as hamburger buns. Mmmmmm. I wish they were still around b/c I know my kids would love them now.

                  I loved working for Joyce's - Joyce herself was a very nice woman and really, really cared about people getting the best quailty possible. She was very proud of her product. Her daughter, Lil managed the Lexington store and she was such a sweetheart.

                  My mom told me that she thought Joyce's had been re-born as N E Muffin Company - and I am sad to see Muffin Man say that they are now gone too - they were yummy.

                  1. re: Muffin Man

                    Muffin Man,
                    ever think of just doing a mail order business? The only english muffins I know other than what is avail. in stores, is Wolferman's and they are so far removed from Joyce's.... Your cheddar cheese where magnificent.

                  2. I remember Joyce's English Muffins too, and have been thinking about them a lot lately. They were also sold at the Fresh Pond Market on Huron Ave in Cambridge. Maybe muffin man should just sell them via the internet? I loved the plain and the cheddar cheese. Has anyone tried Wolferman's? Or there was a brand for a while, that was available only in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Any good? Thank's for remembering the name, I was stuck onthe letter P.

                    -----
                    Fresh Pond Market
                    360 Huron Ave, B Cambridge, MA

                    English Muffin
                    1989 Plainfield Pike, Johnston, RI 02919

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: nafakama

                      Hi Buzzmon and Nafakama, you are both to kind!!! I did try selling the muffins on the internet with the cost of fuel the shipping was costing as much as the muffins. - Muffin Man

                      1. re: Muffin Man

                        Just a thought - consider contacting Jessica's Brick Oven on Sixth St. in Woburn. They supply a number of retail businesses and restaurants. Last I knew, there was also a small retail outlet onsite. Maybe they'd be interested in buying the recipe or having you bake for them.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Hi Greygarious, I just had the same thought, only with Verrill Farm in Concord.
                          Hey what about getting some graduating culinary students together, and see if you can get some sort of ? grant? parents interested? in making them????
                          The other food icon of MA was Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins.
                          and Joyce's English Muffins. Yum Yum
                          I went to a muffin house in ? wakefield? sorry, I can't see it. Not really muffins, not cupcakes, but they were doing okay with a lackluster (sorry, just my opinion) product.

                          -----
                          Verrill Farm
                          11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA, MA 01742

                          Blueberry Muffin
                          2298 State Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360

                          English Muffin
                          1989 Plainfield Pike, Johnston, RI 02919

                          1. re: nfmasek

                            That's the Gingerbread Construction Company in Wakefield. Agree that they are so-so but HUGE - and around here, size seems to matter more than quality.

                        2. re: Muffin Man

                          Just had a thought... what about an established place like Verrill Farm... ?sell? the recipe, or work with new food people? That way the muffin won't be lost forever. I don't know what you would have to sell them for to make a profit, but Verrill Farm does a great business with their scones.

                          -----
                          Verrill Farm
                          11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA, MA 01742