HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Not your average joe's norwell

OK, so I drive by this place fairly often and I ahve searched chowhound for reviews and I can't find a single thing....has anyone eaten here? Is it decent and if so, what is good to order?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Have not tried that particular one, but they are a local chain with reasonable food and good value (and very child friendly). I like the chicken oscar and most of the pizzas. My wife likes the steak tips. Good bread with garlic/oil to start. Portion sizes are quite large, generally only get an entree and almost always have leftovers.

    1. I have not been to that one but to a few others. I find it to be very average or below. Sort of like the quality of the 99 with nicer decor and higher prices. Service always seems to stink at all of them too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hargau

        I wasn't going to post about my recent NYAJ's experience (with my partner and my little Korean parents) but I have to say, we stopped into the Arlington location one Sunday afternoon after an open house in Arlington and during a Pats game and had a nice experience. We got a table smack-dab in front of a TV with the game on. We were all starving and we got attentive service and perfectly edible food (which we found out is made-to-order...great if you have any food allergies, which none of us do). The four of us were happy and full. Dishes ordered that day elude me but hell, it was good enough for that effing cold December Sunday afternoon with your 'rents in tow. Honestly, I just wanted to defend the service during off-hour more than anything. Maybe things are different during prime time. We saw a lot of kids/strollers....welcome to the 'burbs!

        1. re: hargau

          Can't speak to this specific location but have been to the Randolph, Arlington and Station Landing ones -- a few dishes are standouts (teriyaki cranberry glazed butternut squash pasta or pizza, or the mustard-crusted chicken), but the service is almost always WEIRD. I've had a waitress ask me if I was single while I was on a date at the restaurant, and another who brought a massive platter of Mountain Dews when the table had ordered two diet Pepsis and one iced tea and apologize far too profusely for it. I wonder about their training program -- everyone there seems a bit out of it and forcibly friendly.

          1. re: kbarry1726

            NYAJ is way better than 99. It is very allergy friendly in a good way, and greets family outings with a wide smile. Service is as kbarry suggests, a bit off. Their spaces are very comfortable. Bottom line IMHO? More chains should take a page from this place and up their game. Rather respectable, all things considered.

            1. re: kbarry1726

              Agreed on the totally weird service, and my experience is with the Arlington NYAJ. The steak tips are decent, and I like the salad with goat cheese.

          2. We used to have one in Lexington and it closed because the rent was too high. It was generally a pleasant experience. I guess the nicest thing we can say is that sometimes we want to go back there and get a little sorry that it has closed. But then our ambition doesn't last long enough to get us to Arlington or to the newer location over in Burlington at the Wayside Commons. I used to get the mustard chicken and have enough leftover for lunch the next day. All in all, a decent place.

            1. My take is NYAJ's is a 99 with much mor creativity and a wayyyy better wine selection. Great for salads, burgers, and pizzas (if you want to call them pizzas). It's not gourmet, but one of the best of its catagory. Go and have fun.

              1. I've driven past that one a million times, too, but never been in.

                In my limited experience with both their other locations and 99, I'd say NYAJ's food is better but 99's service is better.

                NYAJ's is a safe bet for some average grub, especially with kids.

                2 Replies
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  I've been to the one in Acton and because this is a chain feel this qualifies as a general comment about NYAJ's.

                  The food is over salted, over buttered and over battered. I've tried multiple items on the menu, none were good, even the pizza or a burger.

                  1. re: DaveCan

                    I have been to the Acton one many times as its the closest to me. I avoid it at all costs. Maybe 99 wasnt a good comparision as it isnt very good either but i still find similarities between their food. Another comparision would be one every one loves to hate, Cheesecake Factory. Although id pick that over NYAJ every time.

                2. I've been to the one in Watertown a couple of times. I found the service to be spot-on, very attentive and accomodating. I thought the food was very well prepared and definitely on a higher plane than the 99. Mr Cookie's complaint is that is is very noisy, when v. busy. Lots of kids, and large groups. The first time we went, we sat at the counter with the room behind us, which made for a quieter experience.

                  1. I go to the Watertown one a lot. Sometimes with a friend or two, other times with a large group. I've always had great service, no complaints there.

                    I also like the food although I've never been a fan of the sandwiches or burgers. The pizza is good. The bread and oil to start is addictive. Salads are good. I like the mustard crusted chicken, the chicken satay appetizer and the vegetable spring roll app are great.

                    I did go to the Arlington branch once and didn't care for the atmosphere or service. Watertown gets busy and noisy but that's good to see these days when other restaurants are still closing due to lack of business. I've done lunch at the Burlington location several times and thought the food and service there was just fine as well.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jpan99

                      We go to the one in...Randolph? Avon? Not sure which town...sometimes when we're doing shopping runs down there. There are some things on the menu that I genuinely, unreservedly like, particularly the cobb salad. It would rarely be my first choice, but as far as that kind of place goes, it's far superior to any of the national chains.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        My wife and i eat at the Arlington location now and then and kind of like it. It's a chain family restaurant and for that the food is somewhat imaginative and well executed. I've had meals at the 99 that were as sweet as desserts. I don't find Joe's food to be overseasoned or the service specifically problematic. My only complaint is that it's not wildly unusual for the protein on the plate to be hot and the sides to be cool. I really don't like that.

                    2. Acton branch is a dependable choice for good value and good quality. Ingredients are very fresh, service at this branch is attentive and friendly. They had a very nice local food month in september or october that had a special menu of all local ingredients. They have a gluten free menu and will make any change you want to any of their dishes. Not a destination spot but a reliable choice for a satisfying meal.

                      Not Your Average Joes
                      305 Main St, Acton, MA 01720

                      1. I go to the the Arlington one now and again and have been to the Medford one and the Watertown one. Not gourmet, but they are definitely better than the 99. The service has always been fine, although the last time we got a rather odd waiter in Arlington -- seemed a little jumpy and brusque, but did his job.

                        I really like their spring roll appetizer.

                        All in all, NYAJ is a decent neighborhood-type place.

                        1. I used to work at the Randolph one and now live 5 mins from the Norwell one (but haven't dined there.) Randolph protocol changed quite a bit in the year-or-so that I worked there-- increasingly corporate-franchise style instead of the more autonomous restaurant I first applied to. I felt the training was adequate when I arrived there (back in.... 2002/2003?) Then again, I consider myself and excellent server.

                          Because if the standardizing of the chain, I imagine you can expect approximately the same experience (atmosphere and food) as with the other locations with the exception of individual service. I think its a place that's worth a try and somewhere I would choose if I was in a group of people with varying tastes or if I simply needed the convenience of location right off the highway. Otherwise, I'd default to some of the area's Indian, Thai and more creative/independent options. Or the Whole Foods' food bar in a hurry.

                          Anyway, NYAJ bills themselves as "Creative Casual Cuisine" and I think that's fairly accurate. Creative vibe and a somewhat interesting menu heightened by specials. Casual, fairly priced, family friendly, and good for pleasing a variety of palates and diets. Cuisine.... certainly better in value and selection than the 99, I think. But not nearly as good as many independent spots on the South Shore.

                          My palate has changed since I worked there, and I certainly have my own preferences, but some items I remember liking which were popularly received by guests were....

                          -Buffalo Carribbean Chicken Tenders
                          -Coconut Shrimp
                          -There was a Chicken Tortilla Soup I thought was very good (not house-made.)
                          -Chicken pepper-noodle and tomato-basil soups were also decent, not great.
                          -Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad (**If its the same as I remember, I loved this one!!)
                          -Sashimi Ahi Tuna Salad (Another favorite-- come to think of it, I loved all their salads.)
                          -scallop dish (surely changed since 2002, but always enjoyed the featured scallop entrees)

                          I remember liking the specials quite a bit. I even remember dishes like osso bucco.

                          The entrees look kind of boring now as I revisit the menu. I remember liking the sides-- green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. They used to have a marsala chicken I liked but now there's a chicken picatta.

                          Meatloaf often received mixed reviews.

                          People liked the steak tips.

                          I enjoyed the pizzas while there. They've since replaced most of them but still have the barbequed chicken pizza, which was popular and I remember enjoying it.

                          People LOVED the Peanut Butter Thing dessert. I can't have PB so I can't comment. It is HUGE and easily shared. The rest of the desserts have all changed except the too-rich (imo) Black Satin chocolate cake.

                          Acceptable beer and wine selections. Better than most chains, for sure.

                          I remember a lot of garlic used. OH-- one thing about that oil and cheese and pepper that comes with the bread... unless things have changed, they're using a mostly canola "olive oil" blend, which I think is disgusting to dip your bread into. I HOPE this has changed.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: globalgourmand

                            Been to Norwell a couple of times and as has been mentioned, it's a decent place. the food is decent for the price and you understand what you're getting when you walk through the door and see the overly colorful decor and forcibly friendly waitstaff. It's a quieter atmosphere than the four's down the road and the food is better too.

                          2. I have a friend who only eats american chicken dishes, so I end up here every once in a while. Here is the key to enjoyment: the Smokin' Joe's selection of wines are an incredible bargain. Compare their price for Conundrum ($32) with anyone's in the city. In fact, I just saw that exact bottle for $48 on Grotto's list. Yes please, I like that $16 price break. The 2006 Lovers Lane Medusa retails for around $30 and is sold at $34 there. Their blue burger is pretty tasty and you can get their signature salad with it instead of fries (which they have recently switched from hand shredding to buying froze, by the way).